Love Esquire is both a lot of things and not very many things. That may sound like a confusing statement, so let me explain a little more. Love Esquire is a Visual Novel, with Dating Simulator elements, light RPG mechanics, and some point and click adventure reference points, which is quite a few things. But ultimately, it’s pretty much just a Dating Simulator with slightly more story than the average ones.
If you’ve played a dating simulator before, then you’ll probably get the gist of Love Esquire right off the bat. There are five girls you can get to know, give gifts to, and occasionally make choices with in order to get them to like you. And that’s pretty much it, really. Like a lot of dating simulators, events are tracked by time, certain things can only be done at certain times (usually earlier in the day), and outside of just talking to the girls you can train to boost your stats including Charisma which provides bonus relationship points when talking to or spoiling the girls.
The time system means that there is a limit to what you can do each day, and just about everything takes time from 1 hour talking to a girl (even if it wraps up in 35 seconds, to 2 hours walking to the other side of town, or 4 hours doing light training of any type. The goal is really to maximize what you can get done in the day. But if you’re out until midnight, the game will automatically send you home to sleep, and as a penalty you won’t wake up until noon the next day (as opposed to the usual 6am wakeup time).
It’s nothing new really, if you’ve played virtually any dating simulator, although a lot of them usually opt for a Morning – Afternoon – Night, as simplified versions of a clock system as pretty normal.
Training raises your stats and the stats of your Knight. I’ll quickly run through the story of the game, and then swing round to the RPG elements that go hand in hand with the training.
The story of the game is that the main character (you) has just become a squire for the knight Sir Hugh. While he (the MC) seems to be pretty psyched to become a knight and fight for glory, he also seems equally disinterested most of the time, preferring to focus on more trivial things.
Sir Hugh notifies you of a few major events, which involve the three major groups of people in this world. The Caerulian people are the main people you’ll see as the MC himself is one of them as explained in the (quite funny) intro video. The city formed around Lake Caerulia which was believed to be formed by the God of Fertility’s spit, tears, or pee depending on what you want to believe. They most resemble European countries including Medieval Britain with their Knight and Royalty systems. Then there are the Alkosi who appear to be more of a Middle Eastern motif, and they are exceptionally skilled with money but nothing else. And finally the Gegners who are Viking-like warriors that just cause destruction wherever they go.
So just after officially becoming a squire, the MC finds out that the Gegners will be invading in a matter of months (4 to be specific) and the Caerulian army has struck a deal with the Alkosi to fight the Gegner in their place (in exchange for money and also because if the Alkosi are wiped out the Gegner will attack them anyway). Sir Hugh also informs the MC that he will likely die in the fight, as such the MC decides he doesn’t want to die a virgin and will put his efforts into training but also try to get laid.
It’s all very tongue-in-cheek and silly, and due to the restrictions in the Philippines where the developers are from, it’s more of a risque comedy than any actual adult game.
But now we have the elements, the ticking clock (literally), the countdown to the final battle, and the goals (getting strong and getting laid). So in order to achieve both goals, you’ll need to train and raise your stats. The three stats are Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma, which are trained at the barracks, archives, and tavern respectively. Each stat is somewhat crucial to battle (strength raises both the MC and Sir Hugh’s max HP, Intelligence increases the MC’s support healing skill, and charisma increases the MC’s ability to flirt with girls and also Sir Hugh’s attack strength). You’ll need both time and money to train any of these stats which you’ll need to fight campaigns to get which is where the actual fighting comes in.
Fights are turn-based RPG-style, however, you can’t directly attack. Instead you’ll have a few support options, taunt to have enemies focus on you instead of Sir Hugh, heal to restore HP to both the MC and Sir Hugh, cheer to allow Sir Hugh to use more powerful techniques, and loot to pick up dropped gold. Sir Hugh will fight automatically, either with a normal attack or a special one if you cheer him on. Winning a campaign will net you thousands of gold, along with the thousands you can pick up in battle. However, due to ridiculous taxes and the poor treatment of squires you’ll get 1% of the total, so you’ll end up with 50 out of 5000 or 75 out 7500 etc.
It’s pretty much just a loop from there: choose how to use your time each day, build your stats, fight campaigns, build relationships until the war starts. If you max your stats, you should be able to win the war against the Gegner’s, but it’s not guaranteed. You can also choose to pursue multiple girls, but it’s also possible to finish the game without seducing any of them.
Overall, the artwork is nice, the voice acting is pretty good, the gameplay I found kind of lackluster, especially because I don’t like being put on a clock like that, but it’s a fun game with a good sense of humour and eventually the character’s reveal some back-story that make them feel more like actual characters instead of just attainable goals.
If you want a full-on hentai game, look elsewhere. If you want a deep RPG system, keep on looking. But if you want a dating simulator with some battles to mix things up and a bit of a laugh, Love Esquire is a neat little game.
Solid voice acting
Quite funny (a bit immature but still funny)
Nothing really unique
Multiple genre's but the elements are light
The true raunchy mod is PC only