As the name suggests, everyone has a different experience with the term “one night stand”, and if you’ve ever been curious on how people may or may not react, you should take a good look at One Night Stand. This is a game that’s set inside of a bedroom, and that’s it. There isn’t a skill system, there aren’t perks to level up, no NPCs to seduce; it’s just you, a random male character, inside a room with a young woman. The setup is simple: presumably, you and this known woman had a relation the night before, and you are now faced with the decision about what to do from here on out.
Sounds interesting, right? Well, it is. As much as One Night Stand seems to hint at something else, this is a game grounded to discovery, and playing the “what-if” game with your character. The game opens with you waking up to your phone buzzing with blurry vision and a hangover, sure signs of a non-memorable night. You look over to your side and find a naked woman in the bed next to you. After this series of opening events, the game starts. As I mentioned before, the mechanics are simple, as the game is based purely on discovery and applying that discovery.
Using discovery as it core value, the game uses a point-and-click structure to further the story along. So, once the mysterious woman leaves, you gain the ability to click around, trying to discover things about the mysterious night you really can’t remember. These items range from your clothes to her wallet, and all enact a different series of responses and answers to questions that you gain trying to solve the mystery of the previous night.
My first playthrough was terrifying: essentially, after seemingly doing everything “right” (in my own mind, of course) I ended up being thrown out of the woman’s home. Why, you ask? If you remember the phone buzzing waking you up at the beginning, that was your mate Gary, who is trying to figure out why you ditched him last night. I ended up texting him back and telling him I met a woman. Of course, he didn’t believe me, so I sent a picture of the woman’s backside. If you learn anything from this game based upon choices, definitely don’t send pictures where they shouldn’t go. The woman’s friend ended up, somehow (thanks, Gary) getting hold of the picture, and that started a chain reaction of events leading to the picture being distributed to everyone the woman knew. Blown out of proportion a little, sure, but the fact remained that she found out I took a picture of her, naked; definitely not a good idea.
The game then gave me a summary of what happened next via text, which portrays the next few moments of that particular playthrough. One Night Stand is simple in nature, and looks to explore deeper values rather than present them in a beautiful package. There are basic graphics at work here, with no real textures to speak of, nor are there any special feats to speak of. The hand-drawn models are somewhat nice, and again, I understand that they’re not the main point of the game, but most of them seem dull. The animations are fairly crude as well, which isn’t a huge disappointment, but still leaves one with a feeling of desire. I know the first time I saw some of the woman’s facial expressions I slightly cringed, but by my fourth playthrough I had got used to it. This is what I’m getting at: even though they’re very unexciting, the graphics work for this sort of game; surprisingly, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, what doesn’t work is the sound design. The characters don’t talk, they dabble; basically the words sound like muffled blips, in a rhythm like “putt, putt, putt, putt.” These blips might be fine for games such as Animal Crossing, but after one playthrough I found them to be annoying. I ended up muting my computer for my latter game saves to save myself from the dreadful pounding.
In addition, there is very little else to hear in terms of sound and music present. The menu features very boring, repetitive guitar cords strummed, and the endings render the same tune to play. During your playtime, you can hear a slowed down version of the same tune being played. I understand that realistically one wouldn’t have any music playing if they were currently in the situation that the game is representing, so music shouldn’t be the main component, but it seems very lacking and some places would benefit from more refined audio. Another idea that could have been implemented is the use of sound effects or cues that would pop up when something was completed – good or bad – such as when the mysterious woman gets mad at you, or when you say a nice compliment, to keep the game more lively in its actions.
These issues aside, the main premise of the game prevails. I found myself wanting to play through, well mainly fast forward, the game again to see about how the different endings work and what I would have to do to unlock them. Most of my attempts took only 10-20 minutes, depending upon if I fast forwarded or not, so it was easy and interesting enough to keep going back for the different ones. Seeing as there are 12 different stories to unfold, there is a decent amount of content, albeit it’s the same gameplay and such for most of it.
All in all One Night Stand is a game that is about curious decisions and seeing how those unfold throughout a random morning with a random woman. Most of the scenarios seem realistic, which made it easier and truly more fun to play, as I wanted to try my turn as the nice guy, the weird guy, or the guy who ran out of the house. I’d encourage everyone to play through the first time exactly how you would, foreseeably, handle a situation such as the one portrayed in the game, and then move on to piece together the other endings. I enjoyed my time with One Night Stand; however, there is little to go back to once you’ve figured out most of the clues and items to click. The sound is pretty dull, and the graphics are mediocre at best, but there is a truly interesting idea at the heart of the game, which should make it a solid play for most people.
A Curiously Decent Game
One Night Stand plays the deep thought card and mostly succeeds in that regard, but falls well short in others.