With social distancing still an important part of overcoming the pandemic, that means normal IRL socializing and dating is mostly not happening. Which is bogus and sad, but a necessary sacrifice we all must make for the sake of everyone’s safety. What’s a single gal to do?
The answer is simple: DATING GAMES!!
Admittedly, most dating games are formulaic and pretty similar. But there are some that take an alternate approach to the ‘basic dating game.’ Those are the games that I seek out! And then I saw “Later Daters” on the Nintendo eShop.
Later Daters is a fresh take on dating games because it’s specifically about OLDER singles. Retirees in a nursing home getting their groove on! The game is also LGBTQ+ friendly, giving you plenty of options for your own backstory and who you choose to flirt with in the game.
Without giving away too much of the story, there are some unexpectedly hard topics that are presented to the characters early on. Since you’re in a retirement home, many characters have severe health issues and could literally drop dead at any time. You’ve got to enjoy your lust for life while you still can! Talk about high stakes.
At first I was super excited about playing this game. It’s episodic and they based each ‘chapter’ on a weekly calendar, starting with Monday. I played through until Wednesday, and thought the story was really starting to get good. There were lots of good side stories brewing and my character FINALLY went on a date (that went horribly wrong).
Then I discovered… there is no more content after Wednesday.
Taking a closer look at the game, it says Part One Out Now! Meaning there was at least one other part that isn’t available yet. Now, I can understand from a business standpoint wanting to have multiple parts for a game, to make the price point lower and develop returning customers. But I don’t like the way this was executed. Having the game stop at Wednesday feels incomplete. I didn’t feel that I experienced a full game. My character only had one date FFS!
The great thing about indie games is that you can jump right into the developer’s Discord server and start asking questions. So that’s precisely what I did! I spoke to an individual at Bloom Digital Media to raise my concerns with the Later Daters game.
If we released the game all in one, it would have been priced $15.99. So in that way it maybe allows you to make a more informed purchasing decision. We are just big believers in episodic content, it’s how the game is written. Releasing in parts helps us because we are quite small. And also get a chance to respond to people’s feedback.
I think that marketing this way is unclear to the consumer, and once you lose the customer’s trust they are unlikely to make a second purchase. And to include a weekly calendar that I can’t even complete in the first part makes me feel a bit shortchanged. Parts released separately should at least be self contained, imo.
Our writers come from the TV world, so actually each episode is self-contained, but we didn’t want to do releases of individual episodes. I think we did talk a lot to people about how we were releasing in bundles but I think in the trailer and also some UX stuff (ex calendar) could have been more clear.
I wasn’t going to debate with Chrass on how ‘complete’ I felt the storyline was overall, but I understand their reasoning for delivering the game the way they did. It seems that they met a lot of backlash for this, though. There was a recent update that released within the past few days that includes a Cribbage mini game as bonus content for everyone who purchased Later Daters Part One. I tried out the Cribbage game before writing this review.
As far as Cribbage games go, this is pretty standard. It has a quick tutorial mode and you can play against any of the main characters that you met in the main game. There are little bits of dialogue that the opponent will say, and they all stay true to their characters. Unfortunately I kept noticing small bugs in the mini game’s menus and found that to be a little frustrating.
So do I recommend this game? I applaud their subject matter and animation. There is an excellent Later Daters jingle in the beginning of the game that is a TOTAL earworm as well! But I strongly feel that this is not a complete game. If you are ok with purchasing multiple parts to get the full story, that is entirely up to you! There’s nothing wrong with it. But it rubbed me the wrong way.
And I HATE getting rubbed the wrong way in my dating games. 😜