[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hen I discovered Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme via Indie Royale I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. All I knew about it was that the playable characters had reversed their biological sex through some freaky deaky accident. I’m certainly no stranger to the whole “gender swap” genre of games and it piqued my interest enough to pick it up. With that said, I’ve been enjoying every character’s story thus far. Even Dina’s to some extent, although I can barely stand her.
Anyway, the latest character to be released for Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme is the one that I’ve been waiting for since I first loaded up the game. When I saw Aleanne make an appearance for the first time, and when I saw her totally school Dina on what it means to be transgender, I knew this was one person’s story that I couldn’t miss. And she made her playable debut as the tenth of thirteen planned characters over the past week. It should go without saying that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her (figuratively speaking, of course…*cough*).
So, the basic premise of Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme is that two lunatics decided to make a “gender swap” serum to turn themselves into women. Now, normally I don’t have a problem with that. The problem that I have is with the sheer reckless abandon that they go about it. And they turn the entire lab and everyone nearby into members of the opposite sex. Including a certain part-timer working at the local coffee shop. And apparently her best friend as well. I say “her” for reasons that I’ll explain.
Aleanne is basically the only character in Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme that is truly transgender in pretty much every sense of the word. And she’s been going about it the right way. When we first see her as Matt she’s been on hormone therapy for about two months. She’s been seeing a therapist. And she’s slowly getting her affairs in order to fully transition. And then she experiences probably the best moment of her life when she’s asked to take coffee to a pharmaceuticals lab. And gets caught in an explosion before she can deliver said caffeinated beverages.
And, like with everyone else caught in the blast she’s covered with a strange green gas which spontaneously transforms her into a rather attractive young woman. Which really shaves off years of transitioning in like five minutes. I know plenty of people who’d kill for a drug like that. So, with her life turned upside down in a split second, but in a good way, she goes off to take care of letting people know what happened. And, apparently finds out that her best friend was caught in the same accident with the same effect. Who claims that she wants to return to “normal” as soon as possible but it’s evident that she’s probably more feminine than she realized.
Anyway, what I love about Aleanne’s story is how well it treats the transgender community. It’s rare to see someone who doesn’t struggle with gender dysphoria tackle the subject matter both with respect and with a tasteful dose of humor added in. It’s not a perfect representation, but it’s certainly an admirable attempt. And it does deal with transphobia, which is something that’s overlooked in most “gender swap” tales. I’ve enjoyed every story released so far, but Aleanne’s is by far the one that I’d be willing to play over and over. Because she’s the only one that’s managed to smack some real sense into insane Dina.
UPDATE: Not long after this review was posted I was contacted by the backer behind Aleanne. The story was all hers. And I’d like to personally thank her for such a wonderful playing experience.