Save State Tries Out Dark Dating And Management Sim My Lovely Wife

Welcome back to Save State, where I hope this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of a succubus. Thanks to popular characters like Morrigan from Darkstalkers, I’ve known about these demons in pop culture for quite a long time, but I’ve rarely ever played a game that’s primarily centered around them. My Lovely Wife is a title that came in a bundle and definitively answers the question: If you could summon succubi, why wouldn’t you start an escort service?

My Lovely Wife is an interesting mix of dating and management simulations that combines these different genres to portray the story of a widower who is willing to do anything to see his dead wife again. The story of My Lovely Wife is extremely melancholy; the protagonist Jake is depressed to the point that various demons from Hell feel bad for him. That’s advanced level depression, though it helps that Jake is generally a good dude put into a bad situation out of grief.

Jake’s sole desire, at least initially, is to resurrect his wife using the powers of Hell. His methods for doing so are to summon succubi and incubi, using them to drain the life essence from people to achieve his goal. This may sound like an introduction for an R18+ game, but I assure you that My Lovely Wife isn’t some kind of debauched hentai game. As the story progresses, new factions will appear who will determine your fate, as well as the fate of all the essence you’ve gathered up to that point.

There’s a healthy amount of dialogue for players to view, but it’s not just as simple as picking an option and being done with it. To unlock more speech options with the various characters and demons, you’ll need to raise your stats in order to see those additional lines of dialogue. Once you’ve become more eloquent and socially aware, avenues open up like opting out of reviving your wife entirely and choosing to elope with one of the demons, instead. Considering the main story’s ending, each succubus has a good and bad ending depending on choices you make, totaling likely over 40 different endings.

So, we know that Jake’s goal is to resurrect his wife, and he just received fancy succubus summoning powers, so what’s Jake going to do in order to get the essence he needs to bring back his spouse’s soul? By putting to work the demons he can summon by combining household ingredients. Combining various items that Jake can purchase around town, he can summon different types of succubi, with the components used determining which type of succubus you receive.

While you can immediately send your newly-summoned demonic darlings out in the world to gather essence for you, it’s typically better if you train them a little first. The training can be everything from learning proper etiquette, to being able to please their customers with a more lady-like demeanor, or they can learn how to better pleasure their customers to receive more essence. I, personally, preferred to maximize stats involved with making money which made it a lot easier to buy up high quality materials to summon new succubi.

Sometimes, when you’ve sent your hellish hirelings to a job or training, mini-events may pop up that require you to make a choice. The options explain what the risks are for each choice, though choosing poorly can even cause your succubi to die, if you’re not a little careful. A lot of choices you make, as well as how you treat your satanic servants, can influence their affection. Their affection will influence what dialogue options you get with them, but there doesn’t seem to be a consequence for allowing their affection to fall to zero by overworking the succubi, though you will need to complete their optional quests and give them gifts if you want to see the ending of a particular succubus.

Effectively, My Lovely Wife is all about time management. You train your succubi, send them out to the world, and have them generate essence for you while you progress the story. Each succubus will also have their own traits, like being frugal, apathetic, or depressed, which can impact how they work, gather essence, or the places they don’t like going. Succubi can also be sacrificed, which transfers the essence they’ve gathered to Jake in order to power up his summoning skills.

My Lovely Wife isn’t just about making a hellish harem of working succubi, either: You’ll quickly plateau if you try to approach it without sacrificing any of your demonic dames. Jake acquiring essence himself allows you to expand his skill tree, improves all of your facilities, and even allows your fiendish friends to start stronger, with a higher cap for maximum stats. Certain skills may also be required to be maxed, or at least near maxed out, in order to pursue specific story routes.

As far as the overall visual appeal of My Lovely Wife, it does a great job of showing you differing characters with memorable designs. The female Enyo demons, for example, remind me a lot of the rare Blade Newt from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and all of the succubi you can summon have personalities that fit well with their overall design. The soundtrack is dark, slow, and mournful, which is very fitting given the impetus of the story.

For the most part, if you just want to experience the end of Jake’s story with his wife, you have two primary decisions to make and won’t need to do anything more than generate a minimum amount of total essence to get there. If you want Jake to move on, which would normally be the healthier option, the path forward is much more complicated since you’ll need to give gifts and then court a succubus, which means exhausting all of their dialogue options.

My Lovely Wife was a lovely title that didn’t overstay its welcome to the end, while the combination of dating and management sim elements did a good job of maintaining my interest in seeing the numbers go up. I’m a huge JRPG fan, so it’s no surprise that seeing those numbers going up appeals to my lizard brain. It was brief but perfect for playing for a half hour or so on the Steam Deck in between other demands, so I’d recommend this to someone who enjoys dark titles with these kinds of elements.

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