Title: Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker
Platform: Android, iOS, PC, PS4 (reviewed), and Xbox One.
Developer: Magic Notion
Publisher: Mastertronic Group
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Cheesy, cheerful, and chock full of charm, we all need a Kitty Powers in our life.
Price: $10/£7 on Steam, £2.29/$3 on Google Play, £3/$3 on the iTunes Store, £9.49/$12 on PS4, and £12.39/$12 for the new Xbox One release.
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

I’m a sucker for a good dating game. I love pairing characters off, deciding for myself who the best waifu (human or not) is for myself, and I’m a far-too-long Sims player. So I jumped at the chance to review this, because let’s face it, this game looks fun from the get go. Narrated and guided by the one and only Kitty Powers, this game is surprisingly deep for a dating sim, and gives you a good time all night long.

This game reminds me of pick up-and-play Facebook games like Criminal Case; fast, user-friendly, and a very simple premise. You’re helping Kitty run a dating agency, advertising to several different demographics along the way – Hippy, Edgy, Geeky, and so on. Your job is to help pair them up and guide them through the dates via an earpiece. Sometimes this goes horribly wrong, and sometimes it goes horribly right – you can encourage people to lie to their dates through spinning a chance wheel to determine the outcome, or you can let things progress naturally, for better or for worse.

It starts pretty simple – your client will walk in, tell you about themselves, and what they like. As you level up, you can unlock more likes/dislikes to help you match them better, but mostly, you’re going off hair/eye colour, and if you’ve unlocked the Salon, hair style and clothing type. From there, it’s off to the date, and woe betide you if you’ve forgotten what your date likes. Pulling the Love Handle will offer you three choices of conversation topic, and how well they go down depends on how well matched your dates are (or how lucky you are with the wheel spins).

There’s a handful of random events that will pop up during the dating scenarios where you can score more points with your date – remember a taxi number, play a game of higher or lower, remember the foods in order – and these scale in difficulty as you unlock the harder restaurants. There’s a ton of incentive to keep levelling in this game; the more successful dates and coins you earn, the more you can expand the agency, the more you advertise, and the more upgrades you unlock. From more places to eat, to more potential dates, to cosmetic makeovers – it’s all there, urging you on, making you think that one more date can’t take that long.

The only slight bugbear I have with the gameplay is that it does tend to get samey after a while, which is why I called the game “pick up and play” a little earlier on. I still reckon it would have been purely suited for mobile/Facebook, until I found the delightful lack of microtransactions offering to make my life “easier.” While I do appreciate there are more scenarios and events happening in the later levels, this dating sim is probably best enjoyed in hour or so long doses in order to avoid burnout.

It’s overall a fun, lighthearted experience that isn’t really meant to be taken too seriously, as illustrated by the art style, horribly embarrassing situations, and all the hidden sex jokes (because I’m still 12 mentally and find them funny. Route 69 Café, anyone?) The puns and innuendos are everywhere, and the game is so staggeringly British, it’s brilliant. Kitty’s quips on the loading screens and during the dates poke playful fun, and it remains one of the few games that manages to nail the chavvy British accent perfectly through the written word – take note, American games.

The one thing I really do want to commend this game for is the inclusion of LGBT characters in the dating agency. Whilst I’m lucky enough to not need the representation myself, it’s often an annoying factor in many virtual romance titles to just have the straight option and nothing more. Now while this isn’t inherently a bad thing (characters are their own people with preferences, after all), in a game like this where you see so many different people through the door, I’d be very surprised if they were all straight. But nope, you can deal with a range of clients, all with their own preferences, and no extra attention is drawn to it. It’s treated as normal and romantic – just as it should be.

In summary:

The Good

  • Witty and an all round fun experience for an excellent price
  • Quirky and cute art style
  • Ridiculous innuendos. “Mother’s Tucker.” A* to whoever came up with that

The Bad

  • I’d have loved to have seen a bit more variety in the gameplay itself – different locations etc, as it gets a tad repetitive

Family Focus

PEGI 12 and T for Teen in the US due to suggestive themes, which this game is in no short supply of. I’d say you could possibly let kids of age 10+ play it, because there’s no way they’re going to understand all the jokes anyway.

Disclaimer: This review is based on code provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.