This is a script from the following Youtube video, feel free to read it, or watch the video below as you see fit.
Before we begin this video, I need to have a disclaimer. Ladykiller in a Bind is not the normal type of game I review. This game has very harsh language, swearing, and sexual content, and more. I actually couldn’t remove the swearing for this video because it’s in so many lines. If this is not what you’re looking for, check out another of my videos, but realize that this is going to be a more mature video and topic. There is no nudity in the video, but there is in the game, but you are now warned.
With that said, hello Horny gamers, you are horny aren’t you since you stuck around. I’m Kinglink and this is my review of Ladykiller in a Bind.
Ladykiller in a Bind is a visual novel that is a genre entirely based around the story. There’s a lot of variety in this genre. There’s everything from Ace Attorney to Danganronpa, but more often these stories tend to be less interactive and more about the journey. That’s true, but Ladykiller in a Bind is more interactive than this genre usually is.
Before we dive in further, consider subscribing to my channel, I’d appreciate, while this is a more mature game, this isn’t always the topics I’ll be covering, but I do strive to find interesting games, and this is one. I chose this game at random and well, here we are.
I’m becoming a little more familiar with this genre, after having reviewed Eliza and most of the Danganronpa series, I do believe I’ll be covering the third Danganronpa before the end of the year, but visual novels are worth a look, this one… well, let’s get into it.
Graphically Ladykiller in a Bind looks rather good, the characters have quite a few poses, and there’s a very solid style to the graphics. Characters are beautiful and there’s a lot of visual motion between the views, in addition the writing adds a lot of dimension to the game.
The art is really beautiful and while it is a type that is more aimed towards the type of game (erotic) this is, there’s a lot of interesting characters and people, as well as their designs.
At the same time, there are no voice-overs, and that’s one of those things that I feel visual novels could improve upon. Hearing a voice as you play through a very long story makes the game feel even better. Having the ability to put a game on auto-advance and listen is great. Here there’s not an auto-advance mode, but there’s also no voice acting, so you’re limited to just nice mood music but it becomes a bit empty after three to four hours out of six.
We are dancing around this a bit, but… Ladykiller in a Bind is a porn game. The author can call it an erotic romantic comedy blah blah blah. But the fact is, your character is here to hook up with various girls. Also, you play a woman so it is what is known as a yuri game, or better known as a lesbian sexual fantasy game. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, though.
But if you’re a bit of a prude, or just want something tamer to look at, you can actually turn on a censored mode, as I’ll show you on the screen. And what’s even better is that the censored version is all about Christmas. Christmas sweaters for everyone.
I’ll be honest, I laughed the first time I saw this but I played half the game with this turned off, and then I turned it on and I think it makes the game better, at least a bit funnier, as you’re seeing on the screen. Personally, though I think the art for the uncensored version of the game is a bit… it’s not exactly sexy, and I don’t know why, but I find the censored version to be a better choice than slightly titillating pornographic images.
Before we get to the story, let’s talk gameplay, because visual novels are really about the story and so we’ll end there.
The majority of the game is played advancing through the story and making choices. The choice system here is well designed. As a visual novel normally you’re given limited interactivity, but here choices will appear overtime in the game and if you pause and “think” for a couple more dialogue screens, you might get different or better choices, or your choices might be removed. Technically, you think by advancing without choosing a branch.
This sounds like a solid and unique mechanic, but at any time you can roll back the dialogue and choose a different path. Interesting idea, but it encourages min-maxing, trying to find the best possible route to maximize your rewards. The ability to roll back lowers the tension of your choices.
I did not choose that name for either character….
What hurts the system is that every choice enumerates the results of your decision, so you can just choose the best result out of three options, or focus on avoiding suspicion. If these choices were given blind and you receive rewards at the end of the scene with how well you played the scene, it would have been a better system for this game.
Much of the game is about avoiding suspicion, we’ll talk more about this in the story section, but if you get 5 suspicion points while going undercover as your brother during the whole game, you are found out you earn a game over.
A problem with this is at the beginning of the game, you don’t have a solid grasp of how your brother acts or what he does. While that’s kind of the point, but as a twin, you should know how he acts or what he’d do. Sometimes you get suspicion for just not involving yourself in the drama.
The good news is that if you have to watch the same scene twice, you can fast forward through a scene and the majority of the choices made in the scene.
Ladykiller in a Bind allows you to choose from a selection of scenes each day with two different choices from the list made the day, and then at night you can choose from one of two sex scenes. The thing is you’re forced to choose one of these two scenes. If you don’t want to sleep with one of the two girls, too bad.
I’m not against porn games, and not against sexuality, I liked the beginning of Ladykiller in a Bind, but after 6 hours I found Ladykiller in a Bind to be a touch boring. It’s all sexuality, but after a sustained level of this for six hours… it lacks nuance. Which is where the story really should come in.
As I alluded to, the story of Ladykiller in a Bind is focused on a sister of a smart, powerful and pseudo popular high school student who is then forced to pose as him. I’ve heard the original title of Ladykiller in a Bind was “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!!” with two exclamation points mind you. I haven’t seen that name in the game but it does summarize much of the story.
At the beginning of the game, I was pulled in to the story, the writing starts strong, the idea is well-executed, and the main push of the game is to avoid being detected. Great strong start for the idea. The thing is there are a number of characters in the story heavily involved with the brother, and they don’t notice the switch. This includes his ex-girlfriend’s and other characters
Also, a lot of characters will touch the main character either in the breast or crotch area and somehow not notice that there are additional or missing pieces, and when they do find out the brother is a girl… they don’t care. As they assume, the brother was always female. We’ll talk about that.
But before we do let’s get to something else. I haven’t been using character names so far in the review, and if you’ve been watching the gameplay, you’ll notice odd names. Well on screen, this is why. Every character is introduced to the player and then the player can name them. You can see what I named the characters on the screen, but the default names aren’t much better.
I did find it funny to call the main brother and sister, Dorkus Maximus and Dorkus Minora. Alright, but I have a problem with some of these names. The game, with no prodding from me, decides to call one character “The Swimmer” and then gives her an alternate name of “The Slut”. Yeah… We can talk about reappropriating that name, and slut walks and stuff, but that character doesn’t act like that name is appropriate and it feels more like slut-shaming than her reclaiming that name personally.
You do get a couple of real names by the end of the game but there was no reason to hide those names… why?
In fact, without spoilers, I’m going to say the end of the game torpedos the entire game. There’s not even a hint when we’re on the boat and suddenly the entire game shift and … nothing matters. Initially, there’s an idea of getting votes and winning a social game from the beginning, but after you play the game, outside of achievements, there’s not a point to that system, it was just something to occupy the player for a majority of the game.
I also tried to play through the game a second time, but I couldn’t get into it, so much of the drive of the game is about the social game and the sex scenes but once you know the ending half of that’s gone, and the other half… well …
Again this is porn, we can talk about erotica and whatnot, sure, but the majority of this game is here to be sexual and while the writing can be good at times, it’s just too overly sexual for too long. Every encounter the player has with a different person feels like a step on a different sexual story. But each of these stories is done in a vacuum. You can be in the middle of sleeping with a random girl, and another story has the main character practically forced to kiss a second girl in front of the first girl, and nothing is ever brought up. Similarly, the main character can give hickeys to a second character and it’s not even noticed. Each of these stories is on their own so there’s a limit on what you can do.
Now, this is true of a majority of the scenes, it’s all pushing a sexual narrative. Except for one special guy. Who I call Dudebro, he’s the main character’s cousin and this isn’t a sexual relationship, well, mostly not. This is the final encounter between the two and there’s a moment between them… but the other side is every conversation with Dudebro is about objectifying women. Really? This is ALL Ladykiller can do? Objectify women, kiss them, talk sexually about or with them. It’s a bit limited in the range.
There are two different characters you can sleep with, known as The Beauty or The Stalker. Everyone is a sexual conquest and archetype. Anyway every night you can choose between either of these two’s sex scenes and they give you some reward. I say can choose, but it’s HAVE TO. You have to have sex with someone each night. The thing is there’s just too many sex scenes and these night scenes are very long. Some of these scenes are just five to ten minutes of the characters kissing, licking, touching, eating… You get the point… If there were just one or two scenes it would be fine, but after playing a week in this game time, or about five hours, you’ll be tired of it. At least I was.
The initial writing was good but over time… There’s a lot of memes, and it gets bogged down. There are some funny exchanges, I’ll try to show two here. What is a lesbian, and later Limit breaks, but … this just doesn’t fit with the rest of the story the game wants, it’s just someone writing something clever, but as part of the story, it doesn’t work. It’s like Harry Potter suddenly saying “Oh there’s a game Final Fantasy, that has these awesome moves, wait till you see my limit break”. And the movie ignores it but it’s clear the writers are doing it because they think the audience likes this stuff.
There’s also a serious scene at the end of the game, probably the most serious scene in the game ruined by a dad joke and there’s no reason, at that moment in time it’s awkward and not what would come to mind.
The thing, I feel like a lot of this is written by a guy, and I know the author is Christine Love. But rather than looking more into the emotions here, there’s a bit that just feels like fetishizing lesbian relationships. I don’t know but the repetitive sexual encounters feel like there’s a lack of emotional maturity here. This is because the only way many of these characters can relate to the main character is through kissing or more sexual displays. Granted that could be part of the main character’s issues too but it comes off as an issue more with the author than the characters.
A bigger issue I had with Ladykiller in a Bind is that a lot of characters here have different kinks and for instance, we have two choices at night, Beauty and Stalker. Beauty likes to dominate people and will dominate our main character. Stalker, on the other hand, likes to be teased, bullied and dominated. It’s a choice, but there’s no way to know who’s who without spending at least one night with each of them.
Don’t like either of these choices? Too bad. You have to either be dominated or dominate someone else. That’s a major limitation of the system. What if my character wants to just kick back alone for a night, or just one part of the day? That’s not an option, now get in there and have sex with someone.
Also, you can skip the sex scenes, but at that point… without the erotica, there’s not much here so skipping the sex scenes is an odd choice, feel free to make that choice, but… it’s like a hamburger, with cheese, bacon, and a bun. Take the hamburger away, and it’s not a burger, is it?
There also was a removed scene dealing with sexual humiliation as well as a potentially heterosexual experience where the main character is possibly forced to do something. I’ll admit I haven’t played this out myself, while it is available at some places online, I’m not that interested in it.
But it brings up an important point, the game makes a few motions towards consent, at times, with certain people, in certain dialogue trees. And the problem is that so much more of the game has nothing to do about consent. Our main character bullies and teases Stalker making her admit she likes it. But if she didn’t like and replay the whole scene again where she feels pressured into saying she likes it, that’s…a dark scene.
In fact, consent is rarely achieved in this game, and if this game became more about getting consent from people for various sexual acts, that could resolve this grey issue, but instead much of the game wants to handwave away these concerns because “fun sexy time” isn’t about legally binding agreements about sex… yet that’s the problem. We’re ignoring consent except when we choose not to?
There’s a line at the beginning of the game that tries to say “This is fantasy and getting consent in real life is important” but then shouldn’t it be fantasy all the time, just not when you forget about getting consent?”
Another character takes a mouth full of alcohol and forces our main character to drink it. That’s also really questionable. It’s not questionable, it’s problematic. Consent is only important to Ladykiller in a Bind when it wants you to think about it.
Also, since there’s this voting game, much of your actions here are in pursuit of the votes, so there’s a lot more nuance in the world than the game wants to consider. Are you being forced to kiss a specific girl or guy because you want a vote? Or because you want to. The game doesn’t want to talk about that because that’s not sexy and might ruin the illusion but… for a game trying to talk about these topics, it doesn’t talk about it at all.
Yes, this is a fantasy, but in the right light, it’s a fantasy less about fun sexy time, and more about… well rape. And the removed scene in question does seem far harsher than much of the rest of the game, but the majority of this game isn’t just “innocent fun”.
A worse problem is our main character herself. If I dressed up as another person and initiated sexual acts while posing as the other person that would be highly illegal, probably classified as simply sexual assault. That’s the only thing our main character does this entire week. It’s problematic if you want to look at it that way.
As I thought about this game and discussed it with my wife, I started to see why I have this issue, I talked about this game without mentioning the main character was a woman, and my wife made an important comment. It made me realize something. If our main character was male instead of female and did many of the same sexual acts, the story would not have been received well. My wife summed it up far better than I could. Instead of Ladykiller in a Bind, it could have simply been titled Trump Simulator, and she’s not wrong.
Rating Ladykiller in a Bind is hard. I have a lot of problematic thoughts about the story, and I think it’s not intentional but it’s still there. But again, the game is fun sexy time, and not meant to dive into these deeper and more important questions about consent, or rules about sexual conduct. Yet I can’t ignore those issues being brought up by the actions in the game.
Ultimately, I admit I enjoyed my playthrough of the game but hated the second attempt. I think Ladykiller in a Bind isn’t a great game, it has a lot of flaws, but it’s also a unique enough game that the first playthrough is worth it. And if at best the only thing that came from the game is a deeper thought about heady issues that aren’t discussed often, I can say I like that.
I just wish it was more intentional than just how I interpreted the story.
I give Ladykiller in a Bind a
I think this game is one that most people could skip, but if you want to see something different and unique or you like visual novels, Ladykiller in a Bind is interesting. Just take it with a huge grain of salt, and don’t try to emulate anything you see here, at all.
That’s Ladykiller in a Bind and like I said, absolutely random choice but also unique, I’m going to keep trying to find games like this that aren’t what people expect.
So with that said, I’ll be back soon to summarize the Humble Monthly Bundle, and then I have two games I’m playing right now that are pretty good, so I’ll be back soon to talk about those as well.
If you enjoyed this review, consider subscribing, as I said, I won’t be talking about games like this that often, but if someone was to suggest another one… maybe I’d check it out. I do want to check out the KFC dating sim, Danganronpa V3, and I’ve heard enough about Clannad that has got me somewhat interested in it.
I’ll be popping up my reviews of the original Danganronpa and Eliza, both really good visual novels for those who want to see something similar to this.
Until next time, I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.
Stats: 6.1 hours played, 6/20 achievements earned.