ANALOGUE has a seemingly straightforward objective. You start off as a deep space data miner, out on a mission to recover files from a ship that’s been floating undiscovered for several hundred years. In order to get your data and complete the job, however, you need to convince the ship’s AI to recover the files for you.
Finding the hidden files and the story within them is rewarding in itself, but as you continue through the game, you naturally form a very real relationship with the personable AI. Game creator Christine Love does an amazing job at naturally pulling you into the world she’s created, playing off of actual facts and stories from medieval Korea.
Normally I only bookmark horror games for myself to play, and when I started this I had no idea what I was getting into. I don’t know how I could, as it’s hard to know where to even begin pitching this game. Murder mystery, historical fiction with a sci-fi twist, and a surprising dating sim…? Most dating sims I’ve played have always felt a bit stilted or unnatural, with either overly-cliche character archetypes or a story and objectives that felt too much like a setup for a porn. ANALOGUE transcends this with not only great storytelling but an artfully woven layer of mystery and tragedy. The objective for “dating” in this sim is, rather than finding the right things to say to make the women in the game trust you, learning to listen to them and their stories. It feels especially poignant giving these characters agency is directly in contrast to the medieval values you’re piecing together from the files. The result is a beautifully fulfilling feminist narrative about the nature of real love and free will.
ANALOGUE is short, but it requires multiple playthroughs to uncover all the endings and secrets. Because of this, prepare to spend around 6 hours on play time. ANALOGUE is available now on Steam, which is the version of this game we reviewed.