How far would you go for your partner? If you are or have been in a loving relationship, you know the feeling of wanting to do right by the one you choose to be your significant other. Relationships are all about having the great highs and dealing with some of the more unexpected lows and picking up the pieces. My Lovely Wife appears to be one such game where the price of love will have a very high cost from a moral and ethical perspective with a supernatural twist.
My Lovely Wife introduces you to the couple of Luna and Jake, with the opening scenes showing how they first met to them getting together. However, this introduction ends on a devastating note as Jake accidentally and fatally shoots Luna while trying to scare off a thief. As you would imagine this leaves him distraught. Not long after the accident, Jake is approached by a researcher who claims he has a way to resurrect the dead, but needs Jake’s help in collecting a much needed resource. That resource is Carnal Essence, or sexual energy to put it another way.
You will be forgiven for wondering how someone would even collect that, let alone the amounts required by the researcher. The answer is essentially exploitation and murder. My Lovely Wife asks you what price a good person will pay to bring back the one they love.
The researcher has another trick up his sleeve that he shares with Jake and that is the ability to summon a succubus, the demons known to seduce through sexual activities. They are the key to gathering Carnal Essence. Once all of this is explained My Lovely Wife becomes a management simulator in which you assign the succubi to different, um… jobs.
The succubi can be sent to different locations in the town. There is a Charm school to learn manners and increase the charm rating, as well as a Noire school to raise Flair which teaches the succubi the latest in human tastes from gentle kissing, kink play, and S&M. This helps with earning more money and Carnal Essence from the paying public. A hotel lets the succubus can perform by singing and dancing to make money, while a brothel allows for more explicit entertainment. Throughout the open beta we played, Jake is hesitant to send the succubi out to work and questions whether this is the right way of going things, but at the same time he is blinded by the need to bring his wife back from the dead.
Being a morally conflicted pimp of the supernatural is not the only way Jake must confront his situation. He can use the Carnal Essence himself to increase stats like his own charm to try and seduce a succubus, as if they fall in love with a human they turn human too. Of course there is a cost to improving Jake’s stats, and that cost is a life. The only way Jake can extract Carnal Essence himself is by murdering a succubus and taking the essence she has collected. This essence can also be extracted by the researcher, though that goes towards the cost of his research to raise the dead and does not kill the succubus in the process.
If you do choose to kill a succubus and gain their essence you can replace them by summoning another, but ingredients are needed. Different combinations will bring different succubi with different traits to them. These can be seen as positive and negative including Attractive and Gold Digger, and will have an impact on how much money and essence is earned through a day. There are only so many hours in a day so you will not be able to send the succubi everywhere, meaning you will have to choose if they are going to be working or studying. They also have their own personalities, stories, and requests which you will need to be attuned to.
It can be disturbing at times. For example, the succubus Rose is very timid and will say things like she wants to go home. Even though they feed off sexual energy, they have needs and cares that you want to try and meet.
My Lovely Wife throws up a moral quandary for players and will lead you to explore your own ideas. The succubi may be demons, but in essence they are women who have been summoned against their will, been bound, and essentially forced into sex work to meet the desires of Jake, no matter how uneasy he is about the whole thing. While attachments can be formed with them, it comes at a cost of making them fall in love with Jake, which is sure to be unrequited as he is exploiting them to bring back Luna. You really have to ask is the cost of murder and sex work worth the price of bringing her back?