There’s a part of me that un-ironically likes dating sims, and that may be the most embarrassing thing I can admit publicly. The idea of a game where you just talk to people is enjoyable and easy enough to program that it leaves a way for an interesting story to be easily crafted without straining any kind of budget or time constraints. Theoretically, dating sims like Oz+ should have the best story of any kind of game, but as you probably guessed, that’s hardly the case here.
The long and short of it is that games like these are not actually games. They have no more gameplay than navigating a Netflix menu. And that’s fine. “Game” is a loose enough term that it extends from Cookie Clicker to Dwarf Fortress. One’s expectation when playing a game like this is usually low from a gameplay standpoint. No one is expecting DOTA-level strategy or finesse of input from a game where your most difficult moment of agency is picking between three nigh-indistinguishable hot anime dudes.
The point is that, as low as my expectations were, this game still somehow disappointed me at nearly every turn. The story is lame, taking place as a sequel to The Wizard of Oz, but where the versions of the Scarecrow, Lion, and “Tin Woodman” (as the game describes him) from Dorothy’s end-movie dream are all teenage hunks, rather than the middle-aged men in face paint, since that might send off some unpleasant signals, even for a Japanese game. This is all just a guess, because the story doesn’t really tie into the movie or the movie, as much as it wants to. Since the wicked witch of the west is alive (and a dude now), there’s some random guy named Solomon that’s supposed to be a fairy and a king, and I can’t believe I’m getting onto this game for contradicting the canon of a bajillion-year-old fantasy movie. This is as futile as the devs knew it was.
But that’s what’s so terrible about it! You’d think that a game like this would just be a re-creation of The Wizard of Oz, but in dating sim format, but they go out of their way to make the story, dialogue, and series of illogical events as detached from the source material and cringe-worthy as possible. Couple that with the most confusing, transparently money-grabbing UIs in recent memory, and you have a game that somehow fails at creating a menu. A menu. I got lost on the menu, people! How can I appreciate the swollen pecs of your generic animu stereotypes when I need a degree in technical writing just to understand how to play the game. It’s not even the funny kind of bad game, to twist the knife further. But hey, it’s free, so my recommendation is moot either way, and my recommendation is don’t waste your time.
Is it Sugoi?
A bizarre dating sim that somehow dipped under my below-sea-level expectations.