Five Dates is a FMV (Full Motion Video) game from the masters of the genre, Wales Interactive. Instead of doing another action or thriller storyline, they have created a delightfully upbeat romantic comedy. If you’ve played one of their games before then you’ll know what to expect, this is more of an interactive movie than a videogame.
The set-up is quite topical, as it’s based in London in the middle of the Covid lockdown. What this means is that people are still allowed to go to and from work, go food shopping, or to medical appointments, but that’s about it. There’s no going out and socialising with friends or family. For those that are single and living by themselves it can be a pretty lonely time. Thankfully a new app has emerged which specialises in digital dating.
Vinny is a 27 year old guy who has decided to take a chance on love during these strange times. You’ll get to help create his profile by selecting what his job is, as well as his profile picture, star sign, and interests. These choices will have some small influences on conversations that you have in the future but won’t drastically change anything. Still, it is nice to be able to personalise your version of Vinny.
There are five eligible ladies that you’ll get to check out on the app but you can only ask three of them out on a first date. The first date gives you the opportunity to see who you’re potentially compatible with. When you know so little about someone it can be very easy to say the wrong thing. There are some pretty amusing moments where you can get Vinny to say something, which seems fairly innocuous, and watch your potential lover’s interest quickly fade.
Five Dates Review – Who’s Behind Door Number One?
Before we go any further let’s take a bit of time to talk about the women that you’ll encounter. They’re all beautiful but with very diverse interests and personalities. So you have language teacher Maya who’s a bit of a party animal, Shaina the overworked nurse, Grace the uptight lawyer, Paige the social media influencer, and Saffron who works for an animal welfare charity.
It’s easy to make snap judgements when you first check out their profiles, but just like in real life, the more you talk to them the more you’ll learn things that you probably weren’t expecting to find out. I obviously won’t spoil anything in this review, but there were definitely some people who were far more interesting than I initially anticipated.
There are a few familiar faces in the cast, including Mandip Gill of Doctor Who fame and Georgia Hurst from Vikings. I enjoyed watching all the characters in the game as they all had great chemistry with each other, I quickly found myself warming to them and wanting to get to know them better. I particularly enjoyed seeing Vinny’s debriefing sessions with his best friend Callum. Watching the light-hearted banter fly between them had me grinning from ear-to-ear.
Five Dates – The New Normal
Dating during lockdown makes for a really interesting setting as all interaction has to be online rather than face-to-face. This makes second dates a bit trickier to make interesting, as what can you do when you can only chat by phone app? Thankfully the app has already thought of this, and so the next dates you have are “activity” dates.
The app forces you to narrow down your choices for the second date and so you’ll only be able to select two out of the three people you saw in the first round. Of course if your first date was disastrous then they might not accept your call at all. Each woman will have a different activity planned, things like truth-or-dare or tarot reading.
All of the activities are fun but it’s a bit of a shame that only your date can select the activity. It would have been nice to be able to mix-and-match the activities with different partners. Obviously that would have required Wales Interactive to record a lot more footage and script a lot of different possibilities for each lady, so it is understandable that they decided on just one game per woman.
By the time you get to the third and final date you’ll have to narrow down your option to just the one woman that you like the most. It’s handy that you’re able to check your relationship scores at any point during the game so that you can see who you’ve got the most chemistry with. This is also really helpful in future playthroughs as you can check to see how your conversation choices impacts your bonds.
Five Dates Review – Lockdown Casanova
It’ll take you around 75 minutes to get through a complete playthrough, and hopefully end up with a girlfriend at the end of it. There is obviously a far bit of replayability as you can try your hand at successfully dating one of the other women. You’re also able to skip any scenes you previously watched, which makes it much quicker to get to new conversations.
Playing a game set during lockdown is definitely unique. Rather than focusing on some of the negative aspects of the pandemic, Wales Interactive has managed to spin this into a light-hearted rom-com. It’s a fun experience that manages to turn social distancing limitations into something positive and fun.
Five Dates review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.