I have become obsessed with a goat in Lovecraftian dating sim Sucker for Love: Date to Die For

Rhok'zan rolling her eyes in Sucker for Love: Date to Die For
(Image credit: Akabaka)

I'm no stranger to obscure dating simulators, and the Lovecraftian-themed Sucker for Love is undoubtedly one of my all-time favourites. So, it comes as no surprise that Sucker for Love: Date to Die For was on my list of must-plays from the second it was announced—because who wouldn't seize the opportunity to seduce another set of eldritch gods? 

Having sunk an almost shameful amount of time into Date to Die For, I've realised that the scariest part of the experience isn't the Lovecraftian horrors, but rather the speed at which I was willing to devote myself to a goat. 

For those who haven't fallen into the rabbit hole that is dating deities, here's the deal: You're paired with an eccentric rendition of an eldritch god—like Cthulhu, or in Date to Die For the Black Goat of the Woods—and challenged to gain their trust in return for a smooch. When dating an ancient cosmic god you can't depend on your charm; instead, you have to perform a variety of rituals taken from the spell book you find at the beginning. 

The first game had you perform rituals for the most part in the confines of your bedroom, but Date to Die For lets you prowl around an entire house. This is where the horror side of the game starts to shine. At first, the main obstacle is navigating a daunting map where each hallway looks eerily similar to the last, making the house feel like a labyrinth that even the map can't help you solve. Even after a reasonable amount of time you'll still find yourself getting lost in the endless tatami rooms—made all the more disturbing by the lurking presence of cult members out to get you.

It gets to a point where you won't know what to expect behind the sliding doors, even if it's a room you've visited several times before. This keeps you on your toes whenever you have to leave your bedroom and curates a constant sense of dread. You'll never feel entirely safe, inspiring you to travel around the map as quickly as you can to collect ritual materials—but the faster you travel the more likely you are to bump into unwanted guests and be forced to start again. 

The further you progress through the game, the darker the experience becomes due to unnerving audio that suggests someone is chasing you through the house, and blood spills and scorched silhouettes throughout the building—before you know it you're performing rituals from the spell book in an attempt to burn the forest you're entrapped by to the ground and escape the labyrinthian hellscape before it kills you. Even if that means killing everyone and everything else in the house in the process. Date to Die For isn't all about getting a kiss from a goat lady, then, but instead is a fight for your own survival. 

(Image credit: Akabaka)

When you're juggling the fear of disappointing the god you've just called in and the fear of being attacked when you're least expecting it, Date to Die For will get your heart racing. But even though I leaped away from my screen after accidentally opening a door with too much vigor and ended up with a hatchet between the eyes, the one thing that keeps me coming back is Rhok'zan, the seductive mascot of the game, who is very quick to charm and risk enslavement by the cultists to spend a little more time with you. 

As far as dating simulator characters go, Rhok'zan is definitely more on the 'unique' end of the scale. Sure, she's not your typical bachelor or bachelorette due to her bovid appearance, but once you've spent some time breaking through her icy exterior you'll see how soft this eldritch deity actually is. She doesn't want to indoctrinate you as one of her followers but begs you to help her escape the routine of being used for her powers. You'll start to sympathize with her woes about being trapped and enslaved by the cultists, and suddenly everything you do and each ritual you perform is done with Rhok'zan in mind. Making sure Rhok'zan is safe becomes your top priority regardless of how risky that is for your survival, and even though there isn't too much of a reward on the line (not that you expect any) a smooch from her would still be a plus. 

I've become obsessed with unlocking every possible ending for the game on the hunt for new dialogue options and constantly find myself thinking about what I could've done differently to discover a new route in a chapter. This fixation on trying to re-do elements of the game to unlock the best possible outcome is exactly what Sucker for Love excels at, and shows that the game has achieved exactly what it set out to do—have you devote everything you have to its central characters.

Anyone who has spent any time with a dating simulator, no matter how quirky its cast is, probably knows the feeling of constantly thinking about the character you're pursuing and your next steps in gaining their trust. But, when you admit to yourself that this is a literal god tasking you with mass murder in their name, things feel a little twisted. Sucker for Love, in a way, feels like a little secret that you never want to admit to loving, but at the same time, you want to get everyone hooked on what it has to offer. This is why I'm shamefully admitting defeat to Rhok'zan and trying to bring more love-sick cultists into the fold. 

Kara Phillips
Evergreen Writer

Kara is an evergreen writer. Having spent three years as a games journalist guiding, reviewing, or generally waffling about the weird and wonderful, she’s more than happy to tell you all about which obscure indie games she’s managed to sink hours into this week. When she’s not raising a dodo army in Ark: Survival Evolved or taking huge losses in Tekken, you’ll find her helplessly trawling the internet for the next best birdwatching game because who wants to step outside and experience the real thing when you can so easily do it from the comfort of your living room. Right?