Angeline Ashlee Marquez

Valentine's fever is fast approaching; however, many of us are feeling lonely since we have not yet found our ideal partners. We often crave the love that sustains us through our worst and best days, revealing a different side of us and making us feel cherished. While some have already found their partner, others are not as fortunate. This is what hopeless romantics and the youth ask for in their wishes and prayers– pleading to all deities and Gods out there to provide them with a partner to show them what true love means.

While others wait patiently, some distract themselves by looking for another way to find "love", some of us find it by doing what we love or by playing romantic games on our mobile screens like Otome! Now, what makes Otome Games different from being attracted to celebrities and real-life people? How do they influence hopeless romantics alike to be redirected or taught to deal with real-life situations stimulated or programmed by these games? Dig deep to find out what the world of Otome Games has in store!

The history behind Otome Games

Otome Games have transformed the gaming landscape, creating different types and categories of games to enjoy over the next few years. As the gaming world is primarily dominated by male players, Otome Games is set for female gamers. The term "Otome'' under the said genre, is rooted under the words "Maiden" and "Young Woman.” Their target audience is women and girls alike–making them engage through unique storylines and romance options with what women usually fantasize about when it comes to romance.

The first Otome Game to ever exist was back in 1994, taking a decade to successfully create the first female-targeted game in the world. Angelique was one of the very first games to explore and execute different styles with the help of Tecno Koei's executive, Keiko Erikawa, and her team, Ruby Party. They successfully made the game's storyline interesting by making it tie-in and interactive. This led to the success and growth of games similar to Angelique, increasing opportunities for girls to enjoy and discover various categories while contributing to the overall development of games.

The Big 3 Romance Novel Games as of date:

Three Otome games have revolutionized the gaming industry with various stories and choices that showcase different values in terms of love and what a person is willing to do for love.

They have been in the industry for quite some time now, yet engagement seems not an issue for them due to the increase in their fan base– they also generously share grand rewards and prizes to their players for their loyalty to the franchise as well as the patience they showed to wait for further developments and updates with the game.

Mystic Messenger

This South Korean mobile app paved the way for present and future Otome games. It was released on July 8, 2016, for Android users and on August 18 of the following year for iOS. It was developed by Cheritz– following through seven romanceable characters with three-story modes to choose from.

From the Casual Story, you may romance Yoosung the Gamer, Zen the Actor & Jaehee the Secretary. For Deep Story, you can build up your relationship and character with Jumin the CEO, and 707, the Hacker, knowing a different side of their secretive personas. Lastly, Another Story features V the Photographer, and Ray the Unknown. Their stories introduce a much different style from the first two storylines with their routes revolving around much heavier texts and gruesome implications; this storyline is not advisable for newbies, but rather for more advanced players to keep their enthusiasm and curiosity in place.

The plot starts with a chat room called Rika’s Fundraising Association (RFA), where a mysterious person adds you to interact with numerous characters. As the game progresses, you will see different colored hearts coordinating with all seven romanceable characters. This game is set in real-time, all the while you will receive messages, emails, and even calls that will take place depending on which route you will take and which of your choices will lead you.

Obey Me

In a school full of demons, you play as a human exchange student who must help the three worlds: The Celestial Realm, The Devildom, and Earth– be at peace with one another and perhaps discover the secrets the longer you stay inside the devil dom. You will meet certain romanceable characters as the story progresses on, and you must make a pact with them all!

Interacting with the seven demon brothers: Lucifer, Mammon, Leviathan, Satan, Asmodeus, Beelzebub, and Belphegor, you will need to help them solve their individual and family problems up until they have fallen for you, leading to a pact! You can also romance other characters outside of the brothers from Diavolo, Barbatos, Simeon, and Solomon; these characters also play a vital role in the main story–assisting you with the brothers all the while maintaining peace and order within the three realms.

This game was made by Shall We Date, an RPG gacha card game that features characters with different abilities and upgrades with astonishing artwork made for each card. Some cards can be unlocked throughout the game, while some are limited to gacha access and events.

The game has debuted successfully, having launched a prequel game with an anime series; following through individual and group songs sung by the said characters!

Tears of Themis

Made by Hoyoverse, Tears of Themis made its debut back on July 30, 2020, for international gamers and was officially released on July 9, 2021. The game introduces us to four potential male interests: Luke Pearce, a childhood friend, Artem Wing, a senior co-worker, Vyn Richter, the renowned psychologist, and Marius von Hagen, the heir to the von Hagens company, Pax Group.

The four men help Rosa, the main character (MC) in solving several cases. With the help of their expertise, Rosa easily finds the truth as a young attorney, but while she helps find justice in Themis City, the danger rises.

Additionally, it is a new Otome game featuring a gacha system for all the boys, varying from different events– players have a choice on who they go after. This does not necessarily affect the main story, but each of the boys has their own side story with the main character. This makes many people feel engaged with the game, from the overall storyline to the artwork and generous rewards provided by the game. It's no wonder why Tears of Themis is a hit, despite being new to the Otome Game world!

Impact of said games

According to gamers within the dating sim community, romance simulations have given them numerous perspectives and insights into the do's and don'ts inside of a relationship. Many pointed out how despite being fictional at times, the characters express their love for the main characters in their unique ways, through saving the MC or simply checking up on you and asking about your day. It also helped players identify consent and red flags– while assessing the choices they make when they plan to get into a relationship and think of plans involving said partner anytime soon.

Why Otome games are still a hit in today's time?

Aside from the love lessons players can get from these games, they also get the chance to be in a relationship despite it being a simulation. Getting that ‘kilig-factor’ into their system from being praised by their favorite characters brings them total excitement and happiness. This keeps them playing to have more interaction with their favorites. It also brings into interest the looks of the characters alongside their quirky traits, personalities, and voice actors (VA) that make fans hooked–capturing hearts galore.

It’s no surprise that the Otome game industry is still booming as newer games make their way into the hearts of veteran players, using similar tropes used by older franchises and making their games filled with different mechanics and surprises for them to try!

Indeed, love can be found anywhere and everywhere—even through games!  As you yearn for Cupid’s arrows every day, may your hearts be pure and kind. Someone will find you and would love all your flaws and imperfections just like how we redefine love by playing Otome Games on our mobile screens.

Edited by RB Bautista