A few years ago, I picked up a bunch of visual novels in a Steam sale, including the short otome game Date Warp.
Date Warp follows a young woman named Janet who is on her first date when they end up stranded. They take refuge for the night in a strange mansion after being offered shelter by its inhabitants, but in the morning they find that a mysterious force field has trapped everyone inside.
The force field is related to something being done in the basement, and all they can do is wait.
There are five love interests, and the choices you make determine whose route you end up on. Your choices during the route then lead to different endings for that character. All fairly standard… except for the choice-making mini-game.
Yes, that’s right, choice-making mini-game.. Every choice brings up a mini-game where you must rotate wires to create a circuit between a power source and the choice you want to select. It’s simple enough, if somewhat of an odd inclusion. On subsequent playthroughs, you can skip the mini-game and simply pick any choice you previously selected (although if you want to pick a new option, you still need to play the mini-game).
Subsequent playthroughs also allow you to skip already-read text, including scenes that overlap across different routes – a welcome feature. There are still a couple of scenes that are basically the same text but in a different situation, but for the most part this feature avoids that.
While Date Warp is a short game with a brisk pace, there were enough character interactions leading up to a route to keep the romance from feeling too rush. Some parts did feel like they might have benefited from being longer, but in general the narrative was tight enough to avoid problems. The one exception is that the right combination of choices can make you stumble onto a route without seeing many of that character’s scenes first, probably because there’s no “no romance” route.
Once you’ve seen all of the characters’ regular endings, one final ending is unlocked to resolve the overall plot in a satisfactory conclusion.
I quite enjoyed this one. It’s short, and I wish I’d gotten to spend more time with the characters, but it was an enjoyable few hours and it was fun replaying for all the different endings before the final one. If you’re looking for a short romance game with some crazy science going on in the background, Date Warp is worth a look.---
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