Have you ever wanted to date Justin Bieber? How about the boys of One Direction? Well, now you can because game designer Michael Othen has returned to the world of app design with two new games: Date One Direction and I Love Justin Bieber.
Othen, also known as Digicub, is no stranger to the game industry, having worked with games such as Burnout, Paradise and Black, and the 4 Battlefield series. In recent years, Othen has traded warfare gameplay for games about love and created a series of pocket-partner apps, such as Mini Gay Boyfriend and Mini Gay Girlfriend.
Othen’s new games stick to the same core concepts as their predecessors — combining fun designs and mini games with adorable visuals, illustrated by British artist Phil Corbett.
Following the apps’ success, Othen wanted to continue the series using two of the biggest male pop acts of the decade.
“The boys are a modern phenomenon, as are their fans. I think it would be safe to say most fans would love to date their favourite member, if not all of them. So it seemed like a natural fit,” he says.
Thus far, fan feedback about the game has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The fans love it, and some have gone a bit crazy. You only need to read the reviews to see what I mean. I get quite a few requests for new features, namely sex and babies,” Othen says.
The games are simple. First, players pick their favourite boy-band member. Xtra chose Niall, as it didn’t feel right to woo the recently engaged Zayn away from his soon-to-be bride, Perrie Edwards.
Once you’ve chosen your desired Directioner (or Bieber, if you’re feeling proudly Canadian), you’re ready to meet the new love of your digital life.
From there it’s up to you to build a relationship with your avatar, playing flirtatious mini-games to try to woo your lover. To start, you don’t have that many options to work with: just a basic wink, hug or kiss. But over time, if you keep your partner happy, options to upgrade your relationship become available that unlock a new set of challenges and games you must complete to sustain your partnership.
In addition to having five different levels of games to unlock, players must wait for their lovers to warm up to them over time. If you try to force the relationship to progress too quickly, your lover will react in a negative way. This feature means you can’t rush through and complete the game all at once. Just like a real relationship, patience is required. This increases not only the challenge of the game, but also its longevity.
The games are free to download, with upgrades available, ranging from 99 cents to $1.99 (for an option to give a wardrobe to your boy). The best part is the two apps are separate, allowing you to explore an open relationship between the boys. So if you feel you need to have a little summer love from across the pond with a serving of a hunky, Stratford-born singer on the side, go right ahead.
While the game presently features only female personal icons, Othen says a male option may be accommodated in the future. “Maybe just for you guys,” Othen says. “[But] it’s a lot more work than it sounds!”
In regard to the future of his apps, Othen teases, “Mini Gay Boyfriend 2 is more than just a twinkle in my eye.”