One Night Stand is exactly as awkward and strange as it sounds – it’s all about waking up naked next to a stranger. The fallout and story that follows can either be embarrassing, touching or a combination of the two. One Night Stand has a total of 12 different endings and plenty of branching conversations where every choice seems as awkward as the next.
If you’ve ever been in a situation (not necessarily a one night stand) where you’ve gone “well that was awkward. Erm, not sure what to do now”, then One Night Stand will immediately resonate with you. As you bumble between conversations as the male participant in this late night foray, you are frequently going to pick an answer and then immediately regret it. However, thanks to video games you can see where this particular story takes you and then just try it again with different responses. The more you play One Night Stand the more you begin to understand them and piece together what exactly happened last night.
This is a very human story and when you try and ‘game’ it, it quickly becomes a little weird and creepy. The woman might leave the room giving you chance to put some clothes on, but you are free to not do that and instead look around her room. You are free to maybe try and pluck a few chords on her guitar or check out what is on her side of the bed. Either way, it feels very invasive as you are a stranger in this room. One Night Stand excels in these moments of spectacular awkwardness. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been poking around her room mostly naked or you’ve said something utterly dumb, either way, the game does a superb job of simulating a real-world event.
Despite all this tension and embarrassment, the game gives you touching and tender moments. If you say the right things and don’t do anything too terrible then you can turn the awkwardness on its head. The writing for the woman is that of somebody who is perhaps too idealistic and a bit shy, so as you begin to understand her you can act accordingly. Since there are 12 endings there is pretty much an ending for every way this kind of situation could possibly end.
The animation and colour pallet do wonders for One Night Stand’s atmosphere. Shedding a morning sun glow across the whole game with fluid motions that invoke the embarrassment of sitting naked on a bed across from a stranger who is passing you a cup of coffee.
One Night Stand tells a very human story. It tells us a story that is often forgotten between other grander more adventurous stories. This intimate and lifelike tale shows us a different, softer side to gaming.