I too am a spirit of anxiety!
I’ve never been to a speed dating event, in fact I’m not even sure it’s widely done in most places nowadays. Dating apps have taken over the space once filled by things like speed dating in a variety of places, and for this reason I have no choice but to assume that it works roughly the same way and has roughly the same tone as Speed Dating for Ghosts, a game by developer Copychaser Games originally released on PC in 2018 making its debut on the Switch. Being dead but having not passed on seems like a lonely existence, and this story about finding somebody to share that afterlife with hopes to either tug at your heart strings or make you laugh, sometimes both at the same time.
In Speed Dating for Ghosts you play as, well, yourself. You are the ghost of a person who has been dead for an indeterminate amount of time. You are lonely, or maybe just curious, and have decided to attend a speed dating event meant for ghosts. Upon entering the event you are introduced to the ghost running the event, a cute axolotl-like spirit named Fran, who explains the rules. Before you begin you are given the option of three rooms: The Room of Palms, the Room of Lyres, and the Room of Black. Once you select a room you will go through six rounds of speed dating with the three other ghosts in the room, choosing your responses to things they say in usual visual novel fashion and trying to get to know each possible partner better. Once you’ve been through all six rounds you are asked to select which of the three ghosts you would like to see again. If you have successfully endeared yourself to the one you choose to go out with, a short scene of your date will play out.
All in all there are thirteen different ghosts that you can decide to court, though some are harder to win over or even encounter than others. Each ghost has an incredibly unique design that fully sets them apart from the others, and each one is written in a way that makes each and every one of them at least somewhat memorable. It’s genuinely difficult to strike a good balance between drama and comedy, and Speed Dating for Ghosts actually manages to pull this balance off fairly well. Some ghosts have incredibly tragic backstories, such as Vera, “The Lady in Smoke”, whose death was a sad affair for everybody involved. On the flipside however some characters are written largely with comedy in mind, such as Leon, a ghost who just really really wants you to help him rob a bank. Some characters are even written to have a little bit of both, such as my personal favorite Kyo, a ghost who’s afraid of ghosts and suffers from extreme social anxiety. None of these characters ever feel out of place or like they’re too much to process.
Overall if you aren’t looking for a visual novel about weird spirits finding love or friendship, this probably isn’t going to be for you. There are a few issues with it, such as the UI tinting the option you’re selecting instead of tinting the options you’re not selecting like most games do. This specifically had me confused and at least a few times I accidentally picked an option I didn’t want because of it. There is basically no gameplay variation to be found in Speed Dating for Ghosts, it’s a visual novel through and through, but if that’s your thing each “run” only lasts about ten to fifteen minutes making this game perfect for an afternoon of soul searching and spook searching.