Want a boyfriend who’ll never lie, cheat, or ghost on you? Japan’s got you covered with its hottest new video game genre: mobile romance/virtual dating games for the ladies!
Let’s face it, modern dating can be pretty disappointing for both sexes, but for girls who value good old-fashioned romance, it’s particularly dire. Japan hasn’t escaped the plague of impersonal online dating apps and with modern Japanese guys (allegedly) said to be increasingly disinterested in pursuing romance, it’s hard out there for girls who are tired of waiting for Prince Charming. The answer for frustrated females may lie in the emerging mobile phone romance/otome app genre, which is currently flourishing in Japan. After all, why waste your tears on a guy who doesn’t text you back when you can have your very own virtual boyfriend living in your phone?
Romance and dating simulation games aren’t new in Japan, but (with the notable exception of the Tokimeki Memorial Girls’ Side games), they’ve been traditionally aimed at male players. These days, however, girls are spoilt for choice with a huge range of romance and virtual dating apps which combine beautifully drawn artwork with compelling male characters and intricate stories with lots of twists and turns. Many games now also feature voice acting and greater interactivity via the touchscreen among other features. The popularity of these games can’t be overlooked, and with many titles now being localised for the West, we reckon they’re about to take over the world! After all, you must have heard of Hatoful Boyfriend by now, which technically falls into the “female-oriented dating sim” category. (Only with a bit more pigeons than usual.)
Let’s take a look at just a couple of the many romance apps being shown at Tokyo Game Show this year!
Meanwhile, industry powerhouse Voltage Inc. displayed a historical entry in the genre.
There was even an interactive event with cute guys playing roles inspired by the game!
The company even has English-language versions of its official pamphlet, which makes sense because (brace yourselves overseas ladies) many of their games are also available in English. Check them out on iOS and Android. Many of their apps have lengthy free trials, so you can check them out without spending a penny upfront.
The characters represent ideal versions of Japanese male beauty, with this cardboard cutout cutie demonstrating a perfect Hattoshin – a word to describe someone whose head is exactly one-eigtht of their body length, which is considered a beauty ideal in Japan.
This year, the company even put on a special VR exhibit, where you can experience an “Isu-don” in VR. An “Isu-don” or “chair slam” is similar to a kabe-don, with the man slamming his hands down on the arms of a girl’s chair rather than against a wall.
Capcom’s recent foray into the market was represented by Toraware no Paruma/Incarcerated Palm, which we recently covered. In the game, players interact with forgetful hottie Haruto, which is suffering from amnesia after being implemented in a possible crime. You get to touch palms with Haruto as well as spy on him in his cell, and you can even send him presents. He’ll text your phone, too. Oh, and he’s fully voice-acted.
He’s also beautifully designed and drawn, with just a touch of the Leon S Kennedy about him. Maybe it’s the hair?
He makes even a prison jumpsuit look good! As you can see, he’s also a perfect example of a Hattoshin – check out those long legs!
Finally, we spotted Bungou to Arukemisuto, or “The Literary Master and the Alchemist”, which is an upcoming browser game designed for women by DMM games, featuring a cast of cute scholars.
So, have any of these romance games caught your eye? If so, let us know which ones below!
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