Have you ever looked at a cat and wanted to take them out on a date? No? Well, Purrfect Date is probably not for you in that case. The game is a dating sim, but unlike most sims, your pool of potential daters is restricted only to cats. The premise of the game does do a decent bit to try and really sell the concept to you, but few of the romances actually feel like, well, romances. You go hang out with a cat a couple of times, and then all of a sudden, you’re confessing your love to your feline companion. Or not. You can totally crush the hopes and dreams of these cats.
You can also refuse to date them, keep your head down, and just do your job as a researcher on Cat Island. You can even refuse to do your unofficial job and investigate just what the hell is going on in this Island that is causing people to be turned into cats.
Oh right, because that’s a thing. You play a research assistant to the eccentric Professor Pawpurr. Your first night on the job, you are bitten by one of the resident Elder Cats, which starts the process of “catification.” Which means you can understand the cats that populate Cat Island.
That explains at least a bit about why your love interests are all cats — because you’re about to become one. They’re also the majority of the game’s supporting cast. You interact more with the local cats than you do the people on the island, which is all part of the mystery you have to uncover.
The mystery is actually a pretty fascinating process that takes you several research assistants to properly parse. Now, because you can unlock different bits of recon and research at different rates, you occasionally refer to a piece of intel from a previous life as if it happened in your current one. That can get slightly frustrating.
Because you’re limited to three pieces of recon and three pieces of research for each life, you’re left with mostly time to romance your current cat-beau. If anything, I’d argue that the romances should be longer, and each playthrough should allow you to do more research and recon. While the six character/six chapter setup does a pretty amusing job of building on itself, the repetition gets to be a bit tedious — to the point where, toward the end of your run, your research assistant acts incredibly blasé about being turned into a cat. Because they did their research of a journal left by the previous assistant. Of course, breaking the story up into six parts allows you to romance all six of the suitors and experience seven of the 18 unlockable endings.
With only three dates and five interactions with your feline significant other, the romances are a bit shallow. The true storyline of Purrfect Date comes down to the mysteries of Cat Island, which will take you more than six lives to fully uncover. This means the replay value has to be high, and personally, I don’t feel the game warrants so many endings. There’s something far too shallow about Purrfect Date to keep your interest for quite that long. It is a visual novel more than a dating sim, which is fine. But to have more than three endings, a visual novel has to be very, very interesting to keep up with the endless replays. For some people, the drive to 100% the game will be enough. Normally, I’m one of those. But I find myself being okay with the fact that I’ve unlocked less than half the endings.
However, a lot of people seem to disagree with me. Purrfect Date is currently trending on the App Store, and has done incredibly well on Steam since its release back in December. Clearly, I’m just not enough of a cat person.
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