An Otome game is a story-based game primarily aimed at women, and often takes the form of a visual novel. You play as a woman, and will have several suitors to form a romantic relationship with, and it’s a genre that is prevalent on Steam, and on PlayStation Vita (may it rest in peace), but is now making a notable impact on other systems. Here are a bunch you should play, scattered across several platforms.
Collar x Malice (Switch, Vita)
One of my favourite Otome games, if not my favourite. You play as a young police officer who is attacked at the beginning of the game, leaving you with a collar attached to your neck which will inject a lethal dose of poison if you try to remove it, or if you don’t comply with various demands. You team up with five men who are acting outside of the law, who also want to put a stop to the attacks ravaging Shinjuku. The art in this one always floored me, and the urgency of the game kept me enthralled.
The sequel fandisc, Unlimited, is out this month, too!
Code: Realize (PS4, Switch, Vita)
You’ve got a lot to get through with this one with Guardian of Rebirth, Future Blessings, and Wintertide Miracles, and its many entries speaks to its popularity. Meet characters based on Arsène Lupin, Victor Frankenstein, Abraham Van Helsing, and others, including, uh, Herlock Sholmès. Our protagonist, Cardia, wears gloves as she can bring imminent death with a single touch of her hands, as her blood is flowing with poison. Sweet, innocent, and selfless, Cardia learns about the world and love as she meets her various potential suitors. Code Realize even has an anime adaptation!
Period Cube (Vita)
It’s time to release this on a platform that isn’t Vita, guys. Please. Thanks.
Of course, there was going to be a game on this list where the main character is trapped inside a life-or-death MMORPG. I’m not a big fan of the concept, but I enjoyed Period Cube’s focus on character development, and the on-going mystery of how they’ll escape Arcadia. The game world begins to fall apart around you, which really ramps up the feeling of urgency!
Love Spell: Written in the Stars (PC)
This one’s new. I mean, like, super new. It only released on the 24th July, 2020, but it’s one that I had been following for a long time prior. It has some minor technical issues, but the love and care that went into Love Spell is evident, and Luna is one of the more engaging protagonists I’ve played as in an Otome game. Sometimes an Otome protagonist feels as if they have no urgency or desires themselves, other than to be with the one they’re pining for, but Luna has substantial growth throughout each route, and it makes the entire experience all that more satisfying.
Mystic Messenger (Mobile)
You can play this one for free on mobile, isn’t that nice? You’ve likely heard of this one, especially if you were on social media when it released, as it blew up and spread like wildfire. It has all the standard mobile game mechanics such as waiting for time to pass to continue doing stuff, but it also features phone calls at set times, a realistic messaging app, and more, that keeps you engaged around the clock. It’s really cool.
Hatoful Boyfriend (PS4, Vita, PC, Mobile)
Look, I know what you’re thinking, pigeons? Pigeons? Yeah, damn right they’re pigeons. Honestly, before playing this many years ago, I was in the camp of “okay, this looks like a pretty dumb gimmick”, but that story kicks in, and it’s been one of the better written Otome games I’ve played. The characters being primarily pigeons doesn’t detract from how likeable (and not) they can be.
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome (PC)
This one’s interesting, as it’s the first 18+ rated Otome to hit Steam. The h-patch is entirely optional, and it doesn’t add much to the story, so feel free to play without it. Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is big on being a rom-com, and it’ll run you a little over ten hours, depending on your reading speed (and if you implement the h-patch).
Look, I know, I need to play OZMAFIA!! (fairy tale stuff is always a selling point for me) and Nightshade! And many others! If more of the Vita-exclusive games jumped to other systems, I’d be likely to revisit the games that I wasn’t quite as enamoured with. Let’s get in there, publishers!
Side-note, but having been on the end of “but those games are for women!” and other snide remarks, please note that Otome games are ultimately for everyone, and there is no shame in playing them. Don’t let people talk down on you for enjoying Otome. Otome is good.
If you have any other recommendations, please let me know below!