I WAS just thinking to myself the other day how there aren’t nearly enough games about the Victorian era with attractive optionally naked people in them, when I stumbled across Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business! on Steam.
Developed by The Men Who Wear Many Hats, the game is an offshoot of their earlier hat stacking game Max Gentlemen, featuring several of the same characters – albeit in a more uninhibited manner.
The developers describe Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business! as “The premiere Victorian Business Tycoon and Dating Simulator”, further going on to note:
Max Gentlemen Sexy Business! is a hilarious and titillating romp through Victorian era London as a social elite. Your family business has been stolen and you must partner with other powerful executives, fight your rivals and regrow your business to its former glory. Forge sexy partnerships in the sheets while crushing rival companies in the streets to become England’s largest monopoly.
Victorian-themed erotica? A business management-lite game? In the same place? Book me passage aboard the next airship!
The plot is that you, a ridiculously rich English person (you can choose whether to be male, female or transgender) have had your fortune stolen by that bounder, your Rival, and must set out to reclaim your good name and fortune, aided by your stalwart companions Business Maid and Battle Butler.
As part of this, you hire a range of executives and put them to work earning resources or developing skills to help you crush your rivals – a task that proves more challenging than initially though, but the game expects you to fail and encourages you to keep trying – it’s all terribly positive and amusing.
One of issues I’ve traditionally had with dating sims is they tend to be either a bit smutty, just a bit skeevy, or simply not to my taste.
Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business! is not like other dating sim games. For a start, it’s well drawn, it’s extremely well written, it’s very funny, and it’s good at everything it does – the business thing isn’t a thin veil between you and Digital N00ds, and nor is the nudity shoehorned in to spice up the business side of the game.
The game strikes a perfect balance between its subject matters, and has a vast array of customisation options which can be changed at will – everything from your “Gentsona” (avatar) appearance to gender to clothing to accessories, and the same is true of your Rival too.
I was really impressed with the game’s sex-positivity and ability to tailor the experience to a level you, the player, are comfortable with. I, for example, as a worldly gentleman of culture and education, rather enjoy images of consenting adult women sans fig leaf.
However, other people have different viewing preferences and the game is happy to accommodate them – from fully clothed through to tastefully censored through to full nudity.
There are a range of executives, both male and female, for your character to romance if they choose, and setting aside the whole “dating people you work with is one of the worst ideas since the Zeppelin designers thought hydrogen was the best gas to fill the floaty part with” thing, the game makes it clear they want to spend time with you and you have the option to keep your “dates” as a platonic experience if you so choose (or have things get more… adventurous as your relationship develops, too.)
You can romance any of the characters you like (and building up your relationship with them increases their skills), and you also have full control over whether the relationship is that of “friends”, “flirty”, or “sexual” – so you are not forced to have a romantic relationship with a member of a gender you’re not attracted to.
From an actual gameplay perspective, the action mostly takes place on a map of a Victorian city (said to be London, but the area doesn’t match anything in my London A-Z) where you put executives to work doping things like earning money, levelling up their boxing skills, developing their moustache (or inner moustache, for the ladies), and converting money into gold.
This latter thing is very important because you’ve got a hefty business loan to pay off or else you fail and have to start again, following a bit of a gloat from The Rival.
The writing is really good and had me laughing out loud on several occasions. The characters are great, ranging from the hyper-manly Max Gentlemen to the mad steampunk inventor Penny Farthing to unhinged socialite Fanny Shufflebottom, among many others.
It is clear the developers had a lot of fun making the game and want you to have a lot of fun playing it too, and they have succeeded most splendidly.
For a game that could very easily have been a joke title, Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business is outrageously fun, hilariously funny, and truly different.
While definitely a game for adults only, it’s such a different and offbeat game that proved so entertaining that I have no hesitation at all in highly recommending it for those of an appropriate age looking for a mature game that will make you laugh and be entertained without feeling like an uncultured boor in the process.