Dating is a funny old game.
No matter what our preferences or persuasions, most of us will have dipped into the world of dating at some point in our lives. It can be exciting and exhilarating – depending who we meet. It can also be nerve-wracking, terrifying, and a downright disaster.
In this modern, digital age we live in, dating today generally means logging on to a local or international dating site rather than visiting your local dance hall. Gone are the days of simply approaching someone you find attractive (or waiting for them to approach you!). Now, it’s all digital. That means trawling endless profiles of strangers on Match, the horror of stumbling across a co-worker on Plenty of Fish, and giving yourself finger strain by swiping left or right on Tinder. It can be hard work.
Thankfully, video games let us live the highs and lows of dating without any of the stress. They don’t quite give us the possibility of meeting our soulmate, but that’s neither here nor there. Games let us play the role of both the dater (or datee?!) and the matchmaker, and seeing love bloom is always a pleasure. Even if that love is digital fiction.
Here are five of the best dating sim games you can play right now on PC.
Hatoful Boyfriend probably isn’t exactly what you think of when you think of a dating simulator. For one, it stars pigeons. Yes, you date pigeons. And yes, you play the role of a human. It’s a bit weird, granted. Okay, it’s very weird. But Hatoful Boyfriend is a charming visual novel with some great dating sim elements – and a very unexpected story twist – for those willing to put in the time.
It’s a fairly short game – one playthrough can take somewhere between an hour to 90 minutes. But depending on which pigeon you decide to date, there are several branching storylines, so seeing everything the game offers requires several playthroughs. It might not be a straightforward dating sim, but Hatoful Boyfriend offers much more than bird love.
Okay, there seems to be a theme developing here. First pigeons; now cats. Purrfect Date is a dating sim game that puts you in the role of a scientist enlisted to help in a research project on “Cat Island”. Everything seems pretty normal at first; there are a lot of cats around, but you’d expect that on a place called Cat Island, right? But on your first night, you’re abducted from your sleeping quarters. By a group of cats.
Each cat has its own unique personality and quirks, and to find out more about the island, you’ll need to spend time with the cats. You’ll soon be spending one on one time with them – yup, you’ll be dating cats. Like Hatoful Boyfriend, there’s a lot more to Purrfect Date’s plot than just being a dating sim. It also plays out like a visual novel, but this time you’re given more choice in selecting your dialogue and shaping the outcome of your dates. Thanks to hand-drawn animation, it looks gorgeous, it’s captivating as hell, and it’s filled with kitty cats. What more could you want from a date?
Flix and Chill
Flix and Chill is a bit rougher around the edges than the other PC dating sims on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. It lays out five separate dating scenarios, and you play through each of them, taking up the role of one of the people attending the date. You’ll be required to make some action and dialogue choices throughout your date. The goal is, obviously, to impress them – but it isn’t always as easy as that.
The first scenario puts you in the shoes of Jason, who’s invited Marta over to his place to watch a film. It’s up to you to decide what type of film to watch, and what topic of conversation to bring up. You can even suggest to play a game of Truth or Dare. But be very careful about what you select, and your date could end much sooner than expected if you’re not careful. Flix and Chill is probably the most traditional type of dating sim on this list, and it’s a lot of fun. Especially considering it’s only 99p on Steam!
Forget cats and pigeons. This time, we’re dating monsters! Monster Prom is set in a monster-filled high school. And it’s every high school students favourite time of the year: prom. This dating sim is all about finding yourself a date for prom. There’s three weeks to go, and in that time you play through a number of scenarios of your choice: do you hang out, do you go to class, do you study in the library? The choices you make will determine who you meet. And who you meet may well be who you end up dating.
Through making dialogue choices, it’s up to you to impress your monster crush and hope that, after three weeks, they’ll accept your proposal to go to prom together. Unlike other dating sims on PC though, Monster Prom can be enjoyed in multiplayer, making it pretty unique. It’s funny, it’s got brilliant art work, and there’s plenty of replayability. Minus the monsters, it’s the perfect date.
Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker
Ah, Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker. There’s no other game like it – and it’s all the better for it. In Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker, you play the role of matchmaker. Clients arrive into your office, and it’s up to you to find them the most suitable match from your agency directory. It’s not over once you’ve set up a date, though; you’ve then got to guide your client through a successful restaurant date!
That means guiding the conversation, choosing food, and playing minigames that will shape the outcome of the date. As a matchmaker, it’s obviously in your best interest for the date to go as well as possible. Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker is bold, colourful and a hell of a lot of fun. It’s one of the best dating sims out there – trust me, you’ll get addicted to matchmaking.