La Douche is the first major title released by ZnelArts. A small independent studio that’s run by a guy who, in his own words, has “a bunch of pretty crazy ideas, the kind of ideas that will blow your mind like Matrix and Inception did.” While La Douche certainly isn’t a Wachowski brothers film just yet, there is a degree of originality behind the concept that I think is worth commending. The theme of the game is voyeurism. The hero you control is a semi-translucent pervert whose unique super power allows him to be the world’s greatest peeping Tom. You wander from bathroom to bathroom spying on unsuspecting CGI women as they do a variety of nude activities like shower and dance.
The original Beta version of La Douche has been released almost a year ago and the game is currently in its 9th iteration with each update getting slightly better than the previous. The fact that we are currently looking at the release of the 9th beta version shows a decent amount of commitment and dedication on the part of the developer. It’s always nice to see a developer who stays in contact with his patrons about the progress of a project and it seems like ZnelArts is eager to share almost every bit of progress with their community. This is apparently the reason for such a high (some might even say excessive) number of beta releases.
When I first downloaded La Douche, I thought that the concept behind the game was promising. Adult VR games can be very effective at inducing a voyeuristic experience and it’s exciting to see a developer trying to tap into this potential. It’s also nice to see ZnelArts diverge a little bit from the traditional first-person penetration that most sex games offer. By choosing to create a more spectator-like experience, I was hoping that the game might side-step some of the more common pitfalls that often break the immersion of first-person games and instead rely on other devices like mood and story to draw you in. And to a large extent, La Douche does this.
Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
I was pleased to find a number of artistic flourishes to help deepen my emotional investment in this VR porn game. One example was the bathroom mirror. It’s not only visually interesting to see your own character’s opaque reflection but more importantly, it gives you a deeper sense of the space around you. Part of the thrill involved in peeping is the risk of getting caught. There’s a sexy feeling of guilt about doing something wrong and being somewhere you shouldn’t be. Seeing my character’s reflection helped evoke all that.
Of course, all the ambiance in the world isn’t worth that much if the actual focal point of the game isn’t noteworthy. Fortunately, the models in the game were of fairly high quality. The option to select from a variety of different models and then customize each one individually also helped to ensure that I would like what I saw.
One impressive feature of the game that I can’t avoid mentioning is the compatibility with VR controllers. The number of sex games out there that actually allow you to do things like grab and shake the model’s breasts is still extremely limited. So any game that offers this feature has to be applauded.
What’s In A Game?
One of the less impressive aspects of the game was its lack of story or challenges. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I still think of a video game as a form of entertainment that involves a challenge of some kind. I couldn’t help but feel like the game might be much more enjoyable if there was a genuine risk of getting caught. Just a simple feature like the ability to knock over a shampoo bottle or bump a light switch would be absolutely thrilling if it had the potential to break your cover. I understand that video games are perhaps more “sandbox” than “theme park” these days but give me a little way to win or lose and I guarantee I’ll care more about your fictional world no matter what the environment is.
In all fairness, I should mention that this isn’t a problem with just La Douche. In my experience, it’s an almost universally accepted practice with VR Sex Experiences to label themselves as games but then fail to include even the most elementary gaming elements. Graphics aren’t everything. There’s a reason people still love old 8-bit games like the original Zelda and Super Mario Brothers. It’s because fundamental elements like story and gameplay have the power to awaken the imagination and make us care about fictional worlds. A game like La Douche with its provocative theme would be the perfect opportunity to start experimenting with some of these qualities in my opinion.
In The Works
That being said, there are actually quite a few additional features still in the works for La Douche. According to the ZnelArts patron page, the developer is currently working on recording voice acting talent for the characters, something that would definitely help bring the game to the next level. Also, it seems like there are still some improvements coming in regards to the character’s movements. While ZnelArts doesn’t specify which 3rd party they use for their character animation they have hinted that they are less than satisfied with the results they’ve been receiving. The movement is already on par with a lot of the best games out there but it’s encouraging to see the development team always looking to improve on these cosmetic features of the game.
Overall, I think that ZnelArts is a studio that brings a genuinely unique perspective on the industry. Games like La Douche and their upcoming Villain Simulator suggest that the company isn’t satisfied with just reproducing the status quo. They’re a company that seems genuinely interested in doing something original with virtual reality porn games and I’m excited to see what the studio has in store for the future.
You can support ZnelArts here.