There are a number of dating sims out on the market right now. Typically, they’re similar to Konami’s Tokimeki Memorial series, only featuring humans. The premise of these games typically involves generally going on dates with people and choosing an option from a selection to progress the story. There are, however, some games that are a little different. The game Hatoful Boyfriend focuses on pigeons, Jurassic Heart, features a girl and a dinosaur, and then there’s the upcoming Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim.
In Tusks, orcs travel an annual pilgrimage to the Scottish Highlands in groups. These groups change every year, which is where the story starts. The player becomes part of a group consisting of a few orcs, a humanoid boar, a human, and a selkie. The player can interact with them, forming different relationships with members like friendship, romantic, or something different.
Developer Mitch Alexander explained on his Tumblr account why he chose to put orcs in a dating sim. He wrote, “Monsters are the eternal outsiders — and I think a lot of people who don’t mesh up quite well tend to empathise and relate to the monsters sometimes more than the heroes that tend to take centre stage.”
However, the orcs don’t exactly act like monsters. Some of them are funny, sweet, or smart, and they all have their own personalities and backgrounds. Alexander wrote, “Most games that feature orcs are RPGs and hack-and-slash games where orcs are hulking brutes amassing in a horde; I don’t think they have to be limited to just that…”
The orcs are designed to look different than characters in other dating sims. Just like any other regular person, they have scars, stretchmarks, body hair, big round bellies, and one is even missing an arm. The game is very much about inclusion. Yes, there are gay orcs, but there’s also mental illness, physical disabilities, and different races.
The design of the orcs, combined with NPC autonomy, gives the game variety. NPC autonomy allows for the AI to choose what they want, and at times, they can even overrule your decisions. The same goes for mature content. Tusks does have adult themes, and while NSFW content can be turned on and off, it doesn’t affect the artwork. You’re still going to get scantily clad orcs in your game.
I got to play the demo version and to be honest, I’m not sure what I expected, but I am interested in playing the full game. The demo only lasts for one day (roughly 20 minutes), which isn’t much to make speculations on. It works mostly as an introduction to the game, and gives background information for the story. The only part about the demo I wasn’t fond of was that there wasn’t any sound, but hopefully there will be some added in later.
The game has gotten so much coverage that there’s already a bit of an online following. People are sending fan art to Alexander, asking him questions, and praising him on the game.
So far, there is no set release date, but the demo is available on PC, Mac, and Linux.
What do you think? Will you date orcs? Comment below to let us know.