Overwatch 2’s Valentine’s Day event includes a dating sim — something fans have wanted for years. There’s a whole cast of smoochable characters on the shooter’s roster, and the game spawned a massive, ravenous fandom that loves to speculate on which heroes would make the best match and how their dates would go. Loverwatch, a bite-size dating sim that launched to celebrate Valentine’s Day (it’s available until Feb. 28), is Blizzard’s response to this fervent and frequent demand.
It’s a shame, then, that Loverwatch feels so hesitant. There are two dating routes, one for Mercy and one for Genji, but they both follow the same formula. Players go on three dates with the hero of their choice, assisted by Hanzo — I mean, Cupid — in a pink toga. If players pick the right responses, they sweep the hero off their feet and into their arms. Failing the dates means going home alone.
That’s a perfectly cute premise, but it’s undercut by the fact that the narration is so meta-heavy. Cupid, the protagonist’s inner monologue, and even your date continually pepper their dialogue with Overwatch in-jokes. Mercy blushes... much like her pink Mercy skin! Haha, she sure does spend a lot of her time healing needy DPS! Like Genji! Genji needs healing! You remember that meme, right? You remember that Genji players often say they need healing? Loverwatch just referenced that!
Loverwatch was partially handled by Psyop, the studio behind Hooked on You: A Dead by Daylight Dating Sim — another game that continually turned to break the fourth wall by nudging the player and making references. A Hooked on You run would last long enough that you might get at least one or two moments of genuine connection where things slow down and simmer for a bit of slow-burn romance.
Loverwatch doesn’t have the time for this; the pace is too breakneck as the game rushes toward another joke about the official Overwatch cookbook. There are a couple of sweet moments for characterization and connection, like Mercy sharing her dream for the world to accept her real identity as Dr. Angela Ziegler, but then it’s right back to the shenanigans.
It’s a shame, because I would have loved a serious, straight-faced swing at the concept of an Overwatch dating sim. After so many years of asking for such a product, getting a silly, goofy response feels rough. Loverwatch aims to be accessible and inclusive, even to brand-new players, but I was hoping for a deeper dive on such an intriguing concept. At least the Hanzo skin is cute.