What a dream it must be to work in a lingerie store. Spending eight hours a day surrounded by pretty, lacy, and sexy unmentionables sounds loads better than sneaking peeks through old Sears catalogs—holy crap, did I just age myself? Moving quickly on, Negligee—a visual novel developed by Dharker Studios—puts you in the classy heels of Hannah, a lovely young woman who finds herself in charge of a semi-upscale lingerie shop in need of a few good ladies. Yuri fans rejoice, this all-girl sex fantasy is all about using your influence to see curvy figures hidden behind barely-there threads.
One bright sunny morning, Hannah finds her routine disturbed after a phone call from her flaky regional manager reveals that Hannah’s boss has run off with a mystery man, leaving the shop Negligee without a leader. Her first task as the new manager of the store is to find someone to fill her old job. The task proves difficult as three women all vie for the role (though who actually appears is dependent on your play style): bodacious blonde Jasmin, sweet and innocent Charlotte, and the haughty Sophie. Unable to make a decision after an informal interview, Hannah opts instead to bring all three for a week-long trial to determine whose retail skills would be the best fit. The story, which lasts for about an hour during the first run, follows all four women during their retail adventure where the candidates are tested for their ability to handle customers and open themselves up to their new boss, expressing their unique wants and desires. Hannah, if she plays her cards right, will not only gain a new employee but quite possibly a new lover.
Anyone who has played a visual novel before is going to be overly familiar with the structure of this story-driven game. The narrative unfolds through a series of text boxes that convey the thoughts and feelings of Hannah and the other women. When the story calls for it, you’ll be prompted to make a response to a particular question or action that ultimately decides the route to the end game, which may end with Hannah hiring someone or, as was the case in my first playthrough, getting fired! While you’re free to save and load entire sections of the game in case you feel uneasy about a choice you’ve made, it’s encouraged that you see things to the very end if nothing else than to take advantage of the skip dialog feature in repeat playthroughs (which zooms past previously seen text) and unlock sexy portraits exclusive to that particular path. There are vignettes in the game that gives you a chance to make choices without fear of ruining the path you wish to take. Once per playthrough, you’ll get to interact with a customer looking to buy some lingerie. These scenes don’t add much to the story but it does let you play dress-up with some really cute anime girls.
Player choice has the ability to take the game in striking directions. For example, choosing a specific activity for a celebratory night out results in one of the girls not wanting to go, effectively closing the route to her ending. A consequence of the game’s earliest decision paths ends with a character not showing up in the game at all! Whatever happens, your decisions influence one of eleven possible endings to unlock. Some of them are good, where the store succeeds and Hannah gets some play from her new partner, others not quite so good.
I’m a big fan of Negligee’s art style. The CG artwork is great, especially because it favors girls with bigger boobs. Between Hannah, Sophie, and Jasmin, it didn’t take me long to choose which girl I wanted to romance first. Whomever you choose, the game gives you plenty of chances to view portraits of the girls in various stages of undress as they model lingerie, playfully fool around each other, experience odd circumstances that you’d only see in anime (can a sliding metal door really tear clothing apart?), and even sex scenes. Seeing them in the game can be a little annoying because dialog boxes cover up the good stuff but once you see those images, they are unlocked for future, obstruction-free viewing from the main menu. Added to the game’s release, via a Mature DLC available for free on Steam, are a small collection of sexy animated sequences usually featured at the end of each girl’s route. Although you can tell that the animation is artificial (sporting creative use of stretching certain areas of the character art), they nonetheless convey fun sexytime moments between Hannah and her new lover.
Short but sweet, Negligee is a charming and sexy visual novel that celebrates the love between two women. It may not take you very long to unlock every ending in the game, especially if you play with a guide, but the rewards—beautifully rendered CG images of sexy anime girls—are really great. Negligee is available to purchase from Steam and Nutaku.
Be good, fap great!