One of them will accompany you until your death, to make sure you don’t run away.
There is also a difference between “dating sims” and “ren’ai (romance) games.” The latter are more often done in the style of visual novels or choose-your-own adventures, while the former have some RPG elements, personal stats, and gift-giving mechanics. So where should you begin if you want a fun, romantic, and well-written game without breaking the bank?
Here are a few romance games/dating sims you can play right now for free: This one might be something of an acquired taste, given both its origin and its subject matter.
"You won’t purchase clothes or coins or whatnot," says Shino Imao, spokesperson for Voltage.
"It’s more like you sit down and immerse yourself in a love story." A love story that often ends up with cartoon men taking their shirts off, that is.
Voltage titles are pretty tame, but the erotic, escapist themes parallel those found in romance novels.
Voltage’s romance sims are similar to "dating sims" in which you can create a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend and then interact with it as if you’re dating (or have it talk so dirty to you that it gets banned from the App Store).
Perhaps the most famous in the "what if a dating sim had animals" genre, Hatoful Boyfriend began its life as an April Fool's joke and soon gained cult status for its bizarre twists, well-crafted writing, and tongue-in-cheek skewering of romantic tropes.
You play as a human girl who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where pigeons rule the planet.
In this bishoujo romance game, you play a boy named Hisao Nakai, who has a congenital heart defect and is being sent to attend a special school following a long hospital stay.
Once he gets there, he meets various people (primarily girls) who have similar debilitations, and eventually makes friends and falls in love with one of them.
It feels like an unofficial fan-fiction epilogue to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but with more supernatural elements and straight-up weirdness.