Romance is tough to convey in video games. Often, it takes the form of performing a blunt gesture or choosing an obvious dialogue option to woo a chosen companion. In more mature games, you might be rewarded with a sex scene, or the implication of one. That’s sex though – sex is easy. Romance, with those smallest of flirtations, that giddy feeling being around someone you like, the brushing of fingers… that’s hard.
It’s also something that indie game Sweet Gestures has taken up the challenge on. Created by OKSoft Games and Mikkdukk as part of the Concordia Makes Games Online 2021 game jam, it is a microgame comprised of microgames, described by its developers as “basically WarioWare but romantic”.
As a result, it’s short – very short, in fact. Playing through all the minigames included – catching falling roses to build a bouquet, gently moving a hand to touch your partner’s, moving in for a kiss, and then reciprocating those brief intimacies – takes maybe 30 seconds in total.
Despite its brevity, there’s something rather warm and wonderful about the game. It captures that heart-pounding moment when you’re faced with that fight-or-flight response over whether to gently caress your date’s fingers, whether now is the right time to lean in for that first kiss, that panic over whether you’ll clumsily mess everything up. The five seconds you have for each of Sweet Gestures’ sweet gestures simultaneously pass in a blink and stretch out for eternity.
Even though the whole game is over in less than a minute, OKSoft has also gone to the effort of making it as inclusive as possible. Before starting the minigames, you can customise each of the partners, swapping hair style, hair colour, skin tone, and clothing, to create a couple of your liking.
Given the size and experimental nature of the game, there’s not a lot else to it – in its current form, it doesn’t even have music. Yet it stands as a brilliant proof of concept – one we’d love to see expanded into a fuller, deeper, and likely funnier exploration of a relationship through the medium of microgames. For now though, it’s 30 seconds of bliss – a mini delight in its own right.
Sweet Gestures is available now on Itch.io, where players can name their own price for the game.