Dating can sometimes feel like you’re navigating a minefield. Good communication is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship. That’s the point that We Should Talk tries to drive home.
We Should Talk is something of a dating sim meets visual novel. The focus is on having nuanced conversations to drive the story. The results are interesting but fairly predictable.
“How’s my favorite regular?”
Each playthrough starts the same way. Your character is in a familiar bar where apparently you visit several times a week (you learn this through conversation). The first person that you chat with is the bartender.
“What’s your poison tonight, cutie?” she asks, noting the absence of your girlfriend, Samantha.
After a brief encounter (with the option for some flirting), Samantha texts you mentioning that she made dinner. With all of these interactions – whether in-person at the bar or via text – the game gives you the option of how to respond. Usually, this involves constructing sentences from a series of nouns, verbs, or phrases.
The idea here is to play through multiple times to see how word choice affects your relationships with the different characters. Especially important is the relationship with your girlfriend, who is concerned that you spend too much time at the bar. Depending on how you communicate, your night may end with a breakup – or you may grow closer with each other.
A good concept that needs more depth
The concept behind the game is genuinely interesting. Our ability to communicate effectively with strangers, friends, and loved ones is hugely important. And We Should Talk does a decent job of making these interactions – especially with Sam – feel like authentic conversations. In fact, I felt uncomfortable saying mean things to her, even though she is not real.
On the downside, We Should Talk leaves you with clues about the characters, but it doesn’t explore them in enough depth. The bartender, the ex-boyfriend that you run into at the bar, and your current girlfriend make it clear that you’re there a lot. It leaves the impression that you are an alcoholic. And while Sam expresses concern, the game doesn’t really attempt to dive into anything much beyond the girlfriend’s insecurities.
Instead of telling you who you are, you’re left deciding on a persona (at least that’s how I played). Are you a drunk cheater cruising the bar scene? Or are you a compassionate partner who is innocently trying to unwind at your favorite local bar? That all depends on your word choices.
The game has multiple potential endings to uncover. Based on the home screen image that shows you which endings you’ve completed, it looks like it has nine endings in total. But it doesn’t dive deep enough to satisfy, which is a shame.
There is not enough variation from one playthrough to the next to justify playing more than two or three times. In fact, it starts to feel pretty tedious looking for lines of scripted dialogue that can be phrased differently to convey a different meaning.
Unfortunately, the game can be beaten in roughly 20 to 30 minutes. That leaves you with a pretty short adventure and a missed opportunity to explore these characters at a deeper level. At least it is a good opportunity for some easy trophies if that’s your thing.
We Should Talk is a neat concept, but it is basically over in a flash. Since this is only priced $6.99, it gets a little bit of a pass on that count. But it would have been nice to see a longer, branching story. Plus, it would be cool to see different scenarios with multiple characters rather than replaying the same scenario using different lines. Unfortunately, that’s not an option.