Why Hatoful Boyfriend is a Visual Novel You Should Play



Hatoful Boyfriend is a visual novel which originally launched in 2011 by Hato Moa. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that the internet populace really took notice of it – even so, that was still a fairly niche audience. The fact that the game didn’t play nice with some modern OSes certainly didn’t help things. For whatever reason, Hatoful Bofyriend was then tweaked by Mediatonic to run on newer systems (alongside a few other little modifications/additions). It was around this point when a much larger audience took notice thanks to the remake’s release on Steam. Now, the game has “Overwhelmingly positive” reviews but most of which are done firmly tongue in cheek rather than much focus on possible merits.

The biggest trend that appeared was one of mock shock and jokes. Certainly, Hatoful Boyfriend was made to amuse, but the way so many reacted said one thing – they weren’t actually going to play it. Unfortunately, the oddball concept of a young woman going to high school with birds (and possibly falling for them) was too much for many to handle.  But in what way is this so different from most other visual novels currently on Steam? They tend to offer flighty impossible tales, often with implausible love interests (ex: the trope of tons of girls falling for one incredibly average guy).

One reason that I felt many distanced themselves far from Hatoful Boyfriend is because they cannot “be” the protagonist as they’re so used to. So far, most dissing of the game I’ve seen comes from guys who 1. don’t want to date pigeons 2. don’t want to date male pigeons. To be fair, no one should want to date pigeons – but something about the otome aspect makes it even harder for certain players to grasp. This is a shame and hopefully these players will reconsider playing a game that is about amusement and a simple story instead of serious romantic pursuits.

If you avoid Hatoful Boyfriend because it just seems too weird then I also ask you to reconsider. Yes, it is weird, and that’s part of the charm. This game offers a surprising amount of endings and is not just about being a goofy mess. Certain storylines are surprising in their emotional resonance.  Every bird has their own personality which compels one to learn more about them. Although it is not a modern classic of the visual novel genre by any stretch it is a fine value for its cost. There is so much more to this game than meets the eye – and so many people are missing out on it.

Are there problems with the experience? Yes, such as a very poor fast forward/skip text feature. The text appears the same as its original version, grammatical oddness and all. Still, Hatoful Boyfriend deserves more respect than it has received. If you ever find yourself running low on visual novels to play, then please pick it up. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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  • Barrel~

    B-but… I’d rather play a regular visual novel Otome game. Like I keep meaning to go back to Sweet Fuse, so after finishing up that then I might consider playing it. Like, I have an inherent lack of interest in dating sims in general (regular or Otome) unless there is a greater plot or some serious character-focused storytelling centered around it.

    • What, you haven’t beaten Sweet Fuse yet? HUUUUUURRY! Seriously though that was one fun game, even if I didn’t get as obsessed with it as some other people.