From our blog on the Shall we date? Story App series:
The Shall we date? story app series are very similar to those ‘Choose Your Own Path’ books that we loved as kids. The story in these story apps aren’t the adventure stories that those ‘Choose Your Own Path’ books were, though. Rather, as the name of the series suggests, the stories in the story apps of the Shall we date? series are in the romance genre. The main focus of the story in these story apps is romance and they ask for responses: ‘What will you say/How are you going to respond to his words?’ as opposed to ‘What will you do?’ Your choices don’t affect the story plot. It affects your relationship to the character you interact with.
Your parents have been murdered by an evil magistrate after they overheard information they weren’t supposed to hear. As you run for safety after witnessing their murders, you stumble upon a member of the vigilantes group. You become a part of this vigilantes group, helping them with their work of punishing evil-doers that the law has let roam free to do as they please. Your ultimate goal is to avenge your parents’ murders.
All story apps in the Shall we date? series have the same look and feel: it’s very busy with big buttons, a patterned background and a layout that can be quite overwhelming and confusing when you first play the story app. We had trouble figuring out how to begin playing the story, not being able to understand the navigation at all. We didn’t understand the difference between the ‘My Page’ and ‘Top’ navigation buttons at the bottom navigation menu bar and kept selecting ‘Top’ in the hopes of getting to the menu of the game. We also had difficulty spotting the game stats and data. We’ve since gotten used it, but it’s still hard spotting the game stats and data because it’s quite a scroll down to get to it. It would have been much more convenient near the top where the ads for other games in the series are positioned.
We find that loading and switching in and out of screens is lagged. When pushing a button to continue a story or play a mini-game checkpoint, you might be waiting there for a bit to have it register your actions.
When playing the story, we wished there was an option to view the last few lines of the story. Sometimes when trying to speed up the dialogue of the characters during short dialogue with tapping once on the dialogue area, it has you skipping it altogether, causing you to miss what was said.
We were not fond of such a story plot. We like brighter, lighter and more adventure-like plots than crime stories. We weren’t fond of the character designs, either. They look a little feminine with their longer hair that is very colorful and asymmetric. Such feminine-looking male characters did put in a bit of femininity and peculiarity into this very masculine, violent and dark theme, though. We gave this story a go, curious to see how a story with such a setting would play out. After playing a few character games, though the story has a dark and violent theme, it is romance-oriented. For most of the time, you are doing housework in the place you stay at. It’s not as dark or violent as we thought it would be.
We played Soji, Kenshiro and Sion. Out of the three character games, we like Sion the best. That’s because the story around the life of the vigilantes isn’t as prominent in Sion’s character game. As Sion is an heir to a large department store and you end up living there, you have a daily routine of doing odd tasks here and there and catering to customers who go in there to buy things. The vigilante plot only become the focus near the end of the story where the talk of bringing down the evil magistrate enter and the talk of avenging your parents’ murders come up to conclude the vigilante story. Soji’s character game focused on the vigilante plot the most and he is always on the scene of murders since his character is a constable. Though each time Soji went to investigate the murders there were no images of what Soji is talking about, but still, the constant talk about murders wasn’t enjoyable.
Sion’s character game was the one we could stand through the most; however, the writing was distracting. The point of view awkwardly switched in and out of our character’s point of view and a third person’s point of view. The characterisation of the female character got to us as well. She over-reacts on the strangest things such as the scene where a prostitute makes a comment about how she and Sion should get married soon and Sion responds positively to it. Your character, however, she becomes flustered—so flustered that she blurts out an incomplete sentence (but clearly to be) that she doesn’t want to get married to Sion. She also had a strange reason for not liking Sion kissing her and being affectionate in public: she couldn’t handle her heart going on overdrive every time he showed affection.
Getting through the story is made difficult with the requirement of meeting the stylish level checkpoint. Even when we stop playing so that we could accumulate the stylish level points before getting back into the game, we were always stopped for insufficient stylish level at the stylish level checkpoint in the game.
This stylish level where talking about is determined by the stylish level of the avatar items you have in your room. Each avatar has their individual stylish levels and the total of those is makes up your stylish level score in the game. If you discard an item your stylish level score decreases by the discarded item’s stylish level. These discarded avatar items don’t go into thin air, though. The game seems to be environmentally-conscious: the discarded avatar items turn into fabric. These fabrics can be used to play the Premium Slot game feature of the game which allows you a chance to win more avatar items—some of which are premium avatar items with very high stylish levels. The downside is that the highest stylish level avatar is you can win is 400. To play the Premium Slot game, it requires five fabrics. That means, unless you win some fabrics through an event, the return is always a negative.
Another way to increase the stylish level is through another slot game called, Avatar Slot. This requires an item called Dice to play. A Dice can be purchased with real cash or you can try to win 10 dice coupons in the Koban Slot game and trade in for 1 Die. There are some rare items to win in this one with stylish level items over 400.
The ‘Training’ feature also allows you to increase your stylish level. In the Training feature of the story app, it only requires you to use up what they call ‘Action Points’ to play. To train, it requires 10 out of the total 30 action points to play once. To play the training game, it is simply a push of a button and then we wait and see what we get: your stylish level can increase to a measly 1 stylish level point or as much as (we think) 20 stylish level points depending on your luck (we don’t think there is a tried and tested method of obtaining the highest stylish level points consistently). So, increasing your stylish level this way does take some patience and diligence especially when you have to wait for your action points to regenerate.
The stylish level checkpoint in the game, we didn’t have trouble meeting the requirements of these stylish level checkpoint at the beginning. But, after the second character game and then the subsequent one, we found that we were always stopped with an insufficient stylish level. It seems the requirement to pass these checkpoints is not a set number, but one that looks at your current stylish level then adds on a certain amount on top of it. This therefore makes it hard to clear the stylish level checkpoint without stopping playing the game. We now always keep our fabrics saved and discard avatar items only when we come across a stylish level checkpoint. That way we have more of a chance to meet the requirement and pass the checkpoint.
The story app has the scale—Normal Ending – Happy Ending – Super Happy Ending. We’ve been able to get a Happy Ending quite easily with the choices that are given. The choices are quite clear and it helps that it’s a 50/50 chance of getting the right one with only two choices to choose from. Saying that though, Super Happy is impossible to get without the use of an item called a Ritual Arrow. This can be bought from the items store with real money, obtained through completing missions in the game or betting kobans in chance slots to obtain 10 ritual arrow coupons to exchange for one ritual arrow. We’ve found that it does require quite a lot of goes in the chance slot games before winning enough ritual arrow coupons to exchange for a ritual arrow. A Super Happy Ending is definitely impossible to get without spending kobans or real money. Fortunately, we’re not so into the game to care about getting that Super Happy Ending. We’re fine with just Normal Ending or Happy Ending.
There were no love rivals in the character games that we played. There was an admirer from an evil character, though.
We don’t play a lot of the event stories or spin-off stories in this game. There are a lot on offer, though. We’ve only played a couple that we managed to unlock during event periods.
We’ll be keeping Shall we date?: Ninja Assassin installed on our iPad, but it’s not one we play a lot. We do log in to get the daily gifts to build up the kobans and stylish level, though. We weren’t fond of the female lead character in this one as much, either. It’s another reason for not playing the game on a regular basis.
Anyone playing Shall we date?: Ninja Assassin? What do you think of it? We’d love to hear from others playing this story app and hear about how you find the story, who your favourite character is, which is your favourite spin-off and event stories, etc.