The English Otome Guide for Beginners Part Three: Recommendations – PC
Welcome back to
Aly’s master plan to create more addicts the English Otome game guide! Today we are going to talk about some of the games I have played and recommend, specifically those for the PC.
The PC (and for most games, I think also available for Mac) is really the home for indie English first otome games. This is partly because it’s much easier for small groups to develop/publish/release on the PC/Mac then it is to release for platforms or even phones. There really are some great games if you are willing to try them.
Before we jump into the recommendations, a few disclaimers. First, opinions (no matter how awesome mine are) are always subjective, so like with anything take mine with a grain of salt. Most of these games will come with a free demo, so you can try the game before purchasing, and if you are unsure, I recommend taking them out for a spin. Second, I haven’t played every game out there, I probably haven’t even heard of them all. There are definitely going to be awesome games I miss. (If you think I’m missing a great game, tell us in the comments!)
Okay, on to the games!
One of the earliest pioneers of the English otome game market, Hanako Games has a large backlog of fun games. I haven’t loved all of them, but the following are my favorites and in my opinion well worth playing.
Genre: Life Simulation
Customizable MC: No
Long Live The Queen is basically a game that never runs out of options, generally the option being which way you die.
It’s a pretty challenging story of a young princess, Elodie, given a year before her coronation, with tons of politics and intrigue, with plenty of people wanting to make sure you don’t make it to the end of the year.
There are lots of skills and different ways to play. It can be frustrating, but over all, I think it’s pretty fun, but only if you don’t mind playing a lot of times and doing different things. It also has a pretty heavy stats building element, so if that isn’t your thing, this might not be the game for you.
Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 monkey flowers.
Genre: Simulation (Magic School)
Customizable MC: Yes
Magical Diary is a game where you (the character you create, a rare and cool thing for otome games,) attend your first year of a magical school. You learn magic, take magical tests in a dungeon, and build relationships.
The world building is really well done and there are lots of different things to do and explore. There are lots of choices and different ways to play, and the cast is pretty great.
My only real complaints are that the game shoehorns you into a house/character that is a sporty/active type, which is pretty much exactly the opposite of me and that the art isn’t as pretty as I usually prefer. Still a great game, definitely worth playing and my number one pick for what game to play from Hanako Games.
I give it 4 out of 5 monkey flowers.
Genre: Simulation (Historical, Adventure, Archaeology, Some paranormal elements)
Customizable MC: No
Set in the 1930’s Scheherazade follows the globe trotting adventures of young New York socialite Scheherazade ‘Sadie’ Keating as she enters her first year of college and becomes a world traveling adventurer/archaeologist.
With a huge number of skills (including fun ones like ‘moxie’) and a giant variety in choice, both in what to do with your time and how to deal with the problems that Sadie encounters (which are a lot, the girl puts trouble magnets to shame) and a ton of text, routes and romance options, Scheherazade is a really fun game that transports you not only into a different time but many different places, too. Sadie makes for an engaging and spunky (if occasionally selfish and oblivious) heroine and the supporting cast is generally pretty great.
The biggest problem is the huge learning and difficulty curve in adjusting to the game’s very complicated skills and card system. Once you have mastered it, the game becomes fun and easy to play, but getting there can be a really frustrating experience of trial and error. There were also a couple instances where I got drawn out of the game by some odd writing choices (commenting on the bad teeth of one of the romance interests…while on his romance route, for instance.) And I have to give the game some side eye for the frequency where POC show up as the villains or thugs. (That’s not to say they aren’t non-bad and even good POC, it’s just the frequency that really stands out to me) but it does get credit for going to all sorts of countries, representing different cultures, and having a diverse cast. Despite this, excepting a mummy, basically all the main cast/romance characters are white. Something to keep in mind if you are sensitive on the issue. (Although to be fair, there isn’t generally a ton of diversity in Otome games to begin with.)
With these (very big) asterisks, I give this game five out of five monkey flowers.
Genre: Visual Novel (Fairy Tale)
Customizable MC: No
Cinderella has always been my least favorite fairy tale, so when I say Cinders, a retelling of that fairy tale, ranks among my favorite visual novels, that’s saying something.
With absolutely stunning art, Cinders takes a different approach to the fairy tale, letting your choices shape Cinders personality and who she ends up with (or in the bad endings, how she ends up.) It’s a much more spunky, kick butt version of the famously passive heroine.
This story has a lot more characters than the original and many of the stock characters from the fairy tale become fully fleshed characters with if not always sympathetic, but understandable motivations. And it’s pretty fun to take a Cinderella and have her take charge of her own fate.
Overall a really fun game, with it’s biggest downside being it’s not always really clear how to influence your relationships, personalities and get different endings. A lot of trial and error is needed (or googling, that works, too.)
I give this game 4 out of 5 monkey flowers.
PC games is also where you are going to find quite a few otome free games, they don’t always have high quality production values, but there are some real gems. The following two are my favorites among those I’ve tried. (And yes, I started being a lot shorter, less this post end up like a bazillion words long.)
This is a cute, fun game about a gamer girl whose gaming mystery ends up becoming a part of her real life too.
A cute story with adorable art, this game is the story of an aspiring knight and her journey with two dragon-kin.
From the makers of Re: Alistair++, Backstage pass is going to be a fully voiced year in the life of Sian, aspiring makeup artist and her brushes with fame and the famous. (Haha, punny. Ugh I can’t believe my mom has corrupted me into stealing her pun jokes. Curse you MOM!) I’ve played through some of the pre-order beta, and its shaping up to be a really good game, so keep an eye on it.
It’s not at all an Otome game, but you do get to play as a customized female character, and romance a companion. Okay, really I just wanted to include my fav game ever, which happens to be on the PC.
It’s a rpg, so there’s lots of combat, but it still has some of my favorite game characters ever, including my favorite game romance of all time: Alistair.
That’s it for PC, stay tuned for part four, where we venture into the booming territory of Otome Mobile games.
Until next time,
May the punny mothers be with you,