Edited by: Jade Swann
Conception PLUS: Maidens of the Twelve Stars is Spike Chunsoft’s most recent RPG release. The adult-themed single-player experience has a male protagonist being ported to an alternate universe, where he has to save the world.
Sure, the way in which he does this is a little unconventional — the protagonist has to repeatedly have babies with the twelve titular maidens. The game isn’t explicit and confines all adult content to be outlines only — it’s mostly SFW, even if one of the first options the user is prompted to select is whether or not they want the girls to wear their normal clothes or swimsuits.
Children are the future
The story setup, in which you are transported to a different world with a childhood friend, is somewhat simplistic — there is a lot of hinted at lore, but not a lot of detail. Players are presented with a lot of terminology before being told, straight off the bat, to have kids with twelve different women.
During gameplay, the player has to repeatedly have kids with the girls in a “classmating” ritual, which results in an immediate baby that has one of several classes that the user can pick. They include traditional things like fighter, mage, cleric, and more.
The player then fights with up to three teams of four kids each. Whenever the user has a good enough relationship with one of the girls, they can have new kids with them. Old ones can be released into the town for certain benefits a little later in the game. In order to be allowed to create new kids, the player needs to interact with the girls and drive up their relationship with them by going through visual novel like interactions and conversations with them.
While the twelve available characters do incorporate pretty standard stereotypes, they aren’t overwhelming. There is a strict girl in glasses, a tsundere with pigtails, a childhood friend, and more, yet the characters manage to appear unique and relatively interesting. It’s a nice counterpoint to the combat RPG elements that make up a lot of the gameplay.
All work and no play
Right off the bat, the player is absolutely bombarded with game mechanics. There are countless options with regards to skills, team setups, equipment, selling and buying stuff, quests, exploration, energy, and more — it’s very overwhelming and the complexity of the menu is poorly thought out, requiring multiple selections and clicks to get from option to option.
That said, once you have the hang of the options, the in-depth options and available possibilities really make the game fun. Combat is interesting as well, and compared to the complex menus during setup, simple and straightforward.
It takes a while to get to the dungeon exploration part, which is definitely one of the best aspects of the title. Heavily reminiscent of games like Persona 3 and 4, the player runs around, explores, fights, collects items, and hopes to come across one of the rare save points.
Different world, different rules
Suspension of disbelief is something that this game relies on a little too heavily. Immediately birthing children after the classmating ritual? Sure. Taking those adorable little guys into combat? Okay. Fusing them into a giant fighting robot? That’s taking it a bit too far.
The best way to enjoy this game is to not take it seriously at all. While many RPGs rely on the player getting involved in the story, you’ll probably struggle to do that here. Getting to know the girls is fun and there is quite a lot of variety in their personalities, backgrounds, and design, but outside of that, you’ll struggle to get into the story too much.
The Verdict: Good
Conception PLUS: Maidens of the Twelve Stars is a fun way to pass time, but it’s not the kind of RPG you’ll be able to put hundreds of hours into. The visual novel style interactions with the twelve girls are fun, as they are relatively interesting characters, yet the overall gameplay is not nearly as immersive as it is in, say, the Persona series. If you want to flirt and create an endless stream with twelve mildly interesting women in swimsuits, you might just enjoy the game, but if you are looking for an involved RPG experience, keep looking!