Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy Review

Title: Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy!
Developer: cupholderJones
Game Type: PlayStation Mobile
Download:  30 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download, Direct Download
EU Availability: Digital Download, Direct Download

There are many genres of games where you really don’t see very many games for, at least in the United States.  Think about some game genres that you don’t see hardly any of.  We see a lot of different games for popular genres.  You see Role-Playing Games like Final Fantasy and , Shooting games like Call of Duty, platformers like Rayman and Mega Man.  Even rhythm games are starting to become more mainstream overall, due to the success of franchises like Rock Band and Guitar Hero.  On the Vita, many popular franchises are seeing new light, but there are also some genres that you don’t see often on any platform, let alone on the Vita.

One such genre is the Dating Simulation genre.  This is actually a very popular genre in Japan, but due to the nature of some of these games, they are kept in the Japan and Asia regions, never reaching the shores of the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries in the North America and PAL regions.  Not all of them are made like that, though, and a few of them have crossed the borders, offering a unique experience of relationship-building and winning the hearts of characters from within the game.

Last week, PlayStation Mobile updated with a decent amount of new games, available for download on the PS Vita (and PlayStation-certified Android devices).  Among them was a game that this reviewer downloaded simply because the title was hilarious and I could tell there would be hilarity ensuing within the game, itself.  A dating simulation game, one of the Vita’s first (outside of relationship-building in games like Persona 4 Golden) of the genre, we have played it and played it.  Here is our official review of the PlayStation Mobile game, Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy!

Story

The story of this game is nothing short of a huge, cliché’d, censored ride.  You star as a Male entering his first days of college.  The background behind this character is a huge cliché among the gaming world.  That one cliché, with a social outcast spending his youth in his parents’ basement playing MMO’s like World of Warcraft, has no phone contacts other than “Mom”, and has never had a kiss, let alone done the intimate deed, and has a vulgar mouth.  That is who you are playing as.  There is no name associated, other than the one you put in with a New Game and the various characters refer you to as.

You are on a quest to not become a Level 30 Wizard, another cliché for someone who has reached 30 years of age without being in a committed relationship and become intimate with their partner.  So, as you go into your first day of college, your goal is to meet up with some ladies and win their hearts.  You are set on becoming more social in your life, rather than being in a basement for the rest of your days.  It is up to you, the Player, to make sure you don’t screw up, become intimidated by women, and become a Level 30 Wizard.

I will say this.  When I played the game, I thought it was bad, but I couldn’t stop playing it until I beat it.  The dialogue is full of clichés and there is censored cursing almost every time the main character thinks to himself.  There is definitely room here for some to become offended, but the way it’s shown is just too comedic to hate.  This is not a game where you are taking the storyline seriously, but enjoying the ride as you play.  It is also more enjoyable for the laughs if you’re playing with friends around.

Gameplay

The first thing I will mention is important.  When you locate this game on the PlayStation Store, it lists as being Free.  While the initial download is free, the full game is not.  What you download is merely a Demo of the game.  Once you are introduced to the first two girls, you will get a prompt where the demo ends.  The full game, which can be bought in that prompt, is $2.99.  Just something to think about.

As a Dating Simulation game, there isn’t an immense and deep gameplay system.  You won’t have a character you can use to run around an open-world college campus.  There won’t be a huge array of places you can go.  This is a very simple game with a very simple style and design of gameplay.  You will be using scenes and text-based menus set in a Visual Novel-style of dialogue as you explore campus to find your dream girl and win her heart.

Being a text-based game, you will be able to read how situations go and, at certain points, have certain things you can say.  For example, you might have a choice to eat either blueberry waffle or eggs and bacon for breakfast, or you will have a choice of whether to talk about a new topic to someone or move closer to them.  This game is a game of choices, and those choices have a huge impact on where the story goes.  Even one slipup in choice could get you a game over or send you on another of the three girls’ story, rather than the one you want.

Along with this is a status system.  If you’ve ever played Persona 3 or Persona 4, you may remember that answering questions correctly can increase social stats, like Intelligence.  A similar system is applied to this game.  When you have certain choices, mostly when you’re not around any of the three girls, you can increase your stats, like Intelligence or Strength.  This is key to getting the ending you want.  For example, one of the girls’ story branches leads to a scene where you are required to win a fight with a brute, and whether you win depends on how high your strength stat is.  You cannot miss a single choice before this happens or you will lose and not get the ending.

The story branches are short, and you can skip scenes if you end up failing and having to start the game all over, from the beginning.  This will, most certainly happen, if you don’t use a guide or haven’t played the game before on other systems, such as Xbox Live or otherwise.

When you do get to an ending and achieve it, you get a sexy, little ending scene of the girl whose heart you won, and then you may start a New Game and try for a different ending.  There are 4 endings in total, counting the Wizard Ending, when you fail.  All in all, there isn’t a whole lot of game here.  You can successfully go through and get an ending in a very short amount of time, if you know what you’re doing.  If you want to go and test until you do get the right stuff, I would imagine the total amount of time it would take to unlock everything is a few hours, maybe a bit more.  If you use a guide, it will probably take you a maximum of 1 hour to see all four endings.

Controls

The control scheme for this game is pretty simple and not like other normal PlayStation Mobile titles.  While most PS Mobile titles are developed to have both touch controls and button controls, this game seems directed at the PlayStation Vita and the Vita alone.  We came to this conclusion from the fact that this game only support button input.  You cannot use touch controls at all on the PS Vita.  Whether you have access to touch controls on Android devices is currently unknown.

That said, you will be using about four buttons when you play this game, counting the D-Pad as one.  When you input your name or have choices in dialogue or action, you may move the cursor either with the D-Pad or the Left Analog Stick.  To choose an option, you press the X Button and to cancel a letter when entering your name, you press the Circle Button.

With all of those buttons seen, there isn’t really anything else you can do, as far as controls are concerned.  None of the other buttons or touch screens do anything when you are in the middle of the game.  It is a very simple interface for a very simple game.

Presentation

As far as visuals go, this is an anime-style game, full of anime clichés.  Everything you see is drawn much like an anime would be, the girls included.  Even there is the cliché that all anime female characters have ridiculously large chests.  Each of these characters have models with very noticeable chest sizes.  While this isn’t necessarily bad and adds to the amusement of the clichés in the game, it is something very noticeable.

As far as how the game runs, it runs pretty well.  There is about a 15 second load time when you first boot up the game, which is a plus.  This doesn’t sound very good, but most PlayStation Mobile games and apps take at least 20 seconds to boot up.  The fact that this only takes 15 seconds is pretty good, and it means the developers are improving.

Other than that, everything runs smooth.  I never encountered any lag or slowdown during the game, and each scene transitioned to one another very neatly.

Overall

To say this game is great, or even good, wouldn’t really be the truth.  When I played it, I thought the story was cliché’d and bad, and you probably will, too.  But, the way the story is written is like the story of the original Resident Evil.  The dialogue was bad, but you just couldn’t hate it.  If you want a good laugh and a chance at tackling a cheap Dating Simulator, this is your best bet.  It’s not a great game, and doesn’t last long, but it’ll get some laughs out of you and those around you.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Don’t Die Dateless Dummy! a 5.5/10.

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One comment

  1. Lol’d at that last picture. I might pick the game up if I’m ever looking for something to play haha. Nice review man!

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