App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Wales Interactive is back with a sequel to one of my favorite FMV titles of theirs. Following up on Five Dates, Ten Dates ups the scope of its choose-your-own dating adventure by offering more dates, more options, and even stepping out the the realm of screen-based interactions and having your dates take place out in the world. In all of these steps forward, Ten Dates retains the charm of the original game, making it a fantastic follow up to a great game.
Find your match
Ten Dates focuses on a pair of friends--a man and a woman--who are both looking to put themselves out there for a romantic relationship. They both serve as supportive commentators throughout the journey, but you also start the game choosing which character to follow and make choices for as they make their way around a speed dating event and line up follow ups with the people they got along with.
For the most part, you are just watching video clips that stitch together each event, though there are times where you're prompted to make certain choices. Do you encourage your date to go on about horrorscopes or do you deflect and change the subject? Do you choose to interject to correct someone about what they said or let it slide? Each of these moments not only helps shape the character you inhabit, but also how each potential romantic partner decides how they ultimately feel about you by the game's end.
One of the things I praised Five Dates for was its direction and how it was so adept at presenting the awkwardness of meeting new people without being too awkward itself (a rare quality for FMV games). I credited the fact that the game was all screen-based communication for that success, but Ten Dates more-or-less nails the same feel using actors who are playing off of each other in the same scene.
Some of the characters themselves are a little cartoonishly written, particularly in their opening interactions, but the actors portraying them commit in a way that feels genuine and endears you to them. Well, at least most of them. With more options in Ten Dates, there definitely seem some characters that don't hold much appeal at all, but I guess that makes the experience feel a bit more true to life.
With options to play as a man or woman (and even explore same sex relationships), Ten Dates feels like a much more approachable and diverse game than the first. That said, there is definitely still room to grow in the kinds of people and relationship styles it includes.
I get the feeling that including the amount of options and potential partners that Ten Dates was a pretty tricky thing to pull off, though, as each date feels a bit rushed. This makes for a nice title to easily play in a single sitting, but it can also make for situations that feel like they progress or escalate at an unnatural pace.
The bottom line
Overall though, Ten Dates is a quality follow up to a game that I already enjoyed the first iteration of. It's an enjoyable and lightly humorous exploration of the dating world and is full of charm without feeling too cringe or awkward.