Sexy Words

A Review of Hornstown, the Kinky Text-based Online Sex Game

Be ready for a surprisingly sexy and deep experience while playing this fetish-focused title.

What with so much of adult entertainment focused on making the experience more and more ultra-realistic, from super-high definition to totally immersive virtual reality, it often seems that the erotic power of the written word has tragically fallen by the wayside.

This is why discovering a new, predominantly text-based and absolutely kinky game made this old erotica writer’s heart do a fair amount of racing. Racing in a good way, that is.

Welcome to Hard Times In Hornstown [NSFW]: a place where your imagination goes hand in hand, as well as other sensual body parts, with engaging storytelling—and might even be a way to usher in a whole new renaissance for this classic form of erotic entertainment.

Technology mixed with words combined with sex

Created by someone calling themselves Unlikely, Hornstown is pretty obviously a labor of love. And desire: we totally can’t forget about desire.

Calling this game massive is woefully inadequate as, according to Unlikely’s Patreon page, it boasts a whopping 3000+ individual passages supported by some 350 computer-rendered images.

What this means is that to get every possible interaction with even some of the thousands of characters could take you a really long time.

Which is, frankly, as fun as it is impressive: Hornstown is not just an erotic experience but also one that can be played over and over and over again just to see what kinky experiences your characters can get into.

Plenty of options to play

Plenty of options to play

As Hornstown is a text-based experience, playing it is as easy as firing up the browser of your choice.  

An extra nice feature is that if you happen to have a Windows machine, you can download the game and play it even when you don’t have internet access.  

There’s even an option to save your game progress as a file, so if your browser should crash, or you just accidentally close it, you can get right back to having fun.  

There’s additionally a pretty handy but spoiler-packed walk-through. If you’d really like to be surprised by some of the game’s more fetishy characters and outcomes, I’d recommend you avoid it. Unless, of course, you find yourself completely stuck.

Choose your own wild adventure

Getting into Hornstown is quite easy and totally free. If you’re one of Unlikely’s Patreons you do get some nice starting perks, including having your character begin with more money or bonus experience in things like sex or even criminal expertise.  

You also get the advantage of being able to start as a female character, rather than as the default male one; though, as we’ll be getting into shortly, gender is an extremely fluid concept in Hornstown.

To get the ball rolling, you create your character—including things like hair color, clothing, and so forth—and then pick your beginning circumstances, like having less experience but more money in your beginning bank account.

Then you’re on your way. Immediately, the game sets the stage that you’re recently unemployed. Don’t fear, as the city around you has plenty of money-making opportunities, some legit and others very much less so.  

But money isn’t the real focus of Hornstown; rather, it’s about getting out into the world and seeing what erotic adventures open up for you and your character to have.

So many kinky choices

Hornstown 3D Images

As this is a text-based game, most of your adventures will be written rather than shown, but Unlikely puts in just enough 3D explicit images to liven things up.  

Pretty immediately, I was impressed by how the game handled orientation.  Unlike other games, you don’t set this at the character creation screen. Rather, the choices come in the game itself, with the player deciding to “interact” with this person or that person.  

This fluid approach means that dynamics can change as well, with submissive, dominant, and everything in between popping up in some rather pleasantly unexpected places.  

It’s also worth noting that if you’re used to more consequence-driven role-playing games, where one wrong decision can create some serious ripples in the game-verse, Hornstown is a bit different. While it does have some consequences for decisions, the focus is predominantly on having a good time and seeing what kinky encounters may lie around what seem to be some pretty innocuous corners.

Case in point, and minor spoilers ahead: worrying about needing to find work, I signed up for a drug-testing program in which my character ended up involuntarily having their sex changed. As was said a few paragraphs back, beginning the game as male doesn’t set things in stone.

It doesn’t stop there, as with repeated playthroughs you can become someone as mundane as a supermarket clerk, with some sexy adventures here or there, or someone as adventurous as a spy.  

Gender roles, kink dynamics, fetish transformations, and more can also be had by making certain choices. This is also where replayability comes in: Hornstown isn’t a game to be played once and that’s it. It’s to be played over and over again with different characters and choices to unlock new and wildly kinky treasures you might otherwise have missed.

Some rough spots

As this appears to be a one-person operation, the fairly standard quality of the scattered images, as well as the sometimes less-than-inspired writing, is understandable.  

The game, although massive, does appear to have an unfortunately narrow viewpoint when it comes to certain sexual behaviors, and some players might find some characters more distressing than appealing. The same is true about language, with words popping up here and there that might furrow more than a few eyebrows. 

However, by and large, the game is remarkably inclusive and, in its own way, pretty respectful.

The only major thing that threw me personally involved consent. Characters would act without it, such as with the medical testing thread, which made me less excited and more disturbed. There is no excuse for this. If you look at Hornstown as an interactive erotic novel created by one person, it’s still upsetting but did make me wonder what a more thoughtful and diverse group of writers might have done better.

Let’s see more of this 

Sexy Words

What was even more exciting than the game itself is that the success of it, as well as other text-based adventures, might encourage others to take the genre and run with it. 

Not to take anything away from the work Unlikely’s put into it, but imagine what something like Hornstown could be with dozens of writers and artists involved, each one—or working in teams together—creating even more pathways and possible outcomes.  

Then mix in some other media, such as animations, mini-games, or even placing parts of the game experience in the real world through augmented reality, and this form of erotic entertainment could be more than impressive and possibly even awe-inspiring.

Beyond this though, Hornstown and other text-based experiences are important in that they have, in their own unique way, returned adult entertainment to the power not of visual immersiveness but of imagination: here is a place where your wildest kinky fantasies live out not just in front of your eyes but in your mind as well.

Image sources: Hornstown