Date Night Bowling
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Date Night Bowling Media
Date Night Bowling - Announcement Trailer
Critic Reviews for Date Night Bowling
However, it’s a fun time if you know what you’re getting into. It’s Date Night Bowling, and it does what it says on the box. There’s bowling and there’s dating. It’s a fun time if you can wrangle a partner, romantic or otherwise, but it doesn’t really have lasting appeal. A few times through, then you can take your balls elsewhere.
At its basics, Date Night Bowling provides some decent bowling gameplay mixed in with the twist of trying to win over a date before the end of the 10th frame. As a concept, however, the game totally fails to capitalize on the thrill of trying to get strikes on the lane while not striking out romantically. There's so much more that could and should have been done with the game at every level, leaving an experience that'll keep you entertained in short bursts but wanting more in the long run.
Serenity Forge has had a hand in bringing some of my favorite games to the Nintendo Switch. But Date Night Bowling feels like an unfinished proof of concept and failed to hold my interest. It's a bush league release with much room for improvement. One could argue that it's a better alternative than going to a real-life alley and running the risk of catching COVID. But given that choice, I think I'd rather skip bowling altogether.
The appeal of Date Night Bowling is incredibly limited. It's for people that want to play a game with their romantic partner, and need something that both can enjoy equally, regardless of their gaming experience. At the same time, it's for those that don't want to become too competitive or heated. And both people also need to be old enough to enjoy the 80's and 90's vibes and aesthetics. It's inoffensive enough in fulfilling that very narrow role, but its concepts fall down badly when you're playing single-player, or with anyone other than your significant other. Throw in a dearth of depth and character, and even when you are playing it in its optimal environment, you're going to wish that you decided to take date night to a real bowling alley instead.
The dating elements, however, are a major letdown, especially considering the strength of other Serenity Forge-developed games like Half Past Fate and A Case of Distrust, which have particularly compelling narratives and dialogue. There isn't much of a reason to recommend what ends up being a pretty consistent gutterball, with the occasional spare thrown in to save face. I don't foresee a second date happening.
Really, if I had to boil down my issues to one thing, it’s that the developers need to understand how to add content to a game. Games are all about what we as players choose to do, and for extra content to actually mean anything it should ask me to make different choices. For every dating minigame I’m making the same choices every other time that minigame shows up, for every frame of bowling I am making the same choices as every frame before it. All the pretty visuals don’t change that it is the same minute or so of content repeated over and over.
The paper-thin narrative and characters may leave some underwhelmed, but ultimately Date Night Bowling does its job as a fun, cute, and stylish mash-up of genres. It’s a short and sweet experience that will no doubt have you smiling with its charming collection of mini-games, along with the solid arcadey bowling tossed in for in good measure.