- Concept: David Genchi & William Genchi
- Artwork: David Genchi
- Editor: Michele Nitri
- Graphic Design: Marco Cirillo Pedri
- Playtester: Simone Alberto Grifone
- Publisher: Hollow Press
- First Release: October 2022
– Limited edition: 1000 Italian & 500 English
– Off-set printing
– Stapled binding
– 96 pages
– Full Colour
- Price: 10 Euros
Hollow Press (HP) are an Italian publisher primarily known for their underground comics and manga. Having released pristine editions of the works of Shintaro Kago, Mat Brinkman & Spunga to name but a few.
In 2022 HP announced they were expanding their repertoire into gaming. With four noted debut projects: Voodoo Forest by John Blanche, Boneforest by HP owner Michele Nitri, Vermis I by PLatiboo, and Analwizards by the Genchi brothers.
My gaming experience when it comes to tabletop games is admittedly limited; and my previous idea of tabletop gaming excitement can largely be summarised as the rush you get from a close game of Scrabble…
That said, in video games, I do tend to gravitate toward the dark fantasy genre, and exclusively play RPG titles.
So, out of the games on offer from HP, there was one that stood out, the aforementioned Analwizards. A single-player interactive-comic experience from the Genchi brothers – and not just because the name evokes a childlike giddiness in me when I say it out loud!
I was drawn to Analwizards, as I was already a fan of David Genchi’s art and storytelling. A wonderfully repulsive mix of hyper-sexualized violence, body horror, surrealism, and plenty of oozing orifices.
The story of Analwizards, though largely dictated by gameplay, follows a nameless wizard, guilty by their very birth – “Your only Fault was that of being born. Being born a wizard!” Who is booted straight into a dungeon full of peril.
From there, you just need to get out and try not to die.
The game, is simple to follow and set up, with minimal tools required – A pen and paper to keep note of the items you pick up along your journey and the game app that keeps track of your various stats.
A playing piece is not required as you can just follow along with your eyes. Though personally, I found that having a small token to push forward helped navigate the game’s pages, as they can get hectic in their layout – I used a coin but anything from a discarded tooth to a drawing of a sphincter will suffice.
My first venture was one of supreme luck, that is, up to a point, when my demise came swiftly due to my own mismanagement…
In the opening pages I managed to duck most pitfalls with a lucky flip of the coin and snagged valuable loot with ease, that aided me later in the journey.
My greatest spurt of luck came shortly after wandering around the bazaar, spending all my money, then attempting to hop onto a train to avoid the fare, which I admittedly did not have. I had to flip tails twice or face death, and after doing just that I zipped across several pages closer to the end.
I felt invincible!
Rocketing to the final pages posed some problems though. Notably, I had skipped items that would have helped my quest and I hit a wall facing off against a large ogre that pillaged my health and exhausted my potions.
Luckily, on a spur I bought a Multidimensional Bomb which allowed me to move to an alternative timeline.
Death was avoided, though only temporarily.
Weakened and out of items I collapsed in a river of filth, and had to go back to a checkpoint. Feeling defeated and out of cash I decided to head back and do it all over again.
However, this was not an issue of defeat. Indeed, the game was a joy to go back and reply; and after a few attempts I was able to finally land on a ‘true ending’.
A single play-through took just over 40 minutes, but given the number of tangents and variety, I had played for a few very enjoyable hours – While also being aware of many unexplored tangents to the game, which could add several more.
Analwizards’ press info notes that it offers around 8 to 10 hours of gameplay before exhausting all the routes, which to me, seems accurate.
The charm of Analwizards’ gameplay lies in its simplicity. Providing a one-player experience that is quick to pick up and navigate.
The simplest way to describe the game, is that it is a perverse choose-your-own-adventure. RPG elements are key but rather light and don’t require familiarity with tabletop gaming. The player gets to spend time admiring the artistic direction and not get caught up keeping tally of the various ailments, items and stats involved.
As accessible as Analwizards is though, one should not take matters lightly as there is a slight learning curve involved. Such as getting grounded in its world.
For example, on my first run through I purchased several items that turned out to be useless – Through being high on my own luck and purchasing orc repellent I never used.
On the page where I got destroyed in my initial run, I also realized that money would have been better spent gaining some temporary invincibility as opposed to the option of re-flipping a coin.
Every failure does help you better understand the games’ mechanics that said.
Consequently, there is a surprising amount of value in Analwizards. Given both the amount of time one can sink into it and the appeal of lingering on David Genchi’s art. This is further highlighted by the quality of the release, such as a large playing board for the reader to explore.
However, the edition I received did have two notable errors: One page where the Italian text was still present and lapped over with the English to make it hard to read. Along with encountering an accidental dead-end in the game, which caused me to make an alternative choice.
These were minor annoyances when gauging the overall experience, but aspects that need to be noted.
My overall experience of the game was extremely positive – The Genchi brothers have crafted a unique experience for the deviant gamer. With their visual flair, dark humour, absurd mutations, twisted creatures, and bizarre denizens who exist only to cum or suffer (it is a fine line.)
Ultimately, “Analwizards” is a sensational mix of RPG game mechanics and violence that can only come from the twisted vision of the Genchi brothers!
Give the gift of Anal Wizardry to a friend, or keep it for yourself – You can keep coming back to stretch the magic sphincter to its limits and still be amazed at what you find within.