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Opinion

Hands On, Quite Literally, With Coming Out On Top

Out now.

After missing out on the review copy of Hatoful Boyfriend I was rather annoyed, after all who doesn’t want to play a pigeon dating simulator? Happily something more suitable has come along in the gym-fit shape of Coming Out On Top, a dating game for the PC in which you play as a recently out gay man who spends the last few weeks of his last semester trying to juggle friends, relationships and studying.

Describing Coming Out On Top as a game is stretching the definition of the word as you spend 99% of your time hitting space bar to advance the story, pausing only to make a choice that well affect the plot. It’s more like one of those old ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books but with sex toys and flirty college professors, think Fifty Shades of Gay: The Interactive Novel.

You play as Mark Mathews, a senior at Orlin University and within a few clicks of the game you have come out to your two best friends and room mates, Ian and Penny. As the weeks pass you will have to try and keep your friends happy, pass your course and, if possible, try your hand at some sex. And if you can’t win over any of the hot guys you can just use your hand; Mark seems to spank the monkey more than anybody I know.

coot

The script is, for the most part, witty and dry with plenty of banter between your friends, and if you have annoyed them you can always chat to your goldfish who I named Blair after our esteemed editor. Penny is quite gossipy and cheeky whilst Ian is more of a jock who is having girlfriend troubles and a saucy sex life.

As for the sex, well it’s little cringeworthy and about as erotic as a week old cheese sandwich. That’s not the fault of the creator, that’s just my personal opinion on any written descriptions of sexual acts. Although there are no animations there are graphic illustrations to the acts so this is not a game to be played in front of Grandma, “Unless she’s like, into that kind of thing,” jokes the developer Obscurasoft.

Sex aside there are plenty of laugh out loud moments including your mother phoning you at the most inappropriate moment ever, and a built in Grindr style app that lets you browse profiles with amusing takes on gay stereotypes. Your potential boyfriends – or in the games I have played, one night stands – are all musclebound hunks with chiseled jawlines and abs you could use as a xylophone. Obscurasoft, which is comprised of a lone female developer, promise that a greater range of men will be available via a forthcoming update.

There really isn’t much more to the game than clicking and choosing options and a playthrough will take you a couple of hours, but there is some replay value trying to date the other characters. You can also tweak the characters’ appearance, adding beards and chest hair and this has to be the first game ever to come with a “Condom On/Off” option.

The game tries to depict gay men in realistic, albeit idealised way. Everyone is extremely supportive and happy when Mark comes out but making extremely inappropriate comments (which are far too graphic for me to mention) result in a slammed door, rather than a punch in the face which is what you would get in real life. You also seems to be able to seduce straight men which is a little fantastical, but it there again it does happen (ahem ahem). The price, around £13, is also rather steep considering the short length.

I’m not one for flag waving and marching at a gay pride event is the last thing I would do, and I think the best way to combat homophobia is to treat everyone equally, no matter their orientation. In-your-face gayness annoys me and Coming Out On Top, which is quite over-the-top, does raise my hackles a little. Everything is far too perfect in Gayworld, not least the haircuts and biceps, I would have preferred a game which was more true to life.

However, I have to respect and admire the female developer who has had the guts to make, if you will pardon the pun, a balls-out gay game. I’m not expecting you to buy it, I’m not expecting you to like it, and I don’t like it that much to be honest, it’s just nice to know that the western world has finally caught up with the east, where Bara and Yaoi have been popular for many years.

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5 Comments
  1. salvodaze
    Member
    Since: Dec 2012

    Good to see a review of this here, and a good one at that. Too graphic novel-y and expensive for my taste but I have a few friends in mind who I can steam gift this to :).

    Comment posted on 19/12/2014 at 15:03.
  2. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    in any dating game though aren’t the options all super good looking?
    this game isn’t unique in having all the potential romances be attractive.

    anyway, it looks pretty good for a lone developer.

    can’t say i’d be picking it up, if the dev makes a sequel, or spin off, featuring a lesbian lead i’d definitely be more interested. ^_^

    but i wish her success with this game.

    hopefully it will result in tons of sales rather than torrents of abuse, from other less enlightened communities.
    though i fear i know which is more likely.

    Comment posted on 19/12/2014 at 16:20.
  3. MrJimmy
    Member
    Since: Forever

    Awesome final two paragraphs TC, a fine show of honesty and opinion! Best review I’ve read for ages, despite an utter indifference to the game from the start!

    Comment posted on 19/12/2014 at 17:44.
  4. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    i’ve discovered that this game won’t be coming to steam.

    apparently sex is obscene and therefore not allowed on steam, not even cartoon sex.

    seems more than a little hypocritical to call games like this and Seduce Me obscene while the head of the company personally OKs a game like hatred.

    i will never understand the american “sex is bad, violence and murder is fine” attitude.

    how does a game where a serial killer goes on a graphic murder spree pass muster, but a game where two consenting adult have sex gets pulled?

    Comment posted on 23/12/2014 at 13:13.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      You should pose that question to the podcast team.

      Comment posted on 24/12/2014 at 10:55.