FMV style console game hits are few and far between these days. When I played the excellent thriller Erica on PS4 back in 2019 I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality interactive story telling. Ten Dates is a romantic comedy interactive game from award winning indie studio Wales Interactive. The team have established themselves as one of the champions for the revival of the FMV genre with their aim to further blur the lines between film and games as they evolve the medium.
Ten Dates to find love
Played here on PS5 the game is also available on PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Epic Games, Mac, iOS and Android.
Set in London, you play as either of two best friends Mischa and Ryan. Duped into going out for a drink under false pretences, Ryan quickly finds out that his pal Mischa has signed them both up for a night of speed dating.
While initially resistant, Ryan doesn’t take long to warm to the idea and leaves his pal to embark on a journey, to hopefully find a connection.
The people you meet offer up a variety of different characters to get to know. You have 5 minutes per date and your choices/answers during the date will affect your relationship status with the character. Responses have a time limit, so you are put slightly under pressure to make your choice while the conversation continues. This adds to the realism of being on a real speed date, you’ve not got much time and you gotta be real.
The experience is kept fresh by the introduction of some mini games as you progress. You get to play fun games like truth or dare, two truths and a lie, higher or lower card game and even try your hand at some riddles.
Play your cards right (pun intended) and you will have the chance to invite two people on a follow up second date. This is done by grabbing their social media handle, should they give it at end of the speed date. You can then visit their profile in hopes of learning a little more about them and even like some of their pics.
Beware though as being over enthusiastic with likes can be perceived as either positive or negative depending on the person you are dating.
Included in the settings is the ability to enable streamer mode. This pauses the action during the choices to all you stream the game and get your community involved in the quest for love. With so many dates and branching paths, there is definitely a lot of fun to be had in a shared journey. I shall check out some streams and see who people’s favourite dates are.
Graphics & Audio
The quality of the presentation is really good with some nice video transitions between major scenes. The music throughout is subtle, adding a lovely ambience to the experience.
Scenes outside of the live action video, like setting up profiles, relationship status tracking etc have a well designed UI that’s simple but effective. The text is clear and easy to read from a distance. The settings menu gives options for subtitles with various options to customise how they are displayed. A nice touch that’s not always possible in games.
The real stand out though is the actors who are really excellent. They are what makes this experience so enjoyable with such brilliant performances. There’s real talent on show here.
Ten Dates has replayability in spades as you’ve got both main characters Mischa & Ryan to play as. With each having five speed dates and then 2nd or possibly 3rd dates, plus all the side objectives and branching paths there’s plenty to keep you entertained.
To achieve all the trophies/achievements will take multiple playthroughs. Thankfully once you have played through once you are given the option to pick which speed dates you want. This along with being able to skim forward through scenes using the R1 button is a very welcome addition as it allows you to quickly complete a do-over with different choices to see some of the branching paths and alternate outcomes.
Ten Dates is fun, brilliantly acted and doesn’t shy away from exploring some sensitive real world topics. Interaction between the characters feels natural and the actors involved have to be applauded for bringing such charm and life to the roles they play.
What Wales Interactive has achieved here is top notch and wouldn’t feel out of place alongside rom-com gems like Notting Hill and Love Actually. I laughed, cringed and had so much fun that I was immediately back starting again trying to see how differently things could pan out by altering my choices.
As I enjoyed the characters so much that I would definitely like to see them again in the future. Sharing the love I am delighted to award this game the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.