Love Bakudan stars players as Haruka Mishima, a 23-year-old lesbian who receives an inheritance for her grandmother's bookstore in Akiyama, Japan. It's not just any store. Her grandmother ran Bakudan Books, an adult bookstore within the town's red-light district. Now that her smut-peddling grandma has passed, it's Haruka's turn to run the store, so she returns to her hometown to pick up the family legacy and "mix business with pleasure." And yes, that includes "girls falling in love and on top of each other."
"Haruka has to romance a particular girl of choice to be able to sleep with her, but the girls that you don't pick may be messing around with each other on the side," developer Noodletub Games told the Daily Dot. "For these side pairings, we're considering adding in CGs if funding permits it, but we'd really love to be able to expand on these just to add more NSFW content into the game!"
Noodletub Games is a Vancouver-based queer development studio led by Cat and Blair, Love Bakudan's writer and programmer, respectively. After the two met online, they created The Ghost of You, a December 2018 yuri horror game involving "romantic conflicts, personal demons, and a song so haunting it warps the mind."
Love Bakudan is equally interested in yuri content, but the upcoming visual novel will be an "erotic comedy/drama" instead. Alongside adult scenes between Haruka and her love interest, the game will let players read the erotic books that Haruka successfully sells to customers. These stories are still being written, but developer Noodletub Games teased that several premises include "demon/master, sugar mommies," and "even someone's harmonica teacher."
"The books are going to have many different concepts. We want a nice mixture of both goofy and genuinely arousing," the studio said. "We haven't finalized most of these story ideas yet, so there is definitely a possibility to include BDSM and more."
Noodletub Games also said the team is "totally open" to adding a trans love interest.
"As both of us know how important gender identity and transitioning is to so many different people, we'd like to be more educated on people's experiences and preferences over the coming months of how to portray this topic well," the developer said.
Love Bakudan's development went through multiple iterations since August 2019, the studio said. In an older version, instead of selling erotic books, Haruka and the game's cast were Tokyo lesbians who go to a bar called Wings. But the developers thought the game was "lacking in plot and substance," so they considered what they would really want to see in a game.
The result was Love Bakudan, and the idea won over Kickstarter backers. Over the past month, the team received more than $6,000, unlocking multiple stretch goals for the visual novel. These include three additional romance routes, more illustrations, and extra erotic novels. Love Bakudan's success is a testament to Kickstarter's potential for queer adult game developers.
"The outpouring of love and support in general has been so fulfilling, we really can't thank everyone enough for their retweets, posts, just thinking about pledging and more," Noodletub Games said.
Love Bakudan is set for release in September via Steam and itch.io. Interested readers can still back the game on Kickstarter in exchange for special prerelease rewards.