This image is official promotional art for Later Daters.  According to Later Dater’s official website under the article, “It’s Never Too Late for Love!” Later Daters – Spring 2020 – Steam + Switch, Bloom Digital Media explains that “the rights and credit for this game belongs to Bloom Digital Media” (6).  This image is on Nintendo’s official website under the article, “Later Daters for Nintendo Switch – Nintendo Game Details”. 

Visual Novel Games Have Been Apart of Gaming for Years

For as long as video games have been around, visual novels have been not far behind.  In fact, many gamers first game might have been a visual novel.  Some example of visual novel games includes the Phoenix Wright series and The Oregon Trail for instance.  Essentially, a visual novel game focuses on story and dialogue.  While sometimes there is gameplay, sometimes there’s not. Honestly, that’s perfectly okay. Visual novel games have their own style of what a videogame can be.  Within the last few years, many independent video game companies have put their feet into the visual novel genre.  For example, one independent video game company that has made a game in this genre that comes to mind is the Game Grumps.  The Game Grumps made the visual novel masterpiece, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator.

There are many different examples of visual novel games that different video game companies have made.  Then, in April of 2020, a new game came out for audiences on both Steam and the Nintendo Switch.  This new game is Later Daters. Made by an independent video game company name Bloom Digital Media, Later Daters follows the player as they move into a retirement home.  As the player learns more about this new home, friendships and possible romances blossom as well.  What does this new visual novel game have to offer? Does Later Daters stick out from the crowd of different visual novel games? Let’s find out together. In this review, we’re analyzing how Later Daters stands out from other visual novel games through several different factors.

The Story of Later Daters is Deep Yet Hilarious 

Firstly, let’s look at the story of Later Daters.  The story follows the player as they move into a retirement home.  Along the way, the player learns much more about the other senior citizens living at Ye O.L.D.E. From the card shark Blair to the quiet yet sweet neighbor Albert, all the characters help the player feel more at home.  Rest assured, we’ll talk later about the whole cast of vibrant and unique characters.  Anyway, the story of Later Daters is incredibly deep yet, hilarious.  As the player learns more about the residents at Ye O.L.D.E., the player gets to choose which resident they want to get to know more about.  Which gives this game a ton of re-playability.  This game does cover quite a few topics including grief, death, getting older, and being open to who you are just to name a few.

Trust me, there are a lot more topics this game covers.  However, I don’t want to spoil the wonderful story that Later Daters has.  Each character is going through their own issues.  There wasn’t at one point where the story felt out of place.  Another aspect I love about this game is the idea of LGBTQ+ seniors dating.  From all the visual novel games I’ve seen, a visual novel about LGBTQ+ senior dating is a new one.  Without a doubt, having this kind of representation is huge.   With being able to get to know the various characters at Ye O.L.D.E., the player can choose what relationship or relationships they want to be in.  With all these key elements in mind, Later Daters changes the game in what a visual novel game can be.  Without a doubt, the characters make this game stand out from other visual novel games.

Later Daters Has Some of the Most Three-Dimensional Characters

Without a doubt, Later Daters has some of the most three-dimensional characters.  At first, the player needs to create their own character. So, this element does give the player a bit of a connection.  Additionally, Later Daters includes some very inclusive options.  This includes being able to choose between being a male, female, and non-binary.  In fact, the player can also select their past.  Right off the bat, the player can become closer to their own character.  As the player starts getting comfortable, the cast of characters truly start showing their colors.  There wasn’t one character that isn’t unlikeable.  Each character has their own way of showing humor. Which trust me, Later Daters has some of the best comedy writing I’ve seen in a while.  Especially when it comes to the comedic relief character, Blair.

In fact, all the characters have their own form of comedic writing.  Previously, I said that the player can choose who they want to get to know better.  As the player learns more about these characters, their personality truly starts to shine.  Which is how good storytelling should be.  The audiences shouldn’t know everything about the characters at face value.  Slowly but surely, the player should be able to learn more about each of these phenomenal characters.  Which is where I think Later Daters thrives. The character development in this game offers lessons that the audience particularly the older audience can understand.  Which shows how visual novels can create character development.  Being able to be compelling to its audience while persuading the player to continue playing to learn more about the characters.  While the characters have so much to offer, the art style immediately grabs the attention of the audience.

Later Daters Brings an Art Style that Makes This Game Come to Life

While the characters help bring the uniqueness of this game, the art style brings Later Daters to life.  Since this is a visual novel game, the art style focuses on certain elements. This includes facial expression changes, scenery, transition scenes, important moments, and inner monologues.  When the player moves along in the story, the scenery changes.  The amount of detail that this game has makes it feel like we’re in Ye O.L.D.E.  There wasn’t one point in the game where the setting was disorientating.  In fact, the amount of detail Later Daters has makes Ye O.L.D.E. look like a fun place to live.  Additionally, the art style of this game with the characters as well.  The character designs are incredibly well done.  In Bloom Digital Media’s previous game LongStory, the character designs had rounder shapes.

Then in their next game Later Daters, the characters have a more square and triangular shape to them.  Honestly, this new change makes the characters stand out more.  They’re much more memorable and recognizable.  Later Daters is a visual novel, there are important scenes that receive their own image.  This decision does in fact make important scenes much more powerful.  Some moments can make players feel emotion because of how sweet these important scenes are.  Later Daters uses art to guide the audience along as the player becomes more comfortable.  The art style makes everything at Ye O.L.D.E. feel inviting and exciting.  Without a doubt, this game has the most unique art style within a visual novel game.

Without a Doubt, Later Daters Brings Some Fun Music Options

Lastly, let’s look at the music.  Without a doubt, Later Daters has some captivating music choices. The music varies from soft jazz, piano pieces, somber pieces, and techno music.  Within this article, one of the videos contains the theme song.  The theme song in this game is fantastic.  It’s incredibly catchy and plays before the players start or continue a save file. If anything, the theme song demonstrates what the game is about.  One thing to note is the lack of music in some cut scenes.  Sometimes it’s fine but other times, I wish that I can hear some more music.  For instance, in Bloom Digital Media’s previous game Long Story, the music in the background was constant. Yet, the music never got old as it varied from each situation the main character goes through.  Now, the lack of music maybe is good because it focuses on the dialogue.

Which like I previously state, Later Daters has phenomenal dialogue.  However, in the next game Bloom Digital Media does, I hope there’s more music in it.  Especially since the music in this game is incredibly catchy particularly Jax’s music.  Jax Argo is one of the characters in this game that music surrounds him. His music is amazing as he has his own musical number he does within Later Daters.  The music in this game helps captivate the emotion and feelings of each of the scenes. This is especially true when the music disappears then comes back.  Regardless, the music in this game dates to an older time that would be typical in a retirement home.  The music in this game shows the age yet youthfulness that the characters have.  Undoubtedly, the music helps bring this indie game to life.

In Many Ways, Later Daters Shows What A Visual Novel Game Can Be 

Within this review, we thoroughly discuss how Later Daters stands out from other visual novel games.  Firstly, we took a look at the story. With LGBTQ+ senior dating and a deep story, Later Daters has so much to offer for audiences to play.  What is a story without three-dimensional characters?  This indie game has captivating characters as the player learns more about the residents at Ye O.L.D.E. So much so that this game has a lot of re-playability.  Furthermore, the art style of this game makes this world feel real.  From scenery to important moments, Later Daters will captivate audiences with emotion as they play through the story.  Finally, we looked at the music.  With a wide range of different music genres, Later Daters uses music to express emotion and feelings.

Without a doubt, Later Daters is a fantastic visual novel game.  There’s so much inclusive diversity which is awesome for representation.  Especially those withing not only the LGBTQ+ community but senior dating as well.  All in all, Later Daters is a fun visual novel game that should be played by others.  With all of the things this indie game has to offer, Later Daters clearly stands out from other visual novel games.

Open for Discussion

Thank you so much for reading this review. Now, we want to hear from you guys. What you played Later Daters? If you have played this indie game, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, does this game interest you? Let us know in the comments.

Also, if you want to learn more about Bloom Digital Media, make sure and follow the following links.  This includes Bloom Digital Media’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and official website.

Currently, Later Daters is on Steam as well as on the Nintendo Switch.  If you want to check this game out, make sure to check the following links if you want to play this game.

If you like what you see here, make sure to read this review that Cassidy wrote about the latest episodes of The Mandalorian.  In this review, Cassidy goes deep into detail about what the latest episodes of Disney Plus’s Star Wars: The Mandalorian has to offer audiences.  Defiantly make sure to check out this review.

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Work Cited

Bloom Digital Media. “It’s Never Too Late for Love!” Later Daters – Spring 2020 – Steam + Switch.