Game Review | Ladykiller in a Bind
Game summary: An erotic visual novel about social manipulation, cross-dressing, and girls tying up other girls. (Official site - age verification needed)
As that image at the top might indicate, this isn't a game like most others. Firstly, it's a visual novel so there is little in the way of 'typical' gameplay and then there's the subject matter: sex. And not just any sex either, so you might want to read up on the game before diving in - and there's a lot of 'diving in' going on here.
But what else would you expect from a game whose full title is actually My Twin Brother Made Me Crossdress As Him And Now I Have To Deal With A Geeky Stalker And A Domme Beauty Who Want Me In A Bind!! To be fair to the game, it's not inaccurate but neither is it something easy to remember.
The content of the game, considering its extremely explicit nature, should prove very memorable to those who play it though, although the constraints of the genre need to be remembered before you get too excited: the artwork looks great and the characters all have pretty cool designs, but there is no animation here - still images are all you get, no matter how great they look.
There's also no audio in terms of dialogue either. I get that this is a small game that doesn't have the budget for voice actors, but it does mean that you are left with the music as the only audio in the game. It's not a bad thing in small doses, but you probably will only want small doses thanks to the limited number of tracks available.
Fortunately, Ladykiller in a Bind divides the game up into days, so there are natural points where you can take a break to come back to the game later if the music starts to become a little repetitive. I just used it to take a break from the game and the constant sex talk - much like the musics, it's enjoyable enough in small doses, but can also prove repetitive.
That last paragraph might sound like a couple of serious flaws, but I honestly don't think that the game is intended to be played at length - after all, the characters are getting a night's sleep (and a little more) before picking things back up, so it makes sense the player gets to do the same. But if you're enjoying it, by all means keep going - it's only a few hours long.
The biggest drawback to the game isn't the repetition or the lack of animation and voice acting - although that might well put a lot of people off - but with how the story ends. At least, how the core plot with your character's twin brother unfolds: I'm not going to spoil it, but it is entirely unrelated to the rest of the game and is easily the worst-written part of it.
Maybe there are hints about where things are headed down certain paths I chose not to take, but I would still argue that it's poor writing to not make it clear to the player no matter their choices. The ending doesn't ruin the game, but I'll certainly skip right past it the next time I play through the game to get to the 'character ending'.
As said above, the characters are all fairly enjoyable and the sexual interactions between your lesbian cross-dresser and those you can become involved with are all highly enjoyable and very well-written. It's that old idea of letting your imagination fill in the gaps better than any fully-animated sequences could ever hope to - although some of the images will certainly give you a helping hand.
I do know that there was a certain sequence of the game that caused controversy upon release that was re-written well before I began playing Ladykiller in a Bind, but it's also pretty obvious where it was and what it involved. Much like the ending, it seems very out of place and I can very easily understand why people were upset if what I think happened in that choice of scenes actually did happen.
For most, the nature of visual novels will probably be enough to put them off - especially as it involves a lot of reading about an area of the human experience that embarrassingly few games ever even approach. Despite the ending, I still thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the game and wished it had lasted longer; leading someone on and leaving them wanting more seems appropriate for this game.
Ladykiller in a Bind is enjoyable enough, with some well-realised characters that each have their own specific quirks and personalities even if the focus of your interactions with just about all of them is sexual in nature. The limits of visual novels does narrow the potential audience somewhat, and the terrible ending doesn't help either - but still worth more than one play-through.