Sometimes one seeks out a video game in order to escape from their real life and explore a fantasy world the likes of which they could never experience in reality. And sometimes people choose to play games that are so similar to their own lives that they allow players to live out their wildest dreams in the most realistic setting possible. The latter type of game comes to life in the form of the simulation genre of games. These games mimic a version of real life which allows its players to live out their dizziest daydreams. One of the most popular subgenres in the simulation world is the dating simulation game (which also cover a number of themes and genres.) Below are some of the best dating sims in the market.
Choices is a free-to-play mobile game that is made up of several unique mini-games that play like stories in which the players can live out their wildest daydreams. Stories range from coronations to New York vampires. From discovering the mysteries that haunt a small coastal town to reuniting with a long lost twin with special powers.
Players are able to customize their character as well as a choose from a variety of romantic options in each story. It is also important to note that the majority of the stories within this game allow players to pursue romantic interests of any gender.
9 Amnesia: Memories
Amnesia: Memories is a visual novel type game (which means that it occurs in chapters and follows a strict plot that the player cannot deviate from.) In this game, each choice leads to a new parallel universe in which the heroine pursues a single male character. The end goal is to regain the heroine's memories through these interactions and figure out who she was and where she belonged before she lost her memories while becoming acquainted with the selected gentlemen.
8 Katawa Shouju
Katawa Shouju is a dating sim that follows the heroes recovery from a lengthy hospital stay as he transitions into a new school filled with students with a range of different abilities. While adjusting to his new life, the hero also has the ability to pursue a romantic relationship with some of his new peers. However, it is important to note that the outcome of these interactions is very dependent on the success of the heroes attempts to woo his peers and it is very possible that the game could end with him just as single as he was at the start of the game.
7 Sunrider Academy
It is important to note that many dating sims are considered mature games and will not be suitable for all players. Check the ratings and reviews for each game before downloading and playing it in order to avoid surprises. Sunrider Academy is a game whose plot is dictated by the success (or failure) of one's romantic endeavors.
Many players encourage others to save as frequently as possible in case one makes a serious error and needs to restart a portion of the game due to the fact that its events occur within a set time frame. Players will have to manage the day to day activities of the heroes club and life while also pursuing romantic plotlines with care and attention. A difficult balance to achieve.
6 True Love
True Love is one of the original dating simulation games. Though it was released in Japan in 1995, it did not receive a North American release until 1999. Players experience the story from the perspective of a high school boy who is finding his course work far more difficult than expected as well as trying to juggle maintaining an active social life.
The game occurs within a set time frame and is molded by player choice. The game also has high levels of replayability as the player can simply follow a new path and receive an entirely unique experience.
5 Doki Doki Literature Club
The best dating sims are the ones that go against convention and surprise the player. Doki Doki Literature Club is a dating sim that rose in popularity due to the intense twist that occurs halfway through the game. Though the game appears to be a typical cutesy and rose-colored dating sim, it slowly devolves into an intense and brutal psychological horror. This twist led to a surge in popularity in streaming communities as people wanted to see their favorite creators react to each element of the game from start to grim finish.
4 Monster Prom
Monster Prom is a sweet, quirky, and fun dating simulator that allows players to play as one of several monsters as they navigate the uneasy waters of high school. Players will have numerous chances to boost certain stats in order to woo different monsters (as each monster has a preferred personality for potential partners) in time for the prom (which comes at the end of the game.)
The majority of the gameplay is centered around helping one's monster peers with their personal problems as high school is never easy for anyone.
3 Yandere Simulator
In a similar vein as Doki Doki, Yandere Simulator is a sickly sweet dating sim with a dark side. Though the plot of this game does not follow the traditional "pursue one of these five characters" structure that has come to define the genre itself. In Yandere Simulator, players play as a young girl who has decided to bring a little truth to the old adage "If I cannot have him, then no one can" by literally eliminating anyone who attempts to pursue her object of affection. Be careful not to get caught in order to secure the Senpai by the end of the game.
2 Dream Daddy
Dream Daddy is one of the most well-known dating sims on the market due to its viral fame at the time of its release. Players will have the ability to create their own dad/character and explore a quaint little town as they get the chance to try their luck with several local fathers while also helping their daughter during her transition from teenager to young adult. Complete with several nostalgic mini-games, this quirky and lovable adventure is a must-play for all who have a soft spot for romance.
1 Hatoful Boyfriend
What started as an April Fool's joke became one of the most popular dating Sims of 2011. One of the best things about this dating sim is that its many plots and options provide the player with the ability to replay the game numerous times; taking a new path each time. The other thing that makes this game so special is the fact that its cast is comprised entirely of sentient birds. Though the birds are not explained in the original game, it is important to note that it is later explained in the game Bad Boys Love that Hatoful Boyfriend occurs in a post-apocalyptic world where mankind was wiped out and bird with human intelligence took over as the dominant species.