Singles: Flirt Up Your Life Review - GameSpot
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Adjust your game graphics to achieve desired framerate. Save your Benchmark With Action! It culminates in, finally, what the game refers to as "the wild thing. There are four categories of actions--romance, sensuality, fun, and friendship--and just a handful of different, possible options within each one, all of which are represented by a single animation that plays out the same exact way each time.
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The ultimate point of Singles, apparently, is to unlock all the different, possible animations. This will, maybe, take you a weekend's worth of casual playing time, though the process is purposely dragged out so that you can't see everything the game has to offer in a half hour.
Like in The Sims, in Singles you need to manage the mundane aspects of the lives of mundane characters. You can't make your own characters but instead are limited to a fairly small selection of Caucasian men and women, the latter of which are all quite pretty, and the former of which all look like dirtbags.
In practice--though you supposedly have characters that range from yuppies to swingers to artistes to girls-next-door to computer nerds--there's really no obvious difference in gameplay terms, regardless of which sort of mismatched pair you select.
What's also rather strange is that there's a token gay male and a token gay female character that you can pick for attempted same-sex partnerships So, Singles purports that any combination of two young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, can eventually be made to hook up.
Surely this is not the strangest notion ever presented in a game. The characters in singles all look to be somewhere in their 20s, and some of them are described as being "always on the scene looking for some action. You can't just make your two characters hop into bed together from day one.
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Instead, it'll take a good couple of weeks of game time to work your way up to that. You'll instead have to make your singles eat together, watch TV together, play board games together, flirt, sweet talk, do chores for each other, and generally be civil to each other and little else before their relationship can reach a stage where they're willing to spend the night together.
Even after they do, the game's canned, text-based dialogue in story mode doesn't match up with what has already transpired, which suggests that the characters' relationship hasn't blossomed as well as it would appear, based on what has actually happened. This Sims rip-off certainly looks nice in screenshots, but it has very little variety when you get down to its actual gameplay.
In fact, for a game that's set in the real world and presents fairly realistic-looking characters and situations, Singles comes across as surprisingly, mind-numbingly, bafflingly implausible. Shouldn't hipsters such as these have the desire to leave their apartments at some point for purposes other than work? They can call their friends on the phone, and they can run out to buy gifts for their roommates, but that's the full extent of their interactions with the outside world.
The apartment can never be occupied by more than just the two characters. Furthermore, the sequence of actions that becomes unlocked as your characters' relationship develops doesn't seem to reflect the way in which anyone could plausibly expect such a relationship to blossom. Flirting suddenly gives way to full-on French kissing in just a couple of days of game time Characters will have long since been sucking on each other's faces for days before they're comfortable with seeing one another in their underwear as well until that point, they'll automatically run away from one another in embarrassment.
Furthermore, characters that are ready to take that all-important step in their relationships literally won't be able to do so unless their apartments are furnished with double beds. So much for raging hormones Also, the game's distinction between "romance" and "sensuality" is perhaps too subtle for our shallow American minds to fathom.
As a result, the characters need to have these two separate criteria independently satisfied at all times, as though the two were completely unrelated. All these types of things conspire to make Singles a truly nonsensical game. But that doesn't mean it can't be fun for a while, and one could probably argue that the nonsensical qualities are to the game's credit. The game itself is simple, and its characters, in practice, all seem to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
All you'll really do is make them repeatedly wash their hands, bathe, go to the bathroom, and eat; you'll use any idle time in between to make them flirt and chat and such. For some reason, they gradually gain "experience points" from all this, which occasionally results in your being able to upgrade one of their abilities like cleaning or flirting, among othersmost of which have no discernible effect on gameplay.
Again, on weekdays, characters will waste most of their time offscreen, while supposedly at jobs. On weekends, you've got two whole days to repeatedly cycle through the same types of actions in an effort to advance the relationships as quickly as possible.
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All that, in addition to occasionally cleaning the apartment, repairing appliances that break after a certain number of uses, and buying new stuff from a rather paltry selection of mostly meaningless options, constitutes the gameplay in Singles. There isn't much to it, but it does keep you busy since you have two characters to be thinking about.
And the game basically controls well, with its fairly intuitive mouse-driven interface.
It's easy to move the camera angle around and switch between the two characters instantly, and though you can always pause the game to queue up additional instructions for your characters, it's manageable to do so without having to resort to stopping time.
Only in Singles do slender, attractive women in evening gowns spend their Saturday nights using the Internet. Singles is an easy game, which you'd have to go out of your way to fail, though it's theoretically possible to do so if you purposely neglect your relationships over time.
Singles isn't nearly as interesting as The Sims in this respect, though.