There’s something funny about horror, isn’t there? Whether it’s a B-reel movie or a bigger budget Hollywood slasher flic, the line between funny and scary is so blurred that, at times, it’s a smudge at best. So says Ted, one of the minds behind Sucker for Love: First Date, the Lovecraftian dating sim.
Sucker for Love is a very strange, but very compelling game. You play a guy obsessed with occult rituals, having seen a glimpse of an eldritch horror that, for some bizarre reason, you desperately want to smooch.
One day, after ordering yet another totally-not-a-scam Necronomicon from the internet, you receive a strange, bright-pink book in the post, and perform the only ritual that you can manage, summoning Ln’eta, a cute Cthulhu-like girl. Score.
She agrees to a kiss, but only on the condition that you perform a few simple rituals from the book for her first. The world is doomed anyway, right? — you may as well go out with a, well, not a bang, but certainly a smooch. Or as your protagonist creepily puts it, if you’ve already tasted the poison, you may as well lick the plate…
What follows is what you would expect; performing rituals and trying not to date too many demons at once, all in an anime aesthetic. Whether you use Ln’eta’s book, or the mysterious Missy’s to date the King in Yellow, is up to you.
Just, you know, try not to lose your mind as you gaze into the blind eternities, as your sanity fractures under the weight of the unfathomable. Don’t do that.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; it has all of the right (or wrong) words: anime, harem, dating sim, Cthulhu. But this is not one of those 18-rated nudie games.
Speaking to Ted, this game is recommended for those over the age of 15 if for no other reason than the body horror that comes with the whole demonic ritual thing. Anyone familiar with eldritch horror would probably have guessed this though, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise.
I was pleasantly intrigued, playing Sucker for Love at Digital Dragons 2022 in Poland this week, where it won the Best Indie Game award. The game is out now on Steam, and the reception it has got seems to be overwhelmingly positive for its quirk, humorous take on dating sims. Here’s hoping it comes to consoles as well in the near future.