Hatoful Boyfriend is the ultimate bird dating simulator (yes, really)

Hatoful Boyfriend is the ultimate bird dating simulator (yes, really)

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

Still, even if you would probably never check out a typical dating sim otherwise, you should consider playing Hatoful Boyfriend.

The most obvious of those are choosing which birds to visit and talk to, as youre building relationships along the way, but there are other considerations too

Why? Because its about dating birds-as a human girl. Youre the sole human student at St. PigeoNations Institute, but that species barrier might seem mighty easy to overcome when love blossoms in the hallways. romancetale mobiel Hatoful Boyfriend is a dialogue-driven, choose-your-own-adventure quest, letting you pick which birds to chat with and invite out, which classes to attend and clubs to join, and even your demeanor in conversation.

How you live out your days at bird school helps determine the course of your storyline, not to mention which of the dozen-plus endings you obtain. And if the delirious concept isnt inviting enough, Hatoful Boyfriend really is a delightfully funny and perhaps even emotional experience, depending on your path. True story! But a lot of that relies upon how you play each interaction and which narrative threads you choose to follow.

Hatoful is hilarious: Hatoful Boyfriend strikes the right balance between playing things straight and being as delightfully peculiar as the premise suggests. Each bird has its own distinctive personality: One might be stuck up and act like hes better than his “commoner” classmates, while another is elusive and hides a secret past. One bird, meanwhile, is on a constant search for the perfect pudding, and flips out in a fit of rage when he cant have it.

Just like with real-life people, its a diverse mix of characters-but here, theyre birds. Surely, the original Japanese game was packed with personality, but a lot of credit must go to reliably offbeat U.S. publisher Devolver Digital for ensuring a sharp translation that comes off as fresh and relevant for Western players. Be warned: Hatoful Boyfriend may well elicit some deep laughs, and you could be in for some baffled stares if you admit youre playing a bird dating simulator.

Its your story: How your Hatoful Boyfriend story unfolds is dependent entirely on your own actions in the game-and every little decision plays a role. Which clubs do you join? Which classes did you choose to attend? Did you get a summer job that introduced you to the kindly owner, which then alters your fate?

This seems like a silly choice, but one of the options I encountered here in my next game clearly led to a very severe plot twist. Choose wisely.

Dating simulators are one of those distinctly Japanese styles of games that has never really broken into the mainstream here, but a small number of them make their way over (or are community-translated) for the hardcore fans of the niche

How you choose along the way helps shape your story and the characters that fit most prominently within it. It also may determine how long (or short) your adventure is: My first game ended in about an hour with my heroine choosing friendship with an older bird met outside of school. A second playthrough, meanwhile, lasted twice as long and spanned multiple school years, ultimately exposing me to previously unseen twists.

Plenty of birds in the air: And if youre not satisfied with how your fairy tale (bird) romance turns out, just start a new game: Youll see a lot of the same early-game dialogue exchanges, but they can be fast-forwarded until its time to make decisions. From there, you could encounter more than a dozen different endings based on your actions, and from what Ive seen so far, they vary widely in tone and outcome. These birds arent interchangeable, and neither is your destiny with any of them.

Look, Hatoful Boyfriend is super weird, but thats key to its appeal-e, but with birds, its certainly good for a laugh. On the other hand, if you cant fully stomach their avian advances, you can choose to have the game show a human avatar when introducing new characters. But that doesnt make the dialogue, or the experience, any less pleasantly confounding.