Home Gay Gaming REVIEW: The Symbiant — Sex and Health Complications… In Space!

REVIEW: The Symbiant — Sex and Health Complications… In Space!

by Edwin Chris
The Symbiant features a gay male romance between a human and alien.

In January 2022, long before The Symbiant existed, video game developer HeartCoreDev made their debut with Synthetic Lover, a sci-fi visual novel about a future workforce dominated by AI. In it, the protagonist (Unit 532) is one such robot—a ‘biot’—in the adult entertainment industry. Biots like Unit 532 lack self-awareness or free will, but an encounter with a mysterious stranger activates self-awareness that shouldn’t exist within him.

And, well, it’s a gay romance visual novel—you can probably guess some of the paths it takes from there. This is not a Synthetic Lover review, of course, but it’s important to bring this information to light for a number of reasons: HeartCoreDev opened that year with a story that discussed and challenged the way AI could (and would) be used in the workforce, and 2022 closed with the creation of ChatGPT. This is a team that has something to say, and they say it by effortlessly blending their topical discussion into queer erotica.

Gay Sex and Emotional Sci-Fi: HeartCoreDev’s Two Favorite Flavors

The Symbiant, their sophomore effort, proves a few things: One, HeartCoreDev loves the future. They love what positive advancements it can bring, even in dire situations. Two, it proves that they are a studio built to make smart, challenging gay erotica, and (three) not only was Synthetic Lover not a fluke, it wasn’t even the best this team could do.

The Symbiant‘s plotline is, on the surface, not complicated, and never really tries to be. Danya (and his space-lesbian friend/coworker Juniper) are pilots of the spaceship The Ameretat—a small shipping vessel that transports individual clients’ goods. They’re running low on money, and really need a big gig to save their company. They receive an offer they can’t refuse: a high-priced transport of a beautiful man named Brahve and his mysterious cargo. Brahve is an Odarian—a blue-skinned species that rarely travels the stars—and there’s just something about him that draws Danya in…

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It’s All About the Guys

On the macro level, The Symbiant showed up on my radar (like I imagine it did for many of its buyers) because of the guys. Danya, the human protagonist, and Brahve, the blue-skinned alien beauty he’s infatuated with, are the aforementioned dudes. The game’s highly professional and clean style renders these men gorgeously. Their rendering—brought to life by Malaysian artist 700HASH—does so much for the aesthetic and overall execution of the game that it is, by my estimation, in HeartCoreDev’s best interest to work with 700Hash on more projects in the future.

Where the depth of The Symbiant comes from is not its plot, but its character interactions. Brahve and Danya, fully fleshed-out individuals, are not perfect despite their growing infatuation with each other. Dates can, and do, go wrong. Everyone about The Ameretat has a little something to hide, and it’s not just Brahve’s (literal and metaphorical) luggage.

Even At Its Kinkiest, The Symbiant Is Emotionally Challenging

Playing The Symbiant without the adult patch is possible, but I don’t recommend it.One of the things that makes this visual novel become a much larger and more challenging work—not just in video games, but in fiction as a whole—is its sex, to the point that I think you’re ultimately getting a less interesting story without investigating the erotic content.

Up until this point I’ve kept the review relatively spoiler free. There’s little above that isn’t discussed in promotional material for the game—but if this game were only a pretty, conflict free meet-cute in space, I’m not sure The Symbiant would warrant a review at all, much less a greater analysis. But it is far more than that, and the interesting turns it takes are, in part, because of some controversial content. So, between the next two pictures below are some minor spoilers for the game, and also what I think is a fairly important content warning.

Danya wraps an arm around Brahve, attempting to flirt with him.

700Hash’s delicate, clean art makes every scene feel intimate and warm in a way sci-fi rarely does.

Brahve’s Cargo

The game’s main conflict, Brahve’s cargo, is tied to a portion of the sex scenes in The Symbiant. (This is your last warning, by the way, for spoilers.) Brahve’s cargo is the titular Symbiant, which he needs to survive interstellar travel due to his species’ frail immune systems. The method of which Brahve receives his immunity-boosting shots is… well. You might guess, given the nature of this being an erotic visual novel, not for the faint of heart.

Instead of just being a vehicle for wildly kinky alien tentacles, though, The Symbiant takes a bold step to make this not only the source of the game’s problems, but a wedge between the would-be lovers. Danya, in one of his more relatable moments, is genuinely weirded out that Brahve’s basically trained a space pineapple sponge to have sex with him.

Complex Questions About Sex In Space

The titular symbiant tackles difficult questions that are almost certainly going to upset some players. (Even if humans could have sex with aliens, is the biological idea of sex really going to be similar enough to make interstellar love work out in the end? How important a part of sex is love, really? In the grand scheme of biodiversity in the universe, how much of our understanding of sex is misguided?) Others might also just genuinely be squicked out by the NSFW scenes with Brahve’s symbiant. I was one of them: I have no interest in tentacles, sorry! But how the game wraps those tentacles around moral and ethical questions—and gives Danya room for some much needed growth as a character, frankly—is exceptional, and more than justifies their kinky existence in the narrative.

Juniper and Danya have a heart to heart.

Every space himbo needs a space lesbian to save them from themselves.

Controversial scenes aside, Brahve is an incredible love interest and easily the star of the game. HeartCoreDev was wise to base the majority of the game’s content and world-building around unwrapping his mysteries (and heart. and clothes…) Lovers of the imagination of sci-fi, or just anyone that melts at the deep voice of a smooth talking soft boy, will fall for Brahve.

And Then There’s You

Danya, the human part of the relationship, doesn’t quite deserve the same praise. The game clearly intends him to be the player stand-in, but it presents him with some truly awful in-game choices that portray him in a bad light for even considering them. More importantly, Danya sometimes just says wildly out-of-pocket things that no one should be saying if they’re really trying to woo a love interest. He doesn’t do this often, but he does it often enough that it seems intentional.

If that’s so, I’m torn: On one hand, it’s interesting that HeartCoreDev chose to make its main character an occasional prick. It does, in its own way, humanize him. On the other hand, this might be the rare exception of a VN that would’ve benefited from a blanker slate of a protagonist. This reviewer thinks Danya was an attempt to make a “himbo,” but he’s not quite stupid enough for it to be cute.

Danya wonders whether Brahve secretly wants to be alone.

Believe it or not, this is a real, unavoidable thing Danya says, and not an optional dialogue you pick to get a game over.

The Ameretat Is Worth Flying On

Still, even with Danya’s occasional attempts at self sabotage, he’s likable enough, and it’s easy to root for anyone that finds love with Brahve. These moments are not enough to derail the story, or the crew of The Ameretat. Space, after all, is a wild and strange thing, and all of us would probably slip up now and then when courting someone from a culture on the other side of the stars.

With four distinct endings and a firmly lived-in galaxy to explore, there’s more than enough here to keep gay sci-fi fans happy. If you’re not afraid of exploring what it takes to kiss the alien boy, then The Symbiant is a full, fascinating experience that’ll sit with you for far longer than the trip this plucky crew takes.


  • Beautiful art, great writing
  • Cutest goddamn boys in the galaxy (and they’re hot as hell in their NSFW scenes together)
  • Perfect voice casting with well-acted performances that elevate every character
  • Great soundtrack that never overstays its welcome
  • Uncomplicated story with interesting, engaging characters
  • A surprisingly realistic—and oftentimes challenging—portrayal of difficulties with intergalactic (and, in general, long distance) love
  • Danya kind of sucks sometimes? Bold choice to intentionally make a flawed protagonist like him in an otherwise very approachable game
  • Multiple diverse endings beckon exploration
  • 5-6 hour playtime for a first run feels satisfying without being a huge time sink
  • I learned the word “aeroponics” from this game


  • World building done through some exposition begged for more scenes/art that was, perhaps, beyond a indie budget
  • Danya kind of sucks sometimes (in a “took me out of the game” sort of way)
  • The NSFW scenes within the spoiler are… not for this reviewer. Sorry, Brahve (Guess I kind of suck, too)

Overall score: 75/100

Sources: Steam, 700Hash

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