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One Night Stand review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Kinmoku
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

As someone who was never big on partying, drinking, or casual relationships, One Night Stand doesn’t exactly speak to me on a personal experience level. After all, it’s a game that’s about a man and a woman chatting in her bedroom following, as the game’s title implies, a one night stand. Playing from the man’s point of view, your recollection of the previous night is hazy, so it’s up to you to decide how honest you want to be, and where you want the conversation to go.

As I said, literally no part of that resonates with anything from my own life. But, much like I can enjoy Arkham games despite never being a playboy billionaire vigilante, or I can play the heck out of the MLB The Show series despite being mostly lacking in athletic ability, I’m able to appreciate One Night Stand because of the way it treats its characters, its story, and its entire approach. It’s thoughtful, and engaging, and mature, all in ways that very, very few other games are, even in this post-games-as-art age.

It’s hard to talk about what exactly happens in One Night Stand, since there are a dozen different endings, and I don’t want to give away any of them. I will say, though, that as much as this is a game that rewards you for being inquisitive and pleasant, conversations can take all kinds of strange and awkward turns, so it demands that you play through it several times in order to get the full experience.

To some extent, this means that you’ll probably get a little tired of seeing some of the same scenes over and over again. While there are quite a few ways for the game to end, you’ll end up seeing many of the game’s component scenes several times along the way. Thankfully, One Night Stand’s developers were nice enough to include a fast-forward button, which means that you can always zip through dialogue sections you’ve seen one or twice (or seven or eight or nine) times before. You can also make a few timely saves, which allows you to double-back after some challenging decisions and see how else your morning could play out.

What really makes One Night Stand worthwhile, though, is that despite its name — and the fact you find yourself in bed with a naked woman right off the bat — it’s not interested in being sexy (or, seeing as it’s a game, “sexy”) or titillating. It’s just a short, somewhat awkward, occasionally charming and funny (depending on what choices you pick) game about a pair of twenty-somethings having a mature conversation. There really isn’t anything else like it, and it’s worth checking out if you’re in the mood for a game about talking.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a One Night Stand PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: A-