Online dating is a tough environment, and that’s putting it mildly. It’s capable of helping you to find true love, but also just as likely to humiliate and end up with you crying yourself to sleep. Not that we speak from experience of course.
So a game based around the online dating scene – via the medium of video chats, for this lockdown and pandemic ridden era – is an interesting idea. Not a wholly original one of course, and it ultimately doesn’t do enough to make itself stand out from this fairly niche genre.
You play as Vinny, who has to find true love from a selection of five women. Over the course of multiple dates you decide which girl is the one for you, and get given a supposedly satisfying ending.
The game is played via a series of short recorded video clips between Vinny and his date. You can change the direction of conversations by occasionally selecting an answer or question from a menu – usially consisting of two or three options.
And that’s basically it – it’s to the game’s credit that this set-up never feels too jarring, with conversations flowing reasonably well. We’ve come a long way from the Mega-CD FMV days.
What is jarring is the occasionally clunky writing though – with characters not so much subtly detailing their character traits but pretty much stating them outright.
The actors and actresses to their credit do their best with the often hammy material, and often even manage some moments which won’t have you rolling your eyes.
Some of this awkwardness is excused by the fact that single play-throughs take around an hour – so with that in mind it can hardly be expected for the dates to unfold in a slow, natural, real-life way.
Yet despite the sometimes cringeworthy script this game just has something about it that makes you want to complete it at least once.
There’s an endearing cheesy soap-opera charm to Five Dates that means you can’t take your eyes away from it.
This certainly doesn’t mean it’s a game we recommend to everyone – but if you’re looking for a reasonably well presented dating sim you could do a lot worse, especially for its budget price.