Being a gamer can be a lonely experience. Multiplayer allows us to engage with more gamers online, and we may find ourselves playing with the same group of people daily. Meeting that special someone ends up presenting an even greater challenge. To combat this, some developers have decided to merge romance and video games. Some games like Mass Effect allow players to combine gameplay with optional romances. Gamers who aren’t as skilled or just lack motivation to complete complicated gameplay have other options. Instead of spending all your time fighting through different Mass Effect bosses just so you can get the chance to talk to Tali back on the Normandy, you can play one of the many games that just focus completely on gaming.
Visual novels exploded in popularity in Japan and many were soon translated officially or by fans to the English language. Dating sims, an offset of these, have progressed with technology. At first, games like Tokimeki Memorial could only be played on consoles. Soon, romance games would move to computers and later to smart phones. Men could ignore women in real life to spend more time at home with their virtual 2D girlfriend. Fortunately, these romance sims aren’t limited to just men! There’s a huge market for dating sims called “otome games” marketed for women, as well.
Romance sims have expanded beyond just traditional relationships. Though there’s a plethora of girl-meet-boy stories, dating sims have changed to allow for several different kinds of relationships. Developers who wish to develop dating sims for a larger audience simply became more creative with your romanceable options. Not all of them are tame. We’ve compiled a list full of spoilers containing some of the most creepy romance sims available.
15 Jurassic Heart
Jurassic Heart, a parody of Jurassic Park, is a browser-based dating sim. You play a normal high school girl. The object of your desires? A ukelele-playing, necktie wearing Tyrannosaurus Rex named Taira. To impress Taira, you wear objects you think he would like, such as food or music themed hair clips. Taira isn't a savage beast hoping to enjoy you for dinner. He's a just a shy music lover who confides in his insecurities with you. Though he loves the ukelele, his short arms don't allow him to hold an instrument. There are multiple routes you can take in Jurassic Heart. Make the wrong decision, and your chances for reptile love are over. Thankfully, you can work with Taira to encourage him to continue his music and win his cold-blooded heart.
For most gamers, dating sims are a casual pastime. LovePlus makes dating a 2D girl more serious. You start off the game as a high schooler who just transferred schools. You meet three girls, Manaka, Rinko, and Nene, who become your potential love interests. It sounds like a normal dating sim, but LovePlus soon becomes a huge time investment that takes over your virtual and real life. You must micromanage your schedule to make sure you complete the girl's special tasks. You also must make time to for your character to study and excel in school. As your romantic interest grows close to you, she will also need you to be there for her. That means checking in on her and talking to her often. LovePlus tries to make you neglect your real world responsibilities for a 2D high school romance.
13 Mystic Messenger
Korean developer Cheritz released the wildly popular Mystic Messenger dating sim in mid-2016. The premise is simple: plan a party and romance one of the four guys or befriend the only female. It takes eleven real life days, and you must commit your actual time to participating in chats or phone calls. You’re led to a small apartment that formerly belonged to Rika, who committed suicide. The other party planners are still mourning her death. You can’t refuse their wishes and are forced to plan a party while being held against your will. It gets crazier: under the apartment is a bomb. You may think you can escape, but a cult member will try to kill you if you set foot outside. Once you learn more about the cult, you’ll find out Rika is the leader. She blinded her ex-boyfriend and commanded her minions try to kill you. Mystic Messenger turns a fun dating sim into something way more sinister.
12 Kiss Of Revenge
In many dating sims created for the female demographic, the main protagonist is weak-willed or ditzy. Kiss of Revenge puts you in the shoes of a hard-working doctor in Tokyo. Your mother was killed due to a medical error at a Ebisu General Hospital, and the death was covered up by the medical staff. Revenge has fueled you for the past twelve years. At first, Kiss of Revenge sounds like an intense action story of a young doctor avenging the death of her beloved mother. Don't be fooled; this is still a romance sim. Ebisu Hospital is filled with cute guys. All of them have been hiding a terrible secret for years, but none of them are aware of your plans for revenge. You end up falling for one of the men who possibly murdered your mother and covered up the crime.
11 Brothers Conflict
In Brothers Conflict, you play as the established protagonist, Hinata Ema. You learn that your father, Rintaro, is about to be remarried to a wealthy and famous clothing designer, Asahina Miwa. Instead of getting in the way of their new lives together, you move into one of the apartment complexes owned by your step-mother. There, you learn that you have thirteen step-brothers. They're all different ages with unique appearances and personalities. All of your step-brothers are also incredibly handsome, and one will definitely fall in love with you. You spend time with each of them, growing closer as a family. Though you're not actually blood related, the main plot of the game is to romance and fall in love with one of your brothers! This dating sim was so popular that it was even developed into an anime series.
10 Let’s Be In Love With Creatures! Kokonoe Kokoro
Once you've played through several romance visual novels, you may find yourself bored. You may be seeking a twist on the normal high school romance. The original version of Let’s Be in Love With Creatures! has you star as a normal high school boy named Ichitarou. Your potential love interest and childhood friend is a cricket named Kororo. Ichitarou grows closer to Kororo, but what he doesn't know is that she's always been in love with him. They end up in awkward situations, and Ichitarou will even get to witness Kororo's sexy cricket curves. There is also a version for those who prefer to play as a female. You play as a female student in a high school full of different monsters. Both visual novels revolve around the theme of showing your heart to a non-human and winning their love.
PacaPlus follows a high school student named Kazuma Saeki. He had a cute human girlfriend named Yukari. Thanks to a magical bus ride, they are transported to the Alpaca Kingdom. Yukari has turned into a fluffy alpaca. But Kazuma will not let a change of species break them up! He still attempts to have a normal relationship with Yukari, and she has also not given up on her normal life. Yukari continues her day-to-day life attending school, playing the violin, and participating in after-school activities. Though Yukari was beautiful as a human, Kazuma finds her alpaca version equally as beautiful. Kazuma finds the situation odd at first but learns to accept her new form. They still work together to find out about the Alpaca Kingdom and why Yukari transformed.
8 Tomak: Save The Earth Love Story
Several dating sims only focus on bedding your potential partner. Tomak: Save The Earth Love Story takes a different approach. The object of your desire is a female head in a planter, who happens to be the Goddess of Love, Evian. She doesn't just sit on your windowsill. You can take her out for dates, change her shelter, and dress her up with scarves. She believes that she will prove to the other gods that love can bloom, even if she is just a head in a flowerpot. Raising her skills will prove that humans are capable of loving someone, even if that person has no body. There are also multiple endings. If Evian fails her mission, you'll receive the worst ending where the world is destroyed.
7 Love! Sushi Rangers
Love! Sushi Rangers takes love for food a step too far! This dating sim is about the young daughter of a famous sushi chef. He decides to share his skills with the world, leaving you to run the family business. Unfortunately, Father never passed down his sushi chef skills nor his business knowledge to you. The main character worries that her lack of skill will force her to shut down the restaurant. But suddenly, a group of handsome young men appears... and, of course, these men just happen to be various pieces of sushi in human form. After choosing your main romantic dish, he and the rest of the characters help you run the business and learn how to prepare delicious sushi. You also help him overcome his problems. In the course of helping each other, you end up falling in love.
6 Hot Date
Hot Date is a fast-paced dating sim. Instead of spending days wooing your potential romantic partner, you're a participant in a speed dating. Your matches are different talking pug dogs. During each date, you can ask your partner various questions. Each question is composed of several lists, creating conversation topics from "what is your favorite letter of the Greek alphabet" to talking about Pokémon or the newest episode of The Simpsons. "What is your favorite vegetable?" is something I'm sure you never thought you could ask a dog! The dogs respond with various answers. Of course, since this is speed dating, your questions must be composed quickly before it's time to move onto your next potential match, which is another talking pug. The speed dates will continue until you're tired of playing. There are no options for a second date or to request their phone number.
5 Song Of Saya
Song of Saya is a Lovecraftian horror dating sim. The adult game features extreme content such as murder, cannibalism, and plenty of gore. Song of Saya isn't for the faint of heart. After a horrible car accident that killed his family, Fuminori wakes up to see the world in a different light. The environment around him has turned into fleshy, pulsating mounds. The real world around him continues as normal, and his friends witness Fuminori's mental decline. He meets a young girl named, Saya, who is trying to find her father. The game focuses on how their love develops and Fuminori's decline. As Fuminori and Saya's love grows stronger, Fuminori loses his grasp of reality. You eventually learn that Saya is not a beautiful girl, but is a monster who drives people to madness.
4 Love! Brother-kun!
Technology companies do their best to promote their products to consumers. Brother wants you to literally fall in love with their hardware. In Love! Brother-kun, the object of your desires is a DCP-J952-ECO-W A4 Inkjet MFP Privio Basic Brother printer. Brother-kun (the printer) is a high school student who just transferred to your class. He interacts with you, and you can cheer him on as he plays soccer on the field. As you grow closer to Brother-kun, you find out more about him, such as what kind of paper he prefers to print on. Love! Brother-kun! will take up less than two hours of your time. You can either enjoy it as a very short dating sim or treat it as a very long product commercial.
3 Katawa Shoujo
Katawa Shoujo takes place at a high school for disabled teenagers. Your character, Hisao Nakai, moves to the school after a serious heart condition keeps him out of regular school. Though he attempts to get back to his studies, he meets five young women. Each of the women is disabled: Emi is a leg amputee, Hanako is severely burned, Lilly is blind, Rin is a double arm amputee, and Shizune is both deaf and mute. At first glance, Katawa Shoujo seems like a dating sim that fetishes disabilities. These five young women are not so eager to fall for Hisao's romantic pursuits. He has to learn how to befriend and eventually romance each girl, despite their disabilities. Not only does he learn more about each girl, he learns about seeing his own life in a more positive light.
2 Hatoful Boyfriend
Hatoful Boyfriend is a visual novel starring birds as the primary love interest. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where the mutated strain of the bird flu, H5N1, has killed several humans. The counter-virus mutates birds to a human-level of intellect. After several years have passed, humans and birds have tried to reconnect and unite once again. You are not only a new transfer student at St. PigeoNation, but also the only human at the school, which is filled with various talking birds. As you study, you raise various character skills that make the birds more interested in you, and can choose what your character wants to do every day and what parts of the school to visit. As the story progresses, you grow closer to your classmates. Friendships with the birds will of course soon lead to romance. There are thirteen different endings to achieve, and an extra ending if you fail to romance any of the birds. Keep playing the game once you romance the birds, as well, and you might find that the game takes a very sinister turn that's more like a survival horror game than a dating sim.
1 My Horse Prince
My Horse Prince is a mobile-only dating app. You play as a young woman who is tired of working in the office. She visits a horse ranch, hoping it would be filled with handsome young ranchers. Instead, there is only the owner and a horse with a human head named Yuuma. The owner of the ranch only sees a normal horse. The protagonist can see a human head because the game claims some women born in the Year of the Horse see horses as handsome men. You decide to extend your vacation and help Yuuma train for an upcoming race. The gameplay consists tapping various items laying on the ground in various levels. You have the option to speak to Yuuma and help increase his stamina by choosing correct answers. Though the game never directly states you are in a relationship with Yuuma, he makes his feelings for you explicitly obvious.