Later Daters proves that youre never too old to get laid

It’s only my third day at the nursing home in Later Daters, but I’ve somehow managed to secure myself a date with three sexy seniors for one movie night. It turns out that living at the hilariously named Ye OLDE – aka the Oceanview Living Domicile for the Elderly – isn’t all stuffy tearooms, bad wallpaper and old people smell. It’s a hotbed for, well, hot bed activity. Octogenarians still got it going on – just watch out for my hip. 

Like many games nowadays it seems, Later Daters is putting a new spin on the dating simulator. In a world where dating sims have had us courting pugs, pigeons, dinosaurs, weapons and dream daddies, it seems remiss for the senior citizens not to get a slice of the action. Later Daters is a putting a stop to that though, and although it might sound a little crass, this dating sim from Bloom Digital is far from it. 

You’re actually playing as the latest resident of Ye OLDE, an 80-something who’s been forced to leave their huge country home due to health issues. You can pick their gender, backstory, companion (dog, cat or robot), and more before you move in.  I end up playing as a short-haired, fiery bisexual woman called Laurie, with a tabby cat called Sassy, who’s tragically lost her motorcycle-loving wife, Sofia, just five years earlier. Laurie’s not convinced by the move, but as you stare up at the brick building you’re immediately overwhelmed by the welcome wagon that appears for your arrival. The nosy busybody Esther runs things here, while also being a resident, and there’s another newbie too, a rosy-faced lady called Crystal, who also happens to be your direct neighbour. The 108 to your 107.

And that’s where your story begins. From there it’s a tangle of dialogue options and decision to be made, as you interact, and begin to flirt, with the other Ye OLDE residents. You can be miserly, awkward, and reclusive, or gregarious, friendly, and ready to get involved, or pivot between the two as you start to discover more about your new neighbours. They’re a colourful bunch, and even in the three short days (around an hour’s playtime) currently available, there’s such depth to each of their characters to discover. 

I mean, that’s if you can get off the title screen anyway because I’ve not heard such a catchy ditty for a while now. Not only is indicative of the kind of humour you’ll find in Later Daters, but, seriously, just listen to this and forgive me for the earworm.

But what’s seriously special about Later Daters isn’t just a really good theme tune. It’s the fact that it manages to deal with such a breadth of topics in under an hour. It’s refreshing to see just how inclusive it is. The range of backstories offers plenty of LGBTQ options, and as you get really into the dating scene at Ye OLDE it’s clear that poly relationships are 100% on the table – as my four-person movie date can attest. Group dating may not have been on my immediate agenda but a kerfuffle around a surprise ended up with three dates arriving at my door at once, all with gifts, and all quite happy to share the love that evening. Complexities around transgenderism, family dynamics, and the idea of true identity are all touched upon too in this opening hour. As you navigate the dialogue options there’s a tastefulness to how you can choose to approach talking to a transgender character, with my own Laurie praying to the “heavenly spaghetti monster” that she says the right thing to her new friend.

(Image credit: Bloom Digital)

It’s not just themes of gender and identity that are explored here either. There’s a certain fear that threads through each of the characters. Fear of growing old, of others growing old, of being alone and what loneliness means, thoughts of companionship versus relationships, and what death leaves behind. 

All of that might make Later Daters sound morbid, but the complexities and personalities of each of the characters, learning what they’re like and what’s going on with them, detracts from the grim reality that these are elderly people. You’ll forget it, on regular occasions, as the crooning of aging rock star Jax drifts down the corridors, or when you join the Pickleball team and possibly discover a hidden talent. I’m not entirely sure what I’ve done to make Blair like Laurie, but the potential criminal has sure taken a liking to her. Maybe it’s the old playground tactics rules at play once more.

So much happens in your first three days at Ye OLDE that it’s more than easy to get swept up in the story. I’m already rooting for certain romances, have my favourites, and would protect Crystal (and Sassy) with my life. There’s more to come with Later Daters of course, but immersing yourself in this first part is a glorious way to kick things off. 

And remember, “doesn’t matter how old you get, you want a little action ’cause you’re not dead yet”. 

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