Flix and Chill 2: Millennials

Flix1

Find friendship and (maybe) love in the confusing landscape of millennial dating.

PC Release: July 18, 2017

By Ian Coppock

Comedian Patton Oswalt once described dating as a fun nightmare with boners in it, and he’s not far off the mark. In this age of social media ghosting and Tinder hookups, dating can be more exhausting than rewarding. However, with Valentine’s Day 72 hours away, this is no time to bemoan the perils of finding and maintaining a connection. Instead, it’s time to have a realistic conversation about both the fun and challenge of dating with a little game called Flix and Chill 2: Millennials

____________________

Flix and Chill 2: Millennials is a dating adventure game created by Jason Lovett (with a surname like that, he’s clearly destined for this line of work), creator of the original Flix and Chill. Like its predecessor, Flix and Chill 2: Millennials explores dating and relationships among the youth of the digital age. It’s a bit confusing that the sequel is subtitled Millennials (since the first game is also about millennials), but this title also touches upon a few facets of millennial life beyond dating, so it’s cool.

Despite what the phrase “Flix and Chill” implies, Flix and Chill 2 is not a creepy dating sim or a niche visual novel. It’s an episodic adventure game that challenges players to get to know a person and allow (or disallow) a relationship to spring up from there. Each episode follows its own character and players steer them around the story by picking dialogue options. Just like in real dates, success in Flix and Chill 2 revolves around saying the right thing at the right time.

Flix2

So… what’s your favorite color?

Although Flix and Chill 2 uses the same dialogue setup and multi-episode structure as the original Flix and Chill, the sequel implements a few key narrative changes. Whereas the goal of Flix and Chill was all-but-explicitly to get the girl and save the day, Flix and Chill 2 doesn’t label going home alone a failure. That’s a nice touch, because while the stereotype of a successful date is bringing someone home every time, real success on a date is being able to discern whether the other person is the right one. Flix and Chill 2 allows players to make that choice for each protagonist.

Lovett also deserves props for the expanded representation in Flix and Chill 2. All but one of the original game’s protagonists was a straight dude; this time around, players also get to also follow the lives of gay characters and people of color. Flix and Chill 2 demonstrates that people of every race and sexual orientation go through the same motions of dating, relationships, and love no matter how different they may look and be from one another.

Flix3

Dating is an equal opportunity nightmare generator.

Whether it’s set in a raucous nightclub or during a coffee break at work, each story in Flix and Chill 2 is about getting to know someone. Players are given more agency than in Flix and Chill to ask questions, respond to questions asked of them, and ultimately decide if the other person is a good fit for the protagonist. That part is left almost entirely to the player’s own sense of the dating world, so any player who’s a miserable failure at snagging a date in real life can look forward to accomplishing the very same thing in this game! 10/10 would be forever alone again.

Then again, Flix and Chill 2 demonstrates that underneath all of the jitters and physical attraction, most of a date is just getting to know another human being. The dialogue in each episode feels organic, though occasional spelling and grammar errors risk breaking the immersion. The game also does well at presenting dating against the backdrop of millennial life. Whether it’s stagnant wages or an addiction to coffee, Flix and Chill 2 is replete with millennial subject matter that’s just as important to the narratives as the dates themselves.

Flix4

Oh great, a douchebro.

As in real life, dating in Flix and Chill 2 is challenging but doable. Players who fail to score a second date might be a bit disappointed, but that hardly means that the overarching narrative has to end on a sour note. Players who have an easy time remembering little details will do well in Flix and Chill 2; nothing pisses a girl off like forgetting her birthday or her favorite type of coffee roast (or Valentine’s Day, do not forget Valentine’s Day).

Though the stories of Flix and Chill 2 have their charm, that charm is (literally) stunted by each narrative’s short length. Each episode in Flix and Chill 2 takes about 20 minutes to complete, giving the entire game a run time of 1-2 hours. There’s nothing wrong with a short game, but each episode does feel a bit rushed. The game’s only a dollar, though, so hold off on accusing Jason Lovett of being a merciless swindler.

Flix5

How you doin’?

In addition to its more intuitive narrative structure, Flix and Chill 2 introduces some visual changes that more accurately reflect the dating world. The characters in the original Flix and Chill had no facial features, a design decision Lovett said he implemented so that players could imagine expressions to go along with the dialogue. Fair enough, but dating is just as much if not more about body language than spoken, and so Lovett put faces to the characters in Flix and Chill 2.

The introduction of facial features lends an advantage to both Flix and Chill 2 and to its players. The change makes the characters seem more alive and engaged with the world around them while also giving players a chance to visually gauge how much fun their date is having. Flix and Chill 2 lets players judge that on a scale that ranges from the mischievous raised eyebrow to the bored grimace. When a date leans forward and talks excitedly, that’s good! When they’re eyeing the exit like it’s made of chocolate, that’s bad.

Flix7

Choose your mating call.

Flix and Chill 2‘s artistic improvements aren’t limited to its characters. Each episode’s game world looks like it was made out of construction paper and is therefore absolutely adorable. Flix and Chill 2‘s art galleries, coffee shops, and bookstores are all just so damn cute. Brightly colored, too. The game’s character animations are a bit primitive, but hardly odious. The biggest problem in that department is that everyone who dances in Flix and Chill 2 does the Commander Shepard… but that’s more an amusement than a flaw.

While on the subject of flaws, Flix and Chill 2‘s music loops a lot. Yes, it’s a collection of happy electronic grooves that players can’t not nod along with, but each song is pretty short and loops conspicuously. There’s also no other sound design in the game save a little effect that plays when characters talk to each other. Flix and Chill 2‘s omission of other sound design elements is conspicuous at best. Nothing builds a world like great sound design; even some background chatter in the coffee shop would’ve done wonders for atmosphere.

Flix8

Do the Shepard, do the Shepard, do the Shepard…

Because of its graphical simplicity, players don’t need to worry about performance issues with Flix and Chill 2. The game runs well on monster rigs and potato laptops alike; any machine will do for experiencing this game’s world of millennial dating. Though Flix and Chill 2 runs well, the relative lack of performance and graphical options leaves something to be desired.

What Flix and Chill 2 doesn’t leave to be desired, though, is a keen understanding of how wonderful (and insane) the dating world can be for millennials. It believably examines finding connections in the digital age and its charm at doing so is inescapable. Players who have an extra dollar and an hour of time to kill owe it to themselves to play this charming little adventure game. The title isn’t without its flaws, but its dedication to organically exploring the world of dating shines through the rough spots.

____________________

You can buy Flix and Chill 2: Millennials here.

Thank you for reading! My next review will be posted in a few days. You can follow Art as Games on Twitter @IanLayneCoppock, or friend me at username Art as Games on Steam. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at ianlaynecoppock@gmail.com with a game that you’d like to see reviewed, though bear in mind that I only review PC games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *