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About the Story
"It’s a perfectly normal evening, and you have a quiet dinner planned with one of your friends.
Rock Paper Shotgun
Wot I Think: Save The Date
Maybe I’m generalizing, but I like to think most dating sims are, on some level, about dating. Save The Date, however, sticks with the warm-and-fuzzies just as long as it needs to – and not a second longer. At heart, it’s a visual novel, but on a high-speed collision course with tragedy, mortality, and hilariously terrible consequences. Each five-or-so-minute playthrough (adding up to an-hour-and-a-half or so total) barrages you with choices, the results of which aren’t exactly happily ever after. So you try again and again and again to keep the date from going horribly wrong, and things only spiral further out of control. In that respect and many others, Save The Date’s brilliant. Even astounding, in places. The writing’s quite strong, the twists hit like a remarkably stealthy 18-wheeler, and there’s far, far, far more to it than even its initial surreal streak suggests.
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Number of Reviews: 5
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This game is brilliant, and you should play it before reading a review. No really. Play blind. Then come back. It's in Ren'Py? I think? That's the dating simulation engine where the anime characters slide in shrewdly from the sides...but this game doesn't do this - it's not annoying at all. Install this and play it. There's enjoyable music and graphics and it all works perfectly.
(Spoiler - click to show)I'm not sure I got everything out of this game, but I am a HUGE fan of meta and I love intricate recursion. So when I figured out this game was going to let me actually use save and reload to affect the story, I was hooked. It's got a lot to say about the contract between an author and a reader, and a gleeful sense of absurd humor. I almost think this even does a better trick than THE STANLEY PARABLE because there is no narrator and the author colludes with you wholeheartedly. It's almost got a bit of INCEPTION in its world-controlling aspirations.
I've played hundreds of IF games, but the only one I can honestly say has changed my life is Save the Date. This game has empowered me and helped me live a more intentional life.
It's much more than it appears on the surface, and that's all I can say without spoilers. Play it blind. Play it now.
(Spoiler - click to show)Every time I play a game or watch a movie and I don't like the ending, I think of Save the Date, and I choose my own version of the story. I no longer treat the creator's version as the only authoritative one.
This new perspective has spilled over and empowered me in other subtle ways as well, helping me live a more intentional life, to be the co-creator of my own life-game instead of just the protagonist.
It's one thing to understand Death of the Author in an intellectual way. It's entirely another to be the player who kills the author by your own hand.
The phone rings. It's Felicia, calling to arrange your dinner date for tonight. But this is no ordinary dating sim, and it will be no ordinary date. Some sort of cosmic force/evil wizard/time-murderer/computer game designer wants your date to end in disaster.
Despite not really being a dating sim, I'd still describe this game as "cute". The writing is funny, with touches of surrealism and a few pop-culture references thrown in. The game seems bug-free, and the graphics are retro but effective. It's played in multiple small doses, though you will find playthroughs are interconnected, and each gives you more of a clue as to your aim, and how to achieve it. It's ultimately a form of Choose Your Own Adventure, but with enough branches to feel your choices matter each time. Well, sort of matter.
Talking too much about the game, however, runs the risk of ruining the experience, so I will put the rest of these thoughts into spoiler tags. (Spoiler - click to show)I played through the game several times, and found no good ending. I have a feeling that the only good ending is still bad for you, which made me find a surprising emotional and philosophical element to an otherwise straight-ahead funny game. Sometimes the best course of action is selflessness, and sometimes things are just not meant to be.
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