LifeisXbox’s C14 Dating Review | Time to dive into the most recent interactive visual novel, C14 Dating, which has been developed by WinterWolves Games and published by Ratalaika Games S.L. Playing as the female protagonist Melissa, a third-year anthropology student from California, you will be participating in a summer archaeological internship which sets place in Belgium which is a scarily long way from home. During your eight-week stay, not only will you be learning and progressing in your studies, but you will also come across multiple students with the possibility of friendships being made along with intriguing romances being sparked should you decide to like someone a little more than you thought. The decisions you make will matter and affect how close you are to your fellow students. You may wish to spread your time amongst everyone or choose to spend it more with a specific individual. Altogether, C14 Dating takes you on an educational journey as you explore others potential to perhaps take away more than just your textbooks and findings.
VicciVulpix played C14 Dating for six hours on Xbox One S. This game is also available on Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Linux, and Steam.
What we liked!
- Mixture of characters | With each character you meet comes a unique personality which I’m all for because of the variety that gets explored. There are four males you can romance in C14 Dating and they certainly all differ in terms of their hobbies, traits, and energy. Appearances also varied throughout. I certainly found myself liking some characters much more than others based on their responses and how they spoke. This meant I made my own opinion of everyone which made the game choices mean more than just choosing because I didn’t care what outcome I ended up with. It made my choices more honest to create a playthrough based on what I had decided.
- Music depicts setting | I noticed that the background music created an impression of how the mood of the game should be interpreted. In most scenes, the music was upbeat, cheerful, and fun to suggest a positive mood overall. However, there were times where the music became darker that gave a sense of worry and concern, giving the impression that the game wants you to focus and realise the seriousness of what may be occurring. These parts always captured my attention and I think it’s an element that was simple yet rather effective, especially when you’re always focused on reading.
- Admirable imagery | I’m sure most people will agree with me when I say you cannot have a good visual novel without beautiful imagery. That is the whole point of the ‘visual’ aspect and C14 Dating delivered exactly this. Not only were the environments pretty but I adored the anime/manga art style of the characters. There was also chibi artwork included in the timetable and later in the game that looked adorable. A combination of bright and dull colours depicted backgrounds and scenery to enhance the imagery of the characters nicely. They also matched the mood of the music when necessary. Varying facial expressions were used with everyone to bring even more life to the game; to provide you with a sense of emotion they could be feeling.
- Well written | With the mass amount of text written for C14 Dating, I could not complain about the quality and accuracy of the writing. Everything appeared to be grammatically correct and this meant the reading was much easier and fluent; another important aspect of visual novel titles. There was a nice flow to the text the majority of the time and that meant I wasn’t having to question why the spoken topic had suddenly changed or made the conversations feel abrupt. Assured, C14 Dating was easily satisfying on the eyes.
- Diversity of choices | During the entirety of C14 Dating, you will have to choose from a selection of conversation choices with multiple people. Sometimes, the choices will purely be for informative reasons and others will affect your friendships, both in the good sense and the bad. I personally think there are quite a few interactive moments and knowing they will affect the outcome of your story makes them even more important. It could take you down an unexpected route at times or even make you become romantically involved with certain characters. If you choose the wrong decision or don’t agree with it, there is always the option to go back and select another choice.
- Game title | Now, you may find yourself asking – what is with the game name C14 Dating? I can answer that for you right now. In science terms, this means Carbon-14 or radiocarbon, and it’s used to date archaeological, geological, and hydro-geological samples. Admittedly, maybe the name was a little out there but luckily there is a valid explanation behind it that is relevant to the game itself with the subjects being taught. A clever idea but perhaps people may misinterpret it for an error or question the underlying complexity.
- Mini-Games | There is no denying that mini-games create a far more interactive experience instead of just choosing dialogue options constantly. When I noticed choosing either the lab or cave option for my timetable would result in optional mini-games, I got quite excited. They increased in difficulty each time but once I reached some of the later weeks, they got a little too tedious for my liking. I ended up spending a significant amount of time solving the cave puzzles where you had to work out the correct places to dig given the number of spaces in each column/row correctly. It started to take the enjoyment out of the game for me. The lab version was purely a guessing game to work out the correct amount of pressure which should be applied with some luck involved in the hope that you got within the successful boundaries.
What we disliked
- Long-Winded in areas | Unfortunately, with the bulk of dialogue that comes with visual novels, came a fair amount of text that I felt was used to draw out conversations unnecessarily which was a real shame. I would describe it as filler text that could have been left out in some areas. I completely understand that the whole point of visual novels is to read the story but at times, I just wanted to close the game and come back another day because the text became almost pointless to read and didn’t add anything extra to enhance the game as it was.
- Timetable inclusion | After each week in C14 Dating, you are presented with a timetable that must be filled in with various activities to progress to the following week. The first time this came up, I was genuinely really interested to see how this would affect my game. To my disappointment, the only thing this affected was which characters you spent more time with. With the game showing how each activities impacted your stats (Culture, Rational, Empathy, Diligence, Stress, and Journal), I thought this would have altered how the game played out more. For example, if your stress is too high, it could cause you to fail in your classes. Just an element that could have been utilised far better in my opinion.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!