Review: Date or Ditch (DSiWare)

Ditchfest

Don't be fooled by the level of choice suggested by Date or Ditch: this is a strictly linear game with even less depth than its vapid title suggests.

Another converted mobile game from Gameloft, Date or Ditch puts you in the shoes of a male or female protagonist who must decide which of three love interests to settle down with. Gameplay boils down to selecting dialogue choices to score Love Points with your crush, with poor answers losing you points; dropping enough points, or saying completely the wrong thing, will end the scene as the object of your affections leaves your life forever.

The problems begin here: even when you think you're saying the right thing, the game may penalise you and selecting a sarcastic-sounding answer might net you mega points. It all adds up to too much trial-and-error, and, although you can immediately replay the stage should you fail, each scene has only one possible outcome, meaning you're unlikely to want to return.

This lack of flexibility is the title's biggest downfall: although it's hard to expect too much from a 500 Point download, the game only lets you proceed if you do what it wants to, and your only real choice comes right at the end. Even then, no matter whose proposal you accept, they all stick around to play a short memory-related quiz and your answers determine who you go out with. It's also worth pointing out that both story paths are identical: whether you play as cartoon versions of Lindsay Lohan or Tom Welling the only significant change is the gender of your beloved and roommate, so once you've clocked one story you've not got much to gain from playing again as the opposite sex.

There are a few areas where you can move around the scene to recover items that boost your Love Points, and completing each scene and the game overall gives you a score and ranking so you can replay the game to maximise your points tally.

Gameloft has added two DSi-specific features to this release. One lets you take photos that replace your in-game character's expressions, a novelty that adds some mischief to proceedings, and the other is a love compatibility test that tells you how compatible you and a friend are. They're both throwaway additions but do at least elevate it above its mobile origins.

These inauspicious beginnings show through most prominently in the game's graphics: clear and colourful they may be, but the DSi is capable of far more. It's the same on the music side of things, which rolls along inoffensively without ever sticking in your head.

Conclusion

Date or Ditch is simply too linear: your only real choice lies right at the game's end, with the rest of the story being simplistic and frustratingly sexist.

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