Note: This review is of a game that is meant for Adults Only. Although there will not be any adult images with this review, I will be talking about adult content. Those who would be offended or are under 18 should stop reading now. All characters in this game are considered 18 years old or older.
A.I. Shoujo is a “3D Life Simulator” and customizable romance/hentai game developed by the Japanese studio Illusion and available on Steam. It is a translated version of the original build of the game with the menus and interfaces translated into English. The game has Japanese voice acting with English subtitles for the conversations.
The game start you off by having you create your protagonist, who can be male or female (or something in between) and a female companion. You start off on a deserted island, with no memory of how you got there. You are awoken by a girl (the one you created/chose) who is just a in the dark on how she got there. She relies on you heavily, having you craft a fishing rod, catch a fish, set up a cooking spot and cook dinner. Afterwards she gets sleepy and you turn in for the night.
The next day you go out in the forest and explore the island. You find a ruined house and meet Shan, a treasure hunter. She reluctantly explains that the island holds a ruined city on it and she is looking for its secrets. She agree to work with you to explore the island, even helping to build a bridge over a chasm. As you explore further, you get to know the girl more, find stray cas and wild chickens, find the remains of an abandon city, and, most importantly, find a mysterious pod which contains yet another girl…
A.I. Shoujo plays like similar Illusion games. with the control scheme to navigate the island being similar to Koikatsu Party. There is somewhat of a narrative as you explore the island as there are certain story points you have to go to in order to progress. The way through is unlocked by improving your relationship with the girls. So, interacting with them, talking, cooking, exploring and even flirting can raise the points.
You will also have to scavenge on the island. Besides food (you don’t need to eat, but it helps to improve your relationship with the girls if you give them food), you can find scrap metal, oil, ropes and other items to help rebuild the island and progress through the game. You can even use the items to craft building material to build shelter for you and your girls.
That is another unique feature to this game; the ability to build a house. As you craft the materials, they become unlocked in the build mode. You can craft beds, furniture appliances and bondage items (of course) to create your ideal set up. Or you can just go online and download one that someone else built (more on that later).
The Character creator is what one would expect for an Illusion game. It is more similar to what was in Honey Select (and Honey Select Unlimited) than Koikatsu Party. The characters are more realistic, not photo real by any means, but not as cartoony as Koikatsu. Pretty much everything is customizable, from height to bust size, body dimensions to hair color, just to name a few. You can even adjust the back hair side and bangs separately. Like other Illusion games, the female customization has more options than for the males, but you can create some unique characters. There is even an option to crate a futanari character, a girl packing little more in her panties. Whatever floats your boat.
The girls don’t just sit round and do nothing. They act in accordance to which of the 6 personality types you assigned them: Robotic deadpan (emotionless), gentle, confident, narcissist, listless deadpan and cheerful optimist. When you interact with them, you can choose from Chat, Give Advice, Give Item, Give Medicine, Follow Me, or Let’s Have Sex. Through these interaction you can influence how they will react to you. The more they like you, the more they will take your advise or agree to sex. Get them horny enough and they will initiate sex. If there sociability stat is high enough, they will hang with the other girls (even with Shan) and might even have sex with each other.
Then, there is the sex. While the ability to have either a male or female PC, there is both regular (hetero) and lesbian sex. Regular sex has three types: Caress (think groping or fingering), Receive (girl pleasures you manually or orally) and Insert (vaginal and anal sex) If there is a piece of furniture that could be used (bondage rack, stockade or saw horse), there will be an option for that. Lesbian sex only has the Caress option, in which you can rub or scissor your partner. Just so you know, both player male on futa and player futa on female will act like regular sex. Player female on futa will act as lesbian sex. If the girls like each other enough, you can even initiate a threesome if you talk to a girl with another one following you, but there is only one position.
I should note that the sex scenes are unlocked if you download the A.I. Shoujo Ecstasy patch from the official Illusion website: http://aisteam.illusion.jp/index_en.php
Lastly there is the ability to share or download character cards. The game uses .PNG files for its characters and its outfit sets, must like other Illusion games. You can also share the houses you build in the same manner. This makes it easy for people sites or message boards to share their creations. You can also do this in the Upload menu in the game. Much like the Steam version of Koikatsu Party, there is a server for sharing cards in the Western.
Unoffically, there are quite a few mods for this game and there are a few sites that offer HF (Have Fun) packs with the most updated versions of the mods or just a torrent with all the mod files. Personally, I used ManlyMarco’s HF patch, mostly because of the installer so I can choose not to include the machine translation (the official translation is much better.) The other option is using ScrewThisNoise’s mod pack, with is just drag an drop into your AI Shojou folder. Again it has the fan translation files so you will have to find them to not install them and turn your game into the Japanese one. I think that this one has a few mods and useful tools (like Studio Get, in which you can extract characters from Studio screenshots) so both are good to have.
The game, while the exploring a ruined island and building new structures is a nice hook, feels kind of hollow. Sure, you can have up to four girl running around and you can affect their behaviour by buying traits from Shan, they mostly wander around doing their own thing, except when they want you for food, company or sex. Even Shan, who the game uses to move ahead the narrative, is mostly two dimensional. All you can do with her is trade her items, though trade her 500 items and she becomes open for a sexual relationship. Besides the setting there isn’t much new for players of previous Illusion games.
The sex controls haven’t change much since the Sexy Beach days. The lack of more postions for lesbian sex, especially with the option of have a female playable character is both unfortunate and baffling as Honey Select and Koikatsu had more even without the option of playing as a female. Same goes for the threesomes. Illusion has yet to include male-on-male (or futa-on-male) in any of there games (you could romance male as a male in Artificial Academy 2, but there was no sex mini-game.) While not my thing, there is definitely those who would want it, judging from some message boards on modding sites.
Overall, A.I. Shoujo is a bit hard to recommend. The main reason I bought it is because I think these type of games are interesting (or science!) and I would love to see more Illusion games get a Western release. While Illusion offered the Ecstasy patch free of charge on it’s website, it is unfortunate that we most likely won’t see any updates that the Japanese version got (though I believe the HF patch might apply them. There is also DLC but they apparently don no work with the Steam version. Much like Koikatsu Party, the Steam version omits the Studio mode (again, the HF patch has you covered.). At $82CAD, the game is also a bit pricy. Buy it only if you are fans of Illusions games and want to support the company. The mod scene will help to improve the game.
A.I. Shoujo is available in the Adults Only section of Steam. You must be 18 years or older to purchase or play. The game cost $82 CAD. Links to the Official patch and HF patch can be found at the Steam Community page for this game.
This Review is for entertainment purposes only. I have not received anything from Illusion, Valve, or any other corporation or entity for this review. This game and any additional content was bought by me using my own funds. All opinions are mine and any screenshot used were taken by me and are for Review purposes only.