How much do you love cats? I’ve been around cats since I was a baby, for me it’s second nature to have a feline companion at my side. They’re like people, personalities that surprise you or quirks you talk about for hours on end to suffering friends and family. A curious blend of visual novel/dating simulator, Purrfect Date initially shocks you with the concept of dating a feline – and the results exceeded my cat tree expectations.
You’re a fresh-faced intern headed to Cat Island to assist Dr. Pawpurr in capturing and studying the feral felines residing on the island. He gives you the Cat-a-Log to tag the cats you come across and add them to his growing database. During the first night out your journal is stolen and taken to the Danger Zone, which is where the Elder Cats reside and don’t really appreciate sharing their domain with the domestic breeds. You black out, only to wake up the next day on the beach to discover you now have the ability to talk to cats! Congrats – it’s only the first sign that you’re turning into a cat!
From here things really start to get interesting. You can romance one of six cats (one of them is a mystery!) during your stay. As you dig deeper into this puzzling litter box you discover each cat holds a small part of the puzzle to making a cure for your ‘infection’. When not dating your feline fatale you’re working alongside Dr. Pawpurr to conduct experiments on captured kitties to study the effects. Once work is done you should take time to rest before doing any further reconnaissance to discover the key to creating your antidote.
The relationships you build with these cats feels tangible; you learn their weird habits and get a glimpse who they could be as people. I chose to be agreeable with my dates, but this didn’t pan out like I’d hoped. On one date Trixie, the calico, caught me lying when I pretended to feel the “power” of a rock. She chastised me for faking and said I could be honest with her if I didn’t believe in auras or feeling a ‘greater power’ flowing through me. At the time it was embarrassing and interactions like this are common throughout the various dates. Being the ‘good guy or gal’ doesn’t mean you’ll win the purring heart of your beloved.
Most dating sims lock you in with one romance option, which in turn often requires multiple playthroughs to have another chance at a romantic connection. Purrfect Date teases this concept by “restarting” with a new chapter that reveals the secrets of Cat Island over time. With each chapter you pick a new intern, choose your cat, and repeat the process of running into the woods to retrieve the journal of the last “assistant” in your search for a cure.
The circumstances reveal a dark underbelly to Dr. Pawpurr’s experiments and the studies he conducts with the cats. At one point I gasped coming across learning a secret where not every catnapped feline is released back into the wild. When questioning the professor about weird “creams” and products being injected into the cats, he avoided my inquiries with a lecture about just recording the results of the experiments. Highly questionable, meow?
The dark depths of Purrfect Date help to challenge perceptions of what fans have come to expect from their dating sims, let alone visual novels. Sure, it’s a cat dating game – which alone guarantees a must-play for some – but I appreciated how the various felines were given distinct personalities that really helped me sink my claws into the wild world of Cat Island. There’s really nothing quite like it out there, and you won’t regret hanging out with the fancy felines in this original, catnip-craving dating adventure.