Demo Review: Date of the Dead

VN Game Den received a request from the developer to review the demo of Date of the Dead.

Currently seeking funds through Kickstarter, Date of the Dead is an upcoming paranormal visual novel that lets you find romance in the land of the dead. A short demo is currently available, and it begins with you waking up in the underworld and being welcomed by Death. Unfortunately, there’s just one problem: you aren’t dead!

Death promises to get the paperwork sorted out so you can go back to your living life, but until then, you’re stuck in the land of the dead. You head into town and find that a room has been prepared for you, but first you meet some of the other inhabitants. These characters are, of course, the possible love interests in Date of the Dead. There are seven romanceable characters, each of whom will have a unique ending in the final game, along with a bonus secret ending. Your character is a blank slate, and there are no restrictions on which love interests you can romance.

Once you get to the point in the demo where you meet the other characters, it adds light adventure game elements. You can click on the characters in the environment in order to choose who to talk to. Although you talk to everyone eventually, this could hint at more variability in the full game. The full game will also include encounters with the romanceable characters as you explore, which will let you influence your relationships with them.

The demo hints lightly at danger, since you’re warned not to go outside at night due to the nature of the inhabitants, although it ends without giving you the chance to do so. There’s also the matter of how you ended up in the afterlife to start with; while it might be a simple bureaucratic error like Death believes, it’s possible there is a bigger reason for you ending up there. Right now, I can only speculate on what the larger story might hold, because the demo doesn’t show much of that at all.

It is a very short demo, lasting only about 15 minutes. In fact, the demo mainly serves as an introduction to the love interests and nothing more. You have a brief conversation with each of the characters, enough to get a rough idea of their personalities, but that’s about it. Of course, if your primary interest in Date of the Dead is the unusual nature of the love interests, it has you covered, with a ghost, a vampire, a zombie, Death, a fish monster of possibly eldritch origin, and werewolves. Some of these aren’t strictly undead, but it seems to be going for a general Halloween/monster theme.

The idea behind Date of the Dead is certainly intriguing, but the demo gives such a tiny glimpse of the game, it’s hard to come away with a solid impression. What will the story be like? What will happen as you get to know these love interests? The premise is interesting, but I need to see more from Date of the Dead to really know what to expect.

You can play the demo for Date of the Dead at itch.io, and you can check out the Kickstarter campaign for the full game here.

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