Konosuba has entrenched itself as a fan favourite. The fantasy-comedy genre has been a constant for almost as long as I've been a fan of the medium, with everything from Those Who Hunt Elves to Slayers, but Konosuba seems to have an unusual level of staying power, from it's web novel roots in 2012 to a multimedia juggernaut some 12 years later.
The latest entry into the Konosuba pantheon is Love for these Clothes of Desire, a cheeky mix of visual novel and crafting RPG that sees our characters using magical artifacts to create new outfits for each of the series heroines.
Firstly, I've not seen much of Konosuba; comedy isekai aren't usually my thing, with my tastes being toward more serious examples of the genre such as Escaflowne or Shield Hero, but I was quite surprised to find out how much I knew of the series through osmosis, as I recognised the characters and knew enough about them to understand the conversations (such as why Darkness likes to throw herself into battle and why the rest of the party think she's so useless at combat - hint, she's a masochist that can't fight for toffee) but if you're completely new to the series, you're going to be completely lost here. Happily the game comes with a short slideshow to introduce the characters and the world of Konosuba, which is a lovely touch.
That said, if you know the characters already then everything here is exactly as you'd want it - the snarky back-and-forth, misfit character traits and situations are all very much on brand, and fans should find a lot to love in the story aspects of the game. Everything is presented with clear dialogue and some beautiful character illustrations to move things along.
The introduction is pretty long, with the entire premise being set up in visual novel style, so be prepared to do a lot of reading. Visual novel fans will be used to this comic book approach, but if you're looking for something to actually do, you'll be waiting a while for it.
The gang have found a black tablet and gemstone while questing (badly) and take it to their friend Wiz to find out more about the magical abilities of these items. The tablet, it turns out, can create clothes with items fed to it, with each garment having the slight drawback of bestowing a curse on the person wearing it, inverting their personality. This makes Megumin proud of her small chest and derisive of those endowed with larger assets. Darkness wants to dish out punishment rather than receive it, and our useless Goddess Aqua is suddenly caring and responsible.
The original owner wants the tablet back and the thieves exiled, but there's a get-out-of-jail card to play - craft a person the outfit of their deepest desires and they'll be free of curses and consequences.
So you'll be playing dress up with cute outfits on the girls. Which is surprisingly addictive.
Each outfit will lift a curse - of course "sexy" is a theme you'll encounter often...
When it comes to gameplay, it's a time-management sim which requires you to find items to make clothing, or earn money to buy what can't be sourced elsewhere. This can be accomplished via odd jobs like babysitting and mining, all of which can be assigned to party members in order to maximise efficiency. At times, you'll need to accomplish specific tasks to unlock outfits required by the story, so you'll be chasing certain quests (such as taking on specific enemies) to attain these rarities.
Time spent on activities earn you items you'll need for outfits. Simple.
Beyond this, the game also works as a romance simulator, with Kazuma given multiple chances to pursue girls via conversations that allow three possible responses to each conversation tree - charm the lady in question and you're on your way to a date and unlocking some nice artwork. This is entirely in line with the usual anime harem tropes, so it's a chance for fans to put themselves in the hero's shoes and try their luck with an attractive cast of potential romantic interests. These paths are clearly marked out in the aforementioned slideshow, so it's a doddle to get the ending you're interested in.
Graphically the game isn't overly animated, with most of the emotion coming from the fully voiced dialogue. It's a big game too, with plenty of situations and reams of pages to tell the story. It's funny and a little pervy, just like the show, so tonally it gets things pretty much spot on.
The gameplay, such as it is, isn't terribly challenging. There's no real feeling of pressure when trying to acquire what you need, it just seems to be a case of running through the motions to get to the next stage, and that will either please you (assuming you're after a relaxing experience) or bore you rigid. In this sense the game is quite marmite, as it's barely a game in all honesty. It's entertaining and satisfying, but it's certainly not difficult.
Of course, there's more to do than just the main story, and with the large number of side-quests involving the regular cast and various side-characters, you'll likely want to create cute outfits for all the girls you meet on your travels and this expands the game's content considerably. It helps that the dialogue is well written and entertaining, so you'll certainly want to do as much as you can to generate more interactions if you're into the vibe of the game.
These are the interactions you're playing for.
Ultimately this is a game for fans that allows a tremendous amount of content creation based on your own efforts. It's a well-written, genuinely funny and slightly lewd tale that should appeal to series and genre fans alike. It's quite crazy how charming the game gets, how addictive the costume element is for gacha fans and how self-aware the game is of its own lunacy. I'm not the biggest visual novel fan in the world, but I genuinely had a great time with the title, which works perfectly on Steam Deck for those that were wondering.
The title was provide by PQube (which is just as well as it would have passed me by otherwise!)