Review: Night of the Lesbian Vampires

The third-place winner of 2020’s Spooktober Visual Novel Jam is Night of the Lesbian Vampires, a short visual novel about a young woman named Mina who finds herself spending Halloween all alone, stuck working on paperwork for a blood drive. However, her dull night is interrupted by the arrival of two women who have come looking for blood.

They introduce themselves as Carmilla and Elizabeth, and explain that they need the blood because they’re vampires. It turns out the two of them had an arrangement with a former employee who provided them with the blood they need to survive. Now they’re hoping Mina will help them out as well. Night of the Lesbian Vampires is filled with little nods to vampire stories and their history, from the obligatory discussion of which vampire tropes are true in this universe, to the names of the characters themselves. The name Mina, of course, comes from a major character in Dracula, Carmilla is a reference to the even earlier vampire story Carmilla, and I assume Elizabeth’s name is a nod to Elizabeth Bathory.

Anyway, after a bit of arguing that leads to them proving that they really are vampires, Mina agrees to get them the blood. Once she gives them the blood, she then finds herself on a date with a vampire. This is the first awkward point in the story. Instead of earlier choices leading to the date or Mina asking one of them out, the game asks the player which one you’d rather get to know. Once you choose Carmilla or Elizabeth, she invites Mina out while the other vampire simply slides out of frame. It’s an odd transition that felt like it could have been handled a little more smoothly.

This is the major branching point in the visual novel, although the two routes are somewhat similar. After you choose, the date begins and your chosen vampire takes Mina out for a drink. You learn a bit more about vampires and Mina and her date get to know each other better. The date scene captures the awkwardness of going out with someone you don’t know very well, along with the ever-present allure of being with a vampire, although Mina seems to take her sudden introduction to vampires a little too calmly.

Once the evening ends, there’s a time-skip to a year later so you can see how things worked out. Depending on the choices you made, you’ll either get an ending with Carmilla or Elizabeth, or you’ll get an ending where the romance never worked out. There are only a handful of choices, so it’s important to choose carefully, but it’s not too difficult to skip back through and make different choices if it doesn’t go well the first time.

Night of the Lesbian Vampires is very short, and it shouldn’t take more than an hour to see both routes. This leads to the story feeling a little rushed at times, and I found myself wishing I got to see a more complete development of their relationship instead of the time skip to the end. Of course, this short length is understandable since it was made for a game jam. It has full voice acting for the three characters, although some of the delivery feels a bit off, and a CG for each of the two romance routes. You also can move the mouse to look around the scene slightly, although there’s no real reason to do so.

Overall, the title of the visual novel pretty much sums up exactly what it is. You won’t get a much of a plot here, but instead it gives you a sweet, romantic idea of what it might be like to go out for a date with a vampire.

You can download Night of the Lesbian Vampires for free from itch.io.

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