By Justin Guillou / February 14th, 2015
|Developer||PigeoNation Inc, Mediatonic|
|Publisher||MIST[PSI]PRESS, Devolver Digital|
|Release Date||September 4, 2014|
In case you were wondering, the name “Hatoful Boyfriend” comes from the Japanese word Hato 鳩 meaning pigeon or dove. It is also a pun on the words hurtful and/or heartful.
Another year… another Valentine’s Day. Some say it’s a pointless holiday, while others embrace it as much as they would their loved ones. As for me, due to certain events that happened between me and the woman I once loved, I do not have a date this year. Moving on is hard, but I decided I’m going to put myself out there by playing the visual novel dating sim, Hatoful Boyfriend. Yes, it has come to that point where I am searching for potential partners by pretending to be a woman and enrolling in a high school filled with male birds. Perhaps this is the first step to insanity? Or maybe, I might just find my special someone!
So, my search for love starts out with me walking to school with Ryouta, a real sweetheart who is always reliable and always has my back. I have to say, my classmates are quite the interesting bunch. There is an option to turn on their human portraits. GREAT! Now, I don’t have to fantasize about how they would look if they were human. Allow me to run through the ‘Men’ of the class. There is Sakuya, the smug French guy whose style and elegance is actually quite charming. There is also Nageki-kun who just comes off as a total loner, but might compensate in other ways. There is also Okosan who seems to like pudding a bit too much, and Kazuaki-sensei who I think has a crush on me. I’m going to date them all! If you call me a slut, you will get punched! After all, I am trying to also get the achievements by finishing their paths… Wait, does that make me a trophy whore? Oh no….
The game plays out on a day-by-day basis with you participating in a specific activity to further the story. During free elective days, you are given the choice between Gym, Math or Music class. After going through one of these classes, one of three stats will be increased by a couple points: Wisdom, Vitality or Charisma. You can also join an extracurricular activity like the track team, student council or the infirmary staff. Eventually, you will come across Sakuya’s brother, Yuuya-senpai, who totally noticed me! He is yet another date-able bird who is always very forward and not afraid to reveal his passion for you. The songs played during many of these scenes are very relaxing. For some reason, I can’t stop humming this one song:
Other events that can happen on a given day include the three-legged race, the maid cafe, a festival or a class trip. During each of these events, you are given a choice to spend time with a certain character to get to know them better and improve your relationship. I decided I would see all the guys first before going down a specific bird’s path. Makes sense, right? Well… what ended up happening was I went too long without getting far enough with a bird, and I got killed in the middle of the night. There we have it, folks, my quest for love ends with me dying… ALONE. 0/10 would not play again.
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