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Review of Maggot baits
Maggot baits - Download Edition
Vote: 3.5Iyxon on 2023-11-29
|Maggot baits was an extremely disappointing read. As my first CLOCKUP title, I was heading into it with rivaling appraisals of their body of work: that they’re slogs of H-scene after H-scene for only the most hardcore fetishists, or that, for those with an iron stomach, they will be rewarded with the prize of interesting characters, themes, narrative, and erotic content.
I’ve read other works derided as “ruined by the H-scenes” or for only guro/torture fetishists before, both within the genre of visual novels and literature more widely. Guro isn’t a particular fetish of mine, but I am able to appreciate a guro story, and do I enjoy seeing creative guro scenes and scenarios. Up until now, I’ve read four visual novels that can be categorized as such: Gore Screaming Show, Dead End Aegis, Room No. 9, and Sadistic Blood. These games run the gambit–a story and relationship focused game with guro, to a decidedly more erotic focused experience with a plot that serves to make the erotic content varied and exciting, to two nukige with enough plot and creative H-scenes to satisfy an itch for the depraved and grotesque. Maggot baits doesn’t slot into any of these descriptions, instead, I believe it fails both as a narrative work and as an erotic work.
I’ll get the positives out the way: gorgeous art and character designs, superb voice acting, and creative guro H-scenes… up to a certain point. This is where my positives end.
First, the H-scenes: I started off enjoying them! The ideas for the scenes did continue to be varied and conceptually satisfying, somewhat (Welcome to the Monkey House is just 10 ten futanari scenes in a row, with one scene of bestiality thrown in the middle), but ultimately, the vast majority of H-scenes ended up functionally following the same formula over, and over, and over, and over. Girl is compromised, nonono don’t touch me, aphrodisiac is applied, waitohmygoditfeelsgood, cum #1, ohmygoditsgoingagain, cum #2. Rinse and repeat like, 50 times. There are a handful of scenes where the girl starts off willingly, or there is no aphrodisiac and it’s pain only, and a very small number of consensual scenes, etc. But ultimately, the game doesn’t effectively use the plot to construct a varied set of dynamics within the H-scenes. Something like Dead End Aegis has differing power dynamics, loving vs. non-loving, consensual vs. non consensual, different gender couplings, the plot and character development and setting shifts being incorporated into the H-scenes, etc. Maggot baits really only has standout one example of this when Carol’s heart is sealed off and she doesn’t react to Shimon’s torture in the Red Harvest route which proved to actually be interesting to read due to that fact.
Also, the dialogue and narrative voice writing for the H-scenes is laughably bad. Prepare to hear the same turns of phrase and goofy sex lines from the narrator and girls over and over. Take a shot every time a girl is described as being turned into a lowly sow. Frankly, this game could’ve forgone any writing and just been an extreme guro and torture artbook with a little explanation of the overall setting it would’ve been a much more enjoyable experience.
On that note, let’s turn towards the writing. There really isn’t much here, since the vast majority of the runtime is a slog of the same painfully repetitive and goofy H-scenes. All characters besides the lead hero and heroine are just walking archetypes that get no satisfying pay off narratively, and frankly, the protagonists barely fare better. They’re all dolls, with their singular character trait or defining conflict acting out exactly as you’d imagine them to. The game bills itself as an exploration of religion, morality, and different types of love, but doesn’t do any of these concepts justice beyond paying them lip service and borrowing valor from other art or having the characters spout their own standpoints to these quandaries. For how much this game talks about Christianity and Jesus Christ, and while it does introduce an interesting twist of interpretation of how Christ is a God of limitless despair, it doesn’t really satisfyingly engage with Christian ethics and mythos beyond its chuuni interpretations of the surface level details. I think the lead writer ought to read Hebrews. And at the risk of sounding boilerplate, perhaps some Hegel and Nietzsche. You can see the resolution to each quandary from the outset with any modicum of media literacy and genre savviness. Now, I don’t necessarily need a surprise, and I’m not looking for the quality of a classic novel, or even the most highly praised visual novels, but at least have the characters be worth their screen time. The game is so surface level, short on time outside of the n-th tentacle rape scene in a row, and uninterested in its own characters beyond the lines they have to espouse their ideological convictions.
I also found a vast majority of the fight scenes to be excruciatingly boring and overly wordy, with little technical expertise in conveying the sense of pace, tension, or physicality. I think the one scene with Shougo and the Brazillian fighter managed to keep my attention. Otherwise...
I think the main point of contention is as follows: if you are “media literate”, the game throws enough intriguing lines and concepts at you that you can decide to chew on and interpret them. However, you might as well just read a poorly written essay by a high schooler discussing these topics (demonstrating that they did in-fact read the requisite Googled articles online to introduce the outlines of these discussions for their teacher to be satisfied with their grunt work). If I had to summarize, this game lacks anything that a reader with discerning taste can’t find actually suffused with proper intrigue and craftsmanship elsewhere.