I'm not too sure why I played Hatoful Boyfriend, I'm not a big fan of visual novels and dating-themed ones aren't my cup of tea either. It must have been something about the pigeons, I thought. There was something weird about this game - dating sim where your peers are all birds - and it lead me to think that there would be more than meets the eye. Sadly for me, I couldn't dig deep enough within the game to ever find out if there was more than that.

First of all, the pigeon thing. Sadly, just removing the whole pigeon theme and acting like you're the only girl in the whole world would still have the game make some sense. As it is right now, it feels like a parody of visual novels/dating sims and since I'm not very familiar with those the sense of parody flew right above my head. Some tropes here and there are recognizable as being parodied but I couldn't tell what was going on. The dialog is funny and the situations are completely silly, but the pigeon thing just feels like a stamp on the game saying "yes, this is a wacky game."

And the gameplay consists of mostly picking up about ten choices in text boxes as the game goes on. You have three stats (intelligence, vitality, charisma), but I never felt like they did anything. If they did, I wish the game would have told me. Most of the game is spent doing the same things over and over - as to get different endings - and the big payoff is supposedly story bits about why you're the only human in the world, or something like that. I wish the game went crazier - ala Stanley Parable, perhaps - with the world acting strangely as you go through different paths, or anything to encourage me to go at it again.

But no, this is a dating sim/visual novel where everyone else is a bird and something weird is going on, but good luck getting at it!

AuthorJérémie Tessier