Put yourself in the shoes of Hitozuma Hime protagonist Issei
Ozaki, if you will. College graduate and genuinely nice guy,
he decides to embark on a vacation with pals to sun-baked
Bali as a sort of grand farewell to youthful freedom, with
nothing but innocent intentions. So while his horny friends
scramble madly and unsuccessfully to woo females, it's Iseei
who ends up scoring with the beautiful Chisato a beautiful
and seemingly confident and carefree woman. In fact, so memorable
was their one night of passion that he initially fails to
recognize her... as the wife of his new employer and mother
of the young boy he has been requested to tutor. Now I don't
claim to fully (or even partly...) understand the hearts of
women, but I wager I'd be pretty offended if I were Chisato.
Instead, once Issei comes to his senses and the shock/horror
sets in, Chisato explains that she suspects her husband of
having an affair and that for the longest time he's shown
her no affection whatsoever, revealing a woman more sensitive
and fragile than Iseei imagined. Completely dismissing the
"two wrongs don't make a right" school of thought,
Chisato proposes the setting up of a Secret Wives Club, inviting
Issei to instruct her and two friends - equally beautiful
but neglected and frustrated wives - in the art of pleasure.
Making up the trio are the respectable, demure Kagari, whose
husband suffers from impotence and the cute, naïve Nana,
whose hubby would rather stuff his face with food than give
her some loving. The player is given a selection of five lessons
for each woman, with each having to be selected multiple times
before you are able to progress to the next.
There isn't much plot to speak of, but the game neither strives
for nor really needs one. Hitozuma plays out like an insanely
horny soap opera, focusing on the mundane everyday lives of
the average Japanese twenty-something before spicing it up
into a harem fantasy that most twenty-something males would
consider heavenly. The sense of normality in the characters'
lives means that the fantasy isn't particularly far-fetched;
throw in the married women twist with numerous illicit liasons
and the excitement only heightens.
Initially, the game system appears to be a simulation, but
in reality is actually fairly linear; simply choosing which
lesson to teach a specific woman is the extent of interactivity,
everything that occurs therein the player has absolutely no
control over. Still, it represents a change from the favored
multiple-choice, even if the difference is almost entirely
cosmetic. Which ending you achieve is dependent on numerous
criteria, and unlocking certain graphics require these criteria
to be met. This means a fair bit of replay value and a decent
Hitozuma features voice acting for the three women, and all
do a decent job in their respective roles (which mainly consist
of moaning erotically, but hey, no complaints there). Background
music is mostly nondescript, with the mood of the tune reflecting
the scene. Graphically Hitozuma is something of a mixed bag.
Character designs are striking and sexy, the backgrounds are
detailed, so what's the problem? Inconsistent CG. Many are
gorgeously rendered, but in other cases the artist resolved
to draw the characters in what are best described as "dynamic"
poses, with this often resulting in the art looking awkward
and in some cases, quite ugly. The reuse of CG for as many
as three or four scenes can become annoying too. Expect to
see a gamut of sexual fetishes explored within, most of which
render the male genitalia invisible.
It's tough to criticize Hitozuma because it achieves mostly
what it set out to do. The only real character development
is of the sexual nature; the women gradually become more comfortable
and expressive with their sexuality, as the lessons get progressively
bolder. But it's development nonetheless and, uh, interesting
to watch. Otherwise there is little substance to be found.
For this reason Hitozuma Hime Club is, some unappealing CG
notwithstanding, pretty decent porn. However those looking
for something more substantial may be disappointed with the
shallow and repetitive nature of the game, while anyone genuinely
offended by the notion of extra-marital affairs as the basis
of a game should probably steer well clear.