Genre : Simulation
Developer : Rotobee
Publisher : Eidos
Release Date : May 25, 2004
By now everyone has played The Sims or at least watched someone play it. Many of these people probably wondered what it would be like if The Sims focused on and showed more adult situations. Welcome to the premise of Singles: Flirt Up Your Life, a life simulation that is about building a relationship with your partner. By using a totally 3d graphics system, Singles will bring you very much into the life of your characters in their pursuit of love and debauchery. The idea sounds interesting and maybe a little risqué on paper, but can Singles execute? Let's find out.
Sporting an Adult-Only rating from the ESRB, Singles can only be ordered online. I didn't know what to expect as I loaded up a new game and chose the story mode. I had played the demo briefly before I received my review copy, and sadly, the full version didn't offer a whole lot more than the demo. You choose your two roommates from a cast of 12 characters in Singles. You're allowed to pick a male and female, male and male or female and female; the choice is yours. I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed by not having the ability to create my own characters, since that was one of my favorite things to do in The Sims. The 12 characters Singles presents are all pretty different from each other ranging from the sporty-styled all the way to the gothic-styled people, the game allows you to choose who you want to control in love's quest. Once you get the game started you'll be thrust into your apartment with your two roomies.
It's not overly surprising that Singles borrows heavily from The Sims in terms of controlling your character. Switching between characters is achieved by clicking on an icon under their face in the upper right hand corner of your screen. This area displays your currently selected character's face and shows off the game's use of facial expressions. This is pretty cool and looks darn good most of the time. Once you have a character under control, you'll be keeping an eye on their Hunger, Fun, Comfort, Body, Relationship, Body, Energy and Surroundings meters. These meters don't seem as touchy as they do in The Sims, which gives Singles a more relaxed feel as you concentrate on building up your roommate’s relationship.
When you click on the character you are not controlling, a little sub-menu pops-up over their head. This is the meat and potatoes of Singles' game play. From these menus you will be choosing what actions to perform on your roomie. These actions range from chatting and gossiping to sweet talking and making out. What action you can perform is determined by how much you've built up each character's Friendship, Romance, Fun and Sensuality meters. Each meter has a huge number of blank circles, which each fill up slowly over time as you chat and flirt with your roommate. After you've built up enough you'll start getting to the heavy and hot action, but that takes quite some time. I spent a couple of hours just getting to the making out section of the romance/sensuality of the relationship. Now, in my case I had my two ladies French kissing for the first time and it was pretty entertaining. But, by the tenth time it was already somewhat old to watch. That's my gripe with building up the relationship - it takes forever and a day. You'll tire of seeing them snuggle and give each other kisses on the cheek rather quickly.
Most of the game was spent queuing up numerous actions per character and then sending the game into warp speed to hurry the day up. Another feature in Singles is, of course, a skills section for each character. In this section you will see that you gain experience points as you build up your relationship meters. Once you've tallied up enough points you will level up, giving yourself a point to spend on one of many skills. The skills meters are: Career, Humor, Cleaning, Repair, Cooking, Romance, Flirting and Slacking. All are pretty self-explanatory; Career allows your character to make more money at work, cleaning means you clean faster and better, etc. Speaking of work, you have a certain period of time during the day where a work clock will appear on screen. Click on the door out of the apartment and send both of them to work. Having money means being able to afford eating and buying better items (which means less repairs!) and buying gifts for your lover.
You have to balance your cleaning and cooking evenly or else one might grow to despise the other. I think this takes a lot of trying to do, since I had one character do most of the cooking and the other cleaning with no problems. Sadly, unlike The Sims, you do not have a lot of options in buying items for your apartment. TV sets, computers and not much else are available to you. Understandable seeing how this is a 'love' simulation and not a house maker. This kind of makes the game boring a lot of the time. In my game I never had them even use a TV or computer and spent all my time making them fill up their little bubbles with the ultimate goal being sex. Oh yes, there is sex. Despite the AO rating, the sex scenes are pretty tame. Sure, you can tell they're having a grand time under the covers, and that's just it, under the covers. Your couple also only knows one position as they explore each other. In my opinion, for a game that is based so heavily on sex, Singles is really boring in bed. There is little to watch after the first few times, much like all the other interactions.
The game's graphics are very good for the style of the game. Incredible amount of zoom means you'll be checking out the extremely detailed character models as they run (they don't walk...) around the apartment. This can be fun to mess around with as they mess around, too. For some strange reason the transitions from day to dusk, dusk to night, and night to dawn take a noticeable amount of time to change. I'm not sure why the game runs so hard sometimes, since the game models are detailed but not much else is. I also experienced a few memory leaks that froze the game up and chopped my system to hell. Nothing a reboot wouldn't fix but it was still annoying to deal with.
Sound in Singles is comprised of looped pop music and gibberish spoken by the characters. The music gets annoying after a long period of time (I zoned out a lot during game play) and the character's "singlish" speak gets old quick. It fits the game well enough but that doesn't make it good.
Overall, I enjoyed Singles and I didn't. I thought it was fun to look forward to the next action you unlock, however, I felt it took way to long to actually unlock most of the stuff. This might not have been so bad if the game had more to keep me occupied with besides just watching my characters talk in warp speed for hours. This isn't a bad game, but it's also not a great game. Average at best even with the sex gimmick that comes with it. If you have a lot of time to kill you might try picking this up.
Score : 6.5/10