At a time where a pandemic has shifted the dating scene, and more of us are connecting virtually than ever before, video games like Summertime Saga may seem especially appealing. But if you’ve never played a dating game before, don’t write it off yet: it turns out that the creator of Summertime Saga hadn’t, either.
In a recent interview, Darkcookie (the pseudonym of the creator of Summertime Saga) admitted that they’d never played a dating game before– but now, with what started as a passion project, it just goes to show how these games like Summertime Saga may have a wider appeal than you might imagine.
DarkCookie began developing Summertime Saga as a casual, simple game– but was taken aback by the support he received from the community– leading the 30-year-old father to take a casual idea into a passion project, and now, as his main source of income.
But while the crowdfunded Summertime Saga certainly has caught attention within the simulation games community, there are several reasons why some may be looking for an alternative– or, at least, other games they can play that mimic some of the unique dating experiences you can play in Summertime Saga.
In this article, I’ll tell you what you need to know about Summertime Saga, who this game is and isn’t for, and some of the best games like Summertime Saga for anyone eager for another dating simulation game.
What is a dating simulator?
While you probably have a good idea of what a dating simulator is, it’s important to recognize that this niche within simulation games can actually be a little broader than the name may imply.
Dating simulators are thought to have begun with the 1992 release of Dōkyūsei, an adult magna dating simulator that is so beloved that it’s slated for a 2021 remake, with English and Chinese versions also in the works.
Typically, you control the main character– it used to be mostly male-centered, but now that scene is changing–who interacts with other characters in search of romance. These games are often dialogue and interaction-based, with the goal to find and ‘win over a romantic partner. They often include side games and tasks as well, and some even have storylines, while many are more freeform play.
What distinguishes an adult game?
Let me preface: dating games are not inherently classified as adult games. In fact, there are even dating games focused on younger experiences, like high school, that is rated for most audiences. Games labeled as adult dating games tend to include more overt sexual themes, graphics, and strong themes.
Summertime Saga includes content that pushes above a Teen rating, with options for specific sexual acts and preferences. While the graphics are quite stylized and cartoon-like, they are also revealing. Games like Summertime Saga are recommended for ages 18 and up.
What is Summertime Saga?
Summertime Saga is classified as an adult dating simulator. While there are many dating simulators, they range, of course, in content, quality, and target audience. But Summertime Saga has especially caught the imagination of fans–in fact, it’s currently in the top five of all crowdfunding game projects on Patreon.
This adult simulation game, as of April 2021, is bringing in an impressive $74,000 in support from a month, from Patreon members– showing just how much gamers are eager to play the game.
But first, I want to talk a little bit about what to expect from Summertime Saga, and who has garnered the most support.
Is the Summertime Saga finished?
Summertime Saga can be downloaded now, but the developers are still at work on updates and new versions of the game– and since the game is ‘still in early development,’ there is still much ‘missing content’ from the game you can download. In other words: Summertime Saga is finished enough that you can play it, but still incomplete.
How often is Summertime Saga updated?
Summertime Saga is updated once every few months usually, and you can check to see when the next update will be released by checking the Summertime Saga News Page on their official website.
As of this writing, they have a long way to go before the next update, but you can view exactly where they are with the progress bar at the top left hand corner of that page’s screen.
Their roadmap also tells you what kind of content is planned for the next update. Future updates are decided by polls they open up to the community via their Patreon page– though only Patrons at the $5 tier and up can vote.
Can you play Summertime Saga on Chromebook?
Currently, Summertime Saga is available for download for Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android devices. Chromebooks run on Linux, so technically you should be able to play Summertime Sage on your Chromebook.
That said, it’s not the best scenario. While this game is not especially demanding to run, in general Chromebooks are known to not run games efficiently. Some users have played Summertime Saga on their Chromebook and noted that, while it will run, it also tends to have some performance issues. I recommend instead playing on a regular or gaming laptop if you have one.
Is Summertime Saga a good game?
Summertime Saga gameplay involves not only dating and finding romantic partners but also is set against a storyline, with some surprisingly detailed features that set it apart from other dating simulation games.
The backdrop is a charming but also an unassuming rural town. In this case, you’re taking on the character of a young man who’s just lost his father–under some mysterious circumstances. As you play, you’ll find new details about the untimely death but, of course, also interact with romantic partners. The game is not completely freeform– in fact, you’ll be guided by different objectives.
Summertime Saga has been praised as more multi-dimensional than some other dating games, though it is at this time still unfinished. Graphics lean stylized cartoons, though the colors stand out and overall everything feels lively.
That said, I must stress that Summertime Saga is for a rather specific audience, especially due to its adult content. And someone looking for more freeform sandbox games may want an alternative.
Games like Summertime Saga: My Picks
To find the best games like Summertime Saga, I looked for games in the dating simulation genre– and ones that have strong dating elements– that are well designed, creative, and offer quality gameplay. All of these games are not only finished but well tested. I was sure to include options so you can find the game for you, no matter your gaming setup.
Like some of these options do include mature gameplay, I did also want to mix in some options for those interested in dating gameplay but without adult content.
Here are my picks, then, for the best games like Summertime Saga that you can play now.
Dream Daddy: A Dating Simulator
In this fun dating simulator, you play as a Dad (as the name implies) who’s looking for some romance. In a twist to the typical heterosexual dating scene very common in such games, this game instead is refreshing in that you’ll be pursuing other dads.
The game picks up after your adult daughter has moved into a seaside town. All dads have unique personalities and roles– from a teacher to even a goth dad. I love that the game is not only a bit different in terms of the dating scene, but also included mini-games, other quests, and multiple ways your gameplay can play out.
Though the dating pool is small, with about 7 dads, there’s still plenty to enjoy. There’s a simple but enjoyable character creator, along with microgames that add a bit of fun as you date. I also appreciate the dan puns, ‘secrets you’ll discover as you play, and the overall light-hearted production.
On a critic’s level, this game has been praised for positive LGBTQ+ representation and received nominations for Best Indie Game and Breakthrough Game Award, among others. The comedic tone makes for an enjoyable, if not as in-depth game– perfect for casual and relaxing gameplay.
Dream Daddy is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and even PS4/5 (on a different website) with a mere 4gb of RAM required, and fairly basic graphics requirements. Download Here.
Looking for a mature dating game that has a playful aesthetic and also adds some puzzle gameplay into the mix? Hunnie Pop is an interesting game like Summertime Saga that I recommend for fans of Anime– and for those who like the dating element of games, but really enjoy puzzle games.
Uniquely designed, this hybrid dating game simulator features unique, beautifully designed characters featuring playable dates, date gifts, unique locations, and even a little bit of RPG strategy. Dates, as the main gameplay, challenge you to reach a high level on the Affection meter within a set amount of time.
If you succeed on your dates, you can earn credits towards food, alcohol, and gifts. Dates are played in part by interactions but also with a puzzle-related dating grid where you track your progress.
During the date, tokens are earned. Traits will influence how quickly you earn points. There’s a bedroom bonus mini-game, which brings in some mature content. Dating gifts range from flowers to perfume and mature gifts.
HuniePop is available for Windows and Mac. Download Here.
Though this game is only available for PC, I have to mention HousePartyGame when it comes to games like Summertime Saga. Now, to be fair, this game is a little divisive: in fact, back in 2017, it was deemed by some critics as a game to avoid.
But as of Fall 2019, it can already sell over 500,000 copies– and it certainly makes a splash when it comes to adding a new dimension to a dating simulator.
Unlike other dating games, this is actually classified as a point-and-click adventure game, one that follows a storyline, so to speak. You’re thrown into the middle of a party, where you interact with other attendees, who each have unique quirks.
Gameplay includes interacting, collecting and using items, and even making moral choices. Those moral choices will impact the course your gameplay takes– sometimes with adult content.
In order to build any romance, you’ll have to work for it, completing side quests and objectives. This is definitely on the mature end, so I’d only recommend this game for 18+, but it may be a common-sense alternative to Summertime Saga. Download Here.
Hannah’s High School Summer Crush – Teen Date
You don’t have to be in high school to have fun with the mobile game. It is a free-to-play game, meaning it’s free to download, but does contain some ads and in-game microtransactions.
This is simply a relaxing game if you’re on the go and aren’t looking for mature content. You play as Hannah, who’s just been asked for a beach date by her crush.
Part dating game, part fashion styler game, you can customize Hannah’s look with makeup, special hairstyles, and, of course, clothing. You’ll also have friends to interact with, a salon to visit, and a beach party to attend.
While seemingly simple, it’s just an enjoyable, casual gameplay experience for those who love styling and dating without any stress or mature content. Download Here.
High School Dreams
While we’re onto dating games like Summertime Saga without mature content, I have to mention this older game for PC. I confess that I’ve played it well into my 20’s, and I recommend giving it a try.
This fun, carefree dating game transports you back into high school with choices that can influence the outcome– but without any stressful consequences.
Be prepared to deal with a level of cheesiness- in a good way. You play as the new student in town, with a character customizer where you chose your look and overall vibe. After creating your character, you get a choice of who you interact with and how, including athletic, intelligent, and mysterious students.
The game also includes gossip, choices for friendships, and dates. Part dress up, part storyline, this can be replayed to your own liking. Dates are casual and lead up to the prom.
While you shouldn’t expect a lot of complexity, where this game shines is just how much you’ll have, without even realizing it. I also like mini-games, which include skating, mini-golf, and, of course, dancing. Download Here.
As a nearly lifelong simmer, I couldn’t resist but add in this option. Though not as direct of an alternative to Summertime Saga, Sims 4 (and Sims 3 and 2) offers plenty of options for romancing others.
This life simulator is packed with other features, from creating characters with unique personality traits and fashion choices to careers, raising a family, chasing fame, and more (granted with expansion packs). You could even pursue romance, with the right packs, as a vampire, mermaid, or alien.
Sims 4 is a full life simulator and by no means a dating simulator in itself. But you’ll find plenty of romantic interactions, as well as the option to take Sims on dates, marry, and craft your own story.
I personally prefer Sims 3, for its more nuanced personality traits and story progression, but Sims 4 is the newest and offers newer graphics. Both Sims 3 and Sims 4 are available on Console, Mac, and PC. Sims Mobile follows some of these features, albeit more simplified, with a free to play format.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Keep in mind that Summertime Saga is not entirely finished and that there are often new updates to further extend gameplay. Summertime Saga takes an average of 23 straight hours for the main gameplay–long enough to get comfy in a gaming chair.
Answer: In order to have a child in Summertime Saga, you must play the impregnation minigame. You’ll have a chance of this happening every time you play, though pills eliminate that certain chance, while others can raise your chance by 20 percent. But this is not a key objective in the game: most of it revolves around the dating scene itself, which can be best enjoyed when you have a proper setup for great gaming audio.
Summertime Saga may still be incomplete, and it may be mature for some audiences, but the good news is that there are other great games that allow you to simulate the dating scene. From silly high school drama to mature gameplay and even games with romance to the side, there’s no shortage of games you can find.
Interested in simulation games? Check out recommendations for the Top 25 Games Like Spore.