A while back we told you about Doki Doki Literature Club, the new indie dating sim taking the scene by storm. But it’s not the first in the genre to get weird on you — no, not by a long shot. Games old and new have been playing with the familiar tropes. One, School Days, even had one of its routes made into an anime (which you can watch on Viewster if you dare)!
Are you ready to brave more of the genre’s strangest? Hang on tight:
totono – They’re Self-Aware
Right alongside School Days in the Rogue’s Gallery of weird dating sims is totono from Nitro+. Short for Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi (You, Her, and Her Love), it seems fairly normal at first. There are two girls to choose from: your childhood friend Miyuki, or the mysterious pink-haired Aoi. At first you only have access to Miyuki’s route, with Aoi in the background spouting visual novel-type language as though it’s part of everyday life.
Getting to Aoi’s route is difficult, but there is a way to do so. But then comes the big question: what happens with the other girls after you go down other routes? Did those true love confessions ever really happen? Or is it simply a new reality? Not that it matters — it’s just a game, right?
Well… much like Doki Doki after it, totono brings you face to face with the idea of your virtual loves as real people. What happens when a character exists only for you, and what happens when you treat their confessions like scenes to be collected? (Incidentally, “collecting scenes” is also addressed, but you’ll have to play for yourself to see what that’s about… provided you’re 18+).
Hatoful Boyfriend – As If It Couldn’t Get Weirder
It almost feels redundant to put photorealistic pigeon-love game Hatoful Boyfriend in this article, because it’s already visibly weird. You’re a human and you date pigeons. That should be enough, right?
Well, have protagonist Hiyoko romance Shuu Iwamine, the school doctor, and suddenly bird dates are the least creepy thing about the game. We won’t tell you what your relationship with him leads to. But suffice to say, when you get to the end you’re a little stuck when it comes to choices.
Lots of dating sims (and visual novels in general) actually have something of a creepy downer ending buried somewhere. Sometimes you have to work really hard to get it, but others you can stumble across if you’re not careful. Do you have a favorite weird dating sim ending? Tell us in the comments!
And don’t forget to check out School Days on Viewster if you’re feeling extra brave!