Groundhog day for basement dwellers
Video games come in all shapes and sizes, just like pants. While some might only consider the latest Madden NFL or Call-o'-Duty incarnation as being worthy of any attention, there are plenty of gaming niches that the majority fails to notice. One of these is the interactive visual novel. These games scarcely resemble the dialogue part of classic point&click adventure games and are focused (obviously) on character interactions rather than solving physical puzzles. This genre is very popular on the island of Japan, although it's slowly becoming popular in the West also.
Date Ariane is such a game. In it you are playing the role of a dashing fellow who just arrived at Ariane's house. Judging by the CGI illustrations, Ariane is a highly attractive young woman. The only problem is you don't know her at all. Well, for the purposes of the story, I suppose you did convene to meet up (maybe through Tinder?) prior to showing up at her doorstep.
Interacting with Ariane is done by clicking on text blurbs. These represent talking and acting. Some drive the story forward, others do not Each has some consequence though. If you behave more loosely, you will notice that Ariane doesn't mind hugging and kissing. However, getting anywhere farther than that will require some tact and a bit of planning. Going out for a walk, driving to the club, visiting the amusement park are all strategic steps in getting you laid, hopefully. Be advised, whatever you say and do this night will help Ariane decide on a score. Yes, you are being scored and you never knew it! At least the first time around. Turning off Ariane is no biggie though, as you can try dating her again and again.
The game visuals are extremely static, except for a couple of lively scenes, if you get my drift. There is some ambient sound and music, so you don't necessarily have to employ external audio stimulation for immersion purposes. Anyways this low production level is actually a staple of the genre. That's a good thing too. Gamers need to use their imaginations more often. One of the advantages of very old games was that it stimulated your brain to make up for the lacks in graphics and sound. That's why games that would know be considered archaic felt very engaging back in their day.
Despite my initial presumptuous attitude, I found Date Ariane to be fairly entertaining to play. The pre-rendered graphics, although not great, are adequate. Furthermore Ariane's face is modeled with enough care to convey subtle emotions. If you enjoy this game, then you might want to check out some of the Japanese games that have been translated into English, such as the weird Hatoful Boyfriend.