It's not that often that the UK's Video Standards Council refuses a game a rating, effectively banning it in the country. In fact, prior to this week it hadn't happened since Manhunt 2 was refused classification back in 2007, over a decade ago. That streak was just broken by Omega Labyrinth Z, an RPG that features school girls in a variety of sexually explicit scenarios.
Omega Labyrinth Z was released in Japan back in 2015, and the Vita title is slated to release in the West sometime early this year. The RPG follows a group of school girls on an adventure through a dungeon in search of the "Holy Grail of Beauty." In between battles with the monsters that lurk in the dungeon, the game is filled with sexually explicit mini-games, most of which involve using the touch screen to fondle, arouse, and strip the female characters.
Because the game is extremely clear about the fact that these are "school" aged girls (including one character who is stated to be a First Year student and carries a teddy bear with her), the Video Standard Council concluded that " the game clearly promotes the sexualisation of children via the sexual interaction between the game player and the female characters" and that "the style of the game is such that it will attract an audience below the age of 18." The following is an excerpt from The Video Standards Council's explanation of the type of content that got the game banned:
There are numerous mini-games which feature sexually explicit and ultimately problematic content. Examples include:
The player touches certain points on a female character's body to arouse them. A successful action will activate a "shame break" where parts of their clothing come off revealing more of their bodies. The female characters respond with varying degrees of sexual innuendo and arousal.
The player places honey on the girls' bodies. A fantastical dog-like creature then proceeds to lick the honey off their bodies which causes them to become aroused. Like the previous mini-game, when they reach a certain level of arousal parts of their clothing fall off or vanish. As the dog licks at the honey, the girls respond with sexualised language. In both this mini-game and the previous one, if their breasts or thighs are touched a jiggle animation will be shown. Selecting the correct area on their body during a "shame break" will also result in the 'E-spot' being activated and the character will respond with heightened pleasure.
A crystal can be placed between a character's breasts. The player must then fondle and rub the breasts together in order to identify what is in the crystal. The crystal itself has a clearly phallic quality to it. The player controls the breasts with the analogue sticks or touchpad. There is also a variation of this mini-game where the player can make a fairy-like character rub herself up and down on the crystal with accompanying moans of pleasure.
The hot-spring mini-game allows the player to fondle the girls' breasts. There is no other interaction in these scenes. Before starting the scene, the player can select which female they wish to interact with and choose their breast size. For taking part in this optional mini-game the characters are cured of all ailments and receive stat boosts.
The UK has joined Australia and Germany in banning Omega Labyrinth Z from release, and publisher PQube has stated that it will not be released in New Zealand or Ireland either. At this time it is still expected to see release in the US, where it will likely receive an M rating. PQube attempted to appeal the game's banning in Germany, but they were unsuccessful. As such, they have decided not to appeal that decision in other countries.