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Ten Dates Review: Fall In Love All Over Again

EDITORS' RATING : 8 / 10
Pros
  • Same winning formula as "Five Dates"
  • Inclusion of disabilities, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+ representation
  • Plenty of reasons to replay to get different outcomes
Cons
  • A solid sequel, but "Five Dates" remains the top choice between the two

A PC code was provided to Zaaz for this review. "Ten Dates" is available now for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, and Android.

Sequels are hard. That's why it can be so exciting when a sequel lives up to expectations and brings something new and unique to the table. "Ten Dates" — the follow-up to director Paul Raschid's critically-acclaimed "Five Dates" — is just that sort of sequel. The overall formula is nearly identical to the original full-motion video (FMV) title, but "Ten Dates" effectively adds a few additional layers of depth that make for a wholly enjoyable and entertaining experience.

"Ten Dates" is a standalone title, meaning you don't need to have played the original "Five Dates" in order to understand what's going on. You take on the role of one of two characters — Ryan, a young, charming man who wears his heart on his sleeve as he navigates the complex world of urban dating in search of true love; and Misha, a woman with a magnetic charm and quick wit who's on a quest to find her perfect match. The two friends begin their dating journey with an evening of speed dating, spending five minutes with a handful of potential love interests.

As an FMV title, gameplay takes the form of making choices in order to progress the story, with consequences that ripple out across all of your dates (assuming you manage to get a second or third date). Each decision leads down a unique path, and you'll quickly find yourself wondering just how differently things could have gone had you chosen another option.

Plenty of playthroughs in the sea

It's in your best interest to pay attention while playing and keep your mouse-clicking finger at the ready. You'll have to act fast in order to pick the response you want, as you have a really short amount of time to make your decision. At first, it seems almost too fast, but it's pretty clear that this is an intentional design in keeping the conversations feeling natural in their pacing. You can, however, pause before making your choice, should you be so inclined.

The majority of the choices you're given are straightforward and don't require much thought, but there are a few that will make you pause and really consider how you want things to play out.

Fortunately, "Ten Dates" isn't too punishing in its mechanics, so your decisions don't always have to be perfect. In fact, you can even make some wrong choices and still work your way back into the good graces of your date(s). This helps give the story the same sense of organic progression that was perfectly executed in "Five Dates."

This also speaks for the game's replayability. With over 12 hours of total footage, you'll have plenty of opportunities to replay the game in hopes of finally winning over "the one that got away" (or even catching a cameo or two). Each playthrough can take anywhere from one to two hours — a perfect duration for any romantic comedy flick — so it doesn't feel like a grind to try and go back through to get a more desired outcome.

Head over heels for this sequel

As mentioned, "Ten Dates" expands beyond just a single protagonist, putting you in not only the shoes of different characters, but also different genders. This helps the story feel more inclusive, and it gives players of all backgrounds the opportunity to relate and connect with their respective protagonists.

"Ten Dates" goes even further by incorporating disabilities, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+ representation in its characters. All of the characters in "Five Dates" were well-developed, but this sequel takes it to a whole new level. Every character has their own story and personality that adds an extra layer of depth, which (depending on your choices) you'll be able to peel back and explore further as you get to know them more. In our first playthrough as Ryan, which was played using authentic choices for each given situation (rather than trying to get the best "rom-com" ending), it was interesting to watch how things played out and who Ryan actually ended up having his final date with. It's a credit to the writers (Zoe Morgan Chiswick and Paul Raschid) for creating such compelling arcs and properly executing on the game's branching narrative.

"Ten Dates" uses the same winning formula of its predecessor to bring a fresh, charming story that is sure to please fans of the original and newcomers alike. The unique cast of characters each have their own stories, struggles, and triumphs, which makes for an enjoyable experience regardless of the outcome you get. Whether you're playing by yourself or cozied up with your partner for an interactive movie date night, you're sure to have a great time with "Ten Dates."

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