I don't particularly enjoy horror games. My friends and colleagues are well aware of this, as they often say, "This isn't a game for Roger," when referring to certain horror games. They also like to see my reaction by asking me to play a specific game on stream, only to laugh when I become too scared to continue. Therefore, when I mentioned to my friend and fellow game journalist Sebastion Mauldin from The Pro Nerd Report that I had an appointment with the publisher DreadXP at PAX, he initially questioned, "Are you sure about that?"
However, the intriguing concept of Sucker for Love: Date to Die For - A visual novel set in a world with a Lovecraftian backdrop caught my attention. I decided to check out this game for myself. And I'm glad I did because this game's storytelling, voice-acting, art, and world-building are phenomenal.
The story starts with you investigating the disappearance of your family. Creepy and strange things unfold. After leaving the library and heading home, you travel the streets of Sacramen-Cho, and I notice the color palette used in the game. The streets and walls are dark shades of purple, while the sky is green. It adds to the eerieness of the game. The music is also well done and gives a sense of foreboding.
You soon encounter someone on the streets, a "Trendy Girl" who accuses you of trying to steal her boyfriend. When you explain that you don't have any intentions of doing so, her eyes start to glow, indicating the stare - something you have been warned about. You start running and eventually reach your grandmother's home, which is deserted and run down. However, you have no other option but to rush inside.
Things pick up in the house. You can explore the house but are given a specific quest to go to the bedroom. You open doors, not knowing what you'll find on the other side. When you finally make your way to the bedroom, you find a book with a passage on how to summon the All-Mother, The Black Goat of the Woods. You must light candles a certain way and read an incantation to do so. You cleverly drag the mouse over the words to do it. The All-Mother, The Black Goat of the Woods appears, and it's up to you to help each other escape by performing different rituals.
The voice acting is spectacular. Each character you interact with is voice-acted, and the performance is stellar, enhancing the overall experience. Additionally, the artwork showcases the talent behind this game - the art exudes an undeniable anime feel. While playing, one notable aspect is the filter applied to the game, which imbues the visuals with a distinct VCR-like appearance.
The most impressive aspect is the lore-building that is happening in the game. Creating a Lovecraftian story and adding something new to the genre is not easy. However, Akabaka, the game developer, achieved this by creating a humorous and tantalizing story with a backdrop of horror. The developer's extensive research into the characters truly paid off, as the world feels alive and real.
I look forward to playing more of Sucker for Love: Date to Die For. You can play the demo right now on Steam. If you are a fan of visual novels, make sure you add this game to your wishlist.