Sucker for Love: First Date PC Review
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft
Though now I know more deeply than ever this falsehood, mere fallacy, for I have spied beyond the veil. I have stared unblinking into the gloom that humans have long since packed away into the unused recesses of our psyches and that, even as we exchanged the comforting glow of communal campfires for lonely false-lights, still pierces our hearts with frost whenever we find ourselves surrounded by shadow. It was there, in the underbelly of an endless reality fissure I found purchase upon an even deeper truth; a desire so fundamental to what it means to even be that I must say those who deny it can be nothing more than invidious phantoms. The need, no, the ceaseless primal hunger that every soul-driven creature feels… to smooch 2D waifus. Doubly so for those that also happen to be cute representations of Outer Gods, of course.
Sucker for Love is honestly a one-of-a-kind experience – half spell-casting mini-games, half light dating-sim, and 100% bizarro comedy/horror. With the first dateable Ancient One, Ln’eta (based on the classic Cthulhu), debuting in Dread X Collection 2 to obvious fanfare for its outlandish premise and delightful parody, it was only a matter of time before we got a full-on visual novel. Composed of three short branching stories focused around a main relationship with a different Lovecraftian Elder Thing, each of which represents a specific set of fetishes to the point of satire, the whole game overflows with depravity. And I say that from a place of love. If you’re not at least somewhat familiar with the concept of 2D > 3D, or what it means to be a degenerate weeb, you’re going to have a hard time wrapping your head around this one. That’s totally fine though, you should be happy in the knowledge that you get to live in a world that isn’t dominated by debates over “best girl” and their respective thighs.
However, the aforementioned fetishes are by no means overly sexualised. I must mention this game does not, unlike so many new titles on Steam these days, contain explicit content or even really go so far as to hint at any. The core joke is that the protagonist only aims to acquire a single kiss from these all-powerful living embodiments of dread he encounters and you, the player, need to drive the right decisions to make that happen no matter the expense, including the agonising death of every living creature and all we know being ripped asunder. Worth it, baby! Even with the inclusion of a bratty princess type, a motherly cougar figure, and a massively tsundere character that uses a mix of sweet nothings and terrifying threats to strike the delicate balance needed for what is only known as a ‘fearection’, there’s really nothing erotic here at all. Quite the opposite – Sucker for Love is an absolute riot. The entire four hours of my playthrough to unlock all endings and witness every tiny bit of dialogue I had a grin from ear-to-ear. The writing is witty and hilarious, the situations are spoofs of all time classics such as taking two dates to the prom, and the horror elements, whilst nowhere near terrifying, are always there to keep you on edge.
I notice now I’ve just been gushing the whole time and haven’t even covered how Sucker for Love actually plays. Like any dating-sim, I expect (I suppose I’ve never really tried one now I think about it), the main interaction is making simple decisions about what to do next. Do I go speak to this character, or that one? Or in this case, do I conduct a nightmarish body-horror ritual for this God, or the other? Do I continue putting the universe as we know it at risk for the chance of a quick peck, or do I put a stop to it all now whilst she’s safely asleep? On the other tentacle is the actual performing of the spells themselves. Mostly just requiring setting up the correct combo of lighting and garments then dragging the cursor across alien text to chant with the occasional twist, such as making sure to never look out of the window again after execution or to ignore the horrifying screaming at the door. Although the third and final path is where that gameplay really shines, as you fend off wave after wave of rapidly cast curses by quickly flipping through the pages of a grimoire and figure out which counter-spells to fire off. All whilst the demons haunting you close in. Coming out of nowhere, this quasi-boss fight wrapped up the exchange with that particular abomination splendidly, and led to the most perfect climax one could hope for. A truly incredible and uniquely dumb finale.
I just had a total blast laughing my way through the narratives and there’s no doubt the immaculate voice acting has a lot to do with that – it wouldn’t have been the same without it. The sassy attitudes and strangely alluring characters are incredibly well designed and written, especially so around the acting out of fake scenes from The King in Yellow play, which was an otherworldly affair in and of itself. I won’t lie, this weird little niche gem isn’t for everybody. It’s not your normal everyday game, so I’m not judging it like one. I’m sure many, if not most, people simply won’t ‘get’ it. But if you’ve already seen images of it and it looks like something you’d enjoy, I have no hesitation recommending it whole-heartedly. Hell, you could even play it with a friend or partner, valentine’s day is coming up! I bet you’d all end up in hysterics. As for me, I’m hoping beyond hope that the subtitle ‘First Date’ indicates there’ll be more to come from this ludicrous entry. Simply put, I’m a sucker for Sucker for Love.