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PC Game Review

Hatoful Boyfriend


Format: PC
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Mediatonic, Hato Moa
RRP: £6.99
Click here to buy
Age Restrictions: TBC
Release Date: 04 September 2014

Ever wanted to live out a fantasy where you attend high school with a whole lots of birds? Well, be careful what you wish for because Hatoful Boyfriend has been released in a fully upgraded form for the PC. The game was originally developed by Moa Hato's and her Otome circle.

Review imageThe Japanese game started life as a fan project. These games, called Dōjin soft, are usually produced for handhelds, usually in the form of a light game, which has more in common with an interactive novel than what is normally conceived as a computer game. In Japan there is a large audience for Otome games, that is games designed for teenage girls. The stories have a lot in common with Otome anime, in that the concentration is mostly on friendships, social interaction and boys, well in this case pigeons.

Review imageIn the light game you play a teenage girl who is attending her new school, which is staffed and attended by a variety of birds. Your interaction with the game is limited to either a click of the mouse or the return key. This is used to forward the interactions and to make story choices. In this way it offers you a set of branching alternatives very much like the earliest games, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The only other two options in the game is the capacity to save your current progress and a button to speed past sections which you may have already encountered.

Review imageAs well as engaging in social intercourse with your avian friends you can decide which classes to attend, each of the three have a positive effect on your stats. There are a number of different endings, depending on your choices. Some of which will unlock documents which provides a further insight into the overall narrative and one which turns the game into a murder mystery, but still with birds. This section is well worth exploring as it explains how the birds became sentient and what happened to all of the humans. At this point the game switches from cute dating game to a dark dystopian science fiction tale.

Review imageIn the end it’s an odd game, starting as it does with fluffy nonsense and slowly involving into a much darker narrative. The problem with the static picture soon fades if you’re willing to put in enough time to start to unravel the story. For an audience who generally crave more and better graphics this might be a bit of a turn off.

The game is difficult to classify, as there are few examples of this genre outside of Japan and even there the format is mostly used for pornography. It would probably be of interest to gamers who are also voracious readers, willing to put in the time clicking endlessly to advance the plot.


Charles Packer

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