Matchmaker Agency Review: Not Your Average Dating Sim Game

Developed collaboratively by Niji Games and MelonCat, Matchmaker Agency is an adorable and enticing story-focused matchmaking simulation game. You play as a young adult trying their best to reopen the family matchmaking business and pay off a long-standing debt; balancing your finances and reputation as a matchmaker along the way.

Developed by: Niji Games, MelonCat

Played on: Steam

Length: 5~ hours

Love is in the air, and in your hands

From the release of the game being on Valentine’s Day, to some loveable marketing from the Niji Games team, Matchmaker Agency is a dating sim where YOU don’t go on dates! You play as a matchmaker, arranging your clients with their potential partners and making sure that the dates go well.

The main part of the game takes place in your office, where you can conduct marketing, interview clients, set up dates and upgrade your office. Just like real life, you can pay for different marketing strategies such as radio, brochures, and even celebrity endorsements if you have the cash to throw. With all those marketing efforts, you’ll be able to attract clients who show their interest in joining your agency.

The effort doesn’t stop there, as you will need to interview your new clients to get a better understanding of their traits, ideals, likes and dislikes. During the interview process, you’ll need to match your client’s energy by giving one of three answers. If you pick the correct options, you’ll learn more about your client and better understand who to match them with.

There are a lot of steps to manage, but that only adds to the fun of Matchmaker Agency. For seasoned management sim players, the game offers a fair bit of challenge as you juggle your agency’s finances, your reputation as a matchmaker, and your clients’ satisfaction levels — all while racing the clock to your next debt repayment.

Luckily, there are some permanent upgrades that make things easier over time. For instance, you can upgrade your office to allow more interviews at one go, increase your reputation to get more clients, and even get bigger tips to upgrade more of your office!

The game features a groovy jazz soundtrack that fits perfectly with its lovey dovey vibe. Additional sound effects were minimal throughout the game but made for a more accessible experience for the players. The art is very simple yet eye-catching, and we particularly liked the pastel colors used that were fitting of the game’s vibes.

Matchmaking procedurally generated personalities

During the main game, you’ll meet clients who are procedurally generated with unique characteristics and dialogues. The attention to detail for their personalities are shown through many avenues in-game such as their occupation, their dialogue, and the type of people that they are looking for in their future partners.

Although procedurally generated, these characters are nothing short of an interesting mix. With the game’s wide range of possible occupations, traits, likes and dislikes, it makes for some wonderful cast of characters that you are now responsible to match them up with their potential partners.

During my playthrough, I had a character who had the trait of ‘Chaos’ and hated ‘Kindness’, which completely stunned me for a solid 10 seconds as I needed time to digest and think how they would act on the date. Somehow, I magically found them their perfect partner so hopefully they are causing chaos happily together. 

After reaching a certain point early in the game, you will be able to create your own characters that you can find during your playthrough, and let me tell you, good luck leaving the menu. The list of occupation, perks, ideals in a partner, likes and dislikes contain pages and pages of different things, allowing players to customise their own original characters if they are willing to spend the time on it. 

Third wheeling for a good cause

On top of just matching your clients and sending them off on dates, you get to influence the dates itself. Prompts will be displayed showing different situations that happened during the dates and you get to choose how the lovebirds will react. Similar to the interview process, depending on what you choose, it will either impact the date positively, negatively, or not impact it at all. 

There is a slight dissonance, where the reaction you choose sometimes doesn’t feel like it correlate strongly with the characters. For example, date scenarios present three or four choices with different answers ranging from selfish types to romantic styles of response. Even with characters who have a ‘nice’ trait, picking the romantic options sometimes yields a negative impact to the date. On top of that, after picking several bad choices, some dates can still end successfully.

Verdict: All’s fair in love and matchmaking

The game offers good longevity with its RNG content of clients, date premises, and random events. On top of that, office upgrades add layers of gameplay objectives and player goals to achieve. Even with the game’s end goal of 100 weeks to pay off your grandparents lease on the office, you catch yourself wanting more which makes the Endless Mode perfect for players to play during their free time.

This review was contributed by Darren Barker, streamer and co-founder of The Cham Drinkers. Follow him on Twitter and Twitch.

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