Black Monkey Pro is the gift that just keeps on giving. After their disbandment back in 2015, I thought I was done with the company and their… unique boys love game offerings. But, lo in 2017, a kind reader informed me that BMP had risen from the ashes and re-branded themselves as Herculion, retaining many of the original staff. But, the cherry on top of this delightful revelation is that they were already hard at work on their “first” boys love visual novel, Full Service. Given my less than enthusiastic opinion of BMP’s previous titles, I was wary of anything remotely related to the BMP brand, but I played the first demo for the game and I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it—I found that I was actually looking forward to the official release!
Full Service follows Tomoki Nakamoto, a workaholic looking for a little excitement in his life. One day, he gets invited to visit the local spa, where he meets a group of hunky masseurs who are more than happy to help him relieve a little excess stress. Suddenly his mundane life is about to get much more exciting.
*There are some uncensored NSFW images towards the end of this review*
Don’t get me wrong, Full Service isn’t going to change the boys love game industry and the premise isn’t what I’d call “progressive”, but if you’re looking for something lighthearted and inoffensive, you really can’t go wrong with this game. It has a lot of the same shortcomings I remember in the previous Black Monkey Pro games—arbitrary sexual encounters and trope-y characters—but there were also several big improvements. This game spent a little over three years in production and that extra time really went a long way in making this a much more enjoyable for me. The story is simple, a young man looking to add a bit of excitement into his life visits a local spa full of hot guys. Since this is a boys love game, of course this is a spa that offers “special favors” in addition to their usual services. In Full Service all the extra sex makes sense, because the whole gimmick is that all the masseurs give special favors as part of their job—whether this constitutes as prostitution or not isn’t really touched on in the game—though the writers go to great pains to state that most of the guys are there of their of own free will.
Most of the game is pretty light-hearted, Tomoki gets closer to each of the masseurs and has lots of great sex, but there’s also a subplot involving a series of mysterious disappearances that is later revealed to be a part of something much more sinister. This storyline while interesting, doesn’t really become relevant until the latter half of the game and even then you don’t get the full scope of it until you finish your first playthrough and unlock the secret love interest. I won’t spoil it for you, since I found this reveal genuinely surprising and well worth the set up, however, I will admit it can be a bit jarring when compared with the rest of the game. Everything else is focused on developing the relationships between Tomoki and the employees at the Full Service Spa—stuff like group trips to festivals and a day at the beach—and then all of a sudden it’s, kidnappings and mysterious figures stalking the streets at night. It’s kind of out of left field, but it definitely adds a little something extra to an otherwise standard game.
The characters are fun, and there’s a nice variety of personalities—Kovit, the fun loving sex happy Thai massage specialist; Sota, a college student working part time as the spa’s resident Shiatsu specialist; Remi, a famous model who specializes in Swedish massage; Rald, your Bara daddy boss who specializes in Deep Tissue massage; Lenga, an amnesiac who loves food and specializes in Acupressure; and the twins Oki and Okan who specialize in Balinese massage and offer their special twin service. Some characters are stronger than others and you can really tell the difference (storywise) between the main characters and the characters that were elevated from extras to main cast later on in production. Lenga and the twins were added on much later on and while I like them as characters, I kind of felt like I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked. Their stories don’t really kick off until well after you’ve gotten acquainted with the main guys and they suffer for it because the story doesn’t really get the chance to flesh out their backstories. The main cast is a bit hit or miss for me, some were genuinely enjoyable—Rald was absolutely perfect from start to finish and Kovit, despite my usual aversion to flirty characters, was fun. But, I will say that the chemistry between all the guys more than made up for my general lackluster opinion of them as a whole.
I also really liked that the writers tied each of the characters’s massage types to their personalities, it was a really nice touch that really elevated the spa premise from just a gimmick to facilitate sex to something that was integral to the overall story. And, there is a lot of sex in this game, both as an extension of the spa services and as something that develops naturally as the relationships between Tomoki and the LIs grows. One thing BMP always got right was their sex scenes, and that’s something that has carried over to the Herculion team. If you are looking for a boys love game with steamy scenes, Full Service has you covered (and then some). The sexual encounters were steamy and there was a nice variety—oral sex, penetration, fun positions, and even some twin action—there is plenty of sex to excite all the fujoshi and fudanshi out there. Herculion really goes all out and I mean if you’re going to center your game around a spa that gives special favors you’d better make damn sure it’s done well…
Gameplay wise, Full Service has elements of a life simulator and a visual novel—events are triggered by visiting various locations and interacting with specific characters tied to each location. You can go on dates with the LIs, buy them gifts, and there are a handful of choices you can make that help build your relationship with each of the guys. The life sim elements of Full Service aren’t as intense as Meyaoi Games’s Seiyuu Danshi, which is great for someone like me that hates having to worry about constantly grinding stats. There was a fun work related mini-game that helps you generate in game currency to use for buying items for the LIs, but there was the option to skip it without any consequence. Full Service is a huge step-up from BMP’s other titles in terms of balance, (Bacchikoi had a mini game that while fun, was wholly under utilized) so it was great to see how far the team has come.
Aesthetically, Full Service is gorgeous, one thing I always loved about Black Monkey Pro was their art! The CGs are perfect and there’s such a variety too, the game boasts over 200 CGs and each one is a feast for the eyes! There are even some animated scenes and while they are simple, I definitely enjoyed them. The music was good and that opening theme is a bop, it’s catchy and upbeat, with a lot of great energy. The voice acting is good, and while I liked that Full Service featured both Japanese and English voice acting, I have to admit that I liked the Japanese VAs a bit more. Not to say that the English VAs didn’t do a good job, it’s just… some of the line delivery felt a little bored, especially during the “romantic” moments.
I’ve said this before, but most boys love media tends to focus on bishounen—thin, beautiful young boys and teens—which is fine, I like pretty boys as much as the next fujoshi. But, sometimes you like seeing some men with more meat on their bones and boy does Full Service deliver! Like their predecessor, Herculion stuffed their game with big buff, masculine men and I am here for it! Even Tomoki and Sota, who are arguably the smallest members of the cast are deliciously muscled… you can practically see their muscled physiques through their clothes!! The designs were great overall and I definitely would like to see more games featuring the Bara style.
So, the final verdict, I really liked Full Service. I know I wasn’t the biggest fan of BMP and their previous game offerings, but I really feel like they’ve come back much stronger as Herculion. Full Service is a solid boys love game with a fun cast of characters and a unique premise, that really came together in the end. I would definitely recommend this game to fans of the BL genre!
Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome! Here’s where I turn things over to you guys! Have you played any Black Monkey Pro games? How does Full Service stand up? And, what are some boys love games that you love?
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