Conception: Please Have My Baby was a PSP RPG we mostly posted about (kind of a lot) because of its title and baby-making conceit. It was a laugh that we nurtured. I think, anyway. We're at that point where a running joke becomes a confusing reality as its Vita and 3DS sequel, Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars, is actually coming to North America later this year.
In a further realization of this fevered dream meets running punchline, I played Conception II. I held it in my hands. I watched writhing pastel silhouettes (it's not nudity if there's no nipple, says Japan) emulate sex and hatch slave labor. It all happened so fast.
Is this what parenthood feels like?
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars (3DS [previewed], Vita)
You are "God's gift." No, don't worry about that giving you a big head. You're going to need it for all the f**king you'll be doing. As God's gift, you can successfully make "star children" with all of your holy coitus, and so there are some girls in your age range you must continually f**k to make more and more star babies.
Only teens are trained to fight -- and, your babies, I guess -- because you lose star power when you come of age, or something. It's almost creepier when you try and explain away the anime trope of "everything important being about teens." Also, the world is run by a giant corporation and the church. It is a conspiratorial place, with monster-spawning dungeons.
You can also apparently also make star babies with men, angering the church. When art imitates life.
The actual mechanics at play are typical for a dungeon crawler. You have a hub world -- a portion of it is where your sexing is done -- and dungeons to grind through for experience and special items that confer better stats to your progeny.
Battles take place in a separate screen from the 3D dungeon, though enemies are represented on-screen. Running your character into them initiates battle. It seems like that's all the main character is good for, eh?
Once in a battle, your team will surround the enemies, either in front, behind, or on either side. You can have all those sides filled up with teams of three, most of which will be your personal child labor force. You also choose which of your special lady friends to bring into battle as well, and each has varying stats and elemental affinities.
The brief dip into combat I took felt typical. One difference is that when you are fighting multiple enemies, they each have up to four spaces to position your team around, so they don't just bunch up. This means you can spread your forces thin or try and gang up on enemies one at a time.
The Academy is where the magic happens. Magic being all the f**king, which I guess is why the Academy is so phallic. I mean, it's that or a spaceship, and the latter doesn't necessarily preclude it being phallic.
The game is grind heavy and talking to girls is instrumental to the grind because most of your team is fighting babies. Babies have a stat and level cap dependent on the mothers' level, so you'll want to keep birthing your brains out to get more babies of more classes with better and better stats.
You don't entirely throw the babies out with the bathwater, though. Once a baby has outlived its usefulness, you "give them their independence," which means you send them off into the game world to do their civic duty and contribute to local betterment, upgrading shops and the like. They never truly escape your reign.
The wooing takes place in voiced, 3D, visual novel-type setting. There are conversation choices and you'll have to make the right ones to make sure your mates don't get pissed at you for being an idiot and want to stop having your babies. I guess it's not all wooing, or at least not overt sexual proposition. Just relationship management and character building. One girl I talked to wrote a bunch of science text books.
Once you're ready to have babies, you'll be treated to a scene less sexual than the rest of the game's jiggle physics fare, at which point your children pop out of matryoshka dolls fully clothed and ready to fight demons.
Also, sex is called "Classmating."
Conception II seems a lot more innocuous than its M rating and concept might imply. However, I can't stand "fan service" in anime and a game full of jiggle physics and stupid teenagers is probably not for me.
I like grind less and less with each passing year, and this looks grind heavy. A setting or characters can sell me on an RPG, however. Unfortunately, its aesthetic, sophomoric framework, and over use of anime tropes will likely undermine anything serious it attempts.
If you want teenaged waifus, baby labor, and stat-heavy dungeon crawling for your 3DS or Vita, though, this is for you.