Five Dates (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Isabella Martinez 17.11.2020

Review for Five Dates on Nintendo Switch

Five Dates, developed by Wales Interactive and Good Gate Media, is a self-described interactive film. This dating simulator takes place in London during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it a very relatable context for all. It consists of Vinny, 27, going on virtual video dates with five young women on a dating app and his fate is in the hands of various pop-up choices, which is where the game aspect comes in. At least he has his best friend and wingman, Callum, cheering him on.

Five Dates starts very basically with creating Vinny's profile where the choice of his profile picture, profession, interests and star sign are available. Choices must be carefully considered in this profile construction process as there is unfortunately no option to go back and change something without starting over from scratch. Upon completion, a notice pops up onto the screen about upgrading to a premium plan on the dating app. This is confusing at first because one questions if this is a real notification or just an in-game quirk; it turns out to be the latter and is the primary reason for how the dating experience is structured. The premium plan allows the user to date as many people as they like at the same time. Without this plan however, the user is limited to three dates at a time, which, because Vinny does not pay the premium price, immediately contradicts the title from the get-go.

Due to the lack of the premium plan, Vinny must choose three out of the five girls he matched with to go on a date. Following this, he can only go on a second date with two of them and finally, must choose only one with whom to go on the third and final date. This is frustrating because trying to date all five means going back and having to date at least one of the same women from the previous round, so to speak, just because that's how the app works - three at a time. Furthermore, it takes a long time to try and get to the third and final date with each of them.

Screenshot for Five Dates on Nintendo Switch

Vinny then video calls his best friend, Callum, who is sadly a purely token character. He is very funny and a great wingman who finds the young women's social media pages after each of Vinny's dates during their "debriefs", but unfortunately, his function in the story does not go further than this. At one point, Callum says that he has also joined the dating app, however, his dating experience is not shown at all, meaning that a whole portion of a possible additional interactive experience with someone new and exciting is totally lost. Of course, budget reasons could make extending anything a difficult task, but when Callum eventually asks Vinny for dating advice, it begs the question if a new dating adventure is going to come into play with Callum. Sadly, this is all that is mentioned of Callum's dating with no exploration that has any substance in who he is dating whatsoever. This would be a great thing to consider if making a sequel.

Screenshot for Five Dates on Nintendo Switch

There are five options of young women to date, unfortunately making it a very heteronormative experience. Whilst this is not a total issue, it proves disappointing during an era where these topics should not be shied away from and should be included and explored, especially because it will bring an additional demographic into play and more interesting characters. Most of the women fall into a few stereotypes, such as the spiritual vegan, fitness-conscious influencer, and the put-together lawyer, and are all between the age bracket of 22 to 30-years-old.

During dates, the choices can be few and far between at times, resulting in long portions of just watching two people making small talk and awkwardly laughing and biting their lips. Luckily, when going back and redoing dates, there is the option to skip over previously seen choices and reactions because, while the actors are very skilled and natural at first, there is only so much fake laughing one can take. Five Dates does market itself as an interactive film, yet the at times limited interactive features can detract from what makes this film also market itself as a game.

Screenshot for Five Dates on Nintendo Switch

There is some undeniable satisfaction when successfully completing the first date, and there is a definite incentive to get perfect dates with each woman, meaning that remembering which right and wrong answers to choose is vital. Each second date involves a preset activity. Some games can have obvious bad choices that will result in a failed date, but others can be a little easier. Thankfully there is the option to either have a timer during decision-making, or to pause and carefully consider each option. When quickly skipping over scenes though, it can often result in missing the subtext of a question and blindly guessing the right answer, which can be disastrous.

The young women are all nice enough at first, but they are also very volatile. If a "wrong" choice is made, they tend to be very taken aback and can become completely disinterested, resulting in either ending the date early or rejecting a second date invitation. In navigating a good date, many times the "right" choice (the one which clearly caters to what the woman wants Vinny to say) can be very clear and often scores very enthusiastic brownie points - such as when asked if he is a vegan, into fitness, or outgoing. However, other choices are not so easy, such as being asked about his cooking abilities or political standpoint, which can be a very tricky area for any conversation. There are also a few moments in the plot that have no pay off, such as Callum's dating ventures, because they are never brought up again. It thus begs the question: why have these plot points been included when they are not followed up?

Screenshot for Five Dates on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

As a whole, Five Dates is an interesting experience that can be addictive when it comes to experimenting with all of the available answers, even though this can be very time consuming. However, issues such as plot devices, not very understanding dates and its undeniable heteronormative ways give Five Dates much to improve on, especially when considering a sequel, which is not totally discouraged.

Developer

Good Game Media

Publisher

Wales Interactive

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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