Are you sick of video games that involve shooting everything in sight and jumping from platform to platform? Maybe you prefer to experience a more realistic scenario when you play a game. Dating simulators provide exactly that type of gameplay.
If you’re not familiar, dating sims involve playing as a character as he or she tries to navigate the world of relationships. Your choices in action and dialogue could lead to you romancing that special someone. For those that prefer to flirt with a virtual person instead of navigating the crazy world of online dating, these awesome games will touch your heart.
1. My Candy Love
This free popular dating simulator lets you play as a female protagonist who’s just moved to a new high school. In the first episode, you’ll meet several boys. These include Nathaniel, the class president; Castiel, the “bad boy;” and Ken, a geek. As you progress, you decide how you treat these boys and other people at the school.
The game features over 30 episodes, each with multiple endings and different scenarios for you to discover. You’ll meet new characters along with way, and must juggle the drama of school with the challenge of starting and keeping a relationship. Your choices will affect how each episode goes, so make a plan and follow your heart for success!
2. My Sweet Roomies!
This simulator takes you to a “life-like dream” where you play as a man living in a house with six different women. Over time, you can get to know each one and decide whom you’d like to pursue. One is a pop idol who’s hiding something from you, while another is a close friend who’s super popular. Will you go after the girl who seems cold and distant, or fall for the big-sister figure career woman?
Talk to the women, use the Secret Stories feature to see what they were thinking after the fact, and choose one to pursue. Take an emotional journey with six incredible women and find out where your love will take you.
3. Hatoful Boyfriend
If the above simulators are too serious for your tastes, Hatoful Boyfriend is the game for you. Get this: you play as the only human student at a school that’s entirely for pigeons. Yes, the birds. Nearly every review of this game explains that they bought it as a joke and ended up really enjoying it. Unless you have an extreme fear of pigeons or take your dating sims uber-seriously, this is a perfect entry point into the genre.
After some time at St. Pigeonation’s, you’ll find the bird for you and hopefully fall in love. With a huge amount of replay value and plenty of ways to take the story, don’t judge this lover by its feathery exterior.
This popular dating sim adds gameplay from another genre into the mix. You play as a dopey character who can’t meet women. Then you meet a love fairy who decides to help you out and assist in your quest to find a girlfriend. After some training, you head out into the world to find your match.
While you still must respond to questions and woo the ladies as in other dating sims, HuniePop features match-three puzzle gameplay similar to Bejeweled or Candy Crush Saga (our best tips) during dates. If you don’t keep your score up during these sections, your date might become disinterested. It’s been met with high praise, so all dating sim fans should give it a try.
Note that HuniePop contains strong language and explicit material. The Steam version of the game is censored, but this still isn’t a game for children.
Buy Now — HuniePop on Steam (Windows, Mac, Linux; $10)
5. Emily is Away
Frustrated by games that give you too many choices and dates to choose from? Simplify your romance with Emily is Away. More linear than the others, this visual novel takes you through five chapters that represent five years of your player’s relationship with Emily. Using a Windows XP and AOL Instant Messenger-styled interface, you communicate with Emily from your high school graduation to your senior year of college.
The game offers you dialogue choices regularly, but aside from a few minor differences, the ending is always the same. This means it doesn’t offer much replayability, but the 30 minutes to an hour it takes to play through is well worth it anyway. The developer created an interesting scenario that will remind many of chatting with their crushes over AIM.
If you like this game, try the sequel, Emily is Away Too. It lets you choose between two ladies, and features interactive elements outside the chat interface.
Play Now — Emily is Away on Steam (Free)
The above five games make dating the focus of the game. If you’re looking for something lighter and want to pursue a relationship in games that offer other elements, these should interest you.
6. Stardew Valley
This farming simulator game came out of nowhere in 2016 and became a smash hit. In it, you play as a new farmer in a small town who’s inherited their grandfather’s land. There’s plenty to do, including growing and selling crops, fishing, exploring mines, and crafting new goods. During all of this, you also get involved in town and build relationships with the townsfolk.
Whether you’re playing as a guy or girl, you can get to know other singles and give them gifts to build a relationship with them. Once you’ve won someone’s heart, you can marry them and they join you to work on your farm. Dating isn’t at the forefront here, but it’s an important part of building your life in Stardew Valley.
7. Persona Series
The Persona series carries split gameplay. Part of the game is living as a high school student — going to class, taking tests, and hanging out with friends. The other half involves dungeon-crawling and battling enemies in typical role-playing game (RPG) style. Thus, Persona is not a dating simulator, but those interested in pursuing relationships can do so.
In the social part of the game, you can choose to chase after a romantic interest. The friends and significant others you select in that portion affect your options and tactics in battle. If you find the standard dating games too fluffy and enjoy Japanese RPGs, give this series a try.
What’s Your Digital Dating Game of Choice?
These seven games let you woo lovers at your discretion. Whether you prefer the standard school dating scenario, want to date a pigeon, or like adding a relationship to a different genre of game, you’ll find something to satisfy you here. Hopefully, everything works out in the end for you and you don’t suffer heartbreak.
Done with dating games and want to start for real? Check out free dating sites to help you find love in real life.
What’s your favorite dating simulator? How were your experiences with the above games? Tell us your digital love stories down in the comments!