May 29, 2013 11:06 AM | Paul Hack
Chris Cornell of Paper Dino Software, developer of Haiku Hero among other games, would have you believe that Save the Date is a simple dating sim about having dinner with a friend. The game definitely centers around a dinner date, but this is not your typical dating sim by a longshot. Some might say that it's a dating sim for people who hate dating sims, except that people who like them could easily enjoy it. Save the date is a game about a lot of things, and dinner is probably the least of them.
Save the Date was made with Ren'Py and essentially plays like a visual novel, so it's basically boxes of text against an illustrated background, but it does not have the long stretches of non-interactivity typical of the medium. The gameplay involves making a lot of choices, which are selected with the mouse (or with the arrow keys and Enter). Your choices drastically change the details of your experiences, and there are many different endings.
There's not much more I can say without giving you preconceived notions of what to expect, but I will implore you to play through at least twice. That's when you'll have enough information to get an idea of what the game's really about. Each playthrough will generally only last a few minutes; it is through repeated attempts that you tease out the full experience.
You should also play it to hear the gorgeous original soundtrack by Francisco Cerda, who did music for Jamestown and, more recently, Gunpoint.
Save the Date is available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.