10 Jan

Hatoful Boyfriend

Filed under: PC Games 2 Responses


Oh look, what a dreamy looking pigeon. Just look at those piercing blue eyes.

As a Broken Forum regular, not having played Hatoful Boyfriend at all made me feel like a poseur. The reasons for this go back to QT3 and leads to why Broken Forum currently seems to have a user-base that is heavily into otome games. But it’s pretty esoteric so I won’t go into it. Of course, I also bought this because it has been very well reviewed (95% positive rating on Steam) and to satisfy my curiosity about Japanese dating simulations.

  • I guess some attempt at an introduction may be necessary. You play as a young human female student who is enrolled at St. Pigeonation’s. It’s an elite high school in Japan in which all of the teachers and every other student except yourself are students. In case, this isn’t clear, they really are pigeons, it’s not just a case of them being represented as pigeons. They have feathers, wings, beaks and all that. An optional mode in the game does allow you to view a humanized portrait of them when each character is first introduced. But that’s just a stylized representation, they really are still pigeons.

  • And of course, this really is a dating simulation game. I’m not familiar with the genre so I wasn’t aware of the usual conventions. But in retrospect, it became obvious that the extended first part of the game where you have no choices is all about formally introducing each of the romanceable male characters to you. You actually do need to pick one to romance. Not making an effort to get close to a boy is a game over condition.
  • Beyond the novelty value of this game’s unusual premise, the big draw is obviously the humor and that is highly subjective. For my part, it had me giggling at its “everybirdie, anybirdie, somebirdie” gags and went on from there. At the risk of sounding like a clueless Captain America, there are likely tons of references I didn’t get, but I enjoyed those that I did such the evil doctor sarcastically wishing that he could be so grossly incandescent.


What’s this JRPG character doing in here?
  • I gather that each of the boyfriends represent a different anime archetype. Each of the romance paths are certainly very different, ranging from familiar ones like the dependable childhood friend, the snobby rich kid and the lonely social outcast to outright weird choices like the sports addicted pigeon who is obsessed with pudding and the school’s evil doctor. Each path doesn’t take much time to play but you’re really supposed to play through all of them to get the full story behind everyone and everything that is happening in the school.
  • For a project that started basically as one person’s joke, the writing is surprisingly good. I found Ryouta’s path to be emotionally affecting and the evil doctor’s path to be truly horrifying. It’s hard to believe, but parts of this game contain some of the darkest stuff I’ve seen anyway. I was also entertained by how some of the paths go off into wildly different directions. There really is a lot of content in here, and most of it is of pretty high quality.
  • The full version of the game that I played includes a special path that is unlocked once you’ve seen all of the other endings. It answers all of your questions and demonstrates why the seemingly crazy stuff in the game is literally real. I appreciate that there really is a logical reason why the world seems to be run by intelligent pigeons and why a single human girl is attending an all pigeon school. But I don’t actually like the full story. It feels sort of tacked on, and has some of the pigeons behave in ways that feel out of character compared to the regular ending. It’s also very, very dark shit.

Overall a very interesting game that actually does deserve all of the attention it received, but it won’t make me a convert to otome games.


Yes, the pigeon cafe in the game really does exist.
Written on January 10 2015 and is filed under PC Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Hatoful Boyfriend”


Fun fact! Many visual novels have something called a “true end”, which is the final ending that has to be unlocked by completing all of the other endings first. The true end is usually the one that the creator intends you to see as the ultimate conclusion of the VN, and typically ties everything together.

So yeah, that’s totally a VN convention too.


Yeah, I gathered as much. I guess the “true ending” here is as much a joke as everything else, because it’s a total genre shift!

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