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Game Review | One Night Stand


There are a lot of awkward silences in One Night Stand
 

Game summary: You wake up from a drunken one night stand beside a stranger and must piece together the events of the previous night. (Wikipedia)


As a videogame with a title like that, I'm sure most people will think this is nothing more than a seedy sex simulator or sexually-explicit visual novel. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth as this actually deals with the aftermath of the titular encounter and how you choose to deal with it.


To that end, there are a lot of approaches you can take, with numerous paths leading to multiple endings. Everything from getting kicked out of the woman's place for being a jerk - intentionally or not - all the way up to agreeing to stay in touch as friends.


In fact, there's very little sexual content in One Night Stand even in the dialogue, other than referring to the night before and the presence of an opened condom wrapper on the floor beside the bed. I don't think there's even any swearing in it - it's a very 'PG' experience for such an adult situation.


And that's one more thing to like about the game: this is a very adult situation to experience, and it's dealt with in a very mature manner. There's no trying to be edgy or sexy here, it's two grown-ups trying to deal with a very awkward situation that neither really knows how to deal with.


Well, perhaps 'grown-ups' might not be always appropriate if you choose to just get the hell out of Dodge and avoid dealing with what happened. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have been in this exact situation and done exactly that, but that still doesn't excuse the refusal to take responsibility like they should.


The game doesn't judge though, and if you want to experience everything that you can do here, you're going to have to go that route at some point. Yeah, you might feel a little awkward if it's not you'd behave in reality, but awkwardness is One Night Stand's speciality.


Your character can't remember a thing about the previous night thanks to the large amount of alcohol consumed, and - while amnesia is a videogame staple allowing for a back-story to be filled in - it works well enough here to make the player feel embarrassed about that lack of recollection.

This is how things start in One Night Stand

I think that embarrassment and awkwardness are part of what makes One Night Stand stand out because those are usually emotions that you don't experience in a game. Most games are about having or gaining power in some way, and here you have none.


You don't gain XP, there are no skills to gain, and progression doesn't mean your characters grow any better by the end of the game. It's entirely personality and dialogue driven, and I imagine a lot of people might not like that and stumble down the same routes on replaying the game.


But One Night Stand is about trying things out and figuring out what the 'right' thing is to do, or at least what you actions you can feel okay taking. It does a better job of making you feel a connection to the player character than titles with far bigger budgets.


Yes, it's not the best-looking or best-sounding game, but it doesn't need to be. Besides, the audio-visual design choices perfectly complement each other, and they also allow you to focus on your interactions instead, which is the real core of the game.


For such a short game, One Night Stand is exceptionally well-written and can be surprisingly emotional depending on your choices. It takes a very real and very human scenario and succeeds in putting you in the shoes of the main character.

[8/10]

 
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