One of 2018's most politically charged titles gets a far less controversial expansion. Here's my Not Tonight: One Love review.
When PanicBarn’s dystopian Brexit-simulator Not Tonight was announced last year, the pro-Brexit crowd went nuts. How dared someone portrait their utopian fantasy as anything but!? Because of the outrage, I predicted a classic review bomb on Steam. That’s what happens when you anger the vocal minority of gamers. Just ask Creative Assembly about female generals.
But the review bomb never went off, and Not Tonight is currently enjoying a well-deserved “very positive” review score on Steam. I also appreciated the game, and gave it a respectable score in my own review.
With the new One Love DLC, Not Tonight moves across the channel. One of the characters from the base game, Dave, escaped to France after his British pub was destroyed. While Britain is burning down behind him, Dave gets dragged into a dating app scam that threatens to ruin his life, and his new pub, Lé Rosbif. The only way out is to find true love within a month. Dave sets about to earn the money he needs to woo his potential partners.
There is Always Love
Not Tonight: One Love adds a new story line to the base game, but the game mechanics remain mostly unchanged. To earn money, Dave works as a bouncer at four different venues. It starts out pretty easy, with age limit being the only thing you have to check before letting people in. Then it becomes gradually more complex, and in the end, Dave - the player, that is - has to check ID, travel cards, guest lists, VIPs, and search the guests for contraband.
To pass each mission, you have to let a certain number of people in to the venue before it closes. You’re only allowed to make a very limited number of mistakes, however. Considering everything that have to be checked, the game can feel pretty stressful at times. If you manage to let enough people in, you can potentially earn quite a bit of money. With enough successful jobs. you’re also promoted to head bouncer. As head bouncer, you earn even more money, and you’re also allowed to take an item from the venue with you.
The money you earn have to be used to buy items to impress your potential One Love. The items you can bring with you as head bouncer also excite your dates. Those Frenchies are a rather materialistic bunch, it seems.
Same Old, Same Old
In the Not Tonight base game, you could earn some extra money by selling drugs at the door. That mechanic has been replaced by a bartender mini-game, where Dave mixes drinks for people instead. This makes sense in one way because Dave used to be a bartender back in the old country. But in every other way makes no sense at all since he is doing it while he’s working the door1.
Trying to memorize the recipes for each drink is a challenging - and necessary, because you don’t have the time to flip through the recipes to find the right ingredients all the time.
Like with Not Tonight, PanicBarn has licensed a kick-ass soundtrack for One Love. The humor is also just as lovely as in Not Tonight, and I had a few good chuckles. While the main theme of One Love is not political, Brexit is still very much present in the fictional news, the dialogue, and even the drinks, which carry names like Hard Brexit, and the SJW.
Even if One Love can feel stressful at times, it’s also very relaxing. Towards the end, however, it starts to feel a little bit like a chore. I found true love with a week left of the month, but instead of beating the game when that happened, I had to play through the entire month. It would have been better if the player won as soon as they managed to find true love.
It also seems like PanicBarn lost some of their motivation towards the end of the gaming month, as the chatter between Dave and other characters get more and more limited, and even just repeated at times.
One Love will give you 2 to 3 hours of gameplay on a single playthrough. If you enjoyed Not Tonight, there’s not reason why should also enjoy the One Love DLC. But I honestly wish that PanicBarn had put a little bit more effort into the expansion, and perhaps added a few more features.
Or perhaps this is how they do it in France. ↩︎