Mirror has been out on Steam since November of last year and, in that time, has amassed over 6,000 reviews with an average of “Overwhelmingly Positive”—which gave me the distinct impression that, unlike many cheaply-made erotic games on Steam or any flavor of console you might prefer, Mirror might actually be good.

NSFW Warning: This story contains explicit cartoon sexual images!

Mirror is an erotic visual novel and a match-three game all in one, which is quite popular in mainstream erotic games—perhaps because it gives the player the sense that they’re actually working for the reward of sex scenes, rather than just figuring out which dialogue choice will make a girl knock boots with you. Needless to say, neither are particularly successful approaches in the real world, but Mirror is quite pointedly not the real world, and neither is it actually trying to teach you how to woo women.

Eight women, unlocked one by one, await the player inside Mirror. Each one has four scenes to play through, increasing in sexual tension as they go. And each also requires the player to win a match-three game against the same woman to progress. The match-three games are framed as a battle, and when you win, your opponent looks bruised and battered, with cuts all down their torso.

It’s pretty tough to go from flirting—albeit BDSM-tinged flirting—to trying to defeat the object of your affection in what basically amounts to bloody sword-fighting. It’s also not particularly sexy to have to fight what is essentially the Candy Crush AI, so I ended up being angry at the women more often than I expected. Sorry, ladies.

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Upon beating three out of four match-three games, the player is segued into a sex scene with no match-three games whatsoever. These are largely static, with the woman in question splayed out before you in environments and clothing that depend on the story. There are three options down the side—also dependent on the context—that give you options on how and where to touch her. You can cause pleasure, or pain, and maximizing one or the other will give you either a good or bad ending.

These sex scenes are very well done, artistically and mechanically, apart from the fact that some kind of censorship laws have caused the developers to plaster a creepy blushing rabbit over the more private parts. I imagine (or at least, hope) that most people who regularly play sex games on Steam are used to this sort of clumsy censorship, but it turns out that there’s nothing more off-putting than a rabbit’s glistening arse in the middle of a sex session.

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It’s also pretty clear that Mirror is aimed at a BDSM crowd, which means that it pushes quite a few uncomfortable boundaries in the name of carving out a safe zone in which one can explore otherwise dangerous fantasies. There are scenes with rape, torture, and forced impregnation, and only one contains a content warning—a scene in which a woman is torn apart by a demon tentacle baby.

Each woman has two endings, based on how much pain or pleasure she is in, and they’re mostly divided into bad and good endings respectively. None of this is ever being done to the player, but nevertheless makes for some upsetting scenes—though it can be argued that the player is able to ‘choose’ whether or not to view the upsetting parts by inflicting pain or pleasure as they please.

If you want to see even more scenes from Mirror, here’s a slideshow:

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The game is beautiful to look at, with detailed, colorful background art and characters that, unlike most visual novels, have animated bodies and poses. Although the sex scenes were a little bit, uh, juicier than I’d have personally liked—imagine two slugs kissing and you’ll have some idea—I can’t fault them for the presentation.

However, the writing, either because of bad localization or just bad writing in the first place (and, I suspect, it’s actually both) vacillates wildly between creepy, funny, and cringey. In one scene, a demon possesses a girl’s uncle and starts talking about her breasts. In another, a dragon-maid gets hopelessly turned on by Shakespeare’s sonnets. In a later scene, a bunch of dead pharaohs declare that a woman is “fleshy” and “horny” enough to be one of their descendants.

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This all left me with the feeling that Mirror is, perhaps, trying to cater to several fetishes at once: BDSM, humiliation (there’s a lot of slut-shaming), childbirth, incest, and so on. But one player’s kink is another player’s turn-off, which means that there’s bound to be something in here that grosses you out even if other parts are more enticing.