(Reviewed on Xbox Series X by Games of DAYNE)
Playing as Vinny, Five Dates puts players in the hot seat with five potential women to get to know through interactive video dates. Just like real life these can go well just as easily as they can go bad. The dialogue players choose for Vinny will determine whether there’s potential future dates to play through or not. Packed with humour, charm and of course cringe, Five Dates is an entertaining interactive rom-com that embraces online dating during “lockdown”.
Who is Vinny?
At the beginning of a new game, players are able to create their profile for Vinny with a very limited variety of options. A small offering of profile pictures are available, over half a dozen careers can be chosen, a number of interests and of course, zodiac signs. The choices made here will provide slightly alternate scenes that will have little to no impact in some areas while also having more significant impacts in regards to compatibility with the lucky ladies Vinny can choose to match with.
There’s little to say about Vinny without context of the choices made. His background can vary based on the profile creation at the start as well as the dialogue choices made. Who Vinny is can be different every time which lends well to replayability, encouraging exploration of potential relationships with these five women.
Vinny regularly consults with his best friend Callum before and after dates in brief video chats that are all but guaranteed to make the player laugh. Callum is extremely excited for Vinny and his high energy and motivational insight is hilarious and fun, feeling like an authentic best friend/wingman in this situation.
There are five girls that Vinny can have video dates with but only three can be chosen per playthrough. Depending on how well the dates go, two can be chosen for a second date and only one can be picked for the third and final date. The five girls are all very different, with unique personalities, careers, beliefs and goals.
Maya is a Spanish language teacher with a very free spirited, fun and electric youthful personality.
Paige is a successful social media influencer.
Shaina is nurse and lives with her parents.
Grace is very self assured and confident, a successful partner at her law firm.
Saffron is a project manager at an animal warfare centre and into her yoga and vegan lifestyle. She’s lively, very fun and playfully goofy.
All five of the girls have their own secrets which can be revealed with careful dialogue selection and will give little away on the first dates. This encourages the player to explore each of the girls interests and personalities more deeply on subsequent dates with some of the big reveals being held off only for the third and final date.
At the end of each date Vinny calls Callum for a debrief where they discuss how the dates went. After the first dates Callum will take to social media to check the girls out and see if there’s any new information that comes up. The player is able to scroll through their social media profile if they have one and look at pictures which may help him come up with new things to discuss should he choose to go on another date with them. These debrief can be very funny if the dates go well but can just as easily be depressing if they don’t.
The second dates are game dates and have Vinny and his two chosen dates playing the likes of “Never Have I Ever” and “Truth or Dare”. These games are a great way to find out about the girls and get more insight into their personalities.
The third and final date is dinner date where Vinny and his single chosen girl cook something and digitally have dinner together. At the conclusion of this date, dependant on the choices made, result in the pair either choosing to continue seeing each other digitally or not.
The clever integration of 2020’s “lockdown” is the perfect plot device to keep these characters knowing just enough about each other to decide whether they want to pursue a relationship when they are finally able to be together in person by continuing a digital relationship. Playing through the game at least five times to see each girl through to the final date is recommended and enjoyable. A single playthrough only takes just over an hour and future playthroughs can have every previously witnessed scene skipped to move things along faster and make alternate decisions at key moments.
Swipe left or right?
Five Dates is another enjoyable full motion video game from Wales Interactive. With seven characters to get to know, including Vinny and Callum, the wildly different personalities are entertaining and feel genuine. Just like real dates there’s moments that are funny, interesting, sad and outright awkward. The girls are each mysterious enough on the initial dates to make the player genuinely curious about them and considering the brevity of a single playthrough it is easy to justify multiple playthroughs.
+ Choices allow Vinny to have different backgrounds each playthrough
+ The five girls are interesting and entertaining in their own unique ways
+ Callum, the perfect wingman
– Scene transitions can disrupt the flow of a conversation
– Longer dates would allow for a little more character development
Developed by: Good Gate Media and Wales Interactive
Published by: Wales Interactive
Release Date: November 17 2020
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and P
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