There’s this assumption that almost every girl loves to date a bad boy, so why has it taken so long for there to be that perfect simulation game to achieve just that. With Lovingly Evil, you get a villain dating simulator that is tons of fun, with great writing and character, and mini-games to boot. Isn’t love fun?
Lovingly Evil is, first and foremost, a visual novel dating sim, though unlike many other games in the genre, there is no relationship bar that needs filling up, no going on dates with anyone. All you have are four days to woo the evil beau that has caught your eye, with witty and funny dialogue options, and in that regard, the game performs impressively well. But as with dating bad boys, the overall experience can be a pain and so much more.
The game can easily be completed in one sitting, and it took us only roughly 2 hours to complete our first playthrough of the game. The premise of the game is as follows – you are a villain attending the infamous Villain Conference, where many dastardly and foul creatures from across the dimensions come to network, attend classes, and maybe even find a perfectly wicked life partner, because are’t work conferences code for “hook-up”?
The game will first have you create your personal avatar, and we have to say we’re impressed with the customisable options afforded to us. You can choose to go as a one-eyed cyclops with elfin ears and a pet bat should you so wish to. Thereafter you will come up with the name, backstory, age, and pronoun for your character (it even comes with the option of they/them for non-binary folks). Though once you are done creating your character, you won’t see it much beyond your conference badge and a dark-clone of yourself walking around the event creating havoc in your name.
Once you have completed your character creation, how you spend the rest of the four days at the convention is completely up to you. You can choose to explore the laboratory, where Nova the sentient robot is, or perhaps drop by the flower shop to speak to a blonde vampire by the name of Felix. Or if you want to, you can even continuously attend classes on how to be the perfect villain.
By conversing with them, more dialogue options might appear and if you run out of things to talk about, you can always visit them another time. We have to admit that the interactions and dialogue with the characters in the game were perhaps our favourite part of the game, they were so wonderfully written that the other aspects of the game seem to pale in comparison to them. The characters are also well-crafted, each having their own little quirk. Such as Nova’s love for naked mole rats, and Felix’s ex Arthur who was simply too much of a good vampire for Felix’s taste.
The game also loves to play around with tropes, such as the melancholic vampire with Felix and the ‘perfect robot waifu’ with Nova. There is also a lot of fourth-wall-breaking happening during conversations which were nice to spot, alongside all the thirsting going on for your character’s chosen partner.
Another aspect of the game that we found commendable is its inclusivity. As mentioned, they have pronoun options for non-binary folks, and when romancing Felix, you quickly find out that his ex is a male human-turned-vampire by the name of Arthur, and the vampire himself has admitted to being demisexual. The game has really gone out of its way to try and make everyone feel welcome and we highly appreciated that.
To help develop your relationship with your chosen villain, you will have to complete mini-games such as manning Satan’s grill or helping Felix choose flowers for his bouquets. Despite loving Felix’s mini-game, which had us creating bouquets to convey different messages using flowers, we found Satan’s grill a tad bit too boring, as where Felix’s games usually end in three to five rounds, Satan’s grill had us managing more than a handful of customers while answering questions from imps, with answers that did not seem to make a difference no matter our choice. With no end in sight for the mini-game, it seemed to drag on forever and there was even a point system that made little impact on anything once the game was over.
Speaking of choices not making a difference, we quickly realised that our choices made little difference in the ending we got. As long as we spent a sufficient amount of time with a character and completed their mini-game well, we will eventually end up with them regardless of the choices we chose during over interactions. Hence you could call Satan ugly and boring, and you’d still end up dating him. Or maybe Satan is just into that sort of thing, who knows? That said, it will be nice for the game to perhaps have different endings per character, say a good, bad, and neutral ending that you will get depending on how well you perform when interacting with them.
Ultimately though, Lovingly Evil is still definitely a game worth playing, but not for its dating mechanics but mainly for its writing and characters. As a visual novel, the game is chock full of charming and hilarious characters that will guarantee you a good laugh and a fun time. Plus replayability for the game is fairly high, with all the different character routes to explore. Sadly, the game had too little elements of a dating sim to stick the landing in that aspect but with its great writing and pretty art style, it’s still very much worth checking out.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
A fun and whacky ride where you get to romance various villains through stimulating conversations and mini-games. Now, if only there were more dating happening in this dating sim.
Gameplay - 6.5/10
Story - 8.5/10
Presentation - 7/10
Value - 7/10