Just when you thought you couldn’t get enough demon penises and ridiculous boob physics, Succubus continues to deliver – whether you ask for it or not. After an extensive preview courtesy of Madmind Studio, I was able to get my hands on an extended press build of the prologue that adds an additional story level, an arena with online rankings, new weapons and classes along with more special powers, a brief taste at the game’s bestiary, and an expanded version of the world map. The free prologue that is currently available to every Steam owner free of charge left both a sweet, yet bitter impression, as its combat is fast and visceral, but poor performance and bland traversal QTEs continually soured some of the combat situations.
After clocking in an additional two hours on top of the base 30-some-odd-minutes from the open prologue, it brings me great pleasure to report that Succubus has a ton more to offer and unlock for those interested in diving back into Hell.
That isn’t to say that the game is without its slew of technical and design issues, however. While jumping back into the Fortress of Doom-esque homebase, I was greeted by Vydija washing herself in blood with some bugs or taking a nice naked nap that still does not seem to serve any sort of purpose other than to entice the hormones of prepubescent young men. As a light spin-off to Agony, it’s not surprising to experience such mature themes – plus, you really have to commend the developers for going all in on the demon simulated sex. Before booting up the next mission on the map, I kept one question in my mind to hopefully answer by the end of this extended preview: “Is there anything meaningful hiding under Succubus’ initial shock factor?”
Combat is the highlight of Succubus, greatly differentiating itself from its predecessor’s survival horror core. As I had previously stated, Agony’s foundation is fundamentally flawed, but the design of its hellish world and creatures are wholly unique and beautiful… in a weird kind of way, of course. Violence is the name of the game, and damn, is it fun. Technical and performance issues aside, the new variety of weapons at your disposal is varied, creative and always fun to use against the hordes of demons. At one of several tables spread out around the home base, the player has access to weapon customization, armor, and the bestiary.
Weapons are presented, thus far, in the form of bone blades, swords, scythes and hammers – each with their own statistics for damage, speed, mana regeneration and range. Each weapon also has a normal and special attack, with the latter usually sending ragdolled enemies flying across the arena when fully charged. Slicing and dicing through Martyrs with weapons like the “Tooth of Doom” or the “Propagator of Fear” is brutal and efficient, but nothing beats the sheer stopping power of the “Judge” hammer. Combat feels both meaty and flighty, which perfectly matches the overpowered nature of Vydija.
Previously, I had messed around with the iffy execution mechanic in the prologue, stating that hordes of enemies seemingly overwhelmed the frame rate more so than me. Finisher indicators fell victim to the drastic frame dips, and I often found myself going from one enemy to the next before backing off to save the game from crashing. After my additional two hours with the prologue, I am pleased to see that most of the frame dips and other performance issues have been attended to – but that isn’t to say that Succubus is bug and glitch free. There were multiple encounters with screen tearing and freezing before entering a new arena, but the game-breaking slowdown accompanied with ten-plus enemies or more has been greatly reduced.
Executions are also body-specifically animated and enemy/weapon exclusive, adding many more deliciously gruesome finishers to the roster. My favorite involves Vydija slamming an enemy’s head to the ground, then smashing it once more until every appendage splits off of the torso. The gore engine is on full display, and it certainly is diverse.
Along with the new variety of weapons come additional special powers – Torpedo, Fire Wall, Slomosphere, Catapult, Heal, Flamethrower and Minefield – all of which are pretty self explanatory. These abilities are one of the main reasons why combat just works. Reminiscent of Left 4 Dead’s crowd control feature, these special powers are so addicting to use with a fair recharge rate. Catapult is easily my favorite power out of them all, as it locks on to a specific enemy, reels them in for a charge before spitting them back out to the horde. In this beta build, I started to be a little more creative in my use of powers and the perilous environment around me. Equipping minefield allows me to place it anywhere in my general vicinity. I quickly placed it near a grouping of spikes, then spartan kicked an enemy into the spikes and fire mines. This mixing and matching of powers adds a new, strategic layer to an otherwise simplistic combat model – and I loved them enough to continuously replay the story missions to test out new abilities and weapons.
Vydija is a goddess when it comes to slaying demons, but most of the arena difficulty comes from tanky, HP-spongey enemies like the Chort (think Hellknights just not… Hellknights). They’re easier to maneuver around, but battles against them quickly devolve into rushing in, smacking it a few times with my weapon before bouncing out into safety. I often found myself scattering to find weaker enemies to execute and gain back some health to eventually continue the fight. This rinse and repeat model of combat is something I hope to see diversified in the final build.
After completing a mission, the game reveals a combat report along with the side missions you had completed. Here I see how many enemies I had killed and how many of each I had slayed. The beautifully designed demons presented in this extended preview are Chorts, Martyrs, Onoskelis, Amazon and Cherubs (with the latter quickly becoming one of my least favorite as most require an ability usage to snag them out of the sky). The new story mission “The Great Kali” and the new arena “Derelict City” offer some more of that haunting art design Madmind Studio has become accustomed to recently. There were many moments where I stopped dead in my tracks to just take it all in. Sometimes I’d hear the cry of babies only to find their bloodied reanimated corpses crawling below me, while other times I’d see a giant whale monster soaring through the sky. Madmind continues to knock their art direction out of the park, and it’s quite evident to see the love and time put into its design.
Armor and weapon purchases are made through two kinds of currencies in the form of souls gathered throughout and earned within the story missions, arenas, and secrets. During my second playthrough, I encountered these small interactable spots on the map that broke into a black soul. Some text appeared at the bottom, but it instantly disappeared after resurrecting the spirit. Back at the homebase, you can visit the spirit and eat some smoking fingers alongside it. I’m sure there’s more to it in the final build, and might currently stand as a placeholder for an undercooked idea.
Armor is created from defeated enemies with different parameters and powers for you to craft your own playstyle. After purchasing new weapons and armor with the allotted souls, you’re able to equip them and prepare for the new mission. I continued to grind for all armor pieces each equipped with their own abilities and perks. The armor sets offered include the “Bone Collector”, “Lethal Skin”, “Shiny Underwear” and “Leather Straps.” Each has their own look and appeal to them with fixed abilities attached as well. I wish that I had the option to include my own special powers within my favorite armor piece, but it was fun exploring all of my options. As for additional skin customization, that option is locked for later builds.
The Bestiary is essentially Succubus’ demon compendium. In the extended press prologue that I was so fortunately granted, I was able to unlock the Madman, the Worm and the Onoskelis. Each unlock is purchased with the same soul currency as weapons and armor, yet solely expands upon the lore of that specific beast. I unlocked everything for the Onoskelis and discovered that it was given its name for its donkey-like legs and hooves used for walking on hot surfaces. Originally enslaved women, the Onoskelis was tortured and mutilated by its tormentor with torn skin and their skulls ripped out. They are a body of pain who only remember suffering and meaningless violence. This added lore is a great addition for story junkies, but I personally don’t see myself unlocking them all until I have completed my skill, weapon and armor trees.
Succubus, in its current state, is a helluva ride. After unlocking everything that was offered to me, I felt a drive to keep playing – a mighty praise for a game that still needs a ton of work in its technical department. I still have many gripes with the overall repetitive nature of each level and the pointless traversal QTEs, but I walked away pleasantly surprised and excited for its future. It’s also important to note that I had encountered three annoying glitches in my second playthrough – one being that my mouse cursor was not aligned with what was on screen, forcing me to guess where it was currently hovering over. The second glitch trapped an enemy behind unexploitable boundaries, ultimately halting further progression, while the third saw no progression indicator after all enemies were defeated in the Derelict City arena.
Where Agony felt rather hollow in just about everything other than its art direction, Madmind has done a great job in incorporating more gameplay elements and rewriting some of their previous faults for Succubus. Changing the core gameplay and combat structure was a necessary move, and it is proving to be a very fun alternative. As for the sexually frustrated demons and pregnant women, I encountered several more horny fellas in the newer story mission, only now they are accompanied by an emaciated guest watching alongside the action! The fetus that was ripped out of its mother’s belly from my initial preview is back more than once in the new mission – same animation, character model and cringe included!
Huge thanks go out to Madmind Studios for giving access to the extended preview of Succubus on Steam. For more on jiggling boob physics and blood baths, keep it here at TheXboxHub in the build up to full launch of Succubus on PC and console.