“To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” – Criss Jami
Ten Dates is an interactive FMV romantic comedy and dating sim in which London-based millennial Misha dupes her best friend Ryan into going to a speed dating event with her. It is the second in a series of dating sims by Wales Interactive, the first one being Five Dates which released in 2020.
Developer: Wales Interactive
Released: 14th February 2023
Price: £12.99 – £13.74
Players begin Ten Dates by choosing to play as either Misha or Ryan and creating a dating profile by choosing a profile picture, a career type, interests and a star sign. The speed dating event features five dates per protagonist, it is a heterosexual event but unexpected impromptu dates provide one same-sex option for each of the two main characters. Dates consist of conversations and mini-games (such as riddles and truth or dare) with a variety of dialogue options.
Players can pause a date at any point and check their progress with different characters. For each dateable person, the UI will show how many of the three potential dates the player has been on with them, how many scenes they have viewed (ranges from 52 to 110 possible scenes per character), whether the player has done or said certain things such as kiss the person or pay for the date and finally what the date thinks of the protagonist. Each character will judge Ryan or Misha on their confidence, kindness, humour and a fourth criterion that is specific to that dateable character such as maturity, spontaneity, or flirtiness.
Narrative and Styling
The narrative is soundly constructed and vastly branching, there are a lot of options in terms of who to date and how to direct the conversations meaning there is a heap of replayability. The game is respectful of player time and allows repeated scenes to be skipped. An interactive rom-com has the potential to be quite cheesy but the well-written dialogue, excellent characterisation and quality acting mean that Ten Dates successfully circumvents any such cringe-inducing moments. The eclectic cast and distinct personalities are a highlight of the game and make the dating process a lot of fun.
The FMV visuals are well filmed and edited, with smooth transitions during dialogue choices. There are also very pleasing and scene-setting transitional montages made up of footage of London, inside bars and restaurants and tantalising close-ups of food and drinks. The music consists mostly of lo-fi tracks which help set the scene and provide ambience without being intrusive.
A single playthrough of Ten Dates will take around 1 – 1.5 hours but offers a massive amount of replayability, there are so many date and dialogue choices that it would be highly unlikely players would see all the content even after a handful of playthroughs. The large amount of content along with the overall quality make this a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping experience. From the polished visuals, the variety of fascinating characters and the sound delivery of well-written and believable dialogue, Ten Dates is sure to have players pressing ‘New Game’ multiple times! I’d happily recommend this to fans of interactive FMV titles and dating sims in general.
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