The Curse Of Mantras is out

As you probably already know if you follow me on social media, my latest dating sim, The Curse Of Mantras, is out on itchio.

It’s out since about a week so it’s too early to draw conclusions even if early numbers are encouraging. To be honest, I’m already happy that I’ve managed to finish it!

If you backed it on Kickstarter, you should have got a private message with the itchio links. I’m also going to send you the Steam keys in the next days, since the release on Steam is coming soon too.

The Adult Content dilemma (again)

This is love, not pornography

I hoped we would be done talking about this, but sadly, when I submitted the game to Steam, they put it in the “Adult Only” category: https://store.steampowered.com/app/618000/The_Curse_Of_Mantras/

Which is bad for two reasons: people browsing that category usually expect much more explicit stuff, while the game has nudity but in general very tasteful love scenes, and second because it prevents the game being viewed, or worse even purchased, in certain countries like Germany (this isn’t due to Steam but to some Germany laws I think).

The same thing already happened in the past for my games Volleyball Heaven and At Your Feet. But in this case it’s a pity, since it’s not just a plain visual novel focused only on romance/sex relationships: the game also has a very complex, detailed and fun card battling game, and I think it’s really bad if people can’t even try it because it’s labeled Adult Only.

Why this game was important to me

this was the old artwork of the game, done many years ago as prototype

This is not a postmortem since as I said it’s too early and I can’t draw any conclusions about the game performance and so on. It did a successful Kickstarter, but that money was barely enough to cover its development costs (not even including my own time).

But this game was important for a lot of reasons: it was a game in development since around 2013-14. I had this idea of the afterlife/limbo, but at the time it was supposed to be a sort of Pokemon-style battle game. I hadn’t a clear idea how the game would be, but since I put out the first sketches/concept art, fans seemed enthusiast about the idea. I admit I was a fool to let myself carry by this enthusiasm too, because you can’t do that, it’s dangerous. And indeed, until 2018-19 I still had no idea which gameplay to use, until I finally made my mind and picked card battles.

The main issue was that in 2020 I released Planet Stronghold 2 which, despite being one of my biggest/better games, greatly underperformed compared to my expectations. So it was clear that the market had changed, and maybe such big games weren’t profitable anymore. But I had already started doing it, already invested time and money.

At the beginning of last year, I was still struggling with a bad burn-out, and even if I didn’t post about this in public at the time, I thought to cancel the game. Yes, even after I had already spent so much efforts, I briefly considered that.

Why? Because I couldn’t see a reason to finish it. It was a dying genre of games – big games with a lot of romances that had to be sold at a proper price, since it’s not one of those silly porn VN with 3 scenes and no plot, no character development, etc.

Also, because I was tired, burned out, and I feared of working months and months only to get the same results, if not worse, than making one of the games mentioned above – short, silly porn games that seems to sell well on Steam nowadays.

In the end, I thought this: this year (2021) I’ll make a few shorter games, to give myself some breath, both economically (those games are usually profitable) and also to relax, not having to code anything complex.

It worked: TFTU – Hazel, At Your Feet, Summer In Trigue and Love Notes were all fun, good games but not a huge, epic, 10 love interest game with ALSO a complex gameplay. So that was good, and by the end of the year I was ready to resume working and finishing The Curse Of Mantras.

This game will decide the kind of future games I’ll do?

Honestly? Probably. I mean, I’m definitely going to do the 4 Loren spin-off games in any case (indeed I’ve already started working on the first game in the series), but all those games have “only” 4 love interests each. I think, unless The Curse Of Mantras does extremely well, this will be my last “big game” I’ll ever make. For the reasons above. I love being indie and making my fans happy doing those big games, but I also need to keep an eye both on my health and finances.

8 thoughts on “The Curse Of Mantras is out

  1. Arcmyst

    Players like their choices to matter. The choice doesn’t have to be between 20 different love interests. mass effect 3 gives you a fair number to pick from and often the most popular ones polled are the ones that are on the team and add the most to the story by romancing them.

    Reply
  2. Missy

    I got my steam key but not my itch.io key?

    I agree that I love it most when my choices matter. I also agree that you need to watch your personal health and finances too. Taking care of yourself is important.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      By default (unless people opted for the beta) I give the Steam key only, but if you want the itchio one just let me know. It’s best if you reply with Kickstarter messaging so I know what your nickname is 🙂

      Reply
  3. Batou

    Hey Winter Wolf,

    I love your games and bought a couple of them in Steam, but since I am from Germany I cant buy this on on the store page. If I buy the key here can I activate it on Steam?

    It is silly that adult stuff is censored in so many countries but you can go play gta and cause havoc on cicilians and kill as much police officers as you like. It is silly. Sex and romance are healthy and natural things and shouldnt get censored like that.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi,
      yes if you buy from my site (which uses itchio) you also get a Steam key that works even if you’re in Germany (I had it tested before).
      And yes it’s really silly, especially for this game that is definitely not porn 😐

      Reply
  4. G Anderson

    About a month ago, I bought The Curse of Mantras (the $29.99 version). It is unusual, but I am curious about it, and I mostly like it.

    However, I have run into something which may be a bug. In several of my card battle games, the opponent can defeat me by either killing off all of my creatures, or by reducing my hero’s life points from 40 to zero. And I have only one way of winning, which is killing off all of my opponent’s creatures. What about reducing the opposing hero’s life points from 40 to zero? That does not appear to be possible. The opposing hero does not have a number of life points displayed, and I cannot get my creatures to attack the opposing hero, even when my opponent does not have any creatures in play.

    I was just looking at a saved version of a card battle to make sure I described this correctly. I was playing the Order version of Ace, and my team was Ace plus Kraken versus Cyberia plus Lily. The time was after the Fourth Awakening, and I was around level 4 for each element on the card battles.

    I hope that my description of this bug makes sense. Please let me know how to resolve it.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Yes that’s not a bug, in some battles it’s the only way to win (killing all the enemy card). I did that to make them more varied 🙂

      Reply

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