Zoe's Temptations Review

Title: Zoe's Temptations
Release date: 2017-08-15
Developer & publisher: Daniels K

Daniels K is one of the better known and definitely one of the most prolific adult game developers on Patreon. Where other creators struggle for years to finish a single game, he has already finished four and is halfway through his fifth foray into the interactive adult entertainment. "Zoe's Temptations" is Daniels K's third game and falls within the adventure genre.

You play as Zoe Bell - a 19 year old daughter of a single mother Eveline. Her world is turned upside down, when at the beginning of the game her mother has found herself a new boyfriend Keith, who himself comes in a single package with another complication - his daughter Sophie. Zoe suddenly finds herself with a father figure she hates and a sister she doesn't want. It's already enough to make any young lady froth with anger, add to that miniature visitors from Beyond and you get yourself the beginning of a intriguing storyline.
Zoe really doesn't like Keith.
I probably should explain the said "visitors" better. You see, Zoe has started seeing two minuscule versions of herself, who claim to have come from other worlds in order to convince Zoe join their realms. And yeah, in a cliche turn of events, one of those "pixies" is good and the other one is evil... like literal angel and devil on Zoe's shoulders.

The evil pixie is Mara and she comes from the Land of Lust, while her good counterpart Trixy comes from the Faye Land. Throughout the game they whisper suggestions into Zoe's ears of how to react to this or that situation, in order to push her to become more like one of them and eventually cross into one of the two realms. Apparently the Lands are at war with each other and they want to seduce Zoe to their side in order to sway the balance. It's as if they consider her to be some sort of a Chosen One... Boy, I'm getting the flashbacks from "The Matrix".
Damn hippies...
If the plot sounds quite outlandish, it's because it is. There is very little logical reason for Zoe not to tell the two pixies to go fuck themselves, and ignore all their attempts to tempt her. One of the endings proves it is quite possible to do, so I'm surprised that Zoe didn't do so from the start, but, oh well, this is a porn game, which means most of the choices our protagonist gets are of dual nature, with her selection pushing her more towards the light or the darkness for the sake of lewdz.

Anyway, the game starts with our protagonist and her mother waiting by the therapist's office, because Zoe let it slip that she is seeing things. Now, the game is quite slice-of lif...ish in its presentation. Zoe has eleven days to prove herself to either side, but the whole "proving" takes the guise of quite mundane day to day activities. Zoe might go to a party with her new sister, go on a short vacation to the nearby mountain or babysit a drugged stripper. Ok, that last one is kinda out there but still meets the criteria of slice-of-life. :-) I loved Zoe as a protagonist and her interactions with Sophie are very well written and later explore some unseen character depths. Mara and Trixy also get a chance to have their own turn in the spotlight later on. And while the other character are fleshed out somewhat worse, it's important to understand that ZT is all about Zoe and her journey from a teen girl to a creature of lust.
You should listen to her, Zoe.
The game is structured with one day in the normal world followed with a visit to the realm, Zoe most leans towards, at the end of the day. While, like I mentioned, the normal world revolves around day to day activities, a visit to one of the Lands will result in Zoe talking to a wide variety of interesting creatures and solving their problems RPG style. I appreciated the quest structure of the two realms, even though most of those quests fall for the old and tried, but currently very cliche approach to solving everyone's troubles, portraying various NPCs as lazy imbeciles, who cannot even wipe their own asses without a messiah figure coming and doing it for them.

That's more of an observation, than a criticism, as every RPG game does exactly the same. The main difference is - none of the quests you do in ZT are really important in the grand plot of the game. You solve petty rivalries and perform fetch-quests. Admittedly, some of the quests in question are hilariously written. Take as an example you helping a guy, whose love interest proudly disclaimed that she will fuck him only once he is the last remaining creature in the village she hasn't fucked yet. Your job? Make sure she gets laid with everyone in the village, so the poor guy is indeed the last one. :-D On the negative side, at least one quest ends up on an annoying cliffhanger without a solution in sight (yeah, I'm talking about Sheila's "package"). Eventually, it's quite ironic but not surprising that the two quests I probably liked the most are the easily missable ones that cross between the normal world and the two realms and continue for a few days. Rather than being simple fetch quests, they help fleshing out a few side characters and even provide an additional ending for you to experience.
Great naming convention...
The game initially introduced a mechanic, which required you not only to select "good" or "evil" choices, but also to juggle points in order to impress one or the other character, in order to unlock better scenes. I was very impressed with this and hoped the feature will be present throughout the whole game, which would have made it less linear and would have required some actual thinking. Alas, this feature is only present during the early few days and later completely vanishes. Maybe the author found it too hard to implement consistently and decided to cut his own loses, but I was kinda saddened that it was only a gimmick without much impact.

The choices Zoe faces seemingly undergo a metamorphosis halfway through the game. At first they seem to make you choose between stupid good and stupid evil, which is why I didn't really like the game when I played an early build a long time ago. For example, Trixy pushes Zoe to reveal the truth to her shrink, even though a retarded monkey would understand it's a monumentally bad idea, while Mara's suggestions initially are evil for the sake of evil, even if it would result in Zoe handicapping herself. For example, she encourages Zoe to be mean to Keith, even though not getting into his good graces would prevent her from going to the party. At least Mara's behaviour is partially retconned later to portray her as a tsundere who was simply a contrarian to Trixy, though there is no explanation why Trixy was so stupid in the beginning. Eventually the choices evolve, with those for the Land of Lust focusing on sexual corruption, while those for the Faye Land focusing on seduction, as they should have been from the start.
If you are gonna have sex, you should at least get monetary compensation for your trouble.
I also noticed severe pacing issues if you focus a playthrough singularly on Lust or Faye. Basically, an early visit to your chosen Land throws a shitload of quests at you, but you can finish all of them in a single visit, and then a few subsequent visits will be very barren with nothing to do, until you will receive a second load of quests... which you will once again finish in a single go. It seems the developer most likely intended for a chess pattern (Lust, Faye, Lust, Faye...) to be the preferred way to play the game, which would take care of the pacing problems while visiting the Lands, but it makes little sense from the storyline perspective. After all, I believe focusing on a single land would be more consistent storywise.

Theoretically the game is supposed to reflect how much you lean towards one of the sides, with some scenes taking control of your character with color coded red or green dialogue, to reflect Zoe's current stance. In reality, it's merely another gimmick with such scenes countable on one hand. Despite how many good or evil choices you make, Zoe's personality remain the same with a small exception of a handful of sentences. It seems like a missed opportunity to provide some replayability value by the developer, but the game is quite long, so I suppose I cannot really be that disappointed.
Bad Zoe is hot!
On the other hand, I CAN be disappointed that Daniels K's writing gets really wonky in a few places... and I mean really wonky, as if a different person temporarily took the wheel of the development and allowed his pet gerbil to write the script in the meantime. I'm, of course, talking about Days 4 and 10 of the story. Day 4 is the weirdest one and literally makes zero sense in the context. After playing through the game twice I'm still not sure if the events therein were a dream or if everything really happened. If the events were real, then who was the leader of the conspiracy to separate Sophie and Zoe and for what purpose, and why is this plotline forgotten the moment the day ends. I suppose this could have been arranged by Darius, but that totally doesn't look like his style. If the event's were in fact a dream, it makes sense why characters appear and disappear throughout the day without any explanation, as is common in dreams. Moreover, the evidence, like the dashcam video also support the dream theory, and the only thing that could potentially topple the dream theory is a few scenes seen from Mara's perspective, but then the issue is even more muddled with a convenient memory loss. In the end, I simply threw up my hands in the air and decided to go with the "pet gerbil" explanation in order to spare myself a migraine.
Zoe is being as subtle as a hammer to the testicles.
The explanation for the clusterfuck that is Day 10 is probably much sadder. It's quite obvious the dev was in a hurry to finish the game, so he tried to wrap up as many storylines in a single go as possible. The result is not pretty: the events that could have been the basis for a whole day are condensed into a few sentences, characters important to the plot are put on a bus with barely an explanation and bizarre motivations are introduced for our protagonist. Not to mention, the rush-job leaves even more plot-threads hanging and they do not stand to even the most cursory scrutiny. If Keith is permanently out of the picture, why the hell is Sophie, who is his biological daughter, still living with Zoe? Hey, dev, you DO remember that they are not really sisters and Keith was only Zoe's mom's boyfriend? How come no one is commenting about the weird situation? I feel like a broken record, but that makes no fucking sense!

There are more strange screenwriting decisions in the game that bothered me, even if they do not hit me as hard as the already mentioned issues. Sophie's character is build up to be that of a goody-two-shoes with a secret wild heart and a heart of gold. She is supposed to be a dependable sister figure and a lover to Zoe, but half-way through the game she starts acting really childishly and throwing temper tantrums without trying to talk all the misunderstandings out. She is then put half-way on the bus after falling prey to Darius, despite the fact that the situation could have been exploited to introduce some very interesting things to the plot... and then the situation is suddenly resolved without much fanfare, leaving a baffled readership.
You praise yourself too much.
Darius himself is also a bit of a let-down. He is the closest thing the game has to an antagonist (see, that I'm specifically not using the word "villain") and he is initially introduced in a pretty cool and menacing way. That, however, doesn't last and he gets pussy-whipped in an anticlimactic way, before basically vanishing from the story, which is sad, as I found him to be one of the more interesting characters, especially because his "good" counterpart Sun has as much personality as a doorknob.

Anyway, it took me personally 11 hours for one playthrough, leaning purely toward Lust's side and I eventually did a second playthrough for Faye, which took me 9 hours. So, all in all, "Zoe's Temptations" is on the longish side, considering it's an indie adult game. It is made in RPG Maker MV, which is not the most wieldy engine and a resource-hog to boot. When I played an early build, the game used to crash for me at least every 15 minutes or so; the final version only crashed once in the 20 hours I spent playing it, but that might be attributed to an upgraded video card. RPG Maker is not the best platform for a very text heavy adventure game that frequently borders on a visual novel. It lacks some features that would make everyone's life easier, like the "skip read" function. The text can actually be skipped in ZT with a Space button, but, of course, it skips everything, though the fact it also speeds up animations is a welcome surprise.
Human Centipede.
Oh, yes, the majority if not all the sex scenes in "Zoe's Temptations" are animated, which I have nothing against, and I can even appreciate them to a certain degree, but I still railed against the fact you cannot skip animations altogether. What's more, after viewing majority of them, you get an option to repeat the animations an X number of times, which makes me wonder what kind of masochist would be tempted to use such a completely useless feature....

The sex scenes in "Zoe's Temptations" are frequent (even though the game is not a nukige) and sexy. There is a huge amount of very diverse content for the tastes of almost everyone. Starting with vanilla sex, to lesbian encounters, to futanari, to sex with monsters, to incest... lactation, gangbangs, voyeurism, domination, prostitution, orgies, sex while flying (yeah, that's a thing)... In other words, get some lube and think of England!
Whoever heard of milking a cat?
The graphics themselves are you usual 3D renders so popular with the Patreon crowd nowadays, though Daniels K's effort is of a much higher quality than most of the stuff I see daily. Actually, the renders are legitimately great and one area of the game I have no complaints about, with unique characters, well-positioned scenes, fitting backgrounds, and they are sharp and clear, without any grain or blur that seems to haunt many Patreon creators. The quantity is also quite staggering, as the game contains about three and half thousand unique renders, which inflates the game size quite a bit, as it weighs almost 5 GB.

Another thing that Daniels K is really good at is the sense of perspective. Other creators seems to go for minimal effort with their characters always wearing the same clothes, having the same facial expression and standing in the same pose. In ZT characters are always in a flux - they change their clothes daily, their positioning seems to always benefit a scene, and their facial expressions are lifelike and do not make them look like waxy dolls.
You tell them, buddy!
The game also doesn't seem to have any deadly bugs, but I have noticed a few minor annoying ones that seem to be consistent between the playthroughs, thus I'm curious how have they not been noticed and squashed. Mainly I'm talking about the weather effects in the Lands that seems to get stuck while crossing back to the normal world, resulting in anomalies, like rain indoors. The first time is happens is immediately after the fourth visit to one of the realms and it happens at least one more time, but I don't remember the specific day. Additionally, some more proofreading really couldn't have hurt the game, as there are grammar and syntax mistakes liberally scattered throughout the text.

Ultimately, "Zoe's Temptations" have 7 possible endings, which does feel like quite a lot, but actually only two of them are proper ones, with others being only short mini-ends or bad ends. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the two main endings, as I felt they were rushed and lacked closure. Moreover, if you initially assume that you have to follow a specific path to earn an ending associated with it, it couldn't be further from the truth. Apparently, you literally can select the ending you want at the very end and, for example, get a Faye ending, even if you have selected every single Lust-associated choice throughout your playthrough. It almost invalidates ZT as a game and removes quite a lot of sense in accomplishment, because no matter what you do the outcome is always the same.
They are off to see the wizard.
To sum up, the game has a lot of problems, like inconsistent writing that frequently makes no sense, gameplay mechanics that are more cosmetic than functional and the ending structure that leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, it has likable characters, looks really good visually, has very hot sex scenes, and I liked it way more than I should have, taking all the faults into the account. I can only hope Daniels K has improved in his writing, for he is currently making a visual novel, and such games stand solely on the strength of their writing.

Links of Interest

Daniels K's Patreon site
Zoe's Temptations Walkthrough

Final Verdict: 70%


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