Yeah, no, you aren’t getting any more of the cover art, especially since it’s work safety is debatable and my image editor will not save as any sort of standard file, so you get to enjoy a horrible crop.
Custom Maid 3D is a recently released game from Kiss, who partnered with G Project to develop some new idea for visual novels.
Since this is a preview and not a review (unless Kiss wants to send me a review copy, which is not happening) I’m just going to discuss the good and bad that I see.
The plot involves training a maid in 20 days, and you train her in all sorts of tasks, and whatever you teach her in that time limit is unlocked for use in a free play mode. I wonder where I have seen that before. Well, not exactly the same, but similar enough to say they copied many ideas. However, Custom Maid 3D mixes it up by including a wireless accessory for ‘interaction’ which it completely unlike the wired one seen in a completely different game. It is all original ideas not copied from anywhere for Kiss it seems.
The good: One thing I panned Ai Droid for was the lack of any sort of interaction add-on, which made the free play mode useless for its intended purpose. Weirdly, it seems like someone at Kiss read my review of Ai Droid and 3D Custom Girl and decided that adding the functions of 3DCG to Ai Droid would be a good seller.
In theory, it’s not a bad idea. The wireless accessory also serves as a controller, with selection buttons and what even appears to be a small joystick for scrolling through menus, choices, etc. Kiss knows their audience and what they want, and I must congratulate them on a fairly good idea. In 3DCG, if you want to move the camera or something, you get to go click and drag the mouse, and moving the buttons to something you are already using is a clever simplification.
Compared to the 3DCG controller, it really doesn’t look like a frightening re-creaton of the genitals of a corpse, and the overall appearance of the controller is a bit better. A weird looking black tube versus an even weirder looking oddly shaped white tube. Not much of a win, but the insert does seem to be a visual improvement.
The game engine also seems to be really well done. Running the Benchmark gave me far superior results to 3DCG, and the characters render better, animations are better, appearances are better. Overall, the appearance is vastly improved when compared to 3DCG, and the game runs much smoother and with less visual issues.
The bad: The game, like AI Droid, essentially forces you to 100% the game if there is some specific thing you want. Unlike AI Droid, it gives a limited time, and doesn’t seem to have you balancing emotions and feelings in the maid, meaning it doesn’t seem like you can utterly fail the game by having her not love you enough. The free mode is why people are there, and blocking them out of it until they finish the story and blocking things in free mode because they didn’t do so in the story essentially forces them to play through the story several times to get what they want. I can think of very few games I enjoy playing multiple times, and none of them that I can think of are adult games.
My guess is that the story is pretty short and fulfilling, which is why the need to pad it out by making you unlock stuff in the mode you want by playing the story exists.
The controller is another issue. Sure, I could ask how likely the camera is to not move around while it is in use, but that would be just keeping fingers off the buttons. Nobody wants to get seasick due to a bobbing camera while trying to enjoy their H game.
My big complaint is: why is it wireless? I’m sorry, I have enough things that use batteries. 3DCG uses a USB port and gets power from there, why can’t you? I cna charge my iPod from a USB port, run speakers off of the port, and my PS3 charges its controllers from the USB ports, not to mention the controller can be plugged in and used as a wired control when the battery dies.
And the PS3 controller has two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and eight other buttons, while the controller for CM3D has what looks like three buttons, the internal switch, and one analog stick.
Seriously, unless you want to be far enough away from your computer that you can’t see the screen, the wireless function would be better replaced by a wired connection. Plus, it would be cheaper and more reliable, not to mention you can make USB cables quite long, so it isn’t like it is just stuck on the back of the computer case.
Finally, the name. This is really petty to complain about, but it is a slight annoyance. It seems like some ideas were ripped off wholesale from other games, and they tried to mix it up a bit to seem original and new, but the name sort of lacks that. Sure, maids like that disappeared during the Industrial Revolution, and most of the things shown aren’t anything a maid would wear, nor are any of the actions implied anything a maid would do. It isn’t their job.
Ai Droid had a bit more believable story (love robot who also does chores, but isn’t really a maid.) But the name. The name seems like they just flipped around 3DCG and changed one word. Which, well, Custom Maid 3D vs 3D Custom Girl. They took a mixer to it and decided that you didn’t want your choice of girls, you just wanted a maid.
Reading the description of the game basically reads like the 3DCG description as well, with a lot of the exact same features. However, 3DCG has thousands of mods catering to essentially everything, while CM3D doesn’t seem to have any mods, and costs $50 more at J-List.
Given the appearance of the accessory, they may have been better off making the character a robot, since instead of the horrors in silicone route, they went for a featureless and colorless appearance. It’s like a robot necromancer is on the other end. It has the romance of plugging your iPod into a charger. it has the romance of a robot with a robot voice asking you to interface your human genitals with the lower docking port beep beep beep. It’s as romantic as that message being left on your answering machine. At least 3DCG made an effort to look human, and while it isn’t close by any means, it is recognizable, and the proper bits are there.
To be fair, the accessories for both are listed as novelty items, to be used as joke gifts and for humor only. Because they are totally marketed for use as jokes, are affordable enough to be jokes, and are going to be used as jokes.
If it really is a novelty product only, I am sure they would have no problems sending me a review copy. I’m not going to get one, since it isn’t marketed as a novelty, it just has a disclaimer stuck on it.
To Summarize: The ideas are good, and it does seem to have improved the interaction and visuals of the games it is based on. Some features are unnecessary and seem to be included to be different. However, the main reason I thought enough of 3DCG to give it an award was, while the game was there, the fact that it could be easily modded, and modding was encouraged by the company really opened things up and made it a Great adult game.
I personally think that if CM3D has the modability of 3DCG, and the mods appear en masse, it could be quite the improvement. I really do think that the wireless feature is pointless and should be removed. 10M and 20M USB cables exist, there is no reason you can’t just put a 5M cable on one instead of the batteries and wireless units. I have to have something plugged into my computer to receive the wireless signal anyways. Just sell a wired version as a cheaper alternative to the wireless one.
As it stands, your main competition has free play unlocked from the start, more options, open to modding, a simpler wired control, worse visual appearances, and a substantially lower price tag.
Links are to the products (or websites) and may (or may not) contain images that may (or may not) be Not Safe For Work or unacceptable for those under 18.
If you feel like spending $250 on the game, it is here.
If you would rather have the cheaper 3DCG, it is here.
These are all sold by J-List, who was plenty of other games.
The main website of Kiss is here. Since I want to end on a compliment, I really do like their logo. It’s much better than most of the unimaginative blocks of text that is just the company name that other places use. And their portal site for CM3D is here.