Home ยป The Best Japan Dating Sim Games in 2023
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The Best Japan Dating Sim Games in 2024

We’ve been writing a lot about dating recently, and, well, maybe everyone’s had enough of all that real life conversation and dressing up. If that’s the case, how about trying your hand at romance right in front of your computer screen and play some Japan dating sim games to land a romantic relationship?

We’d love to assure you it’s totally chill, normal even, to play Japanese dating sims, but that might be a bit of stretch. Ranging from the comical and whimsical to the downright pervy and WTF did I just see, these games have a ton of mojo and appeal to fill a lonely Friday night.

If you’re new around here and also looking to meet new people in Japan, also be sure to check out our list of the best Japan dating site options as well.

A growing craze, we’ll break down what the genre is and some of the favorite titles fans have fallen for hard. So sit back, and prepare to fall in love.

What is the dating sim genre?

Let’s start wth the reality of these games: They tend to be on the adult side, and run from fun and cute to, well, perverse.

The topic is love, or at least romance of some sort, and all that comes with it, including in some cases dating horses with human heads. Your mission if you should choose to except it, is to romance the hell out of some guy, some girl, or something else, like an anthropomorphic bird.

Plot

“Sure, plot” you might be thinking. While some of the games might be worthy of a “watch it for the plot” reddit reference (if you don’t know the reference we’ll leave it up to you to figure it out), others include extensive and intricate plots with many possible endings.

Generally, you start as a guy and sometimes a girl, with nothing but good things on his mind. Such as going to school or helping out with the family inn. In either case, alas, your simple life is turned upside down as you are accosted by flirtatious, sometimes scandalous women (or men). You must interact! Over the course of the game, complex dialogue trees lead you ever closer to winning the heart of one of the fair ladies, or to loser town and starting over.

Should you make enough of a connection, one of various outcomes may occur. You may go on a date, marry, have children, or just end up having sex or something.

Gameplay

Allowing characters to make impactful choices, scripted dialogue determines the various outcomes of what are often called “visual novels”. There is often some sort of influencing variable that will impact your decisions’ timing. For example, certain choices could work better if it’s night versus day.

Some of the games feature a female protagonist with an interest in men, known as otome games, while others are more general. Some have no clear gender divide, and allow you to fall in love and seduce whomever you wish.

Replay Value

Replay value comes from the complex dialogue trees that can lead you into the arms of any of the possible NPC characters. Trying to win the heart of a new player gives gamers a chance to start over and try again.

What games should I be playing in 2023?

We come to the real reason you are here: What are the games that will get me twisted into a love sick fury at all hours of the night? We’ve got that question on lock down with 6 of the top games for 2023. Some older but still popular, some newer and ready to surprise your sexy socks off.

1. Max Gentlemen Sexy Business

Max Gentlemen Sexy Business

This title is more than a dating simulation featuring sexual content. Like many games on this list, the play combines traditional dating simulator with story aspects.

Plot

The main character, you, is a business tycoon who has lost their business, and must rebuild. Send out your executives, train them, and overcome obstacles to raise money. And in between, go on dates of various nature, including train jousting.

Game play

You live the ultimate rich CEO fantasy, exercising worrying amounts of control over your employees, who you also date. In a time when HR and labor laws don’t exist, you can dress your employees as much, or as little, as you like, as you move from “friends” to “flirty” to “sexual” in a Michael Scott level lack of business etiquette. Not limited to love interest of a pretty girl, or even one girl, this is one of those games where you can date anyone of your choice.

Win by becoming the largest Monopoly in England and achieving the highest level of erotic escapades.

2. Tokimeki Memorial

Tokimeki Memorial

This game is part of video game history. Releasing in the 90’s, people credit it with putting the genre of dating sims on the map both for new modes of gameplay and for having real voice acting. Unfortunately for the many interested gaming gurus of the West, the pixelated anime style video game never received a translation. But no more! As of 2022, RetroTranslator released a full translation of the original Konami game.

Plot

The game, originally released for PC and then a year later for Sega Saturn and PlayStation, features a high school boy who must make in roads with the female students at a new school. To not evenly and effectively socialize causes your reputation to plummet, ruining your chances across the board with everyone.

Gameplay

This game moves away from the nudity and sex prevalent in the early games of the genre to focus on relationships with girls and the social aspect of dating.

In the game, if you don’t carefully spend your time with the females characters, anyone of them can become a “bomb” that will spread rumors to all the others, causing your reputation meter with everyone to plummet. This social “bomb” was innovative for its time, and made it’s way into other games from other genres.

The mechanic forces you to round robin style date the cast, both forcing and allowing players to explore the many potential relationships the game offers.

3. Sakura Wars

Sakura Wars

If you want to mix visual novels with love interests and turn based battle mechanics, this is the game for you. Seemingly trying to put every genre into one cd that the creators could think of, the original Sakura Wars came out in 1996 and has since spawned a series of games and even an anime adaptation over almost 30 years.

Plot

The original games follow the life of the Army officer Ichiro Ogami. Facing a very serious threat from demonic forces that can (mostly) only be battled by girls controlling robot mechs, you do the only logical thing: Try your hand at dating Japanese women, as many as you can!

Gameplay

Marketed as a “dramatic adventure” because of all the various gameplay elements, you engage characters in the well known dialogue tree mechanic to grow levels of attraction. You can ask them on dates, or may receive more solicitous offers yourself. Dialogue choices usually have an imposed time limit.

Most the games feature turn based mechanics on a two-dimensional or three-dimensional battle field. Fighting with formations of mechanical warriors, you control one mech at a time to battle the evil that would conquer the world.

For a non turn based style mechanic, check out the 2019 installment for Playstation 4.

4. Hatoful Boyfriend

Hatoful Boyfriend

A high school student drama with a weird twist, this strange tale of desire and birds received an 8/10 on IGN reviews and has had multiple spinoffs.

Plot

Enter the world of Japanese pigeon school. As the only human student allowed to enter, you must navigate the complicated social life of sophomore pigeon dudes and studs as a second year girl yourself. Faced with a cast of stereotypical albeit bird versions of male characters, you must bit by bit (or perhaps beak by beak) get to know the other students to choose who’s your bird of a feather.

Gameplay

Playing video games of this sort, you get used to the dating sim elements of dialogue trees and “visual novel” style of gameplay. This game isn’t different, featuring relationships stats that are affected by dialogue choices that ultimately can lead to love or dud.

The game itself is short, reportedly taking around an hour for a single play through. However, the many alternate endings possible demand a replay as you explore each possible relationship, with at least 10 possible endings.

5. I Love You, Colonel Sanders!

I Love You, Colonel Sanders!

You got that right, thee Colonel Sanders. Released officially by KFC, this game features romance and delectable fried chicken.

Plot

In this game you are a student about to begin their culinary dreams. Over a three day semester you cook, flirt, and overcome food monsters in an effort to achieve your dreams and win points with Sanders himself.

Gameplay

Perhaps disappointingly, this dating sim gameplay does not have you play as the Colonel Sanders themselves. You are attending the school of the Colonel, and must battle it out chef style against your rivals and rabid food. Sanders is a datable character, and if you win, not only could you date the spicy man of chicken, but become their business partner.

6. Mystic Messenger

Mystic Messenger

A South Korean otome game for mobile, you are a girl who’s out to win love among a group of guys. Not as silly or as erotic as some of the games on this list, it has a 15+ age recommendation.

Plot

A mysterious app leads the female protagonist to live in one of two locations. It’s your job to plan a fundraising event and invite guests. Over the course of the first few days of in game time, your chosen route and chat messages with NPC’s will determine how the rest of the game unfolds, leading either to love or nothing.

Gameplay

The game occurs in real time over 11 days. The player receives text messages from NPC’s or joins a group chat within the mobile game. After four days the game can branch out depending on the accumulated hearts, which symbolize likability with each character.

Dating sim fans will appreciate the replay value. Given that there are multiple stories and multiple routes for each story, there are a lot of possibilities to explore even when compared to other dating sims on the list.

7. Doki Doki Literature Club

Doki Doki Literature Club

Here is another anime style game that features many female characters as the love interests. Focusing on winning the hearts of the girls while going to a literature club, it has a surprising dark twist near the middle of the game.

Plot

Set in a high school, you are invited by a friend to join the literature club. Things go well enough, with you getting to know the individual members. But then, something horrifying and nearly too real occurs that sends the game in a new direction.

Without giving any spoilers, this is one of the more original plots to these kind of games, and will definitely surprise gamers.

Gameplay

The game consists of three acts. At the start of each act the player interacts with the game’s files to move the plot forward. There is also a playable epilogue at the end.

Like many of the visual novel type games, the player works through dialogue trees with static images of the setting and characters. Word preferences in the composing a poem mini-game and dialogue choices affect the relationship status the main character has with the female characters.

Summary

Simulation games offer romantic elements and quirky, usually simple game play mechanics that range from hilarious to cute and maybe even troubling. Not a genre to shy away from sexuality, pay attention to the game rating to know what might get displayed on your screen.

If you try a dating sim from this list, let us know about your experience!

Also be sure to check out our guide for dating in Japan for foreigners.

Jonathan Mcnamara

Jonathan is a veteran of the Japan and Korean expat life. He lived in Japan and Korea for almost 10 years, and speaks Korean and Japanese. A blogger, a writer, website maker who's had his share of relationships while living abroad, he's now turned his attention to helping others navigate traveling, living, working, and relationships in Japan.

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