…Look if Destructoid reviewed Boob Wars, I can review Yin-Yang: X-Change Alternative! I could use this introduction bit to explain my fascination with male to female transformation themes, but really it is a big fat bag of worms that I can put aside and look at something I paid money to play and look at critically. That, and I am pretty much asexual, so whatever jollies the game may have attempted did not cause their intended effect.
Yin-Yang: X-Change Alternative Review
Publisher: Peach Princess
Critically does not, however, mean I pick apart the complexities of the human body while claiming that a spontaneous sex transformation is impossible by ingesting a single potion. I will, however, criticize the main character of Kaoru. The boy turned girl’s background is that he is attempting to be the world’s manliest man, but just so happened to be born with a poorly explained condition where his body is a mix of male and female.
It acts as a means of justifying the transformation, but adds aspects that the translator or original writer did not seem to really understand. The fact the main character is presented as somebody who is fixated on a single gender, rather than a character who would go on a journey wherein they decide if they wish to continue living their life as a man or woman very much left me confused as to what the title was attempting to do with it’s main character. A character who is rather dim, muscle headed, simple minded, and and is not very likable as a result, let alone anybody who can truly comprehend and understand their current situation. Instead, the story as a whole, seems to be more fixated on treated Kaoru as little more than a resistant young woman being thrust into a world of sexual dangers.
So, the sex scenes… I honestly expected I would be greeted with scenarios that were either bizarre and humorous as a result, consensual sex that makes sense given the narrative, or at the very least some written erotica that has I could admire from a writer’s standpoint. This never really happened, as so many of the sex scenes are filled with rape, discomforting moaning, and are very basic in their writing and descriptions of sexual acts when the game comes across as one that is centered on going from intercourse to intercourse, not paying them much mind, and the main character not showing much concern about how they, the manliest man, just gave their rival a blowjob and sorta liked it.
It strikes me as very lazy, as the writers did not jump at the challenge to manage to make things still be erotic while having the main character react to each event like a human being. The only real joy I could find was from the absurdity of the situations, but when you throw spontaneous S&M in a school for no real reason, it is clear that the story was written for the penis, and not the brain. With 52 supposed instances, I figure this should not be a surprise, but it very much feels as if the story is being molded around these scenes, which does nothing but damper what the game could have been, in my optimistic opinion.
There are plenty of plot oddities that spur up in the pursuit of displaying genetailia. For example, why is female Kaoru very weak in comparison to her male self when they should only receive a 50% muscle reduction if all that happens in a gender change? So they are more dainty and can be raped more erotically. Why is there a ghost who pops in during the Shrine Maiden route? So it can be exorcised, or sex-rocised if I may. Why do two lifelong friends have little problem having sex after one of them changed gender? The game needed some shower sex wherein somebody else comes home. Why did the writer decide that the Student Council is all about orgies and sex pets? Well, I trust you can determine that one, same with why they have sex drugs.
If one can go and ignore what I still find to be a massive part of the game, there are quite a few enjoyable segments of the game that do not involve an incredible amount of icky bits. Many of them working off of the tropey cast, which managed to come off as endearing at certain points, while the dialog, which I am assuming to be pretty directly translated, did make me snicker quite a few times. In fact, I don’t have about anything bad to say about the delivery aside from, well, how they portray an act I admittedly know little about. Oh, and they use improper terms like hermaphrodite and she-male, which is odd when you consider the game’s subject matter, and how there’s a futanari path for crying out loud.
That said, quite a bit of the visual novel feels alarmingly limited and at some times even lazy with its visuals. I know that is a harsh thing to say given how I have no clue how the development of the title went, but that doesn’t change the fact that the game looks remarkably sloppy. It generally looks as if the game was done by two artist who managed to agree on a style, one of which was very comfortable with it and managed to create a series of quality character expressions and CG scenes. While the other artist was not quite as good with some of the more subtle details, form faces to hands to proportions, and the game looks lopsided as a result. Top that with how the art style really never grabbed me as much as I had hoped after doing minor research into the game, and how the text always had a magenta glow to it, and unimpressed would be a nice way of describing my thoughts on the matter.
X-Change Alternative is a game I very much wanted to not fall into my mind as being something that was smut first and foremost. But unfortunately the lack of exceeding care that I found to be present in the title, shined through by absorbing a spark that I think is very much there, but far from properly executed. I found it did not do its premise justice, despite how one should assume it to, being the fourth game in the franchise. As for when it tries to be erotic, I’m genuinely confused why anybody would get their fix from this. But it is so preoccupied with pleasing them that my thoughts on the game can best be summarized by a loud, irritated sigh.
The title is on the pitiable side of things, as it is where the starting intentions, whatever they may have been, have apparently gone very wrong over the course of development. Resulting in a game that is of little note aside from being an example of what not to do.