The Average Gamer

Hatoful Boyfriend Review (PC)

Hatoful Boyfriend - Okosan
I accidentally confessed my love to an unavailable teacher. I helped two estranged bikers reconcile a decade-old argument and find true love. I got killed by ninjas. These are the sorts of things that happen when you attend St. PigeoNation’s, the most splendid and greatest academy of the pigeon, by the pigeon and for the pigeon. And one human.

Hatoful Boyfriend started out as a parody of the otome genre of visual novels/dating games. They’re popular in Japan but there are plenty of Western examples too. Originally developed as a Japanese flash game in 2011, Devolver Digital and Mediatonic have been working with developer Hato Moa to build upon the 2012 English translation with a HD version that works on modern PCs. It retains the purity of the original game, so you’ll still be attempting to woo one of eight available pigeons. In my first session, I managed to achieve three of at least twenty endings. Sadly, none of those outcomes involved Yuuya, pigeon of my dreams.

Hatoful Boyfriend - Yuuya So Ripped

Hatoful Boyfriend really shouldn’t be judged on its first playthrough, nor its second. Perhaps not even the third. Those pigeons are a wily bunch and there’s so much going on under the surface that you’re really not equipped to make any meaningful decisions on those early runs. Helpfully, there’s a fast-forward button so you can skip through the inane filler dialogue at the start of each semester in seconds flat and jump straight to the decision making.

Every outcome is a direct result of your decisions. Go to the shop today and you’ll meet this pigeon. Go to the cafeteria instead and you’ll never see him again. As you work past the less satisfying conclusions, you’ll learn where to find your chosen pigeon at every opportunity and figure out which choices to avoid. This is when the game really shines as all those mysterious trailheads you bypassed in your earlier sessions start to make sense.

Hatoful Boyfriend - Magical Candy

How did birds come to dominate everything? Why are you, a human girl, allowed to attend their most prestigious school? The world of St. PigeoNation’s is far stranger than you’d think. You could skim along the surface attending classes and crushing on your professor, never even realising that demons are whispering their conspiracies in the class next door.

Give it some time. Learn your way around. Hatoful Boyfriend is absolutely brilliant.

Hatoful Boyfriend is out now on Steam

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