I was slightly frightened when the Editor-In-Chief first allocated Kitty Powers Matchmaker to myself for review. However, as the phrase says: “Never judge a book by its cover” as upon investigation I found a funny, enjoyable and charming game.
Kitty Powers Matchmaker is a dating sim game from developer MagicNotion, originally released on mobile in 2014, and has since seen ports to the PC, and now the Xbox One and PS4. If you didn’t know, Kitty Powers is a drag artist and the alter-ego of game developer Richard Franke who is the founder/director of Magic Notion. He previously worked at Criterion and was involved in the production of the Burnout series.
The premise of Kitty Powers Matchmaker is simple: you are in charge of a dating agency, under the watchful eye of your boss (Kitty) and must pair your clients with suitable matches in order for them to find love. But it doesn’t end there. You are also there to guide and assist your clients throughout the date to ensure true love runs smoothly. The game starts with you setting up your profile, as your character can appear in other player’s games (your name is changed for privacy purposes). At this point, you will meet your first client, and see his likes, interests and obviously his gender preference. I do need to point out that this game supports same-sex relationships. I know it’s 2017, but it is a good thing to see.
You are then given a list of suitable dates, and Kitty does a fine job of assisting you to make the right decision on your first go. You need to remember the potential love interest’s likes and dislikes as you will be tested on them later. At this point, the gameplay kicks in, and it’s relatively simple. Firstly, picking the restaurant you will visit is determined by a card shuffling game. The restaurants are suitably named, the English restaurant being called “The Kings Helmet” and the Jamaican one “Jerk King”. Innuendo is not ignored in this game! Once inside you will need to order your food based on your date’s preference, for example, they will say “I want something cold with Red Meat”. Pick the correct dish and your potential partner is pleased, pick incorrectly and you’re in danger of getting your first red cross. Three of these and your date will dump you!
Conversation topics then occur, with a quick pull on the love handle (yes, really). This is where your memorizing of the facts about your date earlier will help. These range from interests to horoscopes, hairstyles and clothing to weather. As before you will need to be successful in your choices in order to impress. Different random mini-games will happen during your date, some of which are fantastic, some are a bit dull, but I found myself chuckling and laughing during most of the encounters. The most entertaining is the “Try Not To Fart” minigame, which requires you to successfully play a game of “Play Your Cards Right” in order not to let rip. The facial expressions and noises are enough to get me chuckling every time I have to play it.
When you come to a decision where you know it will end poorly, such as saying you don’t like your date’s haircut, you can choose to lie and spin the wheel to try to get away with it. If you do, then your date will be impressed, if not, they will know you are a liar and you will get a big red cross.
If you finish the date and all has gone well, then you get the chance to ask your date to take it to the next step, and if they agree then you receive coins as a reward and experience to enable you to level up. Coins enable you to unlock content within the game, such as new restaurants, salons and to increase the number of matches available. Experience improves the look of your agency (which doesn’t impact gameplay), but also unlocks extra restaurants for you to purchase When you purchase extra restaurants it unlocks new mini games while on a date.
And that’s the simplistic gameplay; go on more dates, get coins and experience points, and unlock new content. Rinse and repeat. When I started to play the game I didn’t know that its history was on mobile devices, and I did get the impression that it was like playing a mobile game on the console. I was concerned I would hate it, get bored and regret the time I was putting into it, but I honestly enjoyed my time with it, wanting to continue just to unlock the new restaurants and mechanic.
I won’t beat around the bush, this is a mobile game ported to Xbox, and you would get the same experience playing it on your phone for £2.99. But it’s fun, charming, has lots of humour, and kept me entertained for a good few hours. But once all the gameplay elements have been unlocked you will probably only carry on if you are a huge achievement junkie.
Thanks to Xbox and Magic Norton for supporting TiX