Dating sims aren’t for everyone. I understand that- but not every dating sim involves an entire cast of pigeons for you to choose from. This game is Hatoful Boyfriend, developed by Mediatonic, published by Developer digital, and available for play here on Steam, which is where I played it. Set in a world where over sized and overly intelligent pigeons have taken over the earth, you- one of the few humans left, have been invited to attend St. PigeoNations, one of the most prestigious schools around. There, you find yourself choosing from a cast of characters (yes, all birds) to date. The birds follow the stereotypes you’d find in most dating sims, the shy bird in the library, the vanilla best friend, the creepy doctor, the hot teacher, and the cool and zany classmates, and more. Each bird has it’s own music, and I’ve linked some clips of those tunes to these categories.
Hatoful Boyfriend plays like most dating simulators. You read the text, and watch the pictures fade in and out, listen to music, and occasionally make a choice that alters the outcome of the game. To the right you’ll see one of the choice screens commonly found within the game, each one guiding your character towards a specific bird.
The writing in this game is truly what sets it apart. Each bird has it’s own ending, and when you’ve accomplished all of those, you unlock the true and terrifying backstory to the game. This game takes you from dating pigeons of all shapes and sizes to solving a murder and possible genocide It’s a big jump, especially when most of the game is so happy go lucky. The creature you see above makes it’s appearance in the “true ending” and when it appeared I was more than startled. The twists and turns that the writing of this game offers is more than enjoyable, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story-heavy game. It combines the perfect amount of inanity with realism to make each twist surprise and scare you. It’s the games basis, that you’re only dating pigeons–that’s it’s seen as a joke, that makes the incredible storytelling work so well. If it weren’t for that background, the horror of the twisting story and the sudden darkness wouldn’t be nearly as effective as it is. It’s a game that anybirdy who likes story driven games would like.