It’s conference time in this Lovingly Evil review, out today on Steam and, well, lovingly evil.
In a world of fantasy, one where you can attend a conference without fear of catching something, there exists the Villain Conference made up of evil exhibitors and attendees alike covering ‘Work Environment Safety’ and ‘Monologues for Dummies’ among many other sought after presentations.
There won’t be any announcements of next-gen prices here, but there might be the opportunity to build your network of baddies and who knows, perhaps love is on the horizon?
Lovingly Evil Review
First impressions were very good – the art style is marvellous, and I liked it immediately. I’m not one for visual novels, as I keep banging on about it, but it the story is there with decent dialogue, I’m all ears.
Those ears are focused on the conversation however, not the music. The soundtrack in the game was incredibly overwhelming, and by the default was overpowering the brief voice acting.
While it wasn’t bad at all, it was far too prominent, so I had to lower it down for it to be bearable. It plays throughout the game also, so unless this is something you would normally listen to on Spotify, you’d be in your element. I’d wager that most people would turn it down, not off.
Let Me Be Myself
Dear Lizard Hazard Games,
If you give me so many choices for character customisation, I will love you forever. Well, until the end of the review.
Thank you for the wonderful choices,
That’s right; there’s a character customisation screen at the beginning of the game to choose your character. The options are brilliant and all drawn out in a 2D style. It was like opening one of those ‘How To Draw’ books as the selection was textbook quality.
Fearful that I’d never start the game, I opted to play as a female character, you know, to see how the other half live. On paper, I’m male with my distinguishable hangy bits, but on the inside, I’m a blank canvas.
Opting for a 70s femme fatale alien-like creature, I chose my profession as a serial killer to start things slowly. Becoming an overlord on my first playthrough sounded too ambitious. With my pet spider, let’s call him… Frank, we headed into the conference.
You’re given a guide advising on the talks on offer, the times they start and when lunch begins – the real reason you’re there. In addition to this archaic piece of paper, you’re supplied with a mobile phone that provides hints and that sort of thing. It’s accessible on the fly, but as the concierge states, it’s rude to access it in company.
Let’s Talk About Villainry
In Lovingly Evil conversation pieces, a star represents something important in conversation, whereas a clock indicates that time will move forward. If you’re lucky, you’ll get two at once meaning that it’s a significant exchange of words about how good the artists are in the game, second to the game writers.
While I love this self-referential humour, I was a bit disappointed that I missed a meeting because of this. I can’t be in two places at one time. Or can I? (That’s a reference to something that happens early in the game. You’ll have to play it).
But I have to say, the writing in the game is excellent, so it’s a fair bit of self-praise. It’s a natural, conversational style that often had me smirking and it wasn’t all cliche evil talk – it was pretty good.
To complement the conversational pieces, there are mini-games in Lovingly Evil too. The first I encountered was creating a bouquet for a friend. Consulting an encyclopedia of flowers, I was able to make a presentation for a friend, enemy, lover and then to declare loyalty to an evil boss, with flowers. It’s the most fun I’ve had with flowers since ‘the incident’.
Another odd job might be running around Satan’s kitchen serving imps a range of meats – cooked or not. I found this to be a bit of a challenge as you have to remember the order and respond to worker imps at the same time. It was ok, but it lingered a little too long than I cared for and when asked to assist again, I took a raincheck.
Talking to Satan about his favourite books that go from Good Omens to Roald Dahl’s Matilda was a highlight. He was my initial target in this dating sim, but then I was tempted by the vampire, then a robot.. there was just so much to do in such a short space of time.
The conference in Lovingly Evil lasts for four days, and you can finish empty-handed. Empty-handed in the sense that you’ll be leaving on your own. It doesn’t feel enough at times, but I attend conferences quite often, and a full-day is challenging in itself.
Playing the gigolo, I managed to fudge all my potential story arcs as I was too much of a player and wasn’t able to snare anyone. Nevermind – playthroughs are reasonably swift, so I went back and started to unlock a good selection of endings.
I haven’t played that many dating games, unless you count Leisure Suit Larry Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places) – a classic. At one point I considered giving Dream Daddy a go by the Game Grumps but never got around to it.
However, with Lovingly Evil, I’m pleased with my experience. Is this the type of game I would actively seek? No. On that basis, this should be a no-brainer, but considering my declaration of not being a visual novel fan, this captured my gaze and worth your time.
The artwork is excellent – consistent too. Why mention consistency? I find that these type of games have cutscenes, dialogue and action sequences produced by different teams. Lovingly Evil has the same stamp of style throughout and I really liked the illustrations, simple voice acting (it’s not fully acted but good enough) – even the music was good, it was just too dominating at the start.
It was the writing that won me over though. Yes, it’s nice to look at pretty pictures, but the conversations between characters avoided cliche, or when it did raise that eyebrow, it did so with self-awareness and funny with it.
I was quite fond of the first character I created too, Greta, the serial killer. Though my first attempt appeared to be loveless, I gained a fondness for her as well as the characters encountered in the game. Satan has never been so dreamy.