Like many other parts of our day-to-day lives and general society, dating has evolved and become reliant on technology. Although it’s not the case for all meetings, matchmakings, dates and relationships, a lot of it has become driven by apps and websites. Every year there’s a new most popular dating app, too, be it Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Tinder or Hinge. They rake in money thanks to users, ad views, clicks and those willing to pay out of loneliness or desperation. Then there are the ones you absolutely must pay for if you’re going to use them at all.
In the world of yesteryear, things were more basic. Methods like speed dating were popular and helpful to those who wanted to get out of the house and try their hand at meeting someone. Perhaps this still exists, or remains popular, but you don’t hear much about it.
In their latest full-motion video game, Ten Dates, Wales Interactive has taken a modern approach to speed dating and turned it into something played with a controller, or at least some sort of button. The result is a somewhat short experience in which one goes on dates with folks met at a speed dating event, with the ultimate goal being to enter into a relationship with one.
This date-focused story centres on two best friends named Ryan and Misha. As close as friends can be, they each find themselves single. Misha decides to do something about that, and tricks her bestie into attending a speed dating event at a local pub. She does so by inviting him for a drink before she takes part in it. Ryan simply doesn’t know that he’s been signed up, too.
As you’d expect, the player gets to choose which character to play as. I first chose Ryan because of him being a man like myself, but I also played through Ten Dates once as Misha, after seeing how brief it is.
Both Ryan and Misha end up engaging in several, five minute long, speed dates with different people. Ryan’s are mostly with women, but there’s one same sex date involved. The same is true of Misha’s experience, which involves a few men and then a woman. Almost all of them fit into stereotypes, like the bro (or lad, since this is a British production), the intellectual, the jock, the bad boy, the goth and the nerdy teacher. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some surprises in a story that sometimes goes unexpected places.
I got the impression that some dates were just meant to happen and then be forgotten, as filler of sorts. However, maybe my dialogue and response choices were just too awful. Either way, I ended up with two or three choices for second dates after concluding the speed dating round, which is considered the first date. If you’re lucky, you’ll go on three with one person and then enter a relationship, or perhaps you’ll tell them you’re simply not interested.
Things worked out in my first play through, but my second one left me scratching my head. For starters, the final date glitched and showed me every possible scene after an important dialogue choice. I picked the best possible answer, but then saw all of the potential results, and things concluded with the worst possible one. Then, despite my date asking he I thought things were going, what I wanted in the future, etc. and seeming excited, they turned me down. Given how well the date went, and their questions/tone of voice/body language, it made no sense.
Given the type of game that Ten Dates is, it surely won’t surprise you to hear that it’s all decision based, with most of it related to answering questions or choosing what to ask, yourself. There’s very little to this thing in terms of gameplay or variety, but the genre doesn’t allow for too much.
The first thing you do — after choosing the character you wish to be — involves creating a dating profile on an app. This requires picking your profession, your sign and your likes and interests. These things come up during dates, giving each play through noticeable differences. At least, that’s the case when it comes to dialogue about jobs and hobbies.
Following that, it’s on to drinks with Ryan (or Misha) before the speed dating begins.
In all honesty, I quite liked both of the leads, who are played by Rosie Day and Charlie Maher. The other actors also all did a good job portraying their characters, leading to a game that is believable and immersive. The film quality is also fantastic, with tons of detail and good directing. On top of this, the writing is quite good, as is the relationship between Ryan and Misha. It feels real.
Where the game falters is in its limited scope. You only get to go on three dates, options are limited, and one or two of the dating choices are too unlikeable to choose. Furthermore, the game only lasts maybe an hour at most. After you do the speed dating, talk to your bestie, choose two people to go on second dates with, do that and then choose/go on your third date, it’s over. None of it takes all that long, either.
Ten Dates is the sequel to a game called Five Dates that I’d never heard of before. I did look it up though, to see how long it was, and HLTB suggested it was around a few hours long. Well, this one definitely isn’t, unless you count all of the different paths. By that I mean replaying it and choosing a different potential third date every time, if it works out that way. Sometimes you’ll think you had a good date and then they won’t be available for a second or third.
When I started this game, I quickly grew to like it and wanted it to be great. However, Ten Dates is just too limited, basic and glitchy to recommend with ease. It’s also hard to read like some of my real life dates have been, which just leads to confusion. As it stands it’s just okay at best, and — though it isn’t a truly good game — has some good ideas and building blocks behind it.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game. We were given a review code.
- Two good lead characters
- Some likeable additional characters
- Good writing and acting
- No gameplay variety
- Very short
- Surprisingly glitchy and limited, with surprising results after seemingly good dates
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