It’s hard to name a truly compelling dating sim unless for whatever reason it’s something you’re particularly invested in. The often cheaply produced sub-genre tends to lean towards heavy-handed arousal over engaging content.
Meaning the gameplay will often result in no more than interactive cutscenes with dialogue trees. There’s not a lot of challenge to be found in these titles either. More an embodiment of Occam’s Razor in that the obvious choice is usually the correct one.
If you’re looking for love this Valentine’s though you might be tempted to brush up on your dating skills with some of these titles. As mentioned we can’t really recommend one but here’s five we can definitely suggest you avoid.
Old Spice Presents: The Secret To The Perfect Pick Up Line
If the title wasn’t already a give away this is more of an interactive advert than an actual dating sim. The main aim of the game is to fill up your Old Spice deodorant bar to activate a power-up. Said power-up aids the player in their attempts to pick up women around the world.
The player is tasked with selecting the missing word from popular pick up lines. A pre-recorded video of a woman will respond with seemingly disjointed statements of a positive or negative nature depending on your success. Despite the incredibly one-sided conversation consisting entirely of one-liners your date will remain captivated.
Although it’s all a little irrelevant because it’s not up to your date to decide if she is interested. That’s Because of the end of each date the ‘Kings of Manhood’ will intervene and determine whether you proceed to the ‘next stage’.
Hatoful Boyfriend asks the question that nobody else was. What if a human went to a school for pigeons and found them all attractive? Well, apparently it would be a bloodbath of murder and betrayal, spoiler alert.
Bizarre though it is, Hatoful Boyfriend is certainly not short on content and the ‘interactive novel’ has 14 possible endings. That’s one for each of the main romanceable characters and depends on who the player chooses to end up with.
Completing all scenarios unlocks a secret ‘Bad Boys Love’ plotline that tells the story from a new perspective. There is an underlying narrative scattered throughout the game told through environmental foreshadowing. Only by completing each scenario does a player discover the less romantic, bloody canonical ending.
So Many Girls So Little Time
Do you like scheduling social interactions but hate the burden of having to actually go to said interactions? Then So Many Girls So Little Time could actually be the game for you.
Following the story of a man with way too many girlfriends, the player is tasked with keeping them all happy. Approval ratings for the girls will drop rapidly and you’ll have to arrange regular dates with each of them. Make sure to keep track of when and where you are scheduling those dates though to avoid disaster.
If a girls approval rating drops to zero or two of your girlfriends meet a game over screen will be triggered. Phone calls come at you thick and fast with little time to respond or check your current plans. It’s an incredibly stressful experience that doesn’t feature any actual dating scenes.
Tomak Save The Earth Love Story
The goddess of love is attempting to save the human race from being destroyed by demons. To do so she’ll have to prove that love is more about personality than physical attraction.
A worthy message perhaps but her methods don’t quite track the romantic notions. Her disembodied head is placed in a plant pot and must be cared for by the player character.
The aim is to romance the dismembered head and take care of it until the goddess falls in love with you. The point being that if someone can fall in love with the decapitated goddess, love is more than skin deep, we guess.
Namco has been a key player in the gaming industry since the very early days of the medium. Producing classics such as Pac Man, Galaga and Dig Dug all the way through to more modern series’ like Tekken and Soul Calibur.
Many gaming fans probably have fond memories of some of their timeless characters but we’re not sure anyone was fantasising about dating them. Apparently, Namco didn’t get that memo though and hence, Namco High. A dating sim set in a high school consisting of memorable Namco characters.
The aim of the game is to find true love amongst such stellar heartthrobs as Donko and the ship from Galaga. It’s as weird as it sounds but the game does at least manage to have a little fun at its own expense with the tongue-in-cheek dialogue.