Dating sims. It's a relatively unexplored genre on consoles, but the PC and mobile markets are ripe with these curious titles. While there may be an existing negative stereotype that dating sims are catered toward folks who can't get a date in real life, this isn't what Magic Notion is going for with Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker
. Why? Because you're not the one going on the date. This isn't about you. It's all about helping lonely lads and lasses find love with a little help from your mentor, the fabulous Kitty Powers.
If anything, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker
is more about business than dating. Ms. Powers has entrusted you with a failing branch of her matchmaking service and it's your job to bring this little business back from the brink of bankruptcy. Here, you're in the business of love. Clients come to you looking for help finding a soulmate. You'll have notebooks filled with their personality type, hobbies and interests, bad habits, guilty pleasures, preferred eye and hair color and more. You'll aid them via earpiece as they venture out onto their quests for love. Send them out on a successful date and they'll shower you in fees, tips and gifts. Break their heart? You'll end up with a tainted reputation, lowering the fees clients are willing to pay for your services and they'll try the dating agency down the street instead.
Much of the gameplay revolves around mini games. Help your client pick out their date's favorite chocolates through the power of Minesweeper
, decide how to split the bill with a lively round of Pachinko, settle a flirting battle with Rock, Paper, Scissors, suppress your client's bodily functions with the Higher-Lower card game and more. In between mini games, there will be conversational rounds that you'll have to help your client through, dancing around topics on which you know they won't agree and steering the chatter toward shared interests. You can also use some of your hard-earned money to "cheat," retrying if you fail a mini game or paying a fee to have a chocolate the date dislikes removed from the board. Everything is fun and designed to be silly. Your performance during mini games and conversation can have varying degrees of success or failure and many of the outcomes will make you smile. The entire process is strangely addicting and Kitty Powers
is a textbook example of a game where you say to yourself "Just one more date..." and suddenly it's 3 a.m.
Kitty Powers' Matchmaker "Delisharoonie." People totally say that in real life
is also bursting with personality. The developers know the game is ridiculous and they've taken that idea and run with it. Nothing is taken too seriously here. All of the dialogue is fluffed up with cheeky or sarcastic humor. Clients don't speak to each other as tentative people on a first date in real life would; they'll tell their date that they find their beard to be "the epitome of manliness" or disgustedly ask them if they looked in the mirror before walking out the door. Much of this personality is also due to the game's namesake, Kitty Powers herself. She is a hoot; she'll ridicule your restaurant choices, swear on her life that your date is wearing a wig, compare the scent of your client's passed gas to her own and more. She's also current on video games, memes and more, and some of her sayings are quite clever. "Thomas Was Alone
," she'll say, "Until he met me!" or "I think I left my purse in another castle." There are dozens of these lines and it took a good chunk of play time before they began to repeat.
The developers also do a good job of introducing more mechanics as you go to keep things interesting. Kitty Powers even jokes that "We have progression!" After a few dates, you'll probably be feeling pretty good about your capacity as a professional matchmaker. But, as you get more experienced, more abilities, restaurants and compatibility traits are unlocked. While there once just used to be a small handful of topics about which clients could talk, you'll eventually be able to switch it up by advising your clients to reveal their bad habits, guilty pleasures and more. These could cinch the deal for your client in a tight spot or blow up in their face. As each restaurant is unlocked, a new mini game comes along with it that could pop up during any date at any restaurant, up to 18 mini games in total, giving longevity to how long the game feels new and fresh. Oddly enough, Kitty Powers
even has an "end game" and its own little version of "prestiging."
Geez, tell me how you really feel
The game has also been integrated with some social features to mix things up more. If you have any friends who play the game, they'll show up in your little black book of clients, and so will other players across the world. You'll be able to match them up successfully or perhaps not. Whatever the outcome, they'll get a letter in their in-game mailbox letting them know how it went, and you'll be able to hear how your virtual love life is going. They have a little globe symbol or an Xbox Live symbol so you'll know when you're matching up another player or a friend. It's a neat little feature that makes it so you feel like you're matching up real and different people instead of just the same computer-generated ones over and over again. Kitty isn't shy about telling you how hard your avatar got dumped and you'll get a good laugh out of reading about your online romantic failures.
While the lines are funny and well thought out, after awhile the same dialogue does begin to grate on you and all of the clients will start to merge together. The endless chatter is packed with humor and there are variations, but there isn't an endless supply of it. You'll also begin to pick up on the different nuances of the game and a lot of the difficulty will go out the window. For example, you'll know that "chic" types like certain hairstyles, you'll know they love Ornamental Japanese Twigs and things turn into routine over fun. It's the same thing with the mini games; you'll soon perfect Pachinko, and how many times can someone really be tasked with taking the perfect selfie? Simply put, the game is a ticking time bomb as to how long it can be enjoyed.
Expand your agency from a depressing little shack to a mega mansion
To earn 1,000 gamerscore and become the ultimate matchmaker, you're in for a bit of a grind. Depending on your luck, or how much you've stuck to trying for achievements versus just playing casually, it's anywhere from 20-30 hours. The list of 31 achievements is straightforward and nothing is particularly difficult; it's just time consuming. You'll have to go on over 100 dates
, discover every dish
at every restaurant, and match up
certain personality types that aren't unlocked until later in the game. There's also the task of failing every mini game
in the worst way possible, which is trickier and more luck-based than it sounds.
SummaryKitty Powers' Matchmaker
is a surprisingly fun mashup of dating, mini games and making money out of single people looking for love. Nothing about the game takes itself seriously and the dialogue and situations are often laugh-out-loud funny. Accompanying all of this is a decent progression system that steadily adds new content and makes things more interesting and challenging as you go along. You'll also be able to follow your own virtual avatar's love life — which is potentially depressing and wrought with failure — in your friends' and other players' games. The game does have a limit on how long it can be enjoyed; eventually you'll know all of the ins and outs of the dating system to the point that it loses its luster and turns from fun into routine. And, funny as the dialogue is, it will get old with the passage of time. But, while it lasts, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker
is a great time killer that is oddly addicting.
- Funny, often hilarious, dialogue and situations that don't take themselves too seriously
- Surprisingly good progression system that gradually adds more content
- Fun social interaction features
- Great time killer that is oddly addicting
- Funny as they are at first, seeing and hearing the same lines gets old
- Dating process becomes tedious and routine after awhile
The reviewer spent about 30 hours role playing as a puppeteer of lonely clients who just want to find love. Hearts were broken, wedding bells were rung and 31 out of 31 achievements were earned for a total of 1,000 gamerscore. An Xbox One code was provided for this review courtesy of the ID@Xbox team.