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KFC made a dating sim and it’s a joke

Adding to the list of odd games my Steam friends saw me play, “I love you, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator” by Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) (2019) is more of a glorified commercial than an actual dating sim, which is a shame because they could have done so much with it. 

You play as an aspiring chef who attends “Cooking School: Academy for Learning” and meets the KFC founder and mascot Colonel Sanders, who also happens to be a student there. You find yourself irresistibly attracted to the hot old man and must win his love over the course of the university’s three-day semester. But during your short student career, you also meet other characters like the awkward best friend Miriam, the insufferable highschool rivals Aeshleigh and Van Van. Oh, and Sprinkles, a professor who happens to be a cute dog.

But too bad! None of these characters have enough time to properly develop, not even the KFC guy himself. The game takes about an hour or two to complete, which is way too short.  By the time I was done, I barely knew anything about the Colonel other than that his secret recipe for fried chicken uses 11 herbs and spices. The other characters, especially Aeshleigh and Van Van, turn out to be caricatures with no real personality. The game doesn’t provide you with explanations as to why they are the way they are beyond simple, brief descriptions, nor does it give these poor souls any opportunities to redeem themselves. As a result, I just don’t care about any of them, which is the biggest misstep a dating sim can possibly make. The least KFC could have done is to humanize their own founder by giving him some backstory on his personal life and struggles. Instead, they just want this dumb, mythical character who cares only about making perfect fried chicken and other KFC items. 

Now that I think about it, the game is barely a dating sim. It’s actually not possible to go on a date with the Colonel. The most intimacy you get with him is when you go to his house (for what reason, I don’t remember) and have some very limited interactions. I don’t think I even got a hug in the ending. I’m also annoyed that there are no other romance options aside from the old man—what kind of dating sim only lets you romance one character? I would have enjoyed romancing Aeshleigh, as she is somehow way more endearing than the Colonel despite being a one-dimensional antagonist. The plot is basically nonexistent aside from you going to school and wooing the white goatee man. The foreshadowing about some supernatural subplot turns out to be a joke. Thank God, though, because there are multiple endings for you to discover if you really want to waste even more time grinding through this lazy mess. 

To its detriment, the game has no voice acting, which would have injected some much needed personality into the characters and immersion for the player. It also appears to use stock background assets without adjusting them to fit the setting. Somehow a culinary school uses a high school classroom with the world map on the wall and math equations on the black board. 

It must be the case that KFC commissioned this as a minimally viable product to serve only as a viral marketing tool. I supposed that makes sense because the idea of KFC making a dating sim is so ridiculous by itself that what’s in the game ends up feeling relatively unimportant. It’s so meme-worthy that people are giving it positive reviews on Steam and ironically fawning over the Colonel to be a part of the culture, and I did end up getting some KFC after playing this game. But this could have easily been so much more than just a gimmick. Alas, as a video game, it’s a lazy, shallow experience—an insult to the dating sim genre that doesn’t deserve your time. This reminds me: I need to play Doki Doki literature club.

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