Over the past month, I’ve seen Hustle Cat gaining some traction among the Let’s Player circuit—well deserved traction. Even people who haven’t really played dating sims before, or ones for whom the genre isn’t their bread and butter, seem to enjoy the game, and when I reviewed it, I mentioned several of the potential reasons that this could be the case. However, one aspect of the game I didn’t really delve into was its interpretation of magic, and as far as I’m concerned, this is one of the most important, thematically-driven parts of the game.
Back in November, I spotlighted a little up and coming dating sim called Hustle Cat. Back then, the folks at Date Nighto had just met their Kickstarter goal for initial development and were on their way to distributing this fine feline troupe of characters to the masses. Falling upon some unexpected generosity, I recently had the chance to play the finished product. If I thought it looked cute before, holy shit, that was nothing compared to what I experienced. Which is to say, Date Nighto really hit it out of the park.
It’s not any secret that I adore visual novels, especially dating sims. Yet, at times I do find myself disappointed at the self-imposed narrative limitations that creators tend to put on the genre; namely that they’re typically very straight and tend to rely on clichés and harmful tropes. Fortunately, I’ve come across a new dating sim that seems to blast past aspects that other authors may fear to tiptoe over, in addition to bringing their audience the plot and agency we’ve come to love in this genre.