Generally my girlfriend puts up with my gaming tastes, albeit with a complete lack of interest. When I’m shooting aliens, jumping from beautiful vistas or walking through a ghost house full of horror, she may look up from her book for a second, roll her eyes and be totally unimpressed. So it was with great surprise when she walked in on me as I was taking a computer programmer called Nigel, who like walks in the parks, the interweb and amusing GIFs, on a date in a German restaurant called The Hot Sausage, before asking “What are you doing?”. “It’s Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker…a dating game”, I replied. Needless to say, I haven’t seen her since.
Kitty Powers has been a big success on iOS and PC before now hitting our humble console. Who is Kitty and what does she want from me, I hear you cry? Well, Kitty Powers runs a dating agency and it’s up to you to set up a dating franchise of your very own, all with help from the master.
You find yourself initially setting up a individual profile of your own, with all your gory details on; this can then be used by other agencies and put on perspective dates. But for now you have a small marketing campaign to choose where to advertise for perspective clients. Do you go for the geeky clients, the glam client, or the hipster clients? Each type has a level of difficulty and some can be very hard to please in a date situation.
You start the game by having a few clients to take on who are looking for love. Their profile indicates their interests, what they look for in a partner, their star sign, and a whole load more. Through Kitty’s little black book, it is then up to you to try and match them up to their ideal partner, taking into account the stats you have on offer.
When you have chosen the match up…it’s date time.
You start with a few choices of restaurants for your clients to go on their date. These are places like the English cuisine themed “The King’s Helmet”, “The Jerk King” offering Jamaican food, “Mother Tucker” delivering the very best in Aussie grub and, well…you get the idea. When both dates arrive, it is up to you to sit close by and whisper instructions to make the date go smoothly.
Now, how to make the date go well is dependant on how good you are at mini-games. Examples are from choosing the right dish from a menu, after the date proclaims their food preferences. Or guessing the right percentage to tip the waiter. Or, in a strange game when you have to suppress a farting attack, playing higher or lower with cards.
As the date progresses you get to have a go on something called the love handle, which is a fruit machine that gives you a number of topics to discuss. Do you chat about horoscopes? Interests? Hair colour? The way you’re matched up might help this outcome, or if you feel like lying on your answers you can spin the roulette wheel and take a chance. If you get three strikes from the date going badly, by breaking wind or losing on the mini games, the other potential love interest leaves and your client is heartbroken. If however you manage to survive to the end of the date, you can choose to not go out with them again, go on another date, or declare your undying love for them, right there on the spot.
When you have dates in love with each other, they pair up and your standing in the dating agency world goes up. That in turn will see your experience points go up, allowing you to expand your agency, open up new areas to advertise in and bring in new options to buy in the shop. It is here in this shop where you get the opportunity to use in-game to unlock more restaurants, more options to adjust your client’s hair, looks and makeover, all whilst bringing more clients into Kitty’s black book. There is also a nice feature when you get letters or updates from your previous dates to see if they’ve married, had babies or split up. The results of this decrease and increase your reputation and is a great fun feature. If only to keep your nosey thoughts in check.
The gameplay all works very well, is really polished and slick as hell. The minigames are varied and fun, and the game keeps giving you new surprises the more you progress. You really have to test your observation and memory skills to the max in order to get good with the dating game. I can however tell that the iOS versions would work better for this game, because it feels like something best suited to commuting or on the move – you know, when you have those ten minutes to spare.
The tone and writing of the game is very much like a 1970’s carry on film, with its double entendres and tongue-in-cheek comedy. I think you will instantly know whether you like this type of humour or not, but for me I really enjoyed it and it’s made me laugh out loud. The styling and looks of the game also embrace the campiness, fun and tone, with its cartoony bright world. The characters’ facial expressions are brilliant. The soundtrack again has a brilliant track that pumps along like a 70’s sitcom, and stays in your mind for a long time. The effects are sharp, funny and great whilst Kitty Power’s voice-overs are a nice touch, with tons of commitment and heaps of panache.
Overall, I found my time with Kitty Powers fun and unique, whilst leaving my face always smiling. The package the developers have put together is really polished and tight, with some great mini-game fun to be had.
I do think the price is a bit too high though and if it were under the £10 mark it would be perfect. The game does drag after a while and you lose the impact of going on the dates and playing the mini games, especially when the stakes get higher. But I would recommend giving this a go if you are after something different, or want something that will make you feel that love is always in the air.