Love is in the air! Or, it was. This article is late for Valentine’s. Oops.
Whether you’re single, in a relationship or halfway through your third bottle of wine (hopefully with good friends or family), Valentines reminds us that there’s no greater feeling than to love and be loved. In line with this season of romance, Reimaru Files presents to you five great dating sims for you to try out. Whether you’re into otome, harem, BL, or just looking to shake things up, there’s something here for both genre greenhorns and grizzled vets alike. Each game has been handpicked either for great stories, memorable characters, wonderful visuals or unique features we hope helps you feel the love this February.
The Arcana – A Mystic Romance
A dating sim wrapped in a murder mystery wrapped in magical fantasy, I’m personally only just beginning to sink my teeth into this one after some friends recommended it to me. The writing is superb. The overarching mystery central to the game’s plot is actually intriguing beyond being just there to move the romance bits along and the presentation is no slouch either. Also, you can ask any of the characters to read your fortune. If you’re into mysticism and fortune telling and the like, don’t pass this game up.
While I take some points away for this game having story choices being hidden away behind a paywall (this game is free-to-play), the story does manage to still work well avoiding them, even if the experience does wind up being sub-optimal.
Burn Your Fat with Me!!
Modern-themed dating sims are a dime a dozen in the mobile space, so I picked this one up for being something extra.
Burn Your Fat with Me!! is a dating sim with a fitness app mixed in for good measure. Using gyroscopic sensors, the game measures your body movement to check if you’ve done your workout for the day. Successfully working out regularly unlocks story content and character illustrations. If you’re the type who wants to get in shape but either finds it awkward to be seen working out in a gym or if you just happen to find gym membership fees a tad too expensive, maybe give this game a try.
Oh, and there’s a version featuring guys called Burn Your Fat with Me!! FG (For Girls).
An otome with a fairy tale bent, Lotte’s Forest is about a girl who’s sucked into her mother’s story book. Here she crosses paths with Licht, a sweet and wise prince who has a tendency of turning into a frog, Orkan, a chivalrous knight with a thing for fancy boots and gold (and is also a cat), and Schwarz, a menacing beast many consider evil but may likely just be misunderstood. Each characters are based on the classic characters the Frog Prince, Puss in Boots and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast respectively, putting a unique spin on old favorites.
I personally find the respun fairy tale schtick never gets old. It’s like seeing old friends in a different light, and this light just so happens to be flattering. This game’s art is one of the more visually impressive I’ve seen from dating sims in recent memory.
I’m trying to think of a dating sim that isn’t on mobile that’s seen as much mainstream success as Dream Daddy has and I came up with nothing. Even if BL isn’t your cup of tea, this game may still be worth your while. This multiple award-winning game oozes charm, wit, and humor from every orifice. Its inclusion of a number of different minigames like golf, sculpting and Pokemon battles using your children keeps the experience fresh and players constantly on their toes throughout.
Also, all the dad jokes. The dad jokes are great.
Get Dream Daddy for PC here!
Doki Doki Literature Club
I lied. Perhaps the only other visual novel with dating sim flavors I know that have seen reach mainstream success is this: Doki Doki Literature Club.
If you’ve never heard of Doki Doki Literature Club, don’t Google it. Skip the reviews. Avoid all the YouTube vids. Just. Get this game. Now. It’s free.
Also, maybe take a video yourself playing the game. For posterity.
Doki Doki Literature Club takes an innocent-looking anime style dating sim and gives it the old Undertale and Five Nights at Freddy’s treatment, twisting everything you thought was safe and beautiful into this disfigured beast that’s the stuff of nightmares. Best of all, this little slice of psychological trauma is free to play on Steam.
Get Doki Doki Literature Club for PC here!