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Hatoful Boyfriend (PC) Review

/ Sep 9th, 2014 No Comments

Hatoful Boyfriend Review

Hatoful Boyfriend fills a very specific gap in the video game genre with its conception of romance between pigeon and human. A remake of a game that was originally released in 2011, the 2014 HD re-release includes an additional narrative route featuring a luscious sparrow, completely redrawn backgrounds which are the primary visuals in the game, and full screen compatibility bringing players an even prettier picture of the feathered fiends.

Even with all the improvements made and the cult following the game has garnered, Hatoful Boyfriend is still a game about human-bird romance, which brings players their fair share of amusement, plenty of raised eyebrows and awkward chuckles.

Flappy Birds

Unlike titles such as Katawa Shoujo, Hatoful Boyfriend launches players immediately into play with very little background information. The game doesn’t set up the identity of the player character and her most interesting and out of ordinary environment.
 

Hatoful Boyfriend pudding

At the end of the day, it always comes down to pudding.

As the main character, players embark on a journey as the only human student (really the only human, period) at a school for gifted birds, mostly pigeons. Why you’re here is left unexplained initially, with players picking out more details as they complete the many routes throughout their playthroughs and unlock more possibilities. Playing the game eventually unveils the story behind this odd school and its feathered students.

The Flying V

For the most part, the game is about the school lives of the protagonist and her pigeon classmates told in visual novel style. Players use their mouse or directional pad and enter key to click though dialogue, including the choices presented which then influence what happens in the text displayed.
 

Hatoful Boyfriend pervert

You will probably feel like a pervert at some point.

Most playthroughs are annoyingly similar regardless of choices made, which means completionists will find themselves mindlessly skipping through the numerous branches of dialog that are the same every single time.

Bird Watching

The pigeons and their background landscapes are artfully drawn and appear crisp when viewed in full screen on a quality monitor. Text is easily visible. There is simply not much to expect when examining the graphics of a visual novel. Hatoful Boyfriend is average for its genre, doing nothing to step beyond and impress in its presentation. Considering it is a remake, the lack of additions or improvements place this edition below par.
 

Hatoful Boyfriend graphics

Lots of pigeons…1080 pigeons

Hatoful Boyfriend hits its stride in the music selection. Music varies with each individual bird, aiming to capture the personality of each pigeon. However, at the risk of comparing the game to Katawa Shoujo again–which might be seen as in a whole other league–Hatoful Boyfriend fails to take advantage of the immersion that ambient sound can bring to a piece of interactive fiction. Opportunities to make players feel closer to the actions taking place using sound are seldom taken, with a few exceptions.

Overall

Hatoful Boyfriend is the best human-on-bird romance simulator on the market. It is also the only human-on-bird romance simulator on the market. It is unashamedly a token meant to incite laughs at the notion of such a thing which upon play fails to keep one’s attention. Even for its genre, Hatoful Boyfriend fails to compare to visual novels in its price range and even ranks below in length, complexity, depth, and originality (other than the fact that NPCs are birds).
 

Miranda L Visser

Miranda L Visser

Gaming since she dug an NES out of a dumpster down the street from her home as a child, Miranda L Visser contributes to Gaming Illustrated while working on her M.A. in Norway. She dearly misses steak and being able to walk down the street to buy cheap games.
Miranda L Visser
Miranda L Visser

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HATOFUL BOYFRIEND (PC) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall55%

GAMEPLAY5

As a visual novel, Hatoful Boyfriend is not a game that demands much from the player.

PRESENTATION6

The game is artfully drawn, but not overly special. The music selection is thoughtful, but there could be so much more.

STORY6

The game relies on the odd inclusion of pigeons as the romance-able characters to carry it through. It's novel at first, but it quickly wears off.

REPLAY VALUE5

The first couple playthroughs will keep you curious, but not so much after that.

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