Dating sims are a pretty broad genre of games these days. From dating sims about cosmic monstrosities to ones about pigeons, and even dating sims for people who don’t like dating sims. You can’t move for them these days, despite starting out as a relatively niche genre. Well, with Christmas fast approaching, it’s almost a no-brainer that someone would finally come out with a holiday-themed dating sim. I mean, we already had that romance visual novel about Santa, why not just go the whole hog? Too Many Santas is exactly what it sounds like, a game where you have far too many Santas to pick from and have to choose which one you want to date. Mrs. Claus isn’t going to be happy about this.
Too Many Santas comes to us from Oh, a Rock! Studios, the creators behind a whole slew of visual novels and dating sims starring real-life characters using digitized pictures. The company’s most famous creations are probably the Cat President series, a bunch of visual novels about a world where a cat is The President because of course it is. In the company’s latest release, the story follows the owner of a struggling toy store. Despite being close to Christmas, the store is about to go bankrupt, so the owner makes a wish on a Christmas star for help with the store, as well as a romantic partner for themselves. This wish is combined with 6 different versions of Santa show up and help you run the store, giving you the chance to romance whichever one you find the most appealing.
In terms of gameplay, Too Many Santas is about as standard as you could expect from a dating sim. You mostly just read what is going on with some slight animations showing what happens. Occasionally you have to make a choice about what to do, and those choices affect the endings that you get. The main difference here is that rather than having to make choices that naturally mean you end up with a specific character (or alone if you’re terrible at the game) you make your choice about which version of Santa to romance, and then it’s just about making the right choices so they actually end up falling in love with you. Other than that, it couldn’t be any more simple.
Each of the six available storylines follows your attempts to woo a particular Santa, and each one comes with two available endings; a naughty one, and a nice one. In the nice ending, you end up with your chosen partner, while in the naughty ending, you don’t. The biggest drawback to this system is that it doesn’t take much effort to get the result you want. The choices typically come in pairs, with one being the obvious ‘right’ way to get your chosen paramour to fall in love with you. It’s not really like it’s a problem, but it does leave the game feeling very predictable for anyone who has ever played a dating sim before.
So, if there’s no real challenge to the game, does that make Too Many Santas an awful experience? Not really. Unlike a traditional dating sim, the real reason that you’re here is to enjoy the complete insanity of some of these characters. You have “Sassy Santa” who is basically a butthole to everyone he meets, “Sleepy Santa” who is always tired, and “Sexy Santa” who can’t resist taking his shirt off. Most of the available characters have some funny moments, such as the time that Sexy Santa starts doing shirtless dances in the mall to attract customers to your shop. The enjoyment comes from just how stupid the whole thing is, and I do mean that as a compliment.
There are some other good points in the game’s favor as well. The visual style is pretty decent, and you can really tell that the team has experience working on games that look like this. As far as I can tell, none of the images used are stock, or at least none of the characters are stock images. Everything seems to be purpose-built, and if it’s not, I’d like to know where they got so many images of a trench-coat wearing Santa Claus from. There’s also a slightly creepy-looking blinking animation that plays if you hover on a character for too long, and despite being the definition of “uncanny valley”, it does make the characters feel a bit more alive. There’s also a pretty funny option for this animation in the settings menu, which plays into the sense of levity that the game is clearly going for.
Too Many Santas also features the most customization options that I’ve ever seen in a dating sim. Most of the time, you’ll be lucky if you get to choose your gender. Here, you can enter your gender, your name, and even your preferred pronouns. Hell, you can even write in a pronoun if you want. So you can spend the entire game being called “Their Lordship” if that’s what you’re into. Considering the entire point of a dating sim is to imagine yourself in the place of the main character, it goes a long way to be able to change these details to help along with that sense of immersion.
Overall, Too Many Santas isn’t what you’d call a top-notch game. It’s very, very basic when it comes to your typical dating sim mechanics. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun time. If you’re looking for a comedic Christmas game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then you could certainly find worse options. Just bear in mind, the entire game will probably only take you a few hours to complete, and it’s not exactly secretive about what you have to do to get all the ending. On the plus side, that means that it’s a completionist’s wet dream, and if you’ve ever been attracted to Santa before then that probably goes double for you personally.
TechRaptor reviewed Too Many Santas on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer.
- Some funny moments
- Lots of customization options
- Very simplistic paths for each Santa
- Incredibly short