Visual Novel Review: Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim by Mitch Alexander

 
 

Tusks is an interactive game about queer orcs in which you get to be one of the characters, create friendships and relationships, and learn about orcish culture as you go on a journey from one place to another with a group of fellow orcs.

 

 

Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim by Mitch Alexander (image of all the orc characters together)

Description:

Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim focuses on a newly-formed family of gay orcs who are travelling from the annual orcish assembly to the Highlands of a semi-mythical Scotland! Along the way, the player can begin friendships and relationships with the various members of the group, including a selkie a long way away from home, a gentle-giant orcish warrior, and a polyamorous trio of orc chieftains. You can get updates and ask questions about Tusks over on the Tusks tumblr page, and you can support Tusks’ development by pledging via Patreon or buying some extended universe fiction! One-time donations and payments via itch.io also go a long way to helping me keep working on Tusks!

 

More Info:

You can get more info and buy the dating sim here!

 

Review:

I talked about Tusks recently in one of my blog posts, but then I figured, why not just do a full review? I did a little research, and it’s my understanding that this is a type of interactive game that would fall under the category of visual novel, and hey, that’s got the word novel in it! I mean, I could be wrong, the descriptions of visual novels and dating sims and the like are not that clear, but whatever this is, it’s still a story!

First off, what is Tusks? Well, it’s basically a choose-your-own-adventure book, only more technologically advanced and with static pictures of the characters and a few settings. There’s a story, but you are one of the characters, and you get to make some decisions. They’re never big decisions though, usually just which character you want to talk to, which path to take, etc. Depending on what you choose, you might get to sleep with this orc or that orc, you get to learn some stuff, etc. And from what I’ve seen in my playing, no decision is actually bad, so it’s all very chill. It’s also a “name your own price” thing, with $2 being the suggested price, and I think that’s beyond fair.

And now, the reasons why you should try Tusks:

1) Orcs are the new vampires! Seriously, have you noticed they’re popping up everywhere? You don’t want to be left behind when the orc craze hits ;-)

2) There’s so much inclusivity/diversity! There are no female main characters since it’s a gay dating sim, but… One character is trans. One character is physically disabled (amputee) and mentally ill (depression). One character is older. A few characters are in a polyamorous relationship. Almost all the characters have bodies that are not your average 6-pack “perfect.” One character, a human, is used to teach people how to be a better ally. And there be may other representations I haven’t even realized.

3) There was clearly A LOT of thought put into the orc culture/society/backstory. I find it really interesting.

4) You can have sexy times! I have to admit, the first time I played through, I failed! My love life is so hopeless that I didn’t even end up with anybody in an orc-based virtual dating game! But that’s ok because I tried some more and finally managed to romance me some orcs :-P Although I don’t think I’ve uncovered all the romance scenarios. Honestly though, despite this being called a dating sim, the sexy times are just one small part of it. Some of them are brief and fade-to-black, and you can definitely still enjoy this without them. At least I did.

5) It’s just fun! There are no negative outcomes to worry about (from what I can tell, though I suppose I could be wrong). The characters are all super nice and accepting. Like I said, it’s a very chill and stress-free way to pass the time.

 
 
 

Talk to me!

Have you played Tusks, The Orc Dating Sim?
Have you ever played any dating sim or visual novel?

 

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  1. Greg

    Tusks! We need more of these kinda games. I love the CYOA aspects, I’m always down for those anyway. And no BAD results? That’s kinda nice since the CYOA books were notorious for shitty endings lol. I can personally attest they often sucked. :)

    I think I’ve said it before but we need a game like this with all kinds of paranormals- fae, vamps, shifters. Nice that it’s chill though and relaxing- so often games are about the “advancement” and you gotta jump through all these hoops to have fun.

    1. Kristen Burns

      We do need more of these, they’re fun! I feel like a lot of them are probably expensive though. Like, I saw that this one webcomic I like has something like this, but it was like $25! Anyway, I figured people like like knowing how stress-free it is since there aren’t any bad results that I’ve seen. I worried at first like, “Am I gonna die if I choose the wrong path???” but then it turns out any path you choose, everyone makes it through just fine, but you learn diff stuff and whatnot.

      That would be awesome with all sorts of paranormals, and I would so want to play!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know what other ones are like, just this one! This isn’t like “The Sims” if that’s what you mean though. This was more like a novel than a game. And definitely no baby-having lol. Fun though!

    1. Kristen Burns

      They are! I mean, I was only familiar with LOTR too, and not even that familiar with those lol, until I read a couple books with them as MCs, but the beauty of it is that every writer creates their own version of things! Ah, this is separate from The Sims games, but it’s still fun!

  2. Lola

    It does sound like a visual novel/ dating sim type of game indeed. I like how those type of games are often story focused, but still gives you some options and graphics like with a game. It does sound very unique how it’s an orc based dating sim and that’s great there’s so much diversity as well. And that’s nice that there are no bad choices. That’s interesting you even ended up without a romance the first time you played it. How is the art and story for this game? It sounds pretty fun, so I might check this out sometimes. And $2 is pretty cheap for a game.

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    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s what I loved, that it was definitely a story, but I still got to make little decisions, which was fun. But I don’t think any decision actually changes the overall outcome, so that does take any stress away. And of course I loved the orc thing. Honestly the art is pretty much what you see in that picture. It’s just the characters like that, with a few different facial expressions, and there are some different backgrounds. It’s more focused on the story. But I loved how the author really created a whole orc culture.

  3. Daniela ark

    ok confession time. I had to google what an Orc is! That’s embarrassing for a UF reader I KNOW LOL

    And ok YES. Yup you convinced me. I’ll have to try it even though I didn’t know what they were until now! :)

    You had me at ” Orcs are the new vampires” and diversity! and at $2! LOL

    And they are seriously CUTE <3

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    1. Kristen Burns

      Gah! Not from LOTR even??

      YESSSSS ? I swear I keep seeing them pop up lol. One of the best books I read this year so far was about half-orcs! And $2 is not a bad price for a bit of choose-your-own-adventure style fun!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It is a fun way to chill and pass the time! It was like, all the characters I wanted to get with were the ones not interested lol, and I waited too long to go for it with some of them and lost the opportunity. Oh well, still fun even w/o romance!

  4. Olivia Roach

    I have heard of these visual novels before which are interactive, and I don’t think I would ever read or try one myself. It just doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, in the same way I like the idea of audiobooks but they aren’t my kind of thing. I am glad you enjoyed it though, and I didn’t know they could be called visual novels either!

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