is it wrong to kiss the bracken?! review

if you went back to 12 yr old me and told it "hey you're going to kiss monsters and be unemployed when you grow up" i think i would not have taken it well

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER! While this review does not go into any of the NSFW elements of the game, it does include optional NSFW storyline in case you plan to play. It is easily avoidable, comes with a pre-warning, ect ect. Just in case that’s something you care about.

Ever so often something takes the internet by storm, and a little bit back, that happened to be Lethal Company. If you don’t know at least slightly what that is – horror/survival game where you collect scrap metal from planets and avoid creatures. With internet virality tends to come other people riding off your success. Bootleg toys, content slop, and...a dating simulator with one of the monsters of the game?

Is It Wrong to Kiss the Bracken!? is a dating simulator visual novel, which usually isn’t up my alley, but it’s the bracken so it’s somehow ok and based in my head. That’s right, I’m using this review to come out as a monsterkisser. It was apparently made in aprox. twelve days by user HelloYinny (there will be a link at the end of this, I swear), not meant to be taken seriously, but still manages to boast a wordcount and three routes with six endings to them. For the sake of transparency and “I didn’t feel like playing the game over that much”, I only went through one of the routes, which was the SFW romantic one. Anyways, this review will be seperated into two sections, because visual novels are not that complex. It’s a novel with some pictures to go along with it.

The Visual of the Novel: ...I almost didn’t play this because of how the visuals are when I saw them at first, only entrapped in by the fact that I already kind of wanted the bracken in a way I cannot describe publicly on this website (I know it’s my own and I can say whatever I want, but I need manners and dignity). Now, for everybody who needs a refresher, I will now put the bracken of the visual novel next to the actual design from Lethal Company.

Come the fuck on. It’s barely a bracken, that thing is Brandon. It isn’t the lanky, slouched, aloof yet oh so dangerous entity it deserves to be. It has the hair thing for when you were twelve and had to draw a bald character but didn’t really want to. It looks like PHIGHTING! fanart. When I saw this on social media, I was genuinely speechless about it. Where is the monster in monsterfucker.

In addition, there was a great wealth of obviously-traced art, mostly for the backgrounds, which is excusable, but for your crewmate at the start of the game as well, which is less than with how obviously traced it really was. This was my initial draw for the game – just how bad would this get if the first greetings were of lethally inaccurate brackens?

The Novel of the Visual: I was, instead, pleasently surprised with the writing. It even caught me off guard, because with the disclaimer that this game was not meant to be taken too seriously, despite a few things here or there that made me stop reading to take a moment to process “hey man. Hey.”, it actually did turn out to be cute for a monster/human romance. Definetly touched on some aspects that I personally find very, very lovely to think about with the subject. The writing quality in itself is not any sort of great American novel quality, and I would probably find it odd if it was, given the subject manner, but it definetly wasn’t low quality either.

It also mixes the actual lore and gameplay of Lethal Company pretty well with what it actually is – gameplay elements are mentioned in a non-corny way and not extremely leaned on for support in the writing, and it slowly strays off from that into the entire point of the game – you get to romance a bracken. It passes the Harkness test, albeit non-verbally, which, well, thank God. Hell, it’s actually really cute. I am not immune to the writing. Made me feel some sort of softness not expectant of the Feeling Machine.

And kept me reading it until I hit one of the endings, and left me to go do something else with that lingering, soft feeling that something out there really did fall in love with me too. And that’s the entire point of dating sims – make you feel all comfortable and stuff. It sure did that. Even if the topic may be niche, if you can get past the visuals, or just put a piece of paper on a good chunk of your monitor, it’s a well read.

Oh, and one nitpick – Coil-heads don’t spawn on that moon you put them on. Check the spawn rates next time.

Overall, while I probably won’t go back to it anytime soon, I would say that if you’re in that said niche audience for it, maybe try picking it up and playing.

You can download the game for free here.