It’s an especially good time to be a BL gamer—joseimuke localization studio, Moonchime just dropped the urban fantasy BL, Tokyo Onmyoji and MangaGamer is giving us Adelta’s tokusatsu BL game, UUUltraC later this month. But, the game that has been dominating my feed for the past few weeks is none other than NU: carnival, an 18+ mobile gacha game from Taiwanese developer, Infinity Alpha. Just a few weeks after it’s release and it’s already surpassed 1 million downloads, so I just had to see what all the fuss was about! Dive into a magical new world with Eiden and his horny companions; build your harem to battle in RPG styled battles and immerse yourself in a fun isekai adventure full of fantasy and desire!
- Genre: Gacha | Boys Love | Adult
- Rating: R18 (explicit, uncensored adult content)
- Where to Play: Android & iOS
Many hundreds of years ago, the elemental spirits on the Klein Continent were causing total mayhem. In order to put a stop to this chaos, the Grand Sorcerer – a man known only as Huey – decided to build five altars across the land, each implanted with a gigantic gemstone which would allow him to regulate and seal away these imbalanced elements.
From then on, every dozen or so years, Huey and his clan members would set out on a journey to maintain the gemstones and seals at each of the five altars.
However, twenty years ago, Huey suddenly disappeared. With no one to maintain the altars, the elemental harmony he had created started to disintegrate. Soon monsters started appearing in all corners of the land. As the elemental spirits fell into disarray once more, Klein became plagued with natural disasters and the dreaded Dead Zone began to spread.
Then one day, two familiars, created many years ago by Huey, used a secret technique to summon a man from another world. They instantly recognized him as a descendant of their master – and maybe… just maybe, he’s the hero they’ve been waiting for.Official Synopsis
Characters of NU: carnival
Gameplay and Features
Gotta collect ’em all!
NU: carnival is plain and simple a gacha game, so you have to collect character cards that can be used in combat and in for completing various quests. You use contracts to pull for cards—you can pull one at a time or ten at a time with contract bundles. Like other gacha games, cards have different rarity levels (SSR > SR > R > N) that come with added perks for the RPG battles and unlock special H-scenes during gameplay. Rarer cards have different probabilities, so you’ll end up with a bunch of duds most of the time. I’m a complete novice at gacha games, so most of it kind of goes over my head, but the cards are pretty to look at and after some help from folks more knowledgeable that me I was able to do a few pulls on my own. Once you have your cards you can start building your teams for battles.
The game is a social RPG, so NU: carnival does encourage you to make friends with other players for in-game perks and items. You can earn daily Friendship Points that can be used in the special Friendship Contracts pulls (but the highest cards you can pull are SRs).
Card RPG Combat
NU: carnival has an RPG styled combat system, where you use your bae cards to battle monsters and various enemies to earn experience and special items. The monsters range from wolf beasts to gigolos (yes, you read that right) and not gonna lie it’s kind of hilarious fighting random dudes instead of monsters. There’s also a fun feature where your characters’ clothes get destroyed when they take on enemy attacks, so you get a bit of a sneak peek at the goodies even when you’re getting your ass kicked.
Thankfully the turn based battle system is simple enough—each character card has a set element type and class with varying degrees of effectiveness in battle. Early on you can get by just attacking at random, but as the story progresses I had to learn to strategize a bit (having a Healer class card, was honestly a blessing), but it never got to be too difficult. Though, if you find that you’re being out classed you can always tackle a bunch of Daily Missions to gain more experience before going back to the main story stuff.
As you gain experience and level up, you can also level up your cards to increase your team. Early on the game throws a ton of items at you to help get you on your way so it’s easier to level up without having to spend money.
Let there be SMUT!!
Right off the bat, NU: carnival hits you with the smut, kicking off the the game with a surprise fully voiced, uncensored threesome between Eiden, Aster, and Morvay. The first H-scene starts immediately after the load screen, so you know, maybe wear headphones. Most BL will fade to black or cleverly hide the peens, but in NU: carnival, all the tasty bits are on full display—no pesky mosaics, lightsabers, or my personal favorite invisa-cocks, just fully rendered peens! I love my smut, so I was in heaven right from the start and as an added bonus the H-scenes are all animated so you can witness every thrust, fondle, and movement in great detail~
Even during the “non-smut” scenes they definitely keep things steamy—during the battles when your cards take damage the character’s clothes take damage (exposing their *eyebrow wiggle* assets). You can also unlock character specific H-scenes during the regular story mode by collecting certain SSR character cards.
Raise Intimacy to Unlock More Goodies
Another way to get more smut is by raising Intimacy in special rooms (five total per character/card) where you can interact with your chosen cards by giving them special items (intimacy items have little hearts next to them) that raise their “affection”. Tapping the screen can be a bit tedious, but at least they make it worth your time—as you tap and raise the gauge, the characters will become more and more disheveled. 😏Note, like everything else in the game, giving gifts uses up energy, so you’re limited on how many gifts you can give in one sitting (don’t worry they replenish at a steady rate). The higher the intimacy gauge the more disheveled your character gets until everything is in tatters. Maxing out intimacy in certain rooms will unlock special H-scenes, stories, and/or items.
NU: carnival Review
While working late, sex toy designer, Eiden finds a mysterious neon colored gemstone and is immediately isekai’d to the Klein Continent, a place full of magic, adventure, and lewd boys~ But, all is not as it seems in Klein, after the disappearance of Sorcerer Huey the elemental balance is all out of whack and so Huey’s familiars summon Eiden to Klein to help restore harmony to the land. There is a surprisingly thorough amount of world building in NU: carnival, albeit with a smutty twist, but it’s there. It’s not anything we haven’t seen before from the fantasy genre—totally normal dude gets magically transported to another world only to discover that he has special powers that will change the fate of said world. NU: carnival isn’t reinventing the wheel here, but it does have fun with it and for me that goes a long way.
It’s clear the writers of the game aren’t prudes, so expect a lot of kinky bits and fun flirty dialogue and I’m not ashamed to admit that the writing got a few genuine laughs out of me. Eiden, especially is one of my new fave BL protagonists. Like otome games, most BL games like to go the naïve, chaste route with their leads or worse case, they go the “I’m totally not gay” route, which is both frustrating and ridiculous. So, having a character that is not on not afraid of sex, but absolutely, 100% DTF, is honestly refreshing. The only other time I’ve seen this in a BL is with Haru from No Thank You!!!, but let’s be real he takes things a bit too far. Eiden on the other hand is a pretty chill dude who’s just down for a good time with whoever is willing and available—and trust me EVERYONE is willing and VERY available.
Now, that said, NU: carnival isn’t a romance in the “traditional” sense, there’s plenty of hanky panky going on but don’t expect roses and heartfelt confessions. And for a game like this, that works, sometimes you just want something quick and dirty without all the extra fluff and the writers take that and run wild with it! The smut scenes are well written, I mean dialogue about an incubus giving head isn’t exactly classic literature, but compared to some fanfics I’ve read it’s pretty good. The H-scenes are only elevated by the gorgeous art, animation, and full voice acting (that sound direction is on point with the moans and panting). There’s a lot of great sex positive elements to the game that I wish we could see in more BL games, like Eiden (and all the characters’) openness about their sexuality and desires. We live in an age where casual hookups and open relationships are the norm, and it’s about time our games caught up with the times a little.
I am far from an expert in gacha games, and if like me you aren’t familiar with the mechanics it can be a bit daunting—the tutorials are helpful, but a bit lacking for someone new to games like this, which is why I’m glad there are so many guides out there (Voca of Otome Haven has a great one that is super helpful). The mechanics are pretty standard for a gacha game, but I had fun all the same (probably because I don’t play a lot of them in the first place). The battle system is easy enough to figure out and if you’ve played Pokémon you already know all you need to know about type advantages. There are some things that I’ll have to get in the habit of doing like leveling up cards, but once you get a good rhythm in, most of the gameplay mechanics become second nature. If there was anything I’d complain about it would be the gacha pulls, they are based solely on probability (read: luck). Maybe it’s just me, but I have had some pretty meh pulls, but I hear that’s normal.
Also, because of the content of the game you can’t get NU: carnival through the usual app stores (they’re funny about 18+ content), so you’ll have to download the game through the official site (there are also download instructions there for the less tech savvy, such as myself). I have an Android phone so the install was pretty simple, but I know there are some other steps for iOS users.
The Verdict: Is NU: carnival Worth Playing?
Okay, so full disclosure, gacha and freemium mobile games are not my usual go to; grinding for items and waiting for daily story tickets/energy to reload can be a pain in the ass and after awhile I just lose interest. So, when I saw that NU: carnival had been released I will admit that I was a bit hesitant to dive in. But, the allure of smut (and the encouragement of folks on Discord) convinced me to download the game and give it a try and I’m so glad I gave it a try.
The story is your run of the mill isekai romp, but where NU: carnival really shines is in it’s fun writing and characters, gorgeous visuals, and of course the smut! This is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s all the better for it! So, if you haven’t already, give NU: carnival a try, just maybe not in public!
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