Introducing Hatoful Boyfriend, a visual novel from Hato Mao creator of this beautiful (and ever-so-slightly nuts) game now available on the PS4. Developed by Mediatonic and produced by Hato Mao’s Doujin circle PigeoNation INC,Hatoful Boyfriend is the successor to a flash game she created April Fools Day in 2011.
Hatoful Boyfriend is an interactive text based game following a branch of story lines based on your characters decisions, you play a hunter-gatherer human who lives in a cave out in the wilderness and has just returned to St.Pigeonation academy for another semester of feathery fun times with her friends and potential partners. This game has a big secret, a sort of M. Night Shyamalan plot twist, all the characters in the game are… brace yourself… BIRDS! You heard me right! You are a human girl, who is friends and are able to fall in love with (and in some cases marry) birds?! Logic, there is none.
The game starts off by asking you for your name, you could put your own down but just remember your character is female, then it will as you ask if you would like to see “human portraits” this means that as each character gets introduced it will show you what they would look like as a human, please note that human portraits are only shown during the introduction and not throughout the game.
They do this so that you can “visualize” them in human form. Then we start the tutorial, there isn’t much to it, just click and choose an answer, oh and I’m going to help you out a little, try not to push triangle, that is the skip button and will speed up and skip dialogue. In my opinion I think this game counts as a love simulator because you are able to fall in love with someone and develop your story line with them and are punished by death if you don’t.
With this game being a visual novel the landscape and scenery is beautifully made, very simple and brilliantly drawn, this being a Japanese game it seems fitting to have the background and scenery to be drawn manga style, it is just a few backgrounds I.E. your characters wilderness home, your school and a café, again simple but brilliant. Since this game has been brought onto PS4 the graphics engine and the 1080P qualities really bring out the colours and looks of every character and scene.
The controls like the game itself are very simple, click and choose an answer, I think that the only thing you need to know is when in school each class boosts a different attribute, gym gives you more vitality, music gives you more charisma and math gives you more knowledge and to ‘get with’ characters you will need to impress them by meeting a certain amount of attributes, I guess even a bird has his type.
Overall, I liked the game, the artwork is beautiful and the storylines can leave you feeling very tearful and the game really trains you to visualize, thanks to the “human portraits” option. With its funny dialogue the writers of this game have done a brilliant job at making it an enjoyable experience to play.
I would have liked to have an option to leave the “human portraits” up and not just for the introduction, also I would like to see some more long term decisions that can affect you in future decisions, but apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed the game more than I thought I would and I would definitely recommend it.