So I discovered Matches & Matrimony, a dating sim game 1 involving at least three Jane Austen books with most of the plot being provided by Pride and Prejudice, through Angie Gallant’s Let’s Play thread. 2
WHY NOT INDEED.
The graphics are hilarious for the most part. That up there is my father, a sarcastic wit who needs to rein in his youngest daughter Lydianne 3, and my mother, a silly nitwit who is Lydianne in grown-up form. 4
I’ll note from the start that the Kindle version puts a lot of text together instead of making you step through every single speaking part. This helps in all cases except for Mr. Collins. Well, technically it helps the most in his case.
You play as the second Bennet daughter, and your goal is to get married to the eligible bachelor of your choice. The flow of the game is like this:
Schedule activities for each weekday to raise certain of your stats (studying the arts will, for instance, increase your Talent and Sensibility, whereas going for walks will raise your willpower and reduce your propriety; most activities will also reduce your available energy).
Over the weekend days, you experience adventures where you get to select choices, some of which will not be available if you don’t have the appropriate stat raised to a certain level.
Your decisions affect what happens to the attachment/friendship levels from various other characters, and sometimes your stats.
A lot of the text is straight out from Pride & Prejudice and other Austen books, so the writing isn’t anywhere near as painful as it is for most dating sim games, and thus is actually witty, literate, and moving. There’s a surprising amount of strategy to the game—it’s not a simple dating sim rip-off, you have to actually work for each of the endings that aren’t “You, alone for the rest of your life, become Jane Austen.” Except you don’t need to work very hard to get Mr. Collins; he is an ending, but if you’re not careful, he cuts you off from the other eight endings. Truly, Mr. Collins is a first level boss if you care for anyone other than him, and you most likely will.
The Darcy endings (there are two) are the most difficult in the game to achieve, as in the game there’s no indicator whether what you just did made him like you more or less; you’ll only know at the end of a
stage chapter how well you’re doing on his attachment meter. Fortunately, after your first play through, you can ask for help on each of the bachelors. You’ll need it particularly when aiming for Darcy, but you can steal Bingley from Jane, persist with the unwise action of pursuing Wickeby (aka, Wickham), pursue other bachelors from other Jane Austen books, and, yes, if you really can’t help it, marry Mr. Collins.
Where was I? Oh yes. This game is actually educational. After you reach the Darcy #2 ending you will have quite a thorough understanding of how their love story works—as the help says, it’s not Romeo & Juliet; both characters are flawed, and how they develop together is important to getting to the best end. Dare I say it, I found myself appreciating the original story of Pride & Prejudice on a deeper level afterwards.
I had rather a lot of fun playing this game, and it was well worth the $2.
If you’re a Jane Austen fan, like the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure genre, and don’t feel shy about resorting to a walkthrough when frustrated, I highly recommend this game.
Also, after this game, I appreciated the early (and fairly humiliating) killing of Mr. Collins in The Darcys of Pemberley. TAKE THAT, GUY WHO SAYS NO MEANS YES.
- There are dating sims for guys and dating sims for gals. Each sub-genre has different tropes, and the study of the differences and similarities, plus their general ignorance of anything other than straight relationships, would probably make for an interesting thesis for somebody. [back]
- Of course, I discovered that thread through her Hatoful Boyfriend Let’s Play, an apocalyptic future pigeon dating sim. It’s a send-up of every trope in the for-women dating sim sub-genre and a thread I suggest you not read while simultaneously drinking something. [back]
- Yes, there’s an amalgamation of certain Austen characters together. [back]
- If you’ve been reading my blog for a certain amount of time, you know that these are infinite steps up from my biological parents. [back]