This is something I wrote several years ago reviewing a trilogy of Japanese dating sims called 'X-Change'. Considering the forum thread it was posted in is now gone I've re-posted it here, with some edits here and there.

These games contain some disturbing content and I've included several sexually graphic screenshots in the review, but they're pretty far down to make it hard to see them by accident, so you have to promise you're going to be cool or you can't look.

After exploring the relatively innocent and Western-friendly world of mainstream anime, I looked for other sources to exploit my temporary newfound Japanophilia. On an import site looking for Japanese RPGs I discovered a section for those dating sims I’ve sometimes heard about. Alright, there’s some questionable screenshots there, but Japan is a country full of shy, repressed tiny people, so it’s all probably mostly harmless, right?

WRONG.

WRONG.

WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG.



All right, I read the blurb for something called ‘X-Change 3’. It describes the zany exploits of a guy magically transformed into a girl and the hilarious adventures within. The strangest part was the language, which painted the whole thing as some sort of Scooby Doo adventure. Observe:

"As you start another round of bizarre sexual adventures in your female body, the whole gang is back: your twisted sister Natsumi, who loves to tease you; your smart senpai Asami; even the endlessly experimenting Chisato."

What happens next needs some explaining. Why did I not stop here? Chuckle, and move on. But images of a psychedelic Mystery Machine journey with goggle-eyed schoolgirls just sounded too hilarious to pass up.

Alright, a change of tack here as I’m bored of this monumental build up, because the revelation is rubbish anyway. I’ve been scarred for life by these games. Fine, that’s out of the way. I’m going to discuss them all as one, seeing as they’re all exactly the same god damn story, each sequel with slightly sharper colour on the drawings and about 5,000 more lines of dialogue.

As stated, you magically go through a rapid change of gender for various technical reasons (the first one left it at ‘magic’, the second thought that the player-base would rebel without about twenty minutes of cock-eyed biological reasons). You then go for about a week trying to find ways to turn yourself back, and in the process meet a lot of friendly men, all of whom happen to be card-carrying sexual predators and take advantage of your delicate feminine state to aggressively violate you, accompanied by graphic (and lovingly hand drawn) pictures and daft female Japanese voice artists expelling moans of unfettered pleasure. It seems, you see, that in the world of X-Change the ladies all love rape. They may say no but their eyes scream yes. Heck, the men are the ones really unfairly treated by the situation, they’re expected to ravish day and night. It’s practically a public service.


Every sort of twisted fetish is given its fifteen clicks of fame, including paedophilia. Although never explicitly stated (the English translation maintains that all characters are over 18. I believe you, developers! Honest), the fact that sex scenes take place between horny schoolgirls and their P.E. teachers, still horny schoolgirls and their blatantly prepubescent male tutoring students, and yet still desirous horny schoolgirls and their far older sister’s boyfriend (oh, and their nymphomaniac sister herself, too) indicates that something's rotten in Tokyo. Hermaphrodite lovers, you’re not excluded either! Nor you, tentacle porn aficionados! We've got perversion for everyone!



It’s such a constant threat that after a couple of hours, every time I met a new character I instantly tensed up and started muttering variations of “no, please not again” repeatedly under my breath, progressing through the reams of laughable dialogue until my na├»ve protagonist is led by the hand to a quiet room with nothing but sunshine and butterflies possessing her thoughts, cornered, forcibly stripped and fondled, penetrated, before the twist becomes evident when she realises that rather than being petrified, psychologically destroyed and unable to interact with the opposite sex hereafter, she’s having a whale of a time and is actually getting her rocks off.

And there’s no shortage of volunteers to help her, either. If it’s not a fellow student (who, by the way, is responsible for turning you into a girl in the third game so he can immediately abuse you again) or skimpy nurse, it’s the legendary Rape Bus or, my favourite, a couple of your school friends who, for a prank, set you up to get raped by the creepy substitute teacher. Ha ha, you guys! Is my face red!



As you progress, you leapfrog across innocuous talkies, the vapid and transparent air between lily pads of sexual abuse representing the plot in this terrible metaphor. Eventually, the very few choices you’re given throughout (usually consisting of “where shall I go?” which actually determines which pervert will decide to molest you) culminate in one of several endings.

I really want to say that my most cherished conclusion was the one where your approximately twelve year old neighbour, whom you tutor, grabs your breasts just when his father comes home from work. Dad decides, quite naturally in a ‘I feel like a relaxing bath after a hard day’s work’ way, to take you up the rear while you suck off his kid. This, of course, is a happy ending, as the experience totally blew your mind and you decide to stay as a woman forever to fulfil the role as daddy’s permanent sex slave. Aww.



I’d like to say that my favourite one is where, after a sweaty fat guy puts you in chains, attaches a collar on you, rams a fake leopard tail up past your sphincter and whips you viciously before you break free and do exactly the same to him, before you decide that this is all too wonderful to ignore and move on from and allow yourself to be kidnapped, taken to a dingy cellar and forced into leather-and-spike lingerie and learn to become a dominatrix. Oh, and you recruit your sister too in the noble endeavour of whipping overweight businessmen senseless.



But at the end of the day, what with being an old romantic and all, I just can’t resist the ending where you and your girlfriend’s drinks are laced with rohypnol and you regain consciousness in a stone room in the middle of being penetrated by affluent middle-aged businessmen. Skip forward a few weeks and it’s revealed that both you and girlfriend are now proud merchandise of the sex-slave trade, forced to commence Sapphic acts while potential buyers are trotted out in front of you. Cue pictures of terrified and traumatised girls shakily inserting their tongues down each other’s throats while your character engages in a soliloquy, wishing she could just die but too afraid of leaving the girlfriend to go through this hellish existence alone. Man, I don’t know about you but that sure gets me off.



Why did I write this drivel? Well, mainly because I still can’t believe this stuff exists, and secondly because I can’t believe I played it. Moreover, it helps to write about it, because this crazed, terrifying genre makes me sick and I feel better to share.

7/10


When trying to find sources on the internet after writing this I came across this frighteningly sober review site that critiques these sort of games with a straight face. My favourite quote from his review of X-Change 2 is when, after criticizing the rape scenes (though not too harshly, seeing as he was too busy with cleaning semen off the keyboard at the time), he tempers it by calling it a “minor glitch in an otherwise faultless game”. Buddy, take the rape out and all you’ve got is a menu screen, and even that’s alarmingly suggestive.
http://www.animetric.com/bgames/xchange2.html


Additionally, during the same search I discovered that someone has been doing this on Something Awful for years. His is funnier, but I’d already written mine so to hell with that.
http://www.somethingawful.com/d/hentai-game-reviews/index.php

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