Purrfect Date Is…Meownificent
Mom, Dad…Sit down. I’ve got something to tell you.
“What is it?” They ask, bewildered and holding hands. Last time I asked them to sit down was in 2011 when I had to inform them that I really didn’t like broccoli in the stew anymore. It wasn’t their fault, of course, it was simply my taste buds. And broccoli is just awful anyway.
I digress. This time it most definitely is my fault – with perhaps a side of blame belonging to the Bae Team (consisting of Oliver Age 24 and his partner in crime Ruby May Roberts) and Bossa Studios.
Mom, Dad…I’m in love with a cat. She’s called Snooty Booty and I bring her coconuts sometimes. Most times. She’s very demanding. I love her wrinkly face.
Purrfect Date Is…Purrfection
If you’ve not figured it out just yet, I’ve been playing some Purrfect Date. And by god, it is nothing like what I expected it to be. I’ve got some visual novel, dating simulator experience under my belt and I can safely say Purrfect Date is more than a pleasant game to play, especially if you like the genre.
To start off, Purrfect Date’s story consists of six chapters. In these six chapters, you play as a different scientist (who’s just straight out of university, a nice addition considering I, myself, am in university) who’s been tasked to work with the well-acclaimed Professor Pawpur. As you can see from above, his quite fond of his whisky (among other things…) And who am I to deny him some fun? Well…
This is a spoilers free review, so you’re going to have to find out what I mean by yourself.
Anyway, as Professor Pawpur’s assistant he gives you a full review of the island. It boils down to ‘this place is full of cats, your a scientist so have all this gear, oh and by the way, one half of the island is super dangerous. Full of cats that may have diseases…DO NOT GO THERE!’
Instantly I wanted to go there. Diseased cats (Elder Cats, to be exact) be damned! But before he can really go into any sort of explanation, Professor Pawpur introduces you to your future furry lovers (or friends, whatever floats your boat) before scurrying off. You scan them with your handy Cat-A-Log (insert giggles here), learn their names and then, after a day of furry fun, head to bed.
However, during the night something sneaks into your tent, stealing the Cat-A-Log and decides to run the bloody hell off into the Danger Zone. You wake up, bruised, scratched and bitten, several hours later, with your aforementioned furry friends telling you that you’ve been ‘catified’. Welcome to Were-Cat city, friends! While you may already think you’re doomed, fear not, because you’re not a scientist for nothing, right? There is still the possibility of an antidote – if you’re up for the task.
Purrfect Date Is…Pawsitively Stunning!
Let’s not beat around the bush here, alright? I know why you’re here – you want to know whether this really is just a furries wet dream of a game where you can do unspeakable things to cats. The answer is…No. And despite the promotion of sexy times in the Bae Team’s marketing (seriously, just look at the announcement trailer) there is little to no allusions to such a thing in the game. It’s a lot more poetic than that. Also: bestiality is wrong you fiends!
Before I divulge any further on that particular aspect, I invite you to look at the activity window above. Ignoring the romantic aspect, the Bae Team have made sure to include a lot more than romance. Cat Island is an area of mystery, and things are not what they seem. It’s up to you to figure it out, which is where Recon and Research come in. Research divulges in the more scientific side, aka your job and your work alongside Pawpur. Recon, on the other hand, is sneaking around, learning more about the island and its secrets. Trust me, these options are just as rewarding and fun as the Romance options, in fact, sometimes it was preferable.
You may have also seen the Rest option. USE IT! Please, for the love of god, use the Rest option when you need it!
Carrying on from my first paragraph, you’d be forgiven for thinking Purrfect Date is some furry paradise, but I promise you that it isn’t that at all. Sure, cat lovers are going to enjoy this game more than others, but what looks to be a silly, raunchy game on the surface is actually full of depth that I didn’t expect when going into this.
There are moments where Bae Team demands you to think with more than just your romantic brain, think instead about emotions, the complexity of people err, cats, and the world that you and they live in. Strangely (and somewhat beautifully) enough, it honestly makes you assess yourself and your decisions. If someone is being close-minded, downright awful and yet treats you like a princess, do you appease them and their vitriol in order to keep them happy? Or do you challenge them, try and help widen their horizon? Sometimes keeping people happy in the present isn’t so good for the future and it’s a lesson that everyone should learn, not just inside the world of video games.
Beyond that, the ‘dates’ are sweet and captivating in their own right. You learn some new things, especially if you’re not accustomed to the British ‘slang’ like I am. Sometimes it’s so British it made me laugh out loud, particularly a moment when one of the cats calls you a ‘div’, that was like being transported back into when I was in high school and that was what everyone called you if you were being obtuse as hell. But most importantly, you have fun with your unique feline friends, and that is what makes the experience so magical.
Purrfect Date Is…Pawsome And Yet!
It’s hard to say what I disliked about Purrfect Date, mostly because there was very little I did dislike. It was a game that played to its strengths: stellar writing, an a-meow-singly funny soundtrack, fantastic art and that dark Brit humour I appreciate very much. There were a few weaknesses, however, I truly only put it down to it being the Bae Team’s very first game, and so I can be forgiving.
There were a few instances where my character (for some reason or other) didn’t appear during a certain scene, a scene which looked very funny without my character’s avatar being there. There was also a few minor errors with spelling and grammar, but as I said previously, nothing too groundbreaking or enough to make me dislike the game.
What really made me go ‘ugh’ was the repetitive nature that was there throughout a sequence in the game. It was just plain boring, and I dreaded getting to it whenever I was near to ending a chapter. Thankfully the game too knew that it was a boring sequence, and thus as the chapters continued, the sequence got shorter and shorter. Frankly, it was as if Purrfect Date had turned to you, grinned and said ‘we hate this god-awful scene too’ which, well, that makes them stars in my book.
So, Why Not Give It A Round Of Apaws?
To conclude, Purrfect Date takes the visual novel, dating simulator genre and takes it in a whole other direction. Not only does it take it in another direction, but it sells it without even a blink of an eye! It’s a game that knows what it is, embraces it and has so much fun doing it you can’t help but feel the same euphoria too!
The gameplay is tight and well-defined with an engrossing, elaborate story wrapped up in mystery. It may not change the genre completely, but it certainly raises my standards on what to expect from a visual novel and a dating simulator game.
Well done the Bae Team! I can safely say that the love and compassion you’ve had for this game has most certainly paid off. I can’t wait to what they’ll do next!
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: Steam PC (Reviewed); Publisher: Bossa Studios ; Developer: Bae Team; Players: 1 ; Released: December 15th, 2017 ; MSRP: £6.47/$8.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a PlayStation 4 review copy of Purrfect Date given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.