There’s a nasty stereotype that male gamers are unable to talk to women, with the outdated image of the unwashed and underdeveloped nerd shuffling his feet while trying to form a “hello” in the general direction of the opposite sex. Like everything in life someone found a way to make money off this, and pickup artists have been training men with tips and tricks to get the ladies for decades (in exchange for money, of course). In an unfortunate first for the pickup artist industry, Richard La Ruina has decided to take his teachings and make them interactive in the form of Super Seducer. Will this make you a dynamo of sexual energy, or is it every bit as creepy as it seems.
Spoiler, this game is definitely creepy. Sometimes intentional, most of the time not. The “game” such as it is plays out as a series of interactions mirroring “real world” scenarios where men and women could meet and talk. These range from annoying women on the street, to annoying them in a club, to the occasional planned dates where you can annoy them over dinner. There’s short scenes of poorly acted dialogue before the game lets you choose where the conversation goes.
That really is it. Have you ever played a Metal Gear Solid game but wished that every second of it was just dialogue and your gameplay was reduced to occasionally selecting dialogue? Even Telltale titles have more interaction than what’s going on here, with writing that is degrees better as well. Some have derided so-called “walking simulators” as the worst genre in gaming but many of them provide more interaction than this. Super Seducer can most closely be related to Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, and that is far from a good thing.
There was clearly an attempt at comedy to a certain degree here, as some of the options are clearly added for comedic effect. Occasionally this works and when the game leans into its own creepy factor it is actually somewhat entertaining. Then, inevitably, this is completely ruined, either by the joke going on way too long, or just becoming awkward, or more likely, the game just continues and you’re still playing it. Levels range from way too long to even longer then that, but at least there’s 11 hours of footage, so if you assign a dollar/hour equation to games it comes out pretty decent.
Every time you make a choice, be it the right or wrong choice, you’ll be continuously punished for your actions. The first layer of hell is watching the outcome of your choice, with acting so bad it genuinely made me feel sorry for the people that worked on this game. It’s fairly obvious that there wasn’t that much of a script, and if you need to visualize one just take a piece of paper, write [girl thinks Richard is the most greatest, handsomest man alive!] on it and you’re probably in the ball park. Most, if not all the dialogue is ad-libbed by people that shouldn’t be ad-libbing anything, ever, and it shows.
Then you’ll have to deal with Richard himself, who appears in a hotel room to give you the rundown on what you just did. If you picked a good option Richard will appear with scantily clad and distressingly disinterested models to congratulate you and offer tips on how to make your own moves for annoying women. If you choose a lukewarm response he’ll tell you so without offering any advice on improving, so that’s pretty useless. Choosing the wrong answer will range from him telling you that you fell for an obvious joke to the game berating you for just being awful in general. All of these responses are again, largely ad-libbed, and he stumbles over his own tongue so often it makes you wish there were cue cards or something to help him along.
Should you manage to complete a stage you’re rewarded with a score that tallies your responses, how many times you failed, and where you could improve. You’ll also unlock the next stage to play, and if your score was good enough you’ll unlock one of the staggering amount of extras, such as bloopers and alternate takes. Most importantly you’ll unlock the ability to return to the main menu where you can shut off the game forever and request a refund.
Graphically the game is technically great, though it’s a pain to pay it any compliments. Since the entire game appears to just be a slightly modified Unity Video playback app that you can actually, literally just watch all the videos from the game’s data folder without playing or unlocking anything, it runs fantastically. The menus all work and buttons are responsive so good work all around.
Sound is fairly okay through the whole thing. The mics work, which is to be expected since there wasn’t much done to hide them in the scenes. Richard’s appearance in the hotel room doesn’t sound quite as good, which indicates it was likely recorded off a camera mic, but there’s not a whole lot else in the scenes so it’s not horrid. Music is maybe the best part of the game provided by Future Beats Records, and it sounds pretty great if you’re into low end heavy bass music.
The only real positive thing to say about Super Seducer is it’s not malicious. It does really seem like the game that was made to try and help men talk to women. But its bad at that, and the advice really isn’t very good outside of “don’t be an asshole”, and even then it sort of skirts a line. There just isn’t a great game to be made from this concept and, despite trying to look like a high budget title, Super Seducer really isn’t that much better than most flash games or visual novels. While the intent may have been good, sadly the game it created just isn’t at all.