At first glance, Date (Almost) Anything Simulator is your average dating sim. But where most dating sims are fluffy and comforting, this one is confrontational.
There’s nothing about Date (Almost) Anything Simulator that makes it immediately obvious what kind of ride you’re on. It is aggressively normal at the outset, and pretty cliche. You play as a characters who works at a coffee shop, where you meet some potential suitors. The initial setup feels like comfort food. It’s mac n cheese.
The game gets weird when you don’t play it as intended, though. If you don’t wash your hands after going to the bathroom, for example, your ending forces you to watch a half hour video about algebraic matrices. If you tell the character at the end you just want to be friends, they’ll remind you that you didn’t play this game to make friends.
But what’s really special is what happens when you play the game completely straight. Spoilers: As you get to the scene where you confess your love for your chosen character, the game stops. And then it starts asking you why you’re playing it. During this monologue, the developer provides a link to their Tumblr ask box and tells you, instead, to just tell them about your day. While some players who responded are angry at being duped, most responses are open and heartfelt.
When Date (Almost) Anything Simulator plays with your expectations for humor, it’s hilarious. But when it plays with your expectations in order to make a point, it’s surprisingly moving. It’s available by donation on itch.io, and you can grab DLC that will give you the path to all the endings for $2.