The SsumOne for Me!

If you were to look at my game folder on my mobile phone, you will probably shake your head at the sheer number of otome/gacha games that I have on it at this moment. It has gotten so unmanageable I have to shelf some games aside for the time being until I have the bandwidth to come back to it. For record purposes, these are the games in the current particular order of preference –

  1. Twisted Wonderland
  2. Lovebrush Chronicles
  3. The Ssum
  4. Genshin Impact
  5. Reverse 1999
  6. Arknights
  7. What in Hell is Bad
  8. Mr Love
  9. Tears of Themis
  10. Obey Me Nightbringer
  11. The Tale of Food
  12. 100 Sleeping Princes
  13. Pokemon Unite

However despite already being so commited to these games, I just had to download one more just yesterday – The Ssum which is the game I am going to talk about in this post. I have been waiting for YEARS for this game to come out especially after completing Mystic Messenger. Mystic M was really a game changer in the space of otome games/light novel games back in 2016 bringing players on a journey via a chatroom format. I have bought and played every other Cheritz game thereafter. I really love the storywriting style of this Korean game developer and how they are able to take their players on an absolute roller coaster ride with their plots and character developments.

Hence it was with much bated anticipation that I waited for The Ssum to be released. Almost 7 years later (apparently the game was in development hell for 4 years and they finally decided to launch it to lacklustre reviews…), I finally saw it on my app store. Apparently the game was launched in 2022 but I am very very sure that it wasn’t made available on my app store till only recently. Such strange algorithm. It appeared miraculously on my suggested apps so suddenly I was slightly dumbfounded. Actually thinking about the premise of the game, it does kind of gives me the jeebers thinking that perhaps the developers found me… and not the other way around.

Anyway TLDR, The Ssum premises itself as a an A.I. app meant to help players find love. After creating your game profile and answering a simple love personality quiz, it pairs you up with one of three playable love interests – Teo, Harry and June. What ensues is a series of discovery and romantic conversations with chosen LI that spans over 30 to 200 days in real life.

Everyday you will enter into conversation with the chosen LI as you get to know them better, understand their backstory and perhaps participate in some life changing moments. I like it that they program these conversations to happen around your lull period (typically before or after bed, and during meal times) so you don’t have to participate in the conversations during your busy periods or in the middle of the night. Something that Mystic M took to the extreme. You can also pause your progress with one character and switch to another at any point in time too.

If you rather not have to wait for time to pass in real life, have the ability to speed up the daily chats and the resources to pick alternative locked responses or see all the photos that Piu Piu sends via satellite, you can consider subscribing to upgrade your A.I. bird for $11.99 to $36.98 per month depending on the extensiveness of the benefits. It is another way to keep the game and developers going if you like what they are doing. For now I’ll hold back on this as I prefer to keep this authentic. Much as I am an OCD about completion, I also value authenticity and well in real life there is bound to be missed calls and messages.

Since it’s only been day two of my experience with the game, I do not have a strong sensing of what to expect with each character yet but they do quickly fall into these typical character troupe. Teo is your sunshine boy who is chirpy, idealistic and uses LOLs to punctuate all his sentences. Harry is your tsundere man who appears really cold and indifferent to you but actually wants to connect. June is a shota – young, innocent and seemingly in constant need for love and attention. However knowing Cheritz, I am expecting that these characters would be much more than meets the eye as time goes on, and that I hope will keep me going for 200 days?!

Another aspect of the game which I find really interesting and somehow causes players to blur the line between real and fiction is this forum platform with an outer space theme. It seems to hint that players and their emotions are being observed by another life force (aliens? A.I.?) to help them better understand humans. Everyday we are given a study task which by participating you earn some in-game currency to help you unlock some features or new items. These tasks are basically philosophical or lifestyle questions which are open ended and anyone can just throw in their most candid, funny or meaningful responses. I personally think this is such a cool feature to help connect people at a deeper level.

Visually, the illustration leans more to the realistic style than anime. Someone commented that the developers probably just gave a photo an anime A.I. treatment to achieve the effect. Given the whole A.I. dating premise, it is quite apt. It is not quite my preference though as the realism can be a bit creepy when you start to wonder if you are talking to a hardcoded game character or an A.I. generated one. I do believe at some point this whole thing will get to you when players realise how invested they can be into the characters especially if we are required to stay in contact over the course of more than half a year!

I think the only irritating aspect of this game is that everytime you switch out of one scene to another, this commercial pops up trying to entice or irritate you into subscribing as a premium member so you can skip these ads, gain access to some additional content and speed up conversations. I will try my best to resist because I don’t even know how long I will actually stay on this depending on whether I can warm up to any of these three characters. But then again, if Cheritz really produces good game content, I don’t mind just spending to support their work.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for an otome game that’s very different in premise and approach compared to the typical light novel genre, and don’t mind committing to chatting with an almost real person without getting weirded out or having to keep to the arranged timings to chat, then check out The Ssum. I am confident that you won’t be disappointed.

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