Sucker for Love: First Date Review
Excuse me, I have some Eldritch lips to smooch at 2pm
Available on: Steam
Genre: Visual Novel
You know there’s someone out there that wishes they could date an eldritch horror. Well, luckily for them, and well anyone that likes dating sim visual novels with, let’s just say, interesting love interests, someone finally made a dating sim where you summon three different eldritch horrors. Though, it’s more to convince them to kiss you than to date you.
In Sucker for Love: First Date, you play as a charming (enough) male character (he isn’t formally named, but he takes up any nickname he’s given) who has a peculiar fascination. Instead of being interested in 2D girls from anime or games, he’s been interested in eldritch beings ever since he had a dream about one named Ln’eta. When the game starts, we learn that he has been trying to summon an eldritch god for who knows how long and he has been unsuccessful. He seems to have the items needed to summon them, but he hasn’t been successful in getting a genuine Necronomicon. With today being the perfect day to try and summon Ln’eta, he hopes this Necronomicon will be the real deal this time, especially since this is the best chance he’ll get with the stars in position and he paid for overnight shipping. However, when the package comes, he finds that it isn’t what he asked for. For one, it’s not even his shipment as tracking says it’s going to run late (wow thanks, this is why I don’t pay for expedited delivery) and this Necronomicon is… pink and cute. Personally, I approve, but this isn’t what our main character paid for.
Nonetheless, he decides to open the book and do the first ritual listed, or more accurately the only ritual written in a language he can understand which happens to be the first pages of this book. After completing the ritual, it actually summons Ln’eta (who is basically Cthulhu). It was genuine! Though, it’s less of a Necronomicon and more of a Survival Guide for dating Ln’eta which she tells you was made as a joke by Muu.
Anyway, while this is a visual novel and you’ll of course be reading through everything, this does contain some gameplay. Throughout the game, you’ll mainly be performing various rituals. Before you start chanting, there are conditions you have to meet for it to be successful and it mainly depends on the ritual. Like turning off all the lights, lighting candles, putting on your ritual clothes, having the ceremonial knife in your hand, and so on. Once you do all that is needed, you can then chant by dragging your mouse across the phrase where your cursor will turn into a mouth, but you have to do it slowly. Once you complete the chant it will take affect immediately. Though, make sure you read everything as you can cause an early end.
Apart from Ln’eta, there are two other eldritch horrors that you can smooch. After completing one of Ln’eta’s routes, Estir’s chapter is unlocked. Estir has her own book and while this does contain rituals, it also is based around performing a stage play. Though Ln’eta is also there and has her own route here. You can either go with either of them, or mix the rituals up together to get other endings as some rituals from Ln’eta’s book don’t blend well with Estir’s, and vice versa. The last chapter is with Nyanlathotep who only unlocks if you find three secrets (which two of them are pretty easy to find). Her’s is pretty unique not gonna lie, but it is pretty annoying to get one of her endings as it’s a sort of boss battle where you take in what’s happening around you and find the ritual you need to do and perform it promptly.
While you don’t necessarily get to go on dates with the three eldritch horrors and mainly focus on doing these rituals, I did enjoy the humor here and how the characters were portrayed. Your main character, lusting over eldritch beings and all, pair pretty well with the love interests and does bring in some funny moments, especially when he makes them all flustered and/or confused that he just wants a kiss. Meanwhile, Ln’eta is pretty sweet and does somewhat come to care for you; Estir pretty much views you as lesser and mainly wants you to be her follower just to steal you from her sister (Ln’eta), but she does have some humorous scenes with her being theatrical (and her lines during the play are my favorite spoken lines); and Nyanlathotep isn’t exactly pleased with you getting with her nieces and is intimidating with her being too tall to normally stand in your room. They all are nice and entertaining to talk to, and I really did end up wishing that we got more scenes with them as I would have definitely wanted to know how the main character and these eldritch beings would have faired in a full blown dating sim.
Though, there are some annoyances here still. While the checkpoint system is fine most of the time, as really you’ll need to go to the start of a section, it can get frustrating in Chapter 2 when you’re trying to get an ending that requires you to do rituals from both books and especially in Chapter 3. It can be even more annoying as some rituals cause an ending if you chant it too fast and in Chapter 3 you sometimes won’t know why you failed and you’ll need to start all the way over (while I’m sure it’s purposefully so you learn, I still got annoyed). And talking about chanting, I noticed that the speed you can do them in isn’t universal. Some do have some finnicky hit boxes, but I found that some phrases need you to read slowly while some will let you read it fast. Even for the same phrase. Which, as you can guess, can get annoying for rituals that auto bad end you when you read too fast or during Chapter 3 as it is time sensitive.
While I did wish Sucker for Love: First Date could have been longer, and I experienced some frustrations, I overall enjoyed Sucker for Love: First Date. I did like the characters this featured, and come on what dating sim fan wouldn’t be interested in one where you date eldritch beings, I liked the humor, and I liked how this revolved around doing various rituals (even though the speed you have to chant annoyed me sometimes). Though, I might recommend waiting to pick this up on a discount, as while I still like Sucker For Love, I didn’t like it quite as much. Either way, I’m certainly looking forward to the two upcoming sequels so I can return to date some more eldritch gods.