Dev. Mediatonic / Pub. Devolver Digital
You may not know me but I’ve been writing for FrugalGaming a year now. It’s unusual for someone like me to be allowed within these hallowed halls – you see, I’m a little different than the others here. It doesn’t come up very often and if you didn’t know something was slightly ‘different’ about these guys, well, you probably wouldn’t even realise… You see, they’re all, well – aha – I guess I’ll let you find out for yourselves.
Let me tell you what I did during the summer, before work restarted and all the drama began; I played a PC game called Hatoful Boyfriend. It’s one of those games people have seen around, hanging out. Some people think it looks kinda cool, others think it’s a joke because it dresses a bit different. Well, now I’ve hung out with it for a couple of weeks – and let me tell you – it may have some pretty queer looking trappings, but this game is no joke, that’s for certain.
I was interested in Hatoful Boyfriend right from the very start. There’s this weird back story there. You can tell it’s Japanese in origin, but that’s not the thing that’s intriguing about it. See, the game has this whole thing about birds, it’s stuffed full of them. Where you normally expect to see a normal looking guy, you get a pigeon, dove, parakeet – some such avian creature. Now, the younger children will no doubt tell you that this is all foolishness, a silly conceit on the part of the programmers. How wrong they are – but you must not blame them in their naivety. We were all there once.
So there are somewhere in the region of a dozen different guys within Hatoful Boyfriend and each one merits exploration. Indeed, if you truly want to find out what the real deal is – why your human narrator has ended up in a high school like St. PigeoNation’s – then you need to spend the time getting to know them all in detail. Believe me, it’s worth it.
Talk about hidden depths! I can’t believe what I discovered as I started to push past that surface and let go of my preconceptions.
You’re going to have to uncover it for yourself of course – but I can give you a few clues on how you might get started. I’ll tell you a little secret too, but only if you swear not to tell anyone else. You’ve got to promise, otherwise I don’t know if we can still be friends.
So, Hatoful Boyfriend is much more of a story than a game. Think of it as a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ book and you won’t be far wrong. There’s no way to fail as such, you will just get different outcomes to your particular story dependant on the choices you make.
Much of the time will be spent hitting the return key as you make your way through the dialogue boxes that pop up to tell you what’s happening at school that day, or what one of your pigeon friends has said to you. Behind the dialogue boxes are some static images that are just flavouring. They’re not particularly stunning, but you’re not one of those shallow people who’re only interested in looks, are you?
The story is about your second year at a prestigious school for birds where you are the only human student. Your concentration is on your studies and maybe finding some work, but romance is certainly in the air. As you make decisions about your school career, you find yourself drawn into relationships with the people around you. Of course, some end happily, others less so – yet all are worth pursuing because you’ll find yourself enriched by uncovering the mysteries of your school year.
It is important that you are prepared to repeat your studies, as the your experience will vary dramatically playthrough-to-playthrough. It all culminates in a revelation that is totally beyond your expectations. After all – haven’t we all wished that we could repeat our time armed with the knowledge that we gained from experience? Still, even with that extra insight, you may find the outcome at turns harrowing, enlightening and shocking. I’d share my revelations with you – but then, how will you grow as person without making a little effort yourself?
Don’t be concerned about cruel glances and whispers behind your back from other people whilst you’re playing Hatoful Boyfriend. Unfortunately, it’s in some people’s nature to be jealous and cruel. It might be their upbringing or they could have simply been born with a nasty streak a mile wide – but the spiteful and mean will find they get what they deserve; in the end, if you stick at it and persevere, so will you.
Now, you may be wondering about the people here at FrugalGaming and how it is that they’re so different from you and I. Believe me, the clues are there, scattered around if you care to look for them. I only wish I’d found out the truth before it all began but now it’s far too late for me. I’ve done what I can for you – the rest is in your hands. Try your best, be my shining star. I’ll be watching – best of luck to you, always.
Hatoful Boyfriend is out now for PC. It’s probably not what you think it is.