Hatoful Boyfriend on Vita has some technical issues, but both versions still hatch a great story with a cool new bird.
A one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of anthropomorphic-animal Japanese otome, Hatoful Boyfriend is surprisingly entertaining.
Behind the bizarre concept is one of the best scripts of the year, and a game that subverts your expectations with effortless regularity.
Hatoful Boyfriend makes fun of the dating simulator genre by turning it on its head, making it weird and outrageous. The witty dialogue and absolutely bonkers scenarios are genuinely fun to discover, and the handful of different storylines make repeated playthroughs worthwhile. It's not groundbreaking material, but it's laughable — in a good, entertaining way.
Hatoful Boyfriend is a unique experience, one that goes well beyond its bonkers concept and intentionally strange visual presentation. I was expecting to simply giggle at a nonsensical game in which I tried to woo feathered men, and what I received instead was wholly and wonderfully unexpected. Anyone with a taste for the unusual would do well to enjoy the company of these fetching fowl.
Hatoful Boyfriend is a straightforward dating simulator where all of your suitors just happen to be birds. If you're not drawn to your potential boyfriends, the early game can be a bit of a drag. While the second half of the game is worth the price of admission, many players will have a problem getting there. Proceed with caution.
Maybe it's because I'm not Japanese or familiar with Japanese culture, but these otome games, I'm sure they have a place in Western society, but I don't quite know where to put them. What I do know is that writing something like "getting to know birds on an intimate basis" used to be something akin to a red alert, warning all bystanders that Ryan is quickly losing sanity. Instead, I eagerly await my beloved pigeon San Oko, as we cleanse this world of evil by dousing it in pudding... glorious pudding!
Occasionally, it doesn't feel quite weird enough to carry the whole concept of a human schoolgirl at an all-bird high school, but there's still plenty of laughs to be had for a brief experience that you're going to have to play through multiple times to fully enjoy.
There's no other way to say it. Hatoful Boyfriend is weird! With that said, its novelty proves to be both a major boost and its greatest flaw.
Overall, Hatoful Boyfriend gets most things right. The true BBL story is gripping and an absolute must-play for anyone with an open mind who is a fan of visual novels. The game doesn't make things obvious, though. I had no idea this route existed until I actually put in the effort to do more endings, and I'd recommend you do the same. If nothing else, it's nice to see Devolver and Mediatonic bringing something so new and unusual to Steam.