Our main protagonist wakes up in bed with a girl just as naked as he is. To make things worse, he has no recollection of the previous evening. If that were you, what would you do, run for the door or stay and bond?
Release date: 7th of November, 2016
Genre: Visual Novel, Point and click
One Night Stand is technically a Visual Novel, however not of the narrative variety. Do not expect a full storyline full of events and characters. On the contrary, it is a very short experience (about 15 minutes) to be played over and over. Perhaps you are familiar with Save The Date, albeit both play very differently.
There is a specific structure that the game follows: investigation – the girl comes back, talk with her – investigation – the girl comes back, talk with her, for a few cycles. Several things can be found in the girl’s room, from an opened condom package to various items related to her hobbies. A few play-throughs are required to find the time to investigate everything. The player can choose whether to snoop around to find out her name, or to be respectful and keep prodding to a minimum while asking her opinion on things. Or steal her panties and make a run for the exit! They are frilly and comfortable, who could possibly resist?
Several efforts have been made to portray “the girl” as a believable character rather than a cardboard trophy. First, the art style with drawn animations is very warm and lively, making One Night Stand stand out relative to other visual novels. Secondly, she is her own person, she is opinionated and she will not hesitate to throw “the guy” out if he misbehaves. The course of the interaction will lead to several turns of events and endings, and an objective might be to find out as many endings as possible (do not expect any real sexual content).
Trying to unlock the endings introduces the very few negative criticisms I have towards the game. As is thankfully often the case in Visual Novels, there is a fast-forward button. However, the fast-forward speed might still be slightly too slow. And then, reaching the different endings sometimes seems to rely on a few hidden parameters that are related to what the character thinks rather than directly the interaction with the girl, which makes the search for the last endings a rather repetitive trial and error process. I cannot be 100% sure about those hidden parameters, but that is how it came across to me. Some others criticize that there are a few loose threads that are not completely explained (well, one thing in particular related to her identity). Keep in mind that these are really minor criticisms, I was impressed by how cohesive everything was despite the amount of potential interactions and ways to lead the story.
In conclusion, One Night Stand is a very polished little game that is all about curiosity. Curiosity towards investigating items in the room, the potential endings, elements as to what happened the previous evening and finally a very simple yet believable character at the center of the interaction. The game avoids surprisingly well being patronizing or being pretentious, there is no lack of subtlety despite the suggestive premises. Very cheap, get it if you are curious and looking for an interesting slice of life. However if you are looking for a full fledged story, give this game a miss.
Here is my video review: