Release Date: 9/24/2019
Review By: Ryan Turner
Disclaimer: Production copy obtained via Steam. We are not sponsored by KFC or Psyop in any way.
KFC’s Dating Simulator – Is It Really Finger Lickin’ Good?
It’s no surprise to anyone who listens to Gurus of Gaming that I’m often given the moniker of “Resident Weeb” despite the fact that it seems like a more likely nickname for fellow Guru Kelsa, but I digress. I have accepted this epithet and fully leaned into it in many ways such as binge-watching various anime, reading manga, and becoming infatuated with the Japanese culture. But most of all, I have fallen into a subgenre of video games that, in my youth, I never imagined I would enjoy – and that, my friends, is in fact the wonderful world of dating sims.
So let’s be honest here. You’re lying if you tell me you haven’t heard of the phenomenon that was HuniePop or its lesser known successor, HunieCam Studio. Oh? You haven’t? Well, let me enlighten you, shall I? HuniePop is a dating sim much like Bejeweled or Candy Crush in the aspect that your goal in the actual “game” is to move symbols around to match three in a row in a certain amount of moves. Where HuniePop differs, however, is the fact that while playing this game, your entire goal is to date and seduce all of the available women found throughout the town in which you live. As you progress through the game and continue to woo the women, you receive various texts from them including images that progressively get more and more explicit until you finally are able to take them home from a date and seal the deal.
Needless to say, HuniePop is on the more extreme side of dating sims. I’ve played others where it is nowhere near as graphic, nor as misogynistic as HuniePop. That is where the most unexpected of dating sims comes into play.
No one asked for it. No one expected it. Hell, no one even wanted it. Yet here we are. Ladies and gentlemen, we now live in a world where KFC has entered the gauntlet of dating sims with their very own game, I Love You, Colonel Sanders.
In the game, you play as a culinary student at the luxurious University of Cooking School: Academy for Learning. Along with Miriam, your upbeat yet somewhat neurotic BFF, and rivals, Aeshleigh and Van Van the Man Man, you work your way through the rigorous two-day program at the school in order to graduate and become the next big thing in the culinary world. All of this seems easy enough when you walk into your classroom and are greeted by Professor Dog, also known affectionately as Sprinkles, but then you notice a slight breeze come throughout the room accompanied by cherry blossom petals. You turn towards the door and see him – Colonel Sanders in the flesh.
Throughout the game, you taste the Colonel’s delicious food creations all while trying to compete in cooking battles with your rivals and even a devilish Spork Monster. Everything you do in the game, however, you do in order to impress Colonel Sanders in hopes of getting just one date with him. However, when it comes to actual gameplay, this is where the novel idea begins to derail and fall apart. Most of the game is just a dialogue driven narrative. You decide what you’d like your PC to say to the various characters throughout the game and whatever you choose, has an effect on the situation’s outcome. There is no actual “challenge” per se with the game. Where HuniePop had the matching symbols aspect as a level of challenge, I Love You, Colonel Sanders falls short with that aspect of gameplay leaving me longing for something just a bit more stimulating.
Despite this, however, throughout the narrative I have encountered many jokes which literally made me laugh aloud. This is something that doesn’t happen often in any form of media, unless of course I’m playing or watching a video with friends. But I found a lot of the narrative to be absolutely hilarious. Whoever wrote the game definitely needs a raise because they absolutely nailed the comedy within the game.
Paired with the jokes though, I’d be remiss to not discuss the overall atmosphere/sound design of the game. With no actual character voices in the game, you are left with just a soundtrack that changes based on what is going on onscreen during the game. For the most part, the soundtrack flows flawlessly with the gameplay, but at times can become overwhelming and borderline annoying. While the music is composed nicely, giving the game a general upbeat feeling, it quickly becomes a nuisance when you are stuck on long segments of dialogue the music in the background incessantly playing on repeat. Throughout much of the game, I turned the music down and even off in some situations. I wish they had changed it up just a little so it wasn’t the same minute or so long tune repeating infinitely in the background.
Overall, when it comes to whether or not you should pick up KFC’s I Love You, Colonel Sanders, I say absolutely. Go for it. The game is free on Steam so, honestly, unless you are a vegan or a philophobe, this is absolutely a game you should pick up, play for an hour or two, and then delete from your hard drive. Is this a game you’ll be playing repeatedly? Probably not. The game is good for maybe two or three different play-throughs to try to get the various endings the game offers, but once you’ve done that and once the novelty of the game has worn off, I don’t foresee many people keeping this game on their hard drive taking up space. For what it’s worth, I Love You, Colonel Sanders is a comedic dating sim where you get to pursue one of America’s greatest culinary minds. While novelty and absolutely a promotional stunt, KFC has paved the way for restaurants to enter the gaming world. I know there have been other games based around restaurants and food before, but this is the first game in recent memory that actually nails what it is trying to accomplish. Now, all we need to do, is sit back and wait for the glorious day we get Flavortown! A Guy Fieri Dating Sim.