In recent years, otome games have started to become popular among gamers not just in Asia but also in the West. In fact, a number of developers have already released English versions of popular games and it doesn’t stop there.
The game genre just got bigger and bigger and is now available across different platforms such as mobile phones, gaming consoles, and even the Nintendo Switch.
In this article, we’ll be diving into the colorful world of otome games. We’ll discuss its gameplay concepts, helpful terms, and 12 of the best games that you should be playing right now.
Otome Games: What Exactly Are They?
An otome game or otoge is a Japanese term that describes games that target women and girls. Many famous otome games are Japanese titles that have been translated into English for the Western audience.
One of the first officially translated otome games is a historical fantasy game called Yo-Jin-Bo. It was released for PC back in 2006 and is a popular title for veteran Otoge players.
Since then, many companies have adopted the genre to create their own otome games. Such companies include NTT Solmare who is famous for its Shall We Date series and Cybird who is famous for its Ikemen Romance series.
Genres and Subcategories
Otome game is an umbrella term for different genres and subcategories. Here are some of the types of otome games that you’ll encounter if you choose to explore the genre.
These are any games that are story-based. Many otome games will follow this type and it is very heavy on reading.
In dating sim games, the end goal of the player is to be able to end up in a romantic relationship with one of the love interests available.
The titles in this article are basically mobage games, but they do cross with other game types such as rhythm and card games. A mobage in general refers to titles that are available for mobile devices.
Ports are games that have been adapted to another platform. This applies to a lot of Japanese titles that have been translated into English since a lot of the original games are only playable on consoles.
As previously mentioned, otome games come in different types but one aspect that remains is its story-based elements. Most otome games will involve a lot of reading, which helps to further immerse the player in the experience as they are made part of the narrative.
Otome games focus on the player character who is often referred to as MC (Main Character) or the Heroine. While your main goal as the heroine is to build a romantic relationship with one of the love interests, there are otome games that allow you to have platonic relationships with the characters. You can control the story’s narrative and will allow you to make in-game choices that will ultimately change the course of the story.
The majority of the otome games in the market are also route-based, which means that you can only pursue one love interest at a time. However, there are also certain games that will allow you to pursue all of them at once and your in-game choices will determine who your character will end up with.
Most of the games that you’ll find in the market today are more hybrid games. They still have the same story-based system but they also incorporate other elements of rhythm games, card collection games, and of top gacha games.
Terms You Should Know
Before you start playing otome games, there are a couple of terms that you should know. These terms are especially helpful if you’re looking to interact with other fans within the community.
- Otoge – A shorter term for “otome game.”
- MC/Heroine – The player character. Players usually have the power to customize their appearances and attributes as they wish but there are some games that feature a heroine with well-rounded backstories and personalities.
- Love Interests – The non-playable characters that the heroine can pursue over the story. Each love interest is unique and features their own personalities and backgrounds.
- Routes – Your choice of love interest will determine which route you will take.
- Good End – The happy ending of the game. Players will usually get this when they have fulfilled all of the requirements and have chosen the right responses for a happy ending.
- Bad End – Usually sad and tragic. Players get this when they have made the “wrong” choices or if they have something left unfulfilled.
Best Otome Games to Play
If you’re curious to try out some of the games, we’ve listed down 12 of the best otome games that you can download on your mobile devices today.
But, before you download any of them — you might want to make sure that your phone is able to function properly as these games usually require high phone specs. You don’t necessarily need a premium phone but an impressive gaming phone could up your experience.
1. Mystic Messenger
Mystic Messenger is probably one of the most popular otome games to date. It is produced by Cheritz and was first released in 2016 where it hit the world by storm.
The game takes on a visual novel format where the player stumbles upon a mobile app called “Mystic Messenger.” It connects them to a group of people involved in a charity. Apart from organizing events, the player must also please their object of affection within 11 days. Apart from the ordinary story that features seven routes, the game has another story option called “Another Story.”
By far, Mystic Messenger is one of the otome games with the largest following. It was hailed at the Best Indie Game at the 2017 Korea Game Awards and still continues to reel in an audience to this day. You can read on our Mystic Messenger guide to know about how you can win this game.
2. Ikemen Sengoku
Picture this, you just managed to get your dream job as a fashion designer and you’re over the moon! However, by a strange twist of fate, you suddenly find yourself getting hurled back in time into an alternate history.
Ikemen Sengoku takes players to Japan’s Sengoku Era where she must survive three months in. But she won’t be alone. She’ll be with some of Japan’s most famous historical figures such as Nobunaga Oda and Masamune Date. A lot can happen in three months but if she wants to go home, she must not fall in love with anyone.
The game is developed by Cybird, a company known for producing otome games. Ikemen Sengoku is one of their most famous works that have been adapted into anime, manga, and even stage plays.
3. Obey Me! Shall We Date?
If you’re the type to dabble into the supernatural, Obey Me! is definitely the game for you.
Set in the fictional world of Devildom, players take the role of a human who is brought into the demon world as an exchange student at the Royal Academy of Diavolo. There, you’ll need to accomplish numerous tasks in order to fulfill the requirements needed for the exchange program. You won’t be alone though; you’ll be accompanied by seven demon brothers who will be helping you every step of the way.
While the game sounds intimidating, Obey Me! is actually a music-centric card battle game that allows you to collect cards, level them up, and use them to win battles. But remember, you must survive in the Devildom. And to survive you must be the one master to rule them all!
4. Ayakashi: Romance Reborn
Immerse yourself in a story of mystery and romance when you play Ayakashi: Romance Reborn.
Set in a fictional city, the story revolves around a heroine who forms a team with bewitching spirits to save her father from wraith influx. You might find that the capital is an unusual place, but that’s where your adventure begins.
The game features a mix between a visual novel format and a card game format, which only makes it more exciting. The game is developed by Voltage, Inc., another company known for producing superb otome games across different platforms.
5. Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice
Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice is a “hybrid” otome game that is set in a fantasy world of superpowers and mystery. It features a lot of elements that you might find in an otome game such as the visual novel format, the card gacha, and the message and call system.
In this game, you’ll be in the shoes of a media producer. As she develops her career, she gets involved with characters, finds her object of affection, and revels in their mystery. The game spans dozens of episodes, so it’s guaranteed that you won’t get bored. Because of the success of the game, it was recently adapted into an anime series.
6. Uta no Prince-Sama: Shining Live
Uta no Prince-Sama: Shining Live is an otome game that also doubles as a mobile rhythm game. While it can be quite challenging to play, the game mechanics are easy to follow.
The story centers on the player character as she meets the members of two boyband groups. The game will allow you to follow the everyday lives of the idols in Story mode and help them deliver the show of a lifetime.
7. Ikemen Vampire
Cybird brings yet another entry into this list with Ikemen Vampire. This title in the Ikemen series dabbles into the supernatural that all starts with a chance encounter at The Louvre Museum.
What begins as a chance encounter leads the heroine into a mansion where you’ll be meeting some of the greatest men in history such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Isaac Newton, among others. However, as the title implies, they aren’t what you would expect them to be.
Immerse yourself in an exciting romance as you progress through the game’s many routes to find your own vampire otome love.
8. Amnesia: Memories
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you woke up one day with no recollection of your past? That is exactly what this game will show you. The premise of Amnesia: Memories revolves around the player character as she tries to regain her memories.
It’s the first of August. The player character finds herself waking up with no memory from before August 1. Everything is completely blank. A boy named Orion introduces himself as a spirit attached to your mind, and under his guidance, you’ll begin the journey to regain your memories.
The game has a Premium Edition for $22.99. When you buy the Premium Edition, you’ll be able to unlock all scenarios and get access to new scenes as well.
9. Wizardess Heart
If you’re a fan of magic, Wizardess Heart is the otome game for you! The game follows the story of a young wizardess who enters the Royal Magic Academy where she must grow her magic and prove herself before becoming a full-fledged student at the academy.
The player must reach one of the three available endings of the story. Like other otome games, you must make your choices wisely in order to achieve a good end.
The game was previously available on iOS as well. However, the game abandoned its iOS version due to difficulties in getting their updates through. It is still playable on Android, and you can also try to play the mobile game on PC.
10. Dangerous Fellows
If you’re looking for an entirely different otome game, Dangerous Fellows is perfect for you.
Set in a 21st-century apocalypse, you’ll be trying to escape from a horde of zombies only to be saved by a group of strangers. Your group hides out in a school building where you will have to fight through the apocalypse together.
The game boasts a unique setting as its one of the first otome games to be set in the 21st century. While it’s not the first to have a horror theme, it’s one that’s definitely worth a play as it brings something new to the table.
11. The Arcana: A Mystic Romance
While it is not entirely an otome game, The Arcana: A Mystic Romance is an otome-inspired dating sim that features the same interactive story that most otome games have. Here, the main character is the apprentice of a magician named Asra. The apprentice is invited to solve a royal murder and from there, they will have the chance to romance and date Asra, Nadia, Julian, Muriel, Portia, or Lucio.
The Arcana, as the title implies, features elements from Tarot. The story unfurls in 22 segments with each of them corresponding to the 22 cards in a Tarot deck’s Major Arcana.
If you’re into Tarot and if you’re looking for a great otome-inspired game, The Arcana is definitely one that you should look into.
12. Midnight Cinderella
Completing the list is another game from Cybird. Midnight Cinderella follows the story of a commoner who suddenly becomes the princess of a fictional country called Wysteria. The player character will need to adjust to their new life as a royal while learning how to rule the country.
Aside from that, they are faced with another challenge. They must find a prince who will rule the country beside them. While such a task may seem challenging, you are then presented with nine prince candidates who you must choose from to rule beside you. You can only pick one of them to become your prince, so choose wisely.
Immerse in a fairytale world of carriages, balls, and gowns as you search for your happy ending.
Otome Games vs. Datings Sims: What’s the Difference?
As mentioned earlier, otome game is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of genres and subcategories. One of the categories that it covers is dating sims — they are one and the same thing.
However, many players will notice that there are games in the market that are sole “dating sims” and not otome games.
To put simply, most dating sims that you will find in the market today are focused on romance and love interest. Their main goal is for the heroine to end up with one of the love interests in the game.
An otome game will allow you to either have a romance with them or stay in a platonic relationship. It’s not always about romancing the love interest but it also involves progressing through the story together without falling in love.
Otome games are fun, especially if you’re looking for something to pass the time or if you’re looking for something to help you reimagine your love life. The games are also good for readers because they are story-based. It won’t be difficult to find a game that will interest you.
There is much to love about otome games, but they aren’t always for everyone. So it helps that you have an understanding of what an otoge is before you decide to invest time in it.
Despite the rise in popularity, otome games are still a niche market, but they might not stay that way for long. More games are being produced for more platforms, which give players more access to titles without having to rely on purchasing new consoles for them.
In all, it can be a hit or miss if you play otome games, but it’s always the matter of finding a game that is perfect for you. There are a lot of them in the market and all you have to do is to look for one that interests you.