Dating sims ninja
While it was initially influenced by Japanese BL games, it covers more Western sensibilities. is currently available on PC only from Manga Gamer directly (though I’m told it can work on Mac via a Windows virtual machine). Korean company Cheritz has been releasing their Japanese-style dating sim games into English for a couple of years now, and recently got those games onto Steam through Greenlight.
Their latest, Nameless, is quite beautiful and differs from their last entry, Dandelion, in that it does not contain stats and instead is a straight up visual novel.
And while their games seem cute, don’t let that fool you: the endings are bittersweet.
In Nameless you play as a woman who likes to collect ball-joint dolls, and who recently lost the grandfather she grew up alone with.
This creates a very different relationship dynamic, since you are inside Haru's head and are the active pursuer, rather than the pursued.
In Japan, dating sim characters are referred to as “capturable” -- whether that means you capture their hearts or their bodies depends on the game.
Tools like multiple save slots, quick-save features, and the ability to skip text and rewind help players efficiently pursue every potential partner character and reveal every story path.
It’s like backwards-engineering a narrative database -- and you may be surprised to find how much the story changes when you focus on a different partner each time. Hakuoki is a period piece, taking place in the Bakumatsu period of Japan at the time of civil unrest between the Emperor and the Shogun.
Lots of players get turned onto these aspects from story and character-driven Bio Ware games like Dragon Age, and if you’re a fan of those, I have a few recommendations to help welcome you into the otome genre.
While all you need to be “good at” is reading and making choices -- don’t worry if you don’t normally play games -- there are some important things to know about how these games work.
Part of the problem is that most of the games aren’t just extremely niche, they’re erotic 18 products and as such difficult to market. Last year Manga Gamer, a publisher usually known for its 18-and-older fare aimed at men, announced that they've licensed and are translating two new titles in an attempt to appeal to underserved audiences, mainly women and queer men. , slated to release on Steam, and the other is unique 18 boys love game, No, Thank You!!!