Beach Date by Star Maid Games
Together with Jake Jefferies, Beach Date was developed as part of Nina Freeman’s sunset-themed game jam. The developers were invited to create a game that’s “romantic, nostalgic, spooky, or anything else that has something to do with the day turning to night.”
Beach Date offers the perfect playful escape without the hassle of sand in your food (or your bikini bottoms).
From playing her previous games, I have come to expect a narrative that evokes a myriad feelings simultaneously, from the warm fuzzies to an incredible sense of unease.
Love in a Digital Time
Before Beach Date, there was Cibele, a game based on a true story about love, sex, and MMO – an experience I won’t easily forget. Cibele allows you to explore Freeman’s simulated desktop and play alongside her love story and first sexual experience.
While Cibele invites you on a voyeuristic journey of the developer’s youth – and a reflection on your own – Beach Date is a chance to play and fantasize about past dates and dates to come.
From Sex and MMO to Sand and Sun Chips
Escape to the beach and toss your cares away, along with sand, chips and a bottle of red wine. As the female character, you interact with objects and your partner with the click of the mouse. If anyone denies that they spent the first couple moments slapping the other character until they figured out the controls, they’re lying.
In addition to accidentally assaulting my beach date, I became increasingly worried about my character dislocating her shoulder. As I clicked on the sand and tossed it playfully onto my partner’s lap, my arm would move in the most unnatural ways.
Is she possessed? Does she need an exorcism? In the end, she seemed fine with her double-jointed abilities, so I let it go.
On second thought, I wouldn’t want to toss those slimy boogers around!
The Look of Love
As I was enjoying the beach-style merriment, I managed to lock eyes with my boyfriend, and it was as if X-Men’s Cyclops had removed his ruby-quartz visor. Poor guy received quite the optic blast!
In the absence of a strong narrative, Beach Date provides a sense of calm. With the help of a soothing soundtrack featuring lapping waves, the game allows you to truly enjoy the experience. Unlike Freeman’s game Kimmy – a visual novel based on tales from the developer’s own mother – the soundtrack left me with an overwhelming sense of unease. As the seemingly innocent story plays out, the music tells a different story – that is until the end! After spending time stressing about the characters in Kimmy, I was happy to experience a game with a cheerier note.
Beach Date may include disturbing arm flaring and an absurd amount of wasted wine, but it’s a date I enjoyed.
If you’re looking for a short game to enjoy, head out for an innocent Beach Date.
Beach Date is available via itch.io.