NOTE FROM GRAY: I’m open to other games that I have yet to find! Game recommendations are welcomed!
As someone who likes both men and women, there have been multiple instances that equally make me wish there was a route to romance our best girlfriend(s) in otome games. A good example of this scenario was the case in Amnesia Memories, where your best friend, Sawa, hits on you in one of the scenes and you can’t even flirt back. My gods, I was screaming at the screen for a while asking why I couldn’t romance her for the life of me.
There were also plenty of moments of Sawa asking us to introduce her to a good love interest, and I’m there raising my hand and screaming. It was tough to ignore my attraction to Sawa in Shin and Ikki’s route since she is genuinely looking out for you, and our relationship was borderline lesbian love… Yet, we couldn’t fall for her.
“I’M RIGHT HERE SAWA, PLEASE LOOK AT ME!”
While they didn’t even give us a friendship route with Sawa, I can make up a whole bunch of fanfiction and stories in my head to curb my sadness about not being able to love her. But, while Sawa is one of the many female characters I wished to have had a route within mainstream games, I found love in other highly creative and beautifully written indie otome games to fulfill this part of my soul.
NURSE LOVE SYNDROME
I rave about this game in almost every single one of my game recommendations, I don’t apologize for it because I really do love this game and its content. I love how different the art contrast is compared to the first game of the series I played, it was less cutesy and more mature. One of the many elements I liked in the game was being able to fully work as a nurse and check out how the women in the game actually performed professionally.
When in the first game, we were more learning about bedside manners, symptoms to look out for, and all the hoopla you’ve gotta understand to pass the boards. We also get to have the ‘healing hands’ concept come back into the game, where certain nurses have the magical ability to heal people with a touch of their hand. I find this a peculiar element refreshing and also it hits close to home, since I’ve heard stories from nurses that their patients will sometimes tell them ‘you have a gentle touch’ or ‘your hands can heal’ on a weekly basis.
Anyways, the magical aspect of curing someone with a touch of their hand, it shows the genuine aspect of compassionate care and helping to heal a patient’s spirit whilst inside the hospital. This game has over 20 different endings, where you can have a happily ever after or… dive deep into a darker fantasy.
NURSE LOVE ADDICTION
While I mentioned the sequel above, I wanted to present the first game I played from Kodaka’s ‘Nurse Love’ series, which is Nurse Love Addiction. The game art is starkly different from the sequel that I spoke about above, however, the story-rich gameplay and simulation are just as engaging as the love is slow-burning. When I first stumbled upon this game I was already hooked with the lovely art that is presented, but I was also intrigued about the nurse life setting is presented.
You follow Asuka Osachi, a budding and happy-go-lucky type of girl who enrolls in nursing school alongside her younger sister. I’m not familiar with the schooling for nurses in Japan but I am well acquainted with the education system here in the states. Some of the concepts and scenarios that were brought up seemed spot on with what nurses in training go through, while other events seemed uncommon.
However, the game itself does engage the reader as you can have nine different endings, whether you fall in love, break someones’ heart, or get enveloped into a dark fantasy. This is definitely a game to pick up and purely satisfy all ends of your desires, even the horror spectrum.
THE ROYAL ALCHEMIST
This is a fairly new game but it is a wonderful debut from Nifty Visuals, the fascinating plot to the stunning graphics, and lovely music in the game is captivating. You can either play as female or male and but the story remains that you are the scion of a powerful family. In the midst of the assassination of the king, you are ordained to become the tutor of the princes of the kingdom, within the walls of the palace you must learn to understand politics and royalty.
However, this doesn’t come without trials of conflict and moments where the game adds the RPG like quests that you must fulfill to progress through the story. This game is beautifully created and well-done to the point I put it on par with Persona 4. The choices you make raise the stats of your character, so be wise with your decisions, because you can also possibly end your life at just the beginning (maybe…? LOL). This is an indie game, and I express wholeheartedly to please check them out on steam or itch.io, and or try the demo!
Okay, this game is near and dear to my heart as I still remember when the creators were first posting about their game on Tumblr in it’s beginning phases. The artwork is quirky, unique, and the characters, UGH, all the characters, I love them so much. The gameplay is fantastic and runs easily like most VN/Otome games, except you get to fall in love with people who are cursed to turn into cats. You didn’t read that wrong, they turn into cats, and if you love cats and otome, then this game is for you LOL.
I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll explain a few things about this game that makes it such a gem. You have six different variants of Avery Gray, the MC, the pronouns are he/him she/her they/them, and this character is relatable on all aspects (at least in my opinion). They currently live with their aunt and go out to find a job, and stumble upon a cat cafe… Little do they know what is about to transpire after entering the adorable cat cafe hurhurhur~!
The story engagement is well done and the character development of each romanceable person in the game is amazing, I was entertained until the very last ending. Writing this makes me want to play it again… BRB Out to Play Games!
Another indie otome game that I cannot stop raving about, with more than 15+ different endings and a lot of them being secret ones. This game is a truly engaging visual novel that keeps you on your toes, and if you’re the type to like stat building and such, this will definitely keep you grinding for a while. The game is fully voiced by several well known VAs, and I truly love that this game catered to several different tropes.
In this game you find these types of tropes within: falling for a childhood friend, falling in love with a superstar, falling for the older man , falling for a younger man, and a few other hidden endings as well. The gameplay focuses on the choices Sian Goodin makes, these choices shape her outlook, career, and life path… Whether you choose to go the single route, dropout route, or fall in love you’ll have a good time.
Before I go on a tangent of how much I love this game, I want to express the fact that one of the hidden routes is falling in love with a female model. I hadn’t even known at the time there was a way to romance a female character until later on in the game, it was such a good surprise and I loved it. So, thank you sakevisual for that route <3!
This game is definitely a diamond in the otome game genre, and needs so much more love and praise!
FIRST LOVE STORY BY FAVARY
For our mobile game players, I’d like to present to you First Love Story by Favary that came out a while back ago. This game is free to play and you don’t need to pay extra money for special scenarios, what you do get is story-rich gameplay and a whole lot of feels. This game has GxB, GxG, BxB romance and none of the routes ever failed to intrigue me as I played through the stories.
Each character has their own set of quirks that you must be patient in learning to understand, then accept their faults, and reveal the true person behind the facade they put up. That’s the real challenge of this game, but it is worth playing to see the HEA or HFN endings for all the characters involved. Everyone’s gameplay is unique, and overall hits you in the feels every now and then, it’s high school setting so be prepared for some well known tropes to happen (accidental falling, accidental kiss, tsundere moments–you get the picture).
OKKO HONEY MAGAZINE: OUR UNEXPECTED LOVE SERIES
I don’t think Okko’s Honey Magazine gets much credit when they should, this small group of game creators deserves praise for well-written stories and engaging with their audience. It’s rare to see developers interact with their fans, especially well-known or high-end names like Idea Factory and such. However, when we come across Okko, they’re a different league of their own, and I’m more than thankful for their contribution to same-sex relationship stories.
While there are only four stories in the ‘Unexpected Love’ series, they are worth checking out as they cater to the teasing type, oresama type, and the friendly type. I really liked the stories with Ms. Tabe and Risa’s love, because Ms. Tabe is the oresama type, and Risa is the loving and sweet type.
MYSTIC MESSENGER: JAEHEE KANG
Okay, this is just my oown opinion, but I felt like I was baited in Jaehee’s route but at the same time I couldn’t help but keep reading and loving it anyway. In Mystic Messenger if you choose to get closer to Jaehee Kang, the secretary for notoriously known, Jumin Han. You find a sweet, caring, and lovely individual who loves coffee and taking care of you, and it hurts that we couldn’t get a romance option. However, there was a discussion somewhere on Tumblr that talked about Jaehee’s route and the romance aspect, but I won’t get into that here. Overall, I understood why there wasn’t an option, but the game developers have stated they area open to the idea.
For example, the Valentine’s Day short story that hints at the MC having feelings for Jaehee, we don’t a clear answer from Jaehee on regards to her own feelings towards MC. But, this is a step towards an open ending for the MC and Jaehee, not to mention we still get to have the guys bother them every now and then. Jaehee is my ideal lady, and I really hope that one day we get a game where we can romance her. Oh wait! Someone has done that! If you wish to romance Jaehee, please check out ‘Marry Me, Jaehee‘ by Jenny McKeon on Itch.io!
Now, let’s get a bit raunchy in here. While this isn’t an otome, it can be considered a visual novel with the added element of puzzles involved. When I first played HuniePop, I hadn’t any idea what it was actually about, and I didn’t watch any gameplay of it. I was told to just play it as it was a ‘chill’ game, and oh boy, it was more than just chill–That should be obvious LMAO.
I really like the game concept and the women in the game, and the option to be either male or female was also a plus to the gameplay. The storyline may not be the most predominant, but the hilarious antics that can ensue from us the player makes up for it. My favorite girl to romance out of the cast was definitely the gamer girl and the teacher, I couldn’t pass up the chance to romance those two first LMAO.
LOVESTRUCK BY VOLTAGE USA
Lovestruck is a branch of Voltage Inc that is stationed in the beautiful San Francisco area, they started creating lovely games back when I was still in Hawaii around 2015-2016ish. Their first games such as Astoria: Fate’s Kiss, Gangsters in Love, and Castaway: Love’s Adventure took many of us here at the LGBTQ+ by storm. This was a big thing for us on Tumblr as there weren’t many mobile otome games, or otome games from big name gaming corporations out here at the time.
However, Voltage USA jumped in with their new team and granted us a wide array of characters that not only are relatable but also romanceable. Offering us love interests such as Serena Zhang from Castaways:
My favorite character from their universe in general:
From small beginnings back in 20015-2016, Voltage USA has combined their standalone apps into a library now called Lovestruck. Which now houses more than 25+ different stories and genres to soothe your gaymer heart, there is also a special curated selection for LGBTQ+ whether you’re looking for a slowburn or whirlwind romance, this app has definitely risen to the top of my list for mobile romance simulation.
One honorable mention (and the reason I say honorable is that I haven’t played it yet but I plan to get it) is A Summer’s End- Hong Kong 1986, this is an indie game created by Oracle and Bone. I’ve seen nothing but great reviews for this game and I wanted to mention it as I didn’t put it on my top lists just because I have yet to play it properly.
While I’ve only named a few games that I’ve personally played, there are plenty more games out there that need to be seen or heard about. I’m always looking and playing to see the next best game that needs to be heard, and I hope some of the games I’ve mentioned have piqued your interest as well. As always, thank you for stopping by and see you on the gaming side!