Most of the time when we make mistakes there are unfortunate consequences right on our heels, but every once and a while something good will take hold instead. An unexpected reward instead of assumed punishment. Well that’s exactly what happens in Dating Life: Miley X Emily by Dharker Studios.
Miley is new in town and feeling rather lonely. Despite being “technologically challenged”, as she puts it, she decides to sign up for an online dating service. Days go by without a single interested person contacting her, until one evening she gets a video call from a feisty woman named Emily. Unfortunately, Emily is under the impression that Miley is a man named Miles and looking for female companionship. Despite Miley’s clerical blunder Emily invites her out for drinks anyway. And that is where the story really begins.
Dating Life: Miley X Emily is an eroge visual novel… sort of. We played the Switch version which had all of the nudity, and even most of the sex scenes, completely removed with no way, to our knowledge, to access them. If you buy the game on Steam, they are still removed unfortunately, though for an extra $1.99 you can add the adult content back in. It seemed a little odd to me to make that paid extra content, especially since it was originally free, but whatever, to each their own I guess.
So, that means this game gets a solid level 1 rating since there is no nudity whatsoever, and the sexual acts are more or less implied through dialogue. You might witness the foreplay portions (kissing, touching), but that’s about it. Also, since everything is consensual and only mildly lewd, the type of adult content you can expect is set at our first ever 1%. Nothing kinky here, just two people enjoying a date together.
The overall artwork for the game is simple, yet well done. Each of the girls has a handful of expressions, though they don’t always necessarily match up with the current mood and conversation. Miley in particular has an almost “Ahegao” expression that is used quite frequently and doesn’t really fit in during any of its appearances in the conversation. The story is relatively short, and the girls only change locations a few times, but all of the backgrounds are nicely drawn.
The soundtrack on the other hand, was filled with odd choices in terms of not only the songs themselves, but also the moments they were paired with. Miley lamenting about her loneliness doesn’t exactly pair well with grungy, garage band rock music. There were more than a few moments like that during the game that had us looking at each other saying, “What is with this music?”. The music wasn’t bad per se, just really out of place.
As for the sex, well as I mentioned earlier, there really wasn’t much to see. The most racy picture we got to see was of the girls scissoring, fully clothed, in a hotel room. Sure, there was a purple dildo in the background for some inexplicable reason, along with an extra set of unoccupied lingerie, but nothing so risque that it would make you blush. I mean, I know the reason it was there, just not why it was laying around unattended in their hotel room. Maybe one of them brought it just in case the date went south? Who knows?
With all of that said, the writing in Dating Life: Miley X Emily really seemed to flow nicely throughout the entire game regardless of the choices you made. Based on just a few dialogue choices the girls will either part ways at various points during the night or move on to a new location. There are five different endings to unlock, going from the best ending to the bad ending. The choices were a bit ambiguous however, and it was difficult to predict how Emily was going to react, but that makes sense I suppose, since this is a first date and we know next to nothing about Emily herself.
There is an obvious rapport between the two women despite the initial mix-up. Emily is very extroverted and confident, while Miley is seemingly the exact opposite. Though certain choices you make during their date can contradict that. That said, their conflicting personalities made for some interesting interactions that definitely set the stage for what was to come as their date progressed. You could easily see, based on Emily’s reactions to your choices, how this date could go either way, and whether Miley would be getting a second date or if she would be sent home embarrassed and alone.
Each ending, as well as special events during the story, unlocked a single gallery picture. With a few of them having an alternate version, that may show the characters in a different position. My understanding is that if you had access to the NSFW content that much lewder depictions of these scenes would also be included in the gallery but on the Switch version which we played, there were just the five pg-13 pictures.
All in all there wasn’t much for interactivity, with us only being presented with a few dialogue choices to make. So, getting each ending was really the work of just choosing different responses to see where the story would dovetail. In the end, and with the help of the skip feature, we unlocked all the endings in the game in just under two hours quite easily.
Honestly, we aren’t generally the target audience for visual novel games, but the fact that this one was short and uncomplicated made it a much more pleasant experience than what you’d typically get from a more involved game from this genre. That being said though, there were still some obvious flaws that made us walk away with just an OK overall impression. We didn’t dislike our time with Dating Life: Miley X Emily, but we weren’t exactly encouraged to seek out the rest of the series either.
Have a curiosity for adult themed games, but are wary of what type and level of content they may contain? Use our at-a-glance After Dark Gauges, to quickly see if a game is for you! Check out the After Dark Gauges Primer page, for more information!