Dating games/simulators are not exactly a rare type of game these days but they do tend to focus on the anime side of things. The lack of realism is as much a part of it as the ‘cute’ interactions which is where Summer Sweetheart tries to stand out from the pack.
Instead of anime characters, you will be interacting with real people. Two real people, two young women who act like anime characters, making for a pretty uncomfortable experience.
Now, I don’t have a problem with this type of game. It’s not really the sort of thing I enjoy but I wanted to try one out and this one seemed to be a good fit. Come the end of my complete playthrough with one character I was still unconvinced at the appeal.
For starters, Summer Sweetheart’s promise of ‘real’ people is little bit disingenuous as a lot of the time you’re interacting with static pictures of the girls. Every so often, normally when you’ve reached a threshold in certain stats, a video clip will play.
This is where Summer Sweetheart gets weird.
These short clips are often odd and uncomfortable to watch. By making the girls real, the elements of fantasy is completely removed and instead you’re all to aware that if someone walked in on you playing this, you’d have some explaining to do. A game shouldn’t make you feel grubby.
Why? Well, for some reason, they act like anime characters. The one I spent time with believed she was a cat and would end most of her sentences with a cat-meow. Cute? Not in the slightest.
Now the game isn’t overly sexual but it does have its moments where the camera is positioned in a way to tease. Laughably silly in anime, a bit weird when the character in question is ‘real’. Simply put, Summer Sweetheart’s main selling point is also its biggest problem.
The idea that you might be able to form more of a connection with these girls just doesn’t fly when most of the proper interactions come in these short video clips. That’s before you take into account translation issues which reached nonsense levels at times.
So, what do you actually do that could be called gameplay? Simply set your character’s day up, try to improve his stats and increase the romance meter with your chosen girl. You’ll have to sleep to ensure you have enough energy to do tasks. Tasks such as exercising, painting or earning money for your dates. Doing these will increase your stats making you more ‘desirable’ and unlocking more video interactions with your girl.
This part of the game is fun but it’s limited fun and after a while, very repetitive. Especially when it comes to dating and trips out. Where the correct choice of dialogue is the only one you’ll ever chose to ensure the romance metre goes up. Every so often, you might get a mini—game to boost your stats but these are very rare. To call it tiresome, is to underplay just how basic it is.
Regardless, this element isn’t what anyone will remember about this game. Even if you think you can get some amusement out of it, be prepared to feel mighty strange about it.
Summer Sweetheart (Nintendo Switch)
The Final Score - 3/10