We’ve seen one night stands and drunken hook-ups play out in awkward and occasionally comedic fashion plenty of times in films and video games. But perhaps nothing captures the experience quite as honestly and realistically as One Night Stand.
Developed by indie dev Kinmoku, One Night Stand is less of a “video game” and more of a visual novel or interactive movie. There’s no shooting, no princess you have to rescue or some alien world you need to save.
Instead, all it involves is dialogue and conversing with the woman whom you drunkenly hooked up with the night before and finding out more about who she is, what exactly happened and what your next course of action should be.
It’s very minimalistic and befitting of a premise as limited as the awkward morning after a one night stand and yet it all works brilliantly.
Using a branching dialogue system, you can direct the conversation with the mystery woman in whatever way you see fit. You can choose to be an honest and respectful guest or you can opt to be an arsehole who steals her underwear and bails when the woman is out of the room.
It says a lot about a game that allows you to steal someone’s panties within five minutes of starting out.
Without going into the dialogue options too much as it will spoil the experience, One Night Stand is a unique visual novel in that it somehow manages to translate the real awkward emotion and experience of an actual hook-up into a playable format.
There’s a genuine sense of bewilderment when you first wake up with a raging hangover, the feeling of dread after realising you’re in a stranger’s bed, the awkwardness of having to converse with said stranger, and the vulnerability that arises when you’re trying to re-establish boundaries.
There’s more than enough replay value in One Night Stand due to its 12 possible outcomes, all of which are relatable to many. There’s a little repetitiveness but the generally concise yet open-ended dialogue also encourages you to play over and over again in order to see how things play out.
As a whole, One Night Stand doesn’t really offer any new insights into drunken hook-ups. Rather, it’s more of a sounding board for players to share their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
It’s not a particularly comfortable game to play, there’s weird tension throughout the experience and you occasionally left wondering whether you did the right thing, not unlike an actual one night stand actually.
Perhaps that’s the entire point of the game.