Starship: Eclipse may sound like a title for a run-of-the-mill sci-fi game involving spaceships, but don't let the name fool you. It's actually way steamier than that.
I spent last night playing through one story arc within Starship: Eclipse, a visual novel where you play as a starship fighter who has to investigate a mysterious abandoned spacecraft (disclosure: I'm friendly with someone who worked on quality assurance for this game). Things quickly go out of control, and you have to juggle finding out the truth about the alien technology, handle thirsty, bickering comrades, and being a good pilot. Think Mass Effect, but way gayer.
There's a lot to like here. For one, the cast is full of attractive, interesting characters who aren't just boring stereotypes:
The story is intriguing:
Better yet, unlike 99 per cent of the visual novels I've played, it's actually well-written. No endless navel-gazing, no padding so that the features list can say it has X number of words, no cringe-worthy dialogue. Starship: Eclipse is pithy, knows how to set up drama and tension, and it knows when to turn the heat up. I'm particularly a fan of how you can be as forward or as chill as you'd like:
I was also surprised at how easy it is to die — your choices do matter!
Most of all, though, it's hard not to marvel at how fantastic the game looks. Originally a webcomic by Hamlet Machine, Starship: Eclipse is a game with an art-style that is white-hot:
Another thing I enjoyed about Starship: Eclipse is that it's a browser-based game — meaning, you can go between multiple machines without having to download anything; your saves are in the cloud. I found myself swapping between my desktop, laptop and iPad without any hiccups. It's pretty cool!
Getting through the game one time took me a little over an hour, but I didn't really get to see much of the game or really get to know most of the characters, nor did I solve the mystery. (I did get some, though. Success!) The game seems built for replays where you choose different options, and explore different paths with different characters. I'm excited to go back in and see what else I can find — honestly, it's one of the best sex games I've ever played.