REVIEW: Alpha Hole Prison from Y Press Games

Earthling Miguel Sanchez has been sentenced to life at Alpha Hole, a notorious space prison. His survival depends on using his charms to convince a powerful ally to protect him.

Warnings: dubcon, mentions of noncon, abuse, violence and suicide

Category: M/M

Alpha Hole Prison is a VN game that was funded on Kickstarter. It features an Earthling named Miguel who, due to a series of unfortunate events, has found himself accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and sentenced to a lifetime sentence in Alpha Hole, a maximum security prison where the worst criminals in the galaxy are kept. It’s a dubcon to con romance novel with a whole cast of romance-able options, all of them big, sexy, and with dark secrets in their pasts, which lets be honest- just makes them sexier.

WRITING
In common VN style, there are multiple branching paths that the story can take depending on your choices as a player. Each of these routes will unveil different aspects of the plot and story to you, there are things you won’t discover if you don’t romance a certain inmate and backstories that only become available depending on your decisions. It’s fairly easy to romance your marks, and the story is simple enough with multiple pieces all coming together very nicely. Miguel wants two things; love, and to get out of prison. And generally, he will find one or both of those assuming you don’t hit a Bad End first. But how much you discover about the characters is dependant on the player. I will say that while the story is very well written, there is a huge focus on consent lectures that maybe don’t need to be driven home as hard as they are; the scenario of the game is a dubcon scenario, so maybe the writers wanted to really make sure the content was not too objectionable, but I did feel like some of the interactions come off like a preachy PSA. (We get it, even though the whole premise of the game is the threat of rape, none of the characters are actually rapists. No need to have them all adamantly declare this constantly.)

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
The emotional component of the story is front and centre. This may be a porn game, but its also a romance game, and the emotional connection Miguel develops to his chosen protector is crucial to achieving that happy ending. Every single character has a compelling and angst ridden backstory to make them each complex as individuals, and even the ones you wouldn’t think you could be emotionally connected to turn out to not be quite what they appear. I loved every single character in this game, even the side characters were a joy, which means I can only wish there were more romance-able options to unlock, like, say, the prison warden for instance. The character interactions and the complicated grey moralities of their lives is where the writing shines its brightest, and you’re in for a real treat if you like a side of emotional depth in your smut. Miguel himself is compelling, not the typical blank slate you usually find in these sorts of games, which has its pros and cons. It’s nice to have him have a fully fleshed out backstory and motivations, but he’s also harder to project onto as the player because of it. A bit of give and take, there.

WORLDBUILDING
I very much enjoyed the worldbuilding here. There is a lot of aspects to the setting that are gradually explored, given each inmate represents a different alien race. Their planets and cultures are all explored as you romance them and get to know them more, exchanging information about Earth for information about where they are from. Many of the civilizations you encounter and learn about also have complicated political histories with each other, which is just icing on the cake. From alien cultures and technology to physiology to planets and histories, this game has a wonderful world that I’d love to see more stories set in. Xenoskar’s planet and species were especially interesting, and even the prison itself has some history to delve into depending on which routes you play.

STEAMINESS
Dear lord, the sex scenes in this are steamy. This is due in no small part to the fantastic voice acting employed, especially from the player character Miguel, who always sounds just almost like he might be about to cry. There’s moaning, there’s grunting, there’s dirty talk, and it’s fantastic, making what would already be pretty dang hot smut (with animated illustrations, even!) even hotter. My favourite scenes were the ones with Rexillator, who is such a beast of a sweet Dom that you can’t help falling head over heels in love with him. That said, there weren’t really any routes with much harder content than the consensual D/s you get with Rex, and I would have liked some more gruesome paths as well; maybe some noncon, maybe some guro, maybe a scene with the tentacle beast stalking the halls could have been nice, just for some added variety. For all that this is a dubcon scenario game, the sex is a lot sweeter than I would have expected, and though there is a fantastic spanking scene to unlock with Rex there’s no bondage, or even indulgence in masochism on the Xenoskar route, which could have been perfect for it.

Alpha Hole Prison is a great VN smut game that blends a wonderful mixture of both incredibly steamy porn with truly emotionally satisfying romance and story telling. My only real complaint is the ethical preachyness, especially considering the transactional nature of the sex involved. But its high production value and wonderful characters makes it a real treat and a must have if you’re into this sort of VN.

Have you played Alpha Hole Prison? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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