Posts Tagged ‘dating sim’

Complete List of Sekai Project-Published Games

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grisaialogopic

If you’ve visited Pixel Pacas before then you know we have a huge love for all sorts of visual novels. From otome to horror to eroge to, well, anything else we’re happy to give them all a shot!

One of the biggest publishers in the visual novel space, Sekai Project, is the newest but has quickly risen to become a name that most visual novel fans know. This is thanks in large part to their Steam focus which allows them far more attention than JAST USA and MangaGamer. After all, both companies just recently began utilizing Steam.

Just how many games bear Sekai Project’s name on them now, though? After all, it seems like they’re constantly announcing new titles! We’ve gone through the grunt work of finding each one.

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HuniePop Review

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Developer: HuniePot
Publisher: HuniePot
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*, Steam

I never would have thought that HuniePop was going to be a game that I’d be playing for over 11 hours until 2 in the morning. At a glance, it looks like your typical mediocre anime dating sim. There are plenty of those floating around, so why bother with HuniePop?

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Fading Hearts Review

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Fading Hearts Logo

Developer: Sakura River Interactive
Publisher: Sakura River Interactive
Platform: PC – Direct, Steam

I’ve enjoyed using Steam for years but have always felt disappointed at the lack of visual novels on the platform. Fading Hearts is part of a small group of games from the genre cropping up on the storefront, which leads to quite mixed results. Fading Hearts isn’t a brand new game as it actually launched in 2009. But is it a worthwhile title to play today or should you look to something else?

Well, first it must be said that there’s an incredibly diverse reaction to the game. Some love it and some hate it! I’m in the camp that was pleasantly surprised, although not everything about the experience was wondrous. With that said, let’s get into the review already.

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Fading Hearts is a very unique visual novel. You play as a teenager named Ryou who has two best friends – Rina and Claire. As you might expect, there is some romantic triangle stuff going on, but you don’t have to pursue it either. What got me so captivated was realizing that the game wasn’t just a droll cutesy dating sim. Instead, it can take a great many paths, many of which are far more interesting than Fading Hearts initially lets on.

Because there are so many ways the story can twist and change, you’re going to have to beat the game a few times to see everything. With a first playthrough taking 3 to 5 hours, it isn’t a massive time investment to explore a bit more to complete it. Different characters have different stories whcih are revealed if you befriend them, while whole other avenues open up if you make the right series of choices. The game definitely gets weird at times, but I enjoyed it.

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Alongside hanging out with friends, you are also trying to unravel strange occurrences going on around you. Beyond this, you also work on improving the stats of your character. Some of this aids with earning more money from part-time work, while others help you gain battle stats, but I won’t say anything more about that…

The negatives that many people appear to harp on are the fact that the story is sometimes silly (Y2K orphans, anyone?), has a few seriously odd twists, utilizes a fairly standard anime-style art, and is overall not a polished experience. These things are true but I don’t at all find them game breaking. Still, players should go in expecting that every once in a while there are typos, the music isn’t particularly endearing, and perhaps some of the plot points will seem too outlandish. With all that said, I had a lot of fun playing through Fading Hearts and will definitely be checking more alternative paths soon!


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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February is Dating Sim Month!

Jurassic Heart Screenshot

Over at Chic Pixel, a buddy of mine has started hosting themed game-alongs each month. The first was based on Falcom games in January, and now that February has rolled around a new theme has been chosen. Anne has christened February as Dating Sim Month! As I adore dating sims/visual novels/etc, this was something I simply had to share with the readers of Pixel Pacas.

Basically, these game-alongs serve as a good way to get you to play more games but they also foster community discussion on the theme. If you want to participate, all you have to do is choose a game that in some way could be considered romantic and get playing! This could include visual novels with romantic leads to pursue such as Sweet Fuse: At Your Side, games with stat building like the Tokimeki Memorial series (or Nicole, a Western dating sim), and stuff that just includes dating like Rune Factory 4 or practically any Harvest Moon! The goal is for lots of people to participate and have fun – not to shut someone out if they don’t own a “true” dating sim.

Participants are free to play and share their experiences via Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, blog, or any other easily-accessible method. The hashtag for this event is #DatingSiMonth. Yes, there’s only one “M” in there so don’t get confused (like I initially did!). All this information is available in more detailed form on Chic Pixel so head on over!

Romance the Printer of Your Dreams in a New Dating Sim

Brother Printer Dating Sim

Why stop at dating women-turned-alpacas, grasshoppers, or high school-aged pigeons? Now you can try your hand at dating a printer!

A new web-based advergame was released by Brother International that lets you do just that. Love! Brother-kun is the game and is available in Japanese. However, if your browser is capable of translating on the fly, you can play the game “in English”!

In any case, the dating sim is set in a high school with you being one of the students. Suddenly, you see him – Brother-kun. You can fall in love with this non-human transfer student (apparently male?) and even watch him play sports. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.

Check it out and take a guess at what weirdness dating sims will come up with next.

You Can Date Grasshoppers in a New Dating Sim!

Fall In Love With Creatures! Kokonoe Kokoro

There are a host of pretty wild dating sims out there these days. From dating alpacas to birds, it seems like every humorous concept is being tackled. But what about insects? At least one developer decided to tackle this topic for the Nico Nico Jisaku Game Festival 2.

Developer Nostalgia created a game which translates to Fall in Love with Creatures! Kokonoe Kokoro. In this indie dating sim the player can apparently romance a grasshopper. Your younger sister is a bat and your friend appears to be some sort of demonic horror. As for the main character… I’m unclear as to if they are human or something else.

In any case, the game is only available in Japanese right now. Those who can read Japanese are in luck though as the title is completely free. Of course, if a translation ever comes about I’ll be sure to play it!

Nicole Review

Nicole Bachelors

Nicole Logo

Developer: Winter Wolves
Publisher: Winter Wolves
Platform: PC – Direct

Things were supposed to be going great for Nicole. She has just entered her ideal college and is excited to begin her law studies. Her roommate is kind, the school has high standing, and there are copious amounts of cute boys on campus. There’s just one problem… The campus has been the site of three college student abductions. Although each was discovered safely days after, with no memory of their time away, it’s a severely creepy crime that has left the campus with a worrisome atmosphere.

At the beginning, Nicole wants nothing more than to keep these fears at arm’s length. She focuses on classes and making friends, which is where the meat of gameplay comes in. Players must work to increase Nicole’s various stats. They don’t have much bearing on her school performance, but are instead useful for romancing a guy (if you want to). Each fellow is receptive to a certain stat and, if you can figure it out, then he’ll be putty in your hands! It’s not too hard to tell what stats work with who – you just base it off personality. She can even get a few jobs to earn some spending money.

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For all this normalcy, Nicole just can’t leave the disappearances alone. One other stat to take care of is based around conducting an investigation into them on your own. You actually don’t have to discover who is behind it to finish the game, but you’ll want to. Be sure to increase your clue stat to maximum! You’ll also want to have a guy in tow to get the best ending possible. With a handful of variation in end states there are ten endings possible to achieve.

Unfortunately, the receptive bachelors are not particularly endearing. There’s a jock who loves to verbally harass Nicole whenever she’s around. It hardly makes you want to cozy up to the guy. Then there’s a smart science guy, who could be cool, until his personality turns… Perhaps the easiest character to get along with is a “nerd” who obsesses over a Tumblr-like site. Maybe that’s just me, but at least he wasn’t a complete asshole. In any case, there are four guys to romance. You’ll get to increase relationships via choosing dialogue although you can also buy presents for your favorite.

Although the overarching story is enjoyable, it could have handled a tad more editing. There are times that events are described with such detail that it’s just mundane (do we really need to know the subtleties of how Nicole sets up and uses her browser?). Also, despite being a story about college-aged youths, there are some really antiquated flourishes in the text department. This isn’t for one character in particular, but the writing overall. Other times, it is spruced up with more current terminology.

Nicole Screenshot 2

Despite my issues, I still wanted to see Nicole through to the end. I also really wanted to nab my guy of choice. This was definitely aided by the lovely character art. Everyone is given a great amount of detail and even have different outfits to wear. If only more could have been done with hairstyles so each guy didn’t have a similar mop of hair. CGs are also lovely but there are only a few included.

Play Nicole if you’re looking for some mystery alongside romance. Even if I felt most of the guy choices were icky, at least one or two of the four dateable options are nice. It’s a game that will also last a few hours as you play through Nicole’s first semester of college. In all, it might not be the best showing for an otome game but there was definite effort put into making this a polished product, so give it a look! There’s a free demo of Nicole available on Winter Wolves’ site to see if it’s a game you’ll enjoy.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Nachtigal Review

Nachtigal Featured

Nachtigal Logo

Developer: Cyanide Tea
Publisher: Cyanide Tea
Platform: PC – Direct

For many of us, the idea of having a romantic relationship with a vampire is incredibly appealing. Much of this probably comes from the fantasy aspect of the whole equation as vampires don’t actually exist! To have some ageless, handsome being doting on you hand and foot –  yes, I can see why it’s an enticing idea. But what if you simply managed to wander into a vampire’s home on accident one night? Would it still be lovely or would you end up fearing for your own mortality? This is where Cyanide Tea places players as they begin Nachtigal.

You see, it all was an accident on Miranda’s part. She was by herself on a vacation in Belgium, studying the architecture. Unfortunately, without her phone working, she finds herself completely stranded after a day of exploration. She enters into a mansion and is then trapped by two handsome, yet fearsome, vampires. Adrian and Luca don’t kill her though and let her live with them out of curiosity…

As you spend your days in the mansion, either one or both vampires will reveal parts of their history to her. Miranda somehow takes this all in stride even though she expects to die when a caravan of vampires arrive there in a few weeks. It’s odd, but her attitude helps keep the tone from being completely scary. She plays around with Adrian and Luca even though both of them end up feasting on her at various times.

Nachtigal Screenshot

This is the part that made Nachtigal hard for me to stomach. Miranda is scared – and rightly so – when they begin to use her for feeding. Yet, things quickly take a turn for the romantic as she offers herself to one or both vampires as a way to care for them. It is possibly an attempt to save herself from their anger, but the way it’s written feels icky. At least it did to me, but others will probably enjoy it as 100% fantasy fulfillment.

If it isn’t creepy to you then you’ll also probably seek out all six endings and unlock all the gorgeous CGs. Despite my trepidation, I still wanted to know every tiny bit of the story which caused me to play through multiple times. The art is nice, although it certainly gets bloody on some occasions. In particular, two endings are exceedingly creepy and not particularly befitting to the otherwise light tone. Nachtigal is anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on how quickly you read and if you play through more than once. It’s also available as a “pay what you want” download. As such, take Nachtigal for a spin and see if Adrian or Luca are just the kind of vampires you wish to romance.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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Sweet Fuse: At Your Side Review

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Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Aksys Games
Platform: PSP

Sweet Fuse is an otome visual novel that has an incredibly weird premise.  Your uncle, Keiji Inafune (yes, THAT Keiji Inafune), has built a video game-themed amusement park and you’re invited to its grand opening.  Everything is going swell until the evil Count Hogstein takes over the park and all its staff hostage. It’s up to you and six handsome men to brave Hogstein’s seven deadly games, lest he kills all the hostages and blows up your uncle’s beloved park.

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There’s still time for love, though! All six guys are romanceable at the very start of the game and have their own routes. There’s also a seventh guy whose route is unlocked when you finish Sweet Fuse at least once. To my surprise, I grew to love every guy over the course of my playthroughs (well, except Meoshi). I say it’s definitely worth it to go through every single route that Sweet Fuse has to offer! Even if the romance aspect in Sweet Fuse is minimal, there’s still enough of it to satisfy anyone that is in search of that ooey-gooey stuff.

Sweet Fuse‘s story is surprisingly serious and deep. As you go through each route, you figure out that Hogstein isn’t the nonsensical villain that he’s first introduced as. There’s actually a reason that he’s decided to have all of you participate in his games! All the guys also have some rather interesting backstories that eventually intertwine. I can’t say too much without spoiling the whole plot, though.

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Some of you folks may be concerned that Sweet Fuse is too “girly.” Like I mentioned previously, the romance is kept to a minimum and the game instead relies more on action and drama. It actually feels a lot like Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, if that happens to be a visual novel that you like. Sweet Fuse is an otome game that everyone can enjoy.

I think the only aspects of Sweet Fuse that disappointed me were the rather large amount of typos and the “puzzles.” Before I began the game, I was under the impression that the puzzles advertised would actually be solved by you. Instead, the characters in the game usually come to conclusions for the puzzles themselves (oftentimes bumbling). Sometimes, you’ll get the opportunity to push your group into the right direction by selecting the correct keyword during the “Explosive Insight” phase, but it’s not very exciting. 

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That stuff is easily pushed aside when compared to everything I love about Sweet Fuse, though. What I believed was going to be a silly little visual novel actually turned out to be a very emotional and entertaining experience. If you own a PSP/Vita and like visual novels, then definitely get your hands on Sweet Fuse. 


Pink Score: 5

5 out of 5 alpacas


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4 Upcoming Otome Games to Look Forward To

Hakuoki Featured

Hakuoki Featured

What is an “otome game”? Basically, it is a specific style of visual novel games where you play as a woman and have the opportunity to pursue relationships with other characters. Generally, the other characters will be guys, but not always! In any case, the genre has existed for a long time in Japan but has always been fairly rare in America. All the same, we have seen some publishers brave enough to bring their otome titles to the West (to great response)!

We’ve decided to put together a list of upcoming otome games that we’re personally looking forward to. Some are titles you’ll be able to get on a console, while others are independent PC titles. Regardless of where you get them though otome games are worth supporting. So let’s take a look at four upcoming titles!

Leah’s Picks

Hakuoki Screenshot

Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi

Thanks to Aksys bringing over Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, it has been proven that there is indeed a market for otome games in the West. Now, 3DS gamers will be able to have some fun with the handsome men of the Shinsengumi as well! Memories of the Shinsengumi not only includes the original story of Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, but also expands upon it with six new side-stories. Along with a 3D-viewing mode and a photobooth mode, this makes Memories of the Shinsengumi a must-have if you’re a fan of otome games and visual novels.

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Sweet Fuse: At Your Side

Aksys strikes again! Like the Hakuoki series, Sweet Fuse: At Your Side seems to be very fast-paced and action-packed (it also reminds me a lot of 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward). Its premise is a tad siller, though. Basically, you are Keiji Inafune’s neice, Saki, and you’re visiting your uncle’s brand new theme park. Unfortunately, the evil Count Hogstein takes the famous game developer hostage and incites a “deadly series of games.”  It’s up to Saki and a group of good-looking men to save the day. Sweet Fuse boasts fourteen different endings, puzzles, and a chance at love with the aforementioned guys.

Marcus’s Picks

Backstage Pass Screenshot

Backstage Pass

Developer Sakevisual have been around for a while and already produced a handful of games. With titles like Jisei, RE: Alistair++, and Ripples, you can already get a taste of what they bring to the visual novel scene. Backstage Pass is itself a semi-sequel to RE:A++ and focuses on college student Sian who is trying to balance her job and school life. Thanks to her makeup artist job, she comes into contact with a handful of Hollywood-type hunks. There are four dateable men and sixteen different endings.

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Jacob’s Island

Jacob’s Island is a different sort of game, where the main focus is not on dating, but experiencing the story of Kenna, who is one of the last humans among fantastical beings. As she learns more about herself, players may choose to date one of the multiple characters along the way. This game is being funded through Kickstarter and still requires a few thousand dollars to be a success. If you’d really like to play it then check out the demo and consider helping them out.