In the upcoming game Thirsty Suitors, players will fight, skateboard, and cook in a unique adventure about healing past relationships and loving yourself.
Upcoming game Thirsty Suitors combines elements of turn-based fighting, skateboarding games, and interactive storytelling to create a unique adventure about family, self-love, and healing from the past. The title is being developed by Outerloop Games, a studio that focuses on creating games about unrepresented cultures, and will be published by indie-darling publisher Annapurna Interactive. Screen Rant recently attended a special Thirsty Suitors preview led by the studio’s Co-founder and Creative Director Chandana Ekanayake that gave more details on the game, including gameplay from the beginning of the title.
Thirsty Suitors stars Jala, described as a “young, queer, South Asian immigrant woman“who is returning to her hometown after a bad breakup. The game follows Jala as she goes on a”reconciliation tour“Wherein she tries to make amends with both her angry exes and judgemental family. Like many story-based games, the choices players make along the way will influence the ending of Thirsty Suitors. However, the focus of the story is less about romance and more about repairing relationships – the end goal is not necessarily about who Jala will end up with, but the state of her relationships, including the one she has with herself. Although the game does follow a linear storyline, it also allows players to take part in things like optional skating challenges and relationship side quests throughout. Thirsty Suitors.
Influenced by titles like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Final Fantasyand the Persona series, Thirsty Suitors offers a distinctive turn-based fighting system that confidently stands out from its influences while still including some of their best features. Players have several tricks at their disposal that tap into Jala and her opponents’ emotions: during the battle shown during the preview, Jala used a “Thirst Taunt“to put an ex in a thirsty mood – which makes them more vulnerable to attacks – and then proceeded to do a significant amount of damage with a”Thirst Move. “Players will also make conversational choices throughout each fight that reveal things about Jala’s past, as well as use timing-based button presses – which follow the beat of the music – which will help make moves and blocking more effective.
Although players have many moves at their disposal in Thirsty Suitors, the preview footage demonstrated that there will be a point during battle that the opponent will become invincible. Jala’s first encounter with her 3rd grade boyfriend took a surreal turn mid-fight, as the setting cinematically shifted to the ex’s vaporwave-style inner world. Each ex has one of these, where they appear as the version of themselves they wish they could be and become more powerful through acquiring confidence. To win, players must summon a “psychological specter“to undercut this confidence and make them feel vulnerable – hilariously, Jala does this by using a special move to summon her mom. At the end of each fight, the option is given to make up with the ex – a decision that will have lasting. implications for Jala’s story – and the player will earn Thirstsona Points which appear to contribute to a skill tree system.
Another core component of Thirsty Suitors is skateboarding – there is a dedicated skate park area in the game where Jala can go for daily challenges and fights with “skate punks,“And the characters who show up to the park each day will vary based on the user’s story choices. Some skating sequences can become quite surreal, with Jala sometimes having imaginary confrontations in her mind as she skates. While players can perform a myriad of amazing. tricks, it’s not as complex of a skating system as titles like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, with one of the largest differences being the fact that players can not fall off their board. The game also offers an out for players who do not enjoy the skating mechanic, giving an option to turn on autoskating if so desired.
The last main mechanic of the Thirsty Suitors is cooking, which is a way for Jala to work on repairing her relationship with her parents. These cooking sequences keep the same undercurrent of surrealism and humor as the rest of the title, with Jala performing acrobatic moves around the kitchen as players attempt to create the best meals possible. Sometimes Jala will even be visited by her ancestors while cooking family recipes, harkening back to the game’s overall theme of complex family dynamics and expectations.
The artistic vision behind Thirsty Suitors shines through in every element of the game. Each character has their own unique style, with every ex having a specific color palette chosen based upon their personality and how they fit into the story. Impressively, the game has been developed using a single animator who’s managed to expertly blend a grounded, emotional story with out-of-this-world visuals. Composer Marskye, who previously worked on the dungeon-crawling dating game Boyfriend Dungeonhas brought their talents to Thirsty Suitors and created a soundtrack influenced by 90s hip hop and pop that’s a delight to listen to.
Although healing after a breakup is a story that has been told many times before, the surreal vision of Thirsty Suitors‘creators and their unique cultural perspective puts a spin on the trope that hasn’t been seen before. The developer’s goal of portraying South Asian culture and experiences looks like it has been pulled off brilliantly and comes through organically. Using special mechanics and dialogue that seamlessly alternates between witty and devastating, Thirsty Suitors portrays relationship dynamics and familial expectations that are not often shown in video games.
A combination of turn-based fighting, skateboarding, and cooking simulation does not sound like a trifecta that would easily mesh together, but Thirsty Suitors seems to have achieved the perfect balance. Although it’s unknown at this point how the rest of the game will play out after the footage featured in the demo, Thirsty Suitors will undoubtedly be a one of a kind gameplay experience when it releases.
Next: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax PC Review – A Flashy Fighter
Thirsty Suitors will be released soon on PC. Screen Rant attended a presentation for the purpose of this preview.
Poppy Playtime Ch. 2: How Humans Became Toys At Playtime Co.
About The Author