Oppaidius: Summer Trouble! Review

Title: Oppaidius: Summer Trouble!
Release date: 2018-11
Developer & publisher: SbargiSoft

A while ago an Italian dude named Vittorio (most likely no relation to a certain vampire... most likely) ran a Kickstarter campaign for a short visual novel that banked on the nostalgia for the old school 90's graphics and sound in order to succeed. Surprisingly it worked, which is just showcasing why pixel graphics games are so popular nowadays. Moreover, he used as bait his pledge to hire actual Japanese composers from the appropriate time period to work on some tracks.

The campaign not only succeeded, but he did actually hire the composers that worked on such video games, like Metal Gear Solid and the Yakuza series, to come in for a guest performance. The most interesting thing, though, was that this visual novel wasn't even a hardcore eroge, but a softcore erotic comedy without explicit scenes. Very recently a sequel game has been released... for free, and I am left unable to decide how to interpret such a turn of events. Does that mean that the game was a success, or not...?
[EDIT: The third game in the series has recently finished its Kickstarter campaign, so it's fair to say that the game was somewhat successful]
Someone's passionate about retro.
Well, if you want to make your own mind up about the first installment of this, now two part, series, note that it's a very short affair. My first playthrough took less than an hour, and using a walkthrough I collected all the remaining endings in, like, fifteen minutes. It's not even the game itself, but rather a poker minigame that will most likely take up most of your playtime... that is if you go on a gallery hunting. But about that later.

Anyway, you play a reserved guy, who hasn't been having any great luck with girls, thus he is holed in his room during the summer holidays and playing erotic video games. So, in other word, he is just like any one of us - very relatable :-) You can theoretically name your playable character whatever you want, but the default name given to him is Alesanco. And thus one day, a new neighbour moves next door to our chap Alesanco. Her name is Serafina and her one defining feature is ... well, she has enormous tits (just look at the cover). As if the game title alone hasn't already clued you in what the game focuses on.... :-P Alesanco, being the tit affectionado that he is, isn't even sure that the girl actually exists and isn't the result of his heated imagination. It doesn't help that Serafina seemingly vanishes when Alesanco's good friend Jimmy is visiting him.
Go for it! Stick it in!
So starts the slightly pervy summer vacation of our dear comrade Alesanco. I'm using the phrase "slightly pervy", because, as I have already mentioned, the game is a softcore affair, and you won't see anything more naughty than a pair of breasts... big breasts... frequently.... Serafina often appears in revealing outfits (and even nude, if you play your cards right), which seems to be specifically tailored to raise the blood pressure of our protagonist, and the players too.

I would be shamelessly lying if I said that any character in this game has any depth, but you do have to take the short run of the game into account, and there are still surprises. As my time of checking various erotic games funded on Patreon has proven, it's that OELVN creators absolutely shamelessly love asshole protagonists. I don't know what kind of disease it is, but its core symptom is a desire to write the most annoying unlikable twit as a POV character. Maybe it says something about the creators themselves... Getting back on topic, Alesanco is actually the complete opposite of the annoying archetype. He is surprisingly very likable and relatable. Sure, he is a perv, who constantly thinks about funbags, but his inner musings are pretty hilarious and he actually treats Serafina like a friend and not just another hole to stick it in.
Everyone's an armchair psychologist...
On the other hand, Jimmy feels completely irrelevant. He appears a few times just to talk Alesanco into being more sociable and once he he drags him to a club, where a few girls, who are even more irrelevant, make a brief appearance and are never seen again. It feels like a plot thread that has been cut short and I'm frankly baffled why it even exists. It really wouldn't have hurt to expand the game a bit, because now it is almost completely linear. Oh, sure, there are choices, but they are, you guessed it, pretty irrelevant.

There are basically two endings (despite the dev trying his best to convince you that there are five). If you select the wrong choices, which will most likely happen during your first run, you get one ending. If you choose correctly, you get another ending, which supposedly has four variations, though some of those variations honestly looked identical to me and I wouldn't have known that I have gotten a "different ending" if the game didn't tell me so. The game also includes the most annoying hint system of all times. Every time you finish the game, it shows you one of the "correct" choices you should select... There are twelve important choices you must get right! That means that if I hadn't used a walkthrough, I would have had to play through the game twelve times in order to collect all the hints! Talk about artificially inflating the play time!
Help! Boobs are trying to escape the game!
Let's calm down a bit and let's talk about something good. The graphics and the music, the two main draws the developer used as a bait, are actually pretty nice. As I have mentioned, Vittorio did indeed hire four NES/PC-98 era Japanese composers to arrange some tracks, though some of those tracks are bonuses that are only unlocked after finishing the game at least once. The VN has that nostalgic PC-98 vibe, which is really cool to look at, though I have to wonder why the backgrounds are windowboxed and do not take up the whole available screen space. That's obviously a stylistic choice, but it looked a bit weird at first before I got used to it. Nevertheless, there is one graphical problem that I cannot help but to address - the choices are so light-coloured, that they completely blend into the backgrounds. It's impossible to read them without straining your eyes, until you drag a mouse cursor over them. To me that feels like an oversight, rather than a stylistic choice.
Yes, the pizzeria is the best place for a date.
In order to engage the completionists, the developer added some secrets and achievements, many of which really needed a walkthrough in order to be found. For example, how should I know to leave the game idling on a specific line for a few minutes in order to see a secret scene? Gee, that was random... :-D Another feature for completionists is a simplified poker game you can launch at any time by pressing an icon on the top right of the screen. The reward for finishing three levels of poker is some CG scenes for the gallery, which is fair. Though I must school you to only attempt the game after you found all the endings, because each obtained ending gives you additional lives during the game. That is, unless you are particularly good at poker, or rather "Jacks or Better", because that is exactly what you will be playing. At first I was confused why the game refused to acknowledge my pairs, but a short internet search enlightened me that "Jacks or Better" is actually a simplified form of poker that usually doesn't include all the possible combinations. I, as a complete poker novice, found the game easily manageable, and won both three stages in two attempts.
Good for us that Jimmy sucks at poker ;-)
From a technical point of view, I couldn't understand why the developer locked out some of the core Ren'Py mechanics, which frustrated me to no end. At first I thought that even the skip feature is completely absent, but apparently it's an unlockable after you finish the game at least once. The other features I was missing was "rollback" and an ability to take screenshots without using an external program. Not to mention, that for some reason you cannot use a right mouse button to open a save menu or at least a main menu. In fact, it takes more clicks to enter a save menu, than in any other Ren'Py game. It's like the game was specifically coded to frustrate players who are used to such user-friendly features.

Natheless, there were also a few interesting features programmed in, though ultimately they appeared as mere gimmicks, rather than something to be marveled at. For example, the game introduced fake bugs and glitches to signify Alesanco's brains experiencing a crash when presented with too much boobage. Additionally, the game attempts to take control of your mouse and select certain choices without your input and you need to fight against that if you want to select a different choice, however there is a huge lost opportunity here. You see, the choice the game tries to auto-select is one of the right ones. If you at least got something out of fighting against the game (I, for example, really wanted to see a scene of Serafina making tiramisu) I would be content, but you actually get squat and fighting against the computer ends up being the wrong choice. It should have been reversed! You should have been able to fight for the right choice! Oh, well...

The one deity I can see myself praying to.
One more thing I want to quickly mention before the end, is the translation, which is very good. As the original novel was written in Italian, and later translated to English, I was apprehensive about the quality of the language, while diving in, but my fears were proven to be unfounded. If I didn't know better, I wouldn't have known this is a translation, as it flows completely fluidly without any apparent mistakes or weird grammar. Real props for the translator Vittorio hired for the job!

So, what's my overall experience with the game... I liked the presentation and really didn't mind the simplistic plot. The game accomplished what it set out to do, that is to say, it showed us some comedic character interactions packaged into a few sweet slice-of-life scenes, and titillated us with enormous boobs. The humour was nice and the characters were surprisingly likable for such a short game. On the other hand, the game pretended to be more than it was. It should have been made into a kinetic novel, because it pretty much is one already and the choice is no more real than leprechaun's gold. If the game was completely linear, it could have expanded the storyline a bit, maybe added some more scenes with Jimmy that didn't make him so irrelevant, as he is now. But to sum up, for an hour and a half game it wasn't a bad experience, and, considering the sequel is free, I might even try it one of the days.

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Official site
Download the demo on
Buy the game on Steam
Oppaidius Walkthrough

Final Verdict: 64%


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