Ha ha! I’m an overachiever. Freditor was shocked I managed to review a game for him and called me unreliable last night, and while I won’t disagree, screw that guy. If you only read one of these game reviews, ignore him, make it this one. If you only buy one game this year, make it this one. You don’t need anything else. Hatoful Boyfriend: You Can Date Some Birds.
If there’s one thing I love more than birds, it’s…no, never mind. There is nothing I love more than birds. Just birds… all of the birds. I lie awake at night, rolling endlessly in my blankets like some perpetual motion machine, thinking of their chubby bodies and their little round no-necked heads. I browse pictures of them, I chase them down in the street so I can savour the terror in their adorable boogly eyes, and sometimes I raise them and then eat them. They’re both adorable and delicious. If just one thing on this earth proves the existence of a just and loving higher power, it is that birds have no arms and must smash their faces into the ground every time they want to eat something. Endless joy. Just when I thought I‘d done it all, some asshole made this game and filled a hole in my soul I didn’t even know existed.
When I first found out they’d released this on Steam, I instantly ran to grab a copy. I picked up several, actually. I handed them out to everyone I know. So far, checking their Steam reveals NOBODY HAS BEEN PLAYING IT, but whatever. That’s just more birds for me. Prior to the Steam release I couldn’t get the damn game to work on my computer. Clearly somebody knew this was a problem and fixed the issue. Now there’s no reason for anyone not to own this interactive novel.
I think text games are the neatest, I don’t even really need pictures but I certainly won’t lose out from the inclusion of them. Those of you interested in Japanese games will most likely have come across interactive novels before. They follow a basic formula, most being the same from one genre to the next. There’s text, character sprites and backgrounds; usually music, perhaps sound effects. Like the old CYOA novels that were popular when we were kids, you get different choices at different parts of the game, and those choices will determine the ending you get. I think they’re amazing because I’m a cheapskate and most are very inexpensive, I also love the replay value. In Hatoful Boyfriend, the choices you make may lead to a beautiful and fulfilling relationship with one of several characters. It’s a dating sim, only better, because they’re fucking birds.
A lot of people think this is a comedy fad; something short and sweet to tide you over while you wait for a new meme to appear. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life but if that’s the attitude you’re approaching this with, you’re totally wrong. Sure, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments during the stories, but there are also sad moments, bittersweet moments, charming moments, and hopeful moments. I experienced a whole range of emotions while trying to find that special somebirdy to spend my life with. I was surprised at how well I could relate to the main character in that we both live in a cave and we both really want to go to school populated and staffed entirely by birds.
You can only play as one pre-set heroine and most of the love interests are male, but non-hetero players needn’t worry, there’s a sweet little female finch you can ride slowly off into the night on a moped with. There’s no accompanying kiss scene on this route, but that’s alright, because there’s no accompanying kiss scenes for any of the characters… Because they’re all birds.
There’s a surprise mystery route that only unlocks if you complete all the other plot paths. I’m not going to spoil it for you but I will say that it ends with you getting chopped up into little pieces and scattered across the school. Neat!
Hatoful Boyfriend is currently available on Steam for £6.99. That’s less than a pound per birdfriend!