Originally released on December 4, 1998 in Japan, Getter Love: Cho Renai Party Game (mystifyingly subtitled Panda Love Unit on the title screen) has finally been localized for fans.
Getter Love: Panda Love Unit is a party game by Hudson that pre-dates Mario Party by a scarce couple of weeks. But while Mario Party has you destroying the palm of your hand while frustrating your friends in mini-games, Getter Love has you trying to seduce women (sometimes with mini-games). It’s the perfect game to bring home and play with family during the holidays.
It’s a party game mixed with a dating sim, and the dating sim part is taken very seriously. The genre had exploded a few years earlier with 1994’s Tokimeki Memorial, and it was quickly adopted into other genres, such as trivia and puzzle games. Getter Love has you navigating a town map. You compete in mini-games to get items that either help you on dates or sabotage the other players. I really cannot stress how much dating sim is in this party game.
According to Nintendo 64 Anthology by Math Manent “With such minimalistic production and ordinary manga characters, Getter Love!! is quite a unique concept, so very Japanese, it never stood a chance of appealing to the western public” [sic]. They rated it 1 star out of a possible 5. To be fair, they also gave WWF War Zone a 4-star review, and I think that game’s suck is visible from orbit. I just bring that up to illustrate that I don’t necessarily agree with the scoring in this book. It’s otherwise a fine reference.
However, I haven’t personally played Getter Love: Panda Love Unit, mainly because I’m an Anglophone with no confidence in my Japanese reading comprehension. So, I definitely appreciate fans stepping in to localize it. The N64 is rarely an easy console to create translations for, and this one has been in development since 2019. If you remove all the baseball, horse racing, and mahjong games, there weren’t a tonne of Japan-exclusive N64 titles. Every effort to localize its library is greatly appreciated.
The fan translation for Getter Love: Panda Love Unit is available now, and you can find it over here. The translation was handled by Wid, who also notes that December 4, 2023 was the 25th anniversary of the game.