Beach Date Review – a Physics Game by Star Maid Games

Beach Date by Nina Freeman
Beach Date Review – a Physics Game by Star Maid Games
3.5

Platforms:

Windows PC, Mac, Linux

Game Name:

Beach Date

Publisher(s):

Star Maid Games

Developer(s):

Star Maid Games

Genre(s):

Physics, Experimental

Release Date:

November 12th, 2018

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).

Covered in sand in Nina Freeman's Beach Date game
Nina Freeman creates unforgettable games. Her ability to capture an intimate and emotional moment and translate it into a gaming experience is uncanny.

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.

Cibele in-game screenshot
After the game, I took a moment to scour the digital artifacts that marked the intense “love affairs” that had played out across my desktop as a teen. I had forgotten the emotions and life lessons that had been transmitted through my dial-up connection in my youth. Cibele offered a powerful reflection that sent me on a cyber expedition that unearthed lost memories and defining moments in my life.

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.

Watch how character in beach date video game moves
Amused by the interactions, I continued to curl up with my boyfriend on the beach, making it rain Sun Chips and marinating him with red wine. If there were oysters, I would have been in heaven.

On second thought, I wouldn’t want to toss those slimy boogers around!

Beach Date game where you can pour wine

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!

Stare into eyes Nina Freeman Beach Date
The game – sorry, date – features three vignettes where you can relax and interact. Once you manage to lock eyes with your partner you have completed the “level.” Complete all three, the sun sets, and your date concludes.

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.

Sun sets on beach date
Did I fantasize about frolicking on the beach and enjoying wine with that special someone? I sure did. If all I have is Freeman’s game to keep me company till I get to roll around in the sand again, I’ll take it!

If you’re looking for a short game to enjoy, head out for an innocent Beach Date.

Beach Date is available via itch.io.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

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