Get your kicks on Route 69.
I consider myself a rather cynical person, one who is rather quick to call out insincerity within the media he enjoys. I don’t like the hyperbolic, “human” way that brands speak to consumers on social media; and I find few things as frustrating as media that pretends to understand certain subgroups when it clearly does not. Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker set off a few of these alarms when I discovered it, but I would soon learn that it’s about as real as you can get.
Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker is, as its title implies, a dating simulator game in which users take on the role of the colorful and boisterous Kitty Powers. Serving as the player’s mentor, Kitty Powers guides and teaches them the ins and outs of matchmaking. Successfully pairing two people together involves a mixture of paying attention to each individual’s needs and subsequently playing an assortment of mini games. It appeared shallow to me at first glance, but once I really got going and my reputation as a matchmaker was challenged, it became a totally different experience.
Kitty Powers is not only the game’s titular character, she is also the video game drag queen persona of the game’s creator, Richard Franke. Truth be told, I was initially trepidatious of Kitty Powers (the person and character). I was fearful that I was going to have to sit through an over-exaggerated and cringe-worthy performance. Despite being first put off by her sort of off-color, raunchy, and referential sense of humor, Kitty Powers eventually broke through to me and it was clear that this was no act. The entire game and its aesthetic is molded around Kitty Powers’ camp, inclusive, and fun-loving personality. It’s what sets this matchmaking game apart from other dating simulators, and honestly – it’s refreshing.
Few games possess the style and attitude required to pull off naming an in-game location “Route 69” – at least without making a few eyes roll – but in Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker it just feels right. The project’s genuineness and charm brings out a smile and a feeling of, “Yeah, that checks out.” I think the quirks within the game like Route 69 are why some folks may discount the game. There’s a temptation to think that maybe you shouldn’t be enjoying it as much as you are. But you know what? I think Kitty has the right idea here. Maybe we’re all just sticks in the mud who need to expand their horizons. Again, that’s not something that came to me in my first moments with Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker. Kitty Powers taught me that.
When we participate in the discussion of auteur theory, folks are quick to mention prolific creators such as Hideo Kojima and Suda 51; but I think that in many ways, Kitty Powers Matchmaker feels more like a genuine extension of its creator than most games in the conversation. Kitty Powers Matchmaker is a solid dating simulator; however, the title’s spirit is what really grabbed me and it’s what is going to keep me around for the long haul.
Editor’s Note: ‘Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker Squelched My Cynicism’ was written by Jurge Cruz-Alvarez on behalf of Pixel Pulse Radio. Jurge writes, talks and sometimes creates videos about video games and film. Who doesn’t, right? You can usually find his byline at Irrational Passions, but he has written for other sites, as well. Jurge hosts the movie podcast, Movies Are Reel; as well as a video game podcast called Jurge, Ryan, Video Games. Keep up with Jurge’s shenanigans by following him on Twitter.
Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker was played on a retail Playstation 4 with a code supplied by Amcade Games on behalf of the developer, Magic Notion Ltd.