A Dark Elf thief sneaks into a castle in search for valuables. A dragon girl struggles to come to terms with her awakening powers. An Egyptian noble wants a clear path to divinity. Mirror is comprised of eight, non-connected stories about women and the sex they have with particular men and/or entities. At the start of the game, all characters except the thief are locked and can only be made accessible by playing through each character’s personal story. Their narratives are largely told through visual novel-style cutscenes that play out across three episodes. The stories here aren’t what you might call “high art,” however they serve as a wonderful excuse to put eight sexy women in hot costumes.
If you’ve played any variant of Bejeweled over the years, then you’re more than equipped to handle what Mirror has to offer. The conflict between the character and their antagonist are played out in a match-three style manner similar to HuniePop. Gameplay involves matching like versions of four gem types that have different offensive and defensive properties. Green bottles restore health to the player, a pair of crossed swords deals physical damage, purple stars trigger magic damage, and orange spheres add rage which adds the strength to physical and magical attacks. The nature of these attacks can be changed by purchasing upgrades in the store that are designed to increase the strength of the attack as well as trigger a special effect, like an auto-heal ability that lasts for a specific number of rounds. On top of that, there are bonuses for matching four and five gems. Four gems create a special upgrade that when matched against others of its kind, yields a nice little boost to the overall effect. A five gem chain creates a diamond that does serious damage to your opponent’s overall health.
Your opponent doesn’t play directly off the board like you do. Instead, they will attack using a repertoire of moves that do physical damage or influence the gems by making them inaccessible or take them over. Some of their skills are a little more nefarious. The Egyptian noble, for example, can place a snake gem at the top of a column that triggers a strong physical attack every three rounds. The only way to get rid of it is to move the piece off the board by eliminating the gems directly underneath it. Investing money in your character traits and special items that can negate or suspend the enemy’s abilities is essential for late game opponents equipped with larger health pools. On top of all that, you only get forty turns to defeat them, turning what is initially believed to be a porno delivery system into a pretty substantial and involved game.
Speaking of porn, the hentai-inspired nature of Mirror is likely to draw the majority of the attention. I freely admit that the porn is what drew me to it in the first place. It’s worth pointing out that Mirror is censored out of the box. During a battle, if you do enough damage, the woman’s costumes will rip and tear away revealing a pair of flowery pasties covering up their naughty bits. When you’ve fought through all three episodes of a character’s story, you’ll get to play an interactive sex scene where you use a collection of sex toys and other implements of pleasure (or pain) designed to bring the woman to climax. These scenes are also censored, featuring the same flower pasties and a weird, naked rabbit to cover up sexual organs. The censoring sucks but because this is a Steam title, it was expected. Thankfully, a short jaunt to the game’s community forum will provide an easy to follow roadmap towards a patch that removes the flowers and rabbits. After all, I feel this game was meant to be enjoyed fully uncensored. As of this writing, however, the uncensored patch only works through to the seventh character. It’s still in early access, so I don’t expect a full patch to take very long to come out when the game is done.
What I love most about Mirror is the artwork. The sexy illustrations are a great reward for working your way through meaty gameplay (for a match-three game, at least). The art is in top form during the sex scenes, which are modeled after the character’s costumes and story. The shrine maiden arc, for example, ends with the character bound in shibari as per the requirements of a dark ritual she has been subjected to. These scenes allow the player to manipulate a series of objects design to inflict pleasure and pain, such as burning wax, feathers, tentacles, dildos, and good, old fashion penises. How much pleasure or pain you give yields one of two different endings, which is a great reason to go back and play with the girls again. There’s also a “free play” version that lets you do whatever you want without having to worry about points or trying to achieve different endings but you must fight the character a fourth time to unlock it. In free play, you can switch between clothed and naked versions of the characters, once again proving that the uncensored patch is the best way to take in these eight gorgeous ladies as they writhe and thrive on sex.
Mirror is loaded with great, sexy fun. The puzzle gameplay is solid and offers a lot of variation and nuance to keep things nice and challenging. It wants to make you work for your porn. The rewards are a collection of sexy art pieces and interactive scenes that play out in different ways. A game like this is easy to get wrong. The gameplay could suck and the rewards might not be worth the effort. In fact, I’d say the only thing the game doesn’t do all that well is the dialog featured in cut scenes. It’s not terrible but it’s not that great either. In the end, Mirror isn’t just a great way to find fantastic erotic illustrations, it’s also a pretty fun game to play.
All images are property of SakuraGame