Also on: PC
Publisher: Laundry Bear Games
Developer: Copychaser Games
If you?ve ever played a visual novel — and particularly an otome game — the basic premise of Speed Dating for Ghosts will feel awfully familiar. It relies heavily on that genre?s structure: it?s a series of interactions with various characters, as you try to decide which one you want to romance. There are certainly differences, but if you look at it from just the right angle, you can see how this Canadian-made game kind of fits in very snugly with a predominantly Japanese genre.
Of course, to the best of my knowledge, there aren?t too many otome games where you both play as a ghost and you?re romancing other ghosts (though I have no doubt those exist somewhere). Moreover, I don?t want to play up the romance angle too much — yes, you?re going on speed dates with all those ghosts, but the point of the game isn?t finding love, it?s finding out the other ghosts? stories.
In other words, you have to judge Speed Dating for Ghosts on the quality of the stories it tells, not on the romances. After all, you?re not trying to woo the dog that?s missing its owner or the vengeful ghost obsessed with a blade creeping down a hallway, you?re trying to tease out details of what happened to them and figure out how you can help them. And, as you can probably tell from that last sentence, there are some pretty strong — and occasionally heartbreaking — stories to be found here. That aforementioned dog story is sure to make you feel a little weepy, and I had a soft spot as well for the old lady ghost who hung around nursing homes to help ease the passing of its occupants. There are about a dozen or so stories to be found here, and they?re all told fairly well.
It?s important to know, however, that Speed Dating for Ghosts is short. Very short, in fact, and it has little in the way of replay value. You can go back and replay speed dating rooms so that you can go on dates with the ghosts you missed, but you?ll be lucky to get more than an hour (two, if you?re really stretching things out) out of this game.
Still, it?s not the quantity of a game that counts, it?s the quality, and Speed Dating for Ghosts has more than enough of the latter to make up for the relative lack of the former. It?s a relatively unique game, so if you?re in the market for something different, be sure to check it out.
Laundry Bear Games provided us with a Speed Dating for Ghosts Switch code for review purposes.