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I Love You, Colonel Sanders! Review

Colonel Sanders has never been so sexy. Try your luck in romancing the iconic mascot of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the business's latest weird marketing choice: a KFC-themed dating sim! But does this colonel have what it takes to win you over? If he doesn't, his food sure will... at least they hope so.

I Love You, Colonel Sanders! Review

Introduction

This review could be framed in a variety of ways. I could write some humorous facade about why this is the greatest game to exist, for the memes. Perhaps I could even go so far as to praise the company for doing something weird that separates it from its fast food competitors. Or I could write honestly, in a way that may seem unbecoming from the nature of the game. It’s not serious, so why take it seriously? At some point, the flood of wacky, “ironic” attempts at courting the internet crowd by giant corporations in the pursuit of profit or further notoriety will get to be too much. KFC’s birth of a dating sim is just that: another veiled attempt at appealing to a niche demographic and extending their profitable reach. Insert the “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme here.

However, it could also be an enjoyable time regardless. It’s not as though giant corporations have never released anything not terrible, correct? And the game’s developer, Psyop, has actually made another visual novel I’ve reviewed previously. They’re clearly capable of creating something heartfelt, so why assume the worst here? To be frank, I’m not sure anyone expected anything with this, as the image of a beautiful Colonel Sanders alone is enough to spark interest. KFC didn’t even have to release a whole dating sim—just a teaser trailer would’ve worked fine. But they did, so now it’s subject to increased scrutiny. I played the game, and now I’ve got a full mind and an empty stomach. The latter of the two may not mean what KFC wants it to, though.

I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator is available for free on Steam.

KFC | I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator | Available Now!

Story

One begins in their room, with dreams of culinary greatness spreading throughout their soul. With a start, the player awakens for their first day at a prestigious academy for culinary arts, with a gargantuan three-day semester ahead of them. Accompanied by your best friend Miriam, your archrivals, and a number of other strange characters, your (three) days at the academy are filled with alluring aromas, particularly one surrounding the school’s rising star: Colonel Sanders. Your objective is clear: show off how cool you are to Sanders in an attempt to win his heart, and maybe graduate, too.

What appears to be a standard and straightforward story is literally anything but. This KFC dating sim would not be “for the memes” enough if it didn’t exude unfiltered chaos throughout its main course. Pelting the player with “LOLSORANDOMXD” humor at every turn, it’s certain to get a snicker out of most meme-loving membranes. Dark arts, dad humor, extravagant food dishes, and supernatural elements all house this incredibly volatile plotline. It doesn’t make any sense and leaves little doubt as to how seriously they wished this project to be viewed. In that vein, KFC hits a home run with this dating sim. Anyone without any sort of cynical inclinations will likely adore this.

I got a hankering for some pizza all of a sudden... KFC dating sim

I got a hankering for some pizza all of a sudden…

My question from the beginning returns: It’s not serious, so why take it seriously? Sure, it would be easy to mitigate harsh criticism from something because it’s “not serious.” What if the nature of art began to take this more ravenously and began to produce nothing that could be taken seriously? Would everything be shielded from animosity because it adheres to a lack of seriousness? At some point, they’ll come across as lazy, like a fellow constantly straying the middle ground to avoid sharp words from extremists on either side. KFC’s dating sim feels this way to me—a lazy portrayal of what they think internet users want while subconsciously selling you on its product in return. But perhaps it is what people want; after all, this currently has a 100% positive approval rating on Steam. Anything for the memes, right?

Story and characters are completely alike in the previously-established regard. Nothing makes sense and whatever logic applies is only towards one’s romance with Sanders. The names one will learn follow just as aloofly, appearing when they need to and applying pressure to keep one guessing. Aeshleigh, one of two archrivals, has a design appropriately appealing, and also has a thing for Sanders. Others such as Pop and Clank are definitive examples of the “LOLSORANDOMXD” humor through their entire existence. Miriam is likely the most “normal” addition to the cast, though her “appeal” of a clumsy, self-doubting person only barely surfaces. With Colonel Sanders, KFC enacts their master plan, encouraging the player to appeal to his heart with pro-KFC menu items and near-100% devotion. As a visual novel, I Love You, Colonel Sanders! doesn’t really say anything except “Buy our food.” That may just be the worst part.

Straight Outta JoJo - KFC dating sim

Straight Outta JoJo.

Gameplay

As per the norm with visual novels, KFC’s dating sim adheres to tradition by not allowing more than clicks, text, and some choices. In some ways, this hour-long experience doesn’t offer much of anything other than some winks and references to outside influences. There’s one sequence where one is battling a monster and it indulges in a small snippet of turn-based combat. Another sequence involves answering rapid-fire questions under a time limit, which was admittedly stressful. These were the only two instances where Psyop decided to do more than the bare minimum, continuing to follow a generally-linear path to the end. To that end, it’s nothing I didn’t expect, so it’s not something I found any more disappointing.

E L E C T R I C

E L E C T R I C

Per some observation from others, it seems that the choices one makes do matter, though the game aids in having the player make the right choices. I only played through KFC’s dating sim once, as that was all I could steel myself through. Supposedly, one can be prompted to rewind and do-over choices should they screw up somewhere along the way. I got (what I assume) is the best ending on my first try, so apparently I have a way with courting mascots. It isn’t tremendously hard, though beginners may struggle to understand how people function in visual novels. It would be unbecoming to have it be too hard, though, as that would limit the company’s finger lickin’ grasp.

Graphics & Audio

By far the most extravagant part of KFC’s dating sim comes through in the artistic department. With full disclosure as a weeb (if one previous screenshot didn’t alert it already), the visual aspect of I Love You, Colonel Sanders! is as vivid and stylized as it should be. Something about Sanders’s design irked me, but the rest of the cast are amusingly overexuberant. MVP honors go to Van Van, who looks right out of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure with his star-shaped pompadour and muscular bod. The visual workings of the game are also well-implemented, as everything worked as intended and was shown sleekly. Should this be the work of Psyop, it’s not surprising, as one of the better parts of Camp W was the artistic presence. Disregarding everything else, it helps the random-esque nature of the game to have similarly chaotic artistic design.

Stay woke, incels.

Stay woke, incels.

Zoning back into the bare minimum, we arrive at sound design. I would have expected a KFC dating sim to incorporate more of a country-styled soundtrack, but it’s pretty sterile fare. Everything that works to make the setting feel alive does, though without a shred of individuality. I blame the setting, which is as “general Japanese visual novel” as one could get outside the corporate identity. Maybe it wouldn’t have helped the game any, but I believe it better to have at least tried. As it stands, the soundtrack exists. Kind of like the game itself.

Summary
KFC had to do it to 'em. Is this dating sim worth playing? Perhaps. One may take issue with how little is actually said when all is well and done. "A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one," the company will say if their profits increase beyond the day of the game's release. The ability to cook up a dating sim in an effort to stretch their empire ever further through the guise of irony is something that shouldn't be overlooked. Whether good or bad, the notoriety alone will have KFC be the topic of the internet for a good week or so. And they see that as an absolute win! Forced, hollow, and really pretty-looking, I Love You, Colonel Sanders! is like a gaudy arrow to the knee.
Good
  • Really nice-looking
  • Free
Bad
  • Smells like corporate greed
  • Forced and simple storyline/characters
  • Bare minimum effort in most aspects
  • Doesn't mean anything
4
Poor

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Thank you for your service. This review must have been painful.

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