Back in the 80s and early 90s, gamers were tarnished with a pretty horrendous stereotypical image – geeks with glasses who were destined to remain single, living at home with their parents and most likely never to have spent a moment in the company of the opposite sex let alone entered into any form of meaningful relationship. We all know that nothing could be further from the truth, but that doesn’t stop Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy! from basing it’s entire premise around the player attempting to prevent themselves ending up facing a lifetime in that dreaded scenario…
You start off as a teenager about to start the next step in your educational cycle as you progress to college. Starting in your bedroom at home you realise that your life up to that point has consisted primarily of a solitary one, spending most of your spare time on your PC playing MMORPGs and you decide that it’s not how you want your future to end up… you want a life, a relationship and the last thing you want is to be single, 30 and find your life still revolving around being an online gamer.
What follows is a relatively basic game. It takes the form of still images throughout with brief scenarios, conversations and your own thoughts presented to you on screen as text and after several screens of cliché-ridden passages, you’re presented with a number of choices that you have to make. Whatever decisions you make then take the story in a slightly different direction or affect how the characters you see interact with you. Some decisions you make affect your character’s statistics that you have increasing them although from what I noticed these seemed to have very little bearing on the gameplay although they may do at some point later on.
In essence, the game plays in a similar manner to the Fighting Fantasy game books from the 80s, two of which were adapted successfully to the Minis range, but with less interaction, no combat or noticeable character development missing the vita RPG element and – most importantly for a game of this nature – less developed and engaging writing and sadly lacking a tightly written script and this is the game’s biggest weakness.
Right from the opening text you can see where the game is heading. It’s written very much from a teenage perspective but with a 16+ PEGI rating and with the majority of PS Vita owners falling into a much older age group it does seem to be a curious approach to take. Dialogue is is littered with sexual references (hence the age rating) and much of it is what you would expect from a typical teenager both in content and in the thought processes behind it and this theme runs throughout the game. The protagonist seems to hold the opposite sex in very little regard constantly and sees them as little more than a target of conquest and I felt incredibly uncomfortable reading through some of the prose. In fact, on my first playthrough, I actually felt disgusted at the attitude displayed by the developers to the differences between men and women and their approach to being attractive to the opposite sex to the degree that I quit the game completely.
I will be honest and say that I did want to enjoy this game as I’m a massive fan of the Fighting Fantasy series but with bland visuals and the sexist theme running throughout I just found it too difficult to stomach. Even without the sexist references, the game often made remarks that belittled older gamers as if there was a stigma attached to enjoying games later in life and was something that the central character was desperate to avoid and that being a gamer and being in any form of meaningful relationship couldn’t co-exist happily, alienating me from the game further. Whether this approach to the game was intended to be satirical or not I don’t know but if it was then it failed dismally and instead simply proved to be another reason to dislike the game.
Sadly I found little to redeem this but even if you’re willing to push past the developer’s way that he has presented the character’s limited outlook on the world and aren’t looking for anything too deep you’ll still be in for a great disappointment. If you must, try the free demo before parting with your money.
At A Glance
- Title: Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy!
- Publisher: cupholder Jones
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N/A
- Online Multiplayer: N/A
- Local Multiplayer: N/A
- Memory Card Space Needed: 35Mb