Before reviewing this game, I found out it had already been released on iOS and Android devices, as well as Steam for Windows and Mac. Some games are better suited for mobile rather than console, but would Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker fall victim in transitioning over to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?
When you first load the game, you create a profile where you put in basic details like your name and birthdate, then your personality traits will be decided by a series of quirky 50/50 questions. One example being “when buying books would you rather look round for a second hand bookshop or download ebooks onto a tablet”?
Once you have entered your details and preferences, your dating agency will be opened. Kitty will guide you through setting up your very first date in your agency, talking you through the dos and don'ts in the game. From there, Kitty will help you at the cost of spending coins that you earn during dates, but other than that, you're more or less on running things by yourself. Not only do you run the agency from behind the scenes, but you get to take control of the dates as they happen through “hidden cameras” that have been placed at each restaurant.
Single people will begin to come to your agency looking for a date. It is your job to decipher details about the person by finding out their interests and star sign etc. From there, you will match them with single people who are in your database. You need to be vigilant when it comes to the criteria on which to select the right couple. For instance, matching their five social traits - like whether they’re experimental or traditional, as well as their hair and eye colour preference.
Once the dates start being successful, you'll earn coins which you can buy new restaurants with, or a hair salon for your agency. The restaurant unlockables are useful because if your couple go on a second date, it's a good idea to refrain from eating the same cuisine. The hair salon is extra important though, as you can change someone's hair from brown to blue if the other person prefers blue hair. That will already start your date on a good note, and it gives you a nice foundation to build from.
For every successful date that happens, your reputation will build on your ID card. You can level up which allows you to buy more dating books and salon accessories - and you can get neat little upgrades like the ability to kick certain people out of your agency if they’re being a particular nuisance. As you continue to rank up and your reputation increases, you will be growing your agency by expanding your own headquarters and finding single people from more locations within the local area.
Whilst you are playing out the dates, there are a series of mini-games that can dictate the outcome. One of these is a memory test - whereby four desserts will whizz past on a trolley, and your date - who doesn't know the name of them - will ask for the second dessert in the line of four. It is then up to you to memorise which one they would like. There's another memory test which is remembering what your waiter or waitress looked like, and guessing correctly will improve your chances of having a successful date.
Two mini-games stood out for me, though. One was where one of the couples had specific dietary requirements and I had to pick a dish that suited them. For example, had I given a vegetarian lady a chicken and mushroom pie, the chances of a second date may have been curtailed. The other mini-game that stood out consisted of one of the couples going off to change their appearance during the date - as you do! Once they returned, I had to correctly select which part of their appearance has changed. The games require a certain degree of cognitive thinking, and it does keep you on your toes.
The cartoon visuals are really bright and fun. All of the characters you encounter feel and look unique - and even if appearances were to come across as similar, they have different personalities which makes each person feel unique from the last one. Their facial features and clothing really stand out, as do the the restaurants where your dates are taking place. You really notice the difference between the American and Jamaican restaurants, and everything in the game looked really impressive in terms of the aesthetics.
In terms of the sound, there'll be different background music according to your location. All of the restaurants - whose names are risqué to say the least - have theme-based music that differs if the date takes place in the American themed restaurant, or the Jamaican themed restaurant. There'll also be random instances where Kitty Powers will chime in with a witty remark, and the sound bites are often quite humorous.
There's no complicated buttons to speak of, and while this makes the game really laid back and easy to pick up, I feel it's better suited to playing on mobile. You also know what you're going to get once you play the game enough times. It doesn't get tiresome at any point, but if the game doesn't grab you from the off, there won't be much of a reason to keep at it. On the back of reviewing this game, I bought it from the App Store because I enjoyed it so much, but also because I felt it was best played on mobile.
I did like how the dates could become awkward very quickly - think David Brent in The Office Christmas Special. One particular instance where this occurred was when I chose to lie on one of the dates about whether they liked the other one’s hair. The “wheel of misfortune” was spun, and unfortunately it landed in the red, which meant the date could see through the lie. Another instance was where I decided to talk about the weather, and that didn't go down too well either, as it was deemed to be a boring topic of conversation. All these little details of what to do and what not to do make each date quite tricky, especially as you advance further in the game.
Kitty Powers' Matchmaker (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker is a quirky, light-hearted game that has transitioned well from mobile to console. I do feel it's better suited to being a mobile game, but this doesn't detract too much from the experience of playing the game on a console. The nice visuals, great humour and quirky gameplay all add up to create a supremely enjoyable game.