Ten Dates offers an immersive experience in that you’ll have a hand in determining how millennial protagonists Misha and Ryan wind up on their search for “The One”. Thanks to the superb editing and seamless scenes, the sim plays out more like a truly interactive movie than an actual game, but is it worth the limited real estate on your phone’s storage space?
Table of contents:
TEN DATES VISUALS
For a game, Ten Dates ironically doesn’t actually feel like one. To be honest, I was happily content with just watching everything play out before me because of the superb performance of the stellar cast here. The acting was so good – too good, in fact, that I almost felt like having to pick the occasional choice-based answer was jarring to the narrative. I was almost always tempted to just let the timer run out so that I could watch the whole thing like a film instead of having to participate.
This, of course, can be a double-edged sword – those who are looking for something a little bit more involved might find the lack of interactive decisions disappointing. To me, though, the answers did feel like they genuinely impacted how conversations would go as opposed to other games with multiple endings that only offer the illusion of choice. Here, even the profile you pick from the very beginning can impact how your character reacts to prompts from the NPCs.
THE GAMEPLAY OF TEN DATES
In particular, you start off by choosing either Misha or Ryan as your main character, whether you decide to play as self-insert wish fulfillment or you want to reinvent yourself completely. You’ll pick your star sign, hobbies, and photo, all of which can affect your future dates later on. For instance, picking a different job for Misha added certain dialogue lines for some characters in my experience, while switching up hobbies for Ryan made him react to a date’s own hobbies in a different way.
BFFs Misha and Ryan go on a speed-dating event, which is where you’ll meet four dates each of the opposite sex. The fifth date for each of them will be of the same sex, and depending on how you interact with them, you’ll either be able to reach out to them again for a second date or botch your chances of ever seeing them again altogether.
You’ll eventually narrow down your choices until you get to the third date after which, you’ll either ride off into the sunset with an adorable epilogue laid out in text or be doomed to how your “search for love continues” if you don’t ‘t end up with anyone.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
Having played and enjoyed Five Dates, I knew what I was getting into when I started this game – and even then, I was pleasantly surprised by the end of it. I went through multiple playthroughs and somehow still found myself amused with just how well the dialogue is written – although of course, that doesn’t mean there weren’t a couple of misses when it came to character depth.
Flat characters and obvious stereotypes are inevitable, I suppose – but thankfully, there are more three-dimensional ones that make up for them. One particular choice for Misha, for example, actually made me tear up during a surprising twist – which just goes to show you how real people actually are. You may think you’ve got someone pegged from a superficial point of view, but once you get to know them better, you’ll discover that they actually have layers – we all do.
Taking things at face value obviously isn’t going to get you anywhere meaningful with your potential partners here, so you really have to probe to get to know them better. Ten Dates forces you to go through dates – both the giddy good and horribly bad ones – with icebreaker questions, awkward pauses, and painfully uncomfortable silences. Sometimes, picking an answer meant you could steer where the conversation would go (or pick the answer you think will make the character like you more), but oftentimes, a seemingly harmless comment might just make the whole conversation take a turn for the worse.
Again, this proves that you can never really tell how a person would react to the things you say in real life – and it further cements the fact that dating is just so darn hard.
Personally, I was hoping there’d be a secret option/ending where besties Misha and Ryan end up together because they actually have natural chemistry from the very beginning. There’s this sorta-understanding in romance where the first guy/girl the reader/audience meets is usually the one the main character is going to end up with in the end, and in this case, I’m all for the friends-to- lovers trope.
Then again, much like in real life, I suppose we can’t always get what we want in love, can we?