You Think Writing For An Otome Game Is Easy…

By Jenni . August 25, 2013 . 9:30am

We’ve been spoiled by the good otome games. Aksys’ localization of Hakuoki and Sweet Fuse are so well done, that I’m sure many new otome fans think all games are that way.

 

Even Harvest Moon, Rune Factory, Fire Emblem Awakening, and smaller games like The Royal Trap, 1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum and RE: Alistair++ give off the impression that there’s a certain level of quality one can expect from these dating sims for girls. While really, there are more Hatoful Boyfriend-style traps out there, only without Hatoful‘s exemplary charms.

 

I present to you, as a prime example, the Shall We Date? series of Android and iOS games.

 

I recently purchased a few of the base games because, well, I’m a bit of a video game masochist. Sometimes I love playing terrible games, just so I can mock them. So, I present to you, an assortment of Shall We Date? screenshots, taken from Shall We Date?: Ninja Love, Shall We Date?: Destiny Ninja, Shall We Date?: Konkatsu for Marriage and Shall We Date?: My Sweet Prince.

 

shall we date konkatsu for marriage 2 shall we date my sweet prince shall we date destiny ninja 1 shall we date destiny ninja 2 shall we date ninja love 1 shall we date ninja love 4 shall we date ninja love 3 shall we date konkatsu for marriage 1

If these images have lured you in, beware! The Shall We Date? series is a teensy bit shady. You’ll think you’re getting the full game for the $4-$5 price tag, but really you’re only getting the stories for 3-4 of the guys, and would have to pay an additional $6.99 for packs that contain two extra bachelors each.

 

For example, Shall We Date?: Konkatsu for Marriage has two of these packs, making the price for the full game $18.31. The only one that doesn’t have that pricing structure is the freemium Shall We Date?: Destiny Ninja, but it has other ways of opening people’s wallets…

 


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  • Locklear93

    I dunno. Some obvious typo fails there, and some mediocre looking writing, but nothing that screams “Oh what the hell,” like some eroge I’ve seen. Actual dialogue from Choose Me, Honey!: “Oh, there’s a cat. I can put that cat in my anus.”

    • Rashid Al Rabah

      What the…

    • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

      Oh? Is that what your avatar seems to be in the process of doing?

      • DyLaN

        Your avatar looks like it want to join the fun too ;)

    • Ferrick

      “a cat is fine too” huh

    • Göran Isacson

      Ha ha, kinda agree. While the DLC stuff sounds a bit skeevy, I think talking more about actual bad scripts and such would be a bit more informative… or point out some of the weirder games, so people don’t think they’re ALL serious and dramatic love stories, just so they know what they’re getting themselves into.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Guess I’ve just played too many “Choose Me, Honey’s”‘ “Come See Me Tonights” and “Do You Like Horny Bunnies” not to expect crap writing as part of the package on the low-rent side of traditional VNs. So just noting in passing that the same exists in otomes is enough for the point to be made.

        • Locklear93

          Poor JAST. I pick one of the titles they localized as an example of horrible writing, and you have no problem adding two more. Their older stuff was seriously horrible, even if they weren’t at fault for the writing.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Used to mention on the Peach Princess boards back in the day that the quality of many games they were selecting did nothing to help the VN cause. They still keep the Crescendos, Demonbanes and Yo-Jin-Bo’s right alongside the dreck.

            They didn’t even really attempt to separate Aselia. That is probably my biggest fear about S;G. They will use their same old distribution channels and websites, which many who would buy Steins just won’t get near.

          • Locklear93

            You’d think with that crazy plethora of brands, they’d compartmentalize a bit more.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Pull out the all ages (Steins, Aselia, Yo-Jin-Bo, the all-ages MG stuff) and put them on a site that AT LEAST links like MG does. Heck perhaps only link to all ages from the ero-side, not the other way around.

            Set the best 3-4 story-focused eroges (say Demonbane, Kana, Family Project) under some kind of ‘Peter selects’ list. Make it clear that serious adult content is involved but that the story and character relations are the primary.

            Keep everything else where it is and where those who know can find it.

          • supervamp

            Hey that’s the best they could get in licensing you should be glad we got anything.Honestly I have no problem playing stories with bad storyline or storyline made just to justify the sex and hardcore content.

        • Barrylocke89

          I guess I’m just too spoiled, since almost all of the VN games I’ve played have had high quality localization’s like Corpse Party , AA, and 999, and with Hakuoki waiting in the wings.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            The hybrids have always had higher writing values — and all of the titles mentioned in this little discussion are older ero titles.

          • Barrylocke89

            Yeah, I remember hearing about the bunny one from xplay one time. Now that I think about it, I do think I remember them mentioning that it was localized.

        • Göran Isacson

          A fair point! I guess I just saw this as a “total newbies introduction to the fact that yes, there is bad stuff in here”, and from that standpoint this felt a bit bare bones.

          I gotta ask though… “Do You Like Horny bunnies”. Anthro game, or something… other?

          • M’iau M’iaut

            That one is about human bunny hostesses at a bar/restaurant. There are a few localized anthro games out there however. And no, the girls aren’t pigeons :P.

          • Göran Isacson

            Aaaah, THOSE kind of bunnies.

            Although now I’m wondering if someone out there actually made like, a parody of that game but replaced all the pictures of girls with pictures of bunnies in dresses. It may sound awful, but I’m not sure awful ever stopped anyone.

    • DyLaN

      Lol is tht an unholy combination of “a cat is fine too” and “subdue Roa in my ass!” XD

      Context of the line?

    • darkfox1

      Im dying holy shit ahahaha!

  • oorum

    I remember a couple of years back my friend introduced me to the ‘Shall we Date’ series.
    All I could say back to her was: GURL, ARE YOU EVEN SERIOUS.
    The drawings are pretty, but seriously… just no.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      They are quite funny though. I mean, so long as you just pick one that seems quite silly, and pay for the base game.

  • riceisnice

    We don’t even get better dating games compared to guys. Sheesh.

    • supervamp

      Not in america

      • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

        Check out Hanako Games and Sakevisual. Both make otome games that are well written *and* have strong heroines.

        • supervamp

          Those are indie games and fluctuate in quality.

          • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

            While the art in some of Hanako Games’ early installments isn’t the best, every one of their games in the last 2-3 years has been top-notch quality. The same can be said for Sakevisual. I’ve played every Sakevisual game and all but 2 of Hanako Games’ games. (Fatal Hearts and the original Cute Knight are the ones I haven’t played.)

            I highly recommend trying the demos. In the case of Sakevisual, they have RE: Alistair++ a free otome game you could try.

          • supervamp

            I’ve played those games, i know how the western otome or at least vn market runs. They can be pretty good but not always story wowing

    • DyLaN

      The better otome games are locked in Jpn, I’m afraid. Black Wolves Saga and Arcana Famiglia looks decent. I have no idea abt those iOS/android ones though.

  • Mordina

    Hahah, I just tried some recently and so many typos and weird sentences. Still, if you’re bored it’s something so waste time on…!

  • EmmyG

    There are many possible things to criticise about the Shall We Date series but honestly, this ‘article’ is far too cursory and even a little misleading.

    A couple of mediocre screenshots aren’t conclusive about overall quality. They could be the rare bad eggs. Or it could all be like that. We can’t tell from this. Can we get a proper review pls?

    And while buying multiple packs may bring one game’s ‘full’ price to $18, that’s actually still less than the PSP or PC games. Unusual pricing for a phone game maybe, but not super-shady. Not to mention that you don’t have to buy those other packs if you don’t want the extra bachelors, it’s not like they’re necessary to proceed.

    More pocket-draining would be some of the voltage games, which keep adding on more and more Side Stories and Epilogues and so on, so if you like a particular bachelor they can get you to buy more pieces of his story over and over again.

    • http://simplephilistine.wordpress.com/ Arla

      ” Not to mention that you don’t have to buy those other packs if you don’t want the extra bachelors, it’s not like they’re necessary to proceed.”

      I don’t know about you but when I buy a game I want a complete game, not something sold to me in pieces. If all the content is done they should include it. If they want to raise the price that’s fine.

      It’s no different than DLC characters that are already on the disc you have to pay to unlock or content being developed along side the game but being held back to be sold to you later. Basically almost all DLC is bullshit and this is no different.

      • Barrylocke89

        But when you think about how you know some people may buy a full priced Otome game, only to play it once or twice through with their favorite bachelor, it is more economical to get one of the cheaper the iOS games and just follow the story of that one bachelor. 30 bucks for 1 bachelor is hefty, and even if you play it twice, you still have a lot of content overlap.

        And as Emmy pointed out, the overall price is still cheaper than Hakuoki or Sweet Fuse. If a gamer is on a budget but still wants to find the virtual man of their dreams, then I think the iOS games here are worth considering.

        The REAL reason I think one may want to consider the higher priced games is because of potentially better production values or story. From a pure price perspective, I think the advantage goes to Shall We Date here.

        • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

          Sakevisual’s RE: Alistair++ is a far better game than any of the Shall We Date series installments in terms of writing and production values, and it’s 100% free.

          Hanako Games’ The Royal Trap is an incredible otome PC game that’s $19.95. There are 4 different plotlines, 15 different endings and it has an incredible heroine.

          Hakuoki, on the PSP, is just over $16 on Amazon right now.

          To buy all of Shall We Date: Konkatsu for marriage, it would be over $18.

          • supervamp

            I think there are better and higher quality otome games in the west then that.
            RE is good but it’s short and there’s not much substance to it other then getting closer to the guys of course that’s nice and well i like tokimeki for what it’s worth, but games like that have nothing on games with an grander story beyond the relationships

          • Barrylocke89

            All good to know. I’m just a very casual VN fan whose yet to play their first otome game. The only otome games I can name off the top of my head are Hakuoki, sweet fuse, the princess Arthur game and that Romeo and Juliet game that was recently shown.

            If there’s other solid Otome games that people should look at playing if they’ve never played them before, then perhaps they deserve an article of their own ;)

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I’m going to be frank. There’s no way I’m giving NTT Solmare $18 for one game, and I couldn’t in good conscience do a full “review” of a game when I’d only played the three or four base routes. I gave them the base prices of Konkatsu for Marriage, Ninja Love, Heian Love (which I haven’t played yet) and My Sweet Prince, and so far only My Sweet Prince has proved worth it. (While the quality did pick up a bit for Konkatsu, only the train-otaku bachelor interested me, so as a whole I was left disappointed.)

      If you’d like more conclusive evidence on Ninja Love at least, here are some links to some of the worst screenshots from Kotaro’s route from my Twitter. I live-tweeted my entire playthrough and I think there are about 100 screenshots from his route there.

      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/363124167115145216/photo/1
      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/364543968723218434/photo/1
      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/364527668353462272/photo/1
      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/364932396451246081/photo/1
      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/364933960876294145/photo/1
      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/364934330847490048/photo/1
      https://twitter.com/JMariye/status/364936463403585537/photo/1

  • JustThisOne

    I’ve been following you on twitter so I recognize some of these from your tweets! xD They’re all really funny, and it’s been a pleasure to read. :>

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      Glad you enjoyed them! I’m planning on live-tweeting Konkatsu for Marriage next. I got halfway through the train-otaku’s story, realized I want to go for the “best” ending, so I’m planning to restart it.

      I might eventually live-tweet a runthrough of Dandelion, the Korean otome game, soon. It’s got a sim element, so I want to do a playthrough without live-tweeting first, to make sure I get a “good” end for the live-tweet.

  • Reiko_Chan

    I play most of these Otome games myself. Yes, there are a few typos, but nothing major. The author also seems a bit biased. “Sometimes I love playing terrible games, just so I can mock them.” Seems to me they judged the series before they even began playing it.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I live-tweeted my entire run-through of Shall We Date: Ninja Love with Kotaru before writing this article. (I also beat Shall We Date: Konkatsu for Marriage with Kasumi before writing this. There were rampant historical inaccuracies, tons of typos, instances where the faces would load before the rest of the characters’ bodies and such.

      I went to the Shall We Date series because I love otome games and finally had an Android tablet that could play them. I started mocking Ninja Love because, after playing the introduction, I could tell it wasn’t the best written game (in my opinion).

      Not to mention, resorting to near-sexual assaults in both of the ninja games is completely unnecessary. (Enya’s route in Destiny Ninja, Kotaro’s route in Ninja Love.)

      I’m glad you like the series, but as someone who’s been raised on Idea Factory, Konami, Quinrose and Hanako Games’ otome games, I can’t help but laugh at these games.

      • Suki

        I won’t lie. I have all these games and have purchased the bachelors for a good majority. They aren’t great but not super bad. The localization is uneven and you are right, the loading of faces in Ninja Love is terrible. Saizo’s route was so bad I wanted to smack my tablet up against the wall hoping Hanzo’s face would dissappear and Saizo’s would come back.

        My biggest issue with the games are the heroines. I couldn’t get behind some of the things she said because I never would in those situations. That being said I got the games to pass time at work and the cheap prices. Just for that alone they have surved their purpose.

        I’m still trying to get through Hakuouki but it falls into the trap of me wanting to play a game on my Vita and not read it. So I opt to play the game. On my tablet I exclusivley play these novels and not games so I devote lots of time to them.

      • AndyLC

        >>Not to mention, resorting to near-sexual assaults in both of the ninja games is completely unnecessary

        You assault the ninjas?

        • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

          In Enya’s storyline in Destiny Ninja, he forces the player character to infiltrate the enemy camp with him. He then sends her in, disguised as a courtesan, as bait. The head of the camp tries to attack her, even going so far as ripping off her kimono. Enya then comes in, acts as though nothing is wrong, takes quite a bit of time before even asking if the heroine is okay, and says he brought her along for this very purpose because he knew the leader would find her pretty and try to get her alone. I was so disgusted by the way that it was handled, that I stopped playing his storyline.

          In Kotaro’s route in Ninja Love, a similar thing happens. At least in that case, he instructs the heroine on self defense before having her sneak into Nobunaga’s son’s camp, so she can retaliate when attacked, and he’s immediately there to provide backup.

  • Presea

    I’ve played Shall We Date Ninja and Prince ones. Its pretty fun, like there are typos but nothing too bad and the girl isn’t a complete pushover if i remember correctly.

    • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

      I wasn’t too impressed with the heroines. The Ninja Love and Destiny Ninja ones had their pushover moments.

      If you like strong heroines, I recommend looking into Hanako Games’ The Royal Trap and Quinrose Games’ Arabians Lost. Both are VERY well done. Also, Sake Visual’s RE: Alistair++ is quite good AND free.

      • Presea

        Its been a while so I can’t remember all heroines too well honestly, though I know the ninja one was more of a pushover than the prince one. It sucks that otome heroines tend to be so weak… ;w;

        Oh I really love the sound of strong heroines (we really need more of these in otomes)I will definitely check out the ones you recommended! :) I’ll start with Re: Alistar++ since I like free and it does sound great. Thank you so much!

        • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

          The Prince one is a bit better, to be sure. I’m not fond of the way the Konkatsu one basically lets her best friend/coworker bully her into using a dating service because OMGEEZ they’re in their 20′s an they’re OLD MAIDZ. XD

          Sakevisual has a lot of great games, as does Hanako. Actually, I think Hanako Games deserves a LOT more attention than they get. I’ve played all of their games, except for the original Cute Knight and Fatal Hearts, and enjoyed EVERY one. If you want a Princess Maker style game with a girl that’s constantly close to being assassinated, Long Live the Queen is a must-play.

          • Lumi

            Thanks! I didn’t realise that Hanako Games are still alive and making better games than Cute Knight!

          • Presea

            Man what I hate in some otomes is when they play the ‘age game’, like if you are an unmarried girl at a certain age you have no worth which is demeaning and annoying. ;w; even worse was an otome where the heroine blamed herself when her husband was cheating on her and felt bad if she cheated too or divorce.

            Those companies do sound very promising, I hope that I can play them all. :D sorry if this is a dumb question, but are they for iOS, android, or CPU? I like the sound of Long Live The Queen, that one sounds trilling. :D

          • http://www.siliconera.com Jenni

            Hanako only makes games for Windows/Mac. I think Linux too? I’m not sure. I don’t have their website open. I know definitely Windows and Mac.

            Long Live the Queen is really good. Word of advice – save after EVERYTHING you do in that game. Maybe keep a txt file cheat sheet, to keep track of certain stats you’ll need in case she dies at one part, so you can reload a prior save and try and boost it so she survives.

          • Presea

            Thanks! :D I’ll check it out asap! :D

            Awesome, looks like I gotta train in Long Live The Queen, that is going to be exciting. Good thing I save a lot! Thanks for the advice! :D

  • Firekitty

    Based on most of these screenshots, it looks like it’s more a translation issue than a writing issue…

    Sure, the (original) writing could still be horrible, but you’d never know XD.

  • DyLaN

    Out of context SS comment

    First pic: Game, are u going meta on us?
    3rd pic: So you are fine with a GIRL?
    5th pic: Sounds like something frm a H scene.

    I remember reading a review of an R18 otome be4 and tht game is hilarious in a bad way ^_^;

  • Lumi

    That 100th harem guy looks like the love-obsessed director from Skip Beat! Oh I can certainly picture him in this kind of role XD

  • http://doushiuhohtranslations.wordpress.com/ Cargodin

    You should have just left it on your Twitter, to be perfectly honest. It’s really in poor taste to go out and diss a series like this on a news site of all things. This is tumblr stuff and should be put there. Unless you have an actual review or an interview from someone that actually discusses their personal worries or concerns or tactics with their writing of a series, don’t waste time just to get a bunch of clicks or meet whatever quota you may or may not have by throwing tomatoes, even if it’s not penned by Dumas.

    Particularly, Bakudan Handan is a fun little game, but saying the writing is some sort of state-of-the-art accomplishment is rather harebrained (I mean it’s Ideafactory for Christ’s sake, and it’s like saying Suna no Embrace is any sort of accomplishment in the PSX JRPG dimension). I have all faith in the localization pushing the bar on the game, but I’d have to bet you’re awfully new at this yourself if you think that Voltage games aren’t doing the same thing, and. if anything, actually getting you a way better deal/getting what you pay for in comparison to a fresh off the shelf PSP game. It’s just a Lux-Pain level localization and it really should just be left at that.

  • Chim_era

    Well I agree that this is definitely a badly constructed article. Overall all otome games on iOS or Android try to suck the money right out of you but personally I find that Solmare games have better scripts. Not anything really fancy but still way beter than anything Voltage brings out and there you pay per character?! But overal if the information is correct they are hugely popular. The latest (free) release of solmare should already have 150 000 players and that game is the real moneysucking atrocity with way too much semi – obligatory purchases.

    Overall I would love to play Chou no Doku Hana no Kusari: Taishou Irokoi Ibun but quality otome games like that don’t make it out of japan that often and personally I find the ninja and heian games of Solmare better than the translated Yo-Jin-Bo. Wich was just ghastly because of all the bad bad pop culture jokes. So while you really can’t buy all of the game at once, I really think the basic version offers you a lot more that any other otome game on iOS or android.

  • Victoria [Rokuso3]

    Well, it’s not like all eroges have brilliant writing, either…

    I’ve played three otomes in my life (Tokimeki Girl’s Side, Hakuoki and Hatoful Boyfriend) and I’d say Hatoful was the most interesting by far, really. I didn’t think Hakuoki was bad, but not really good either, and Tokimeki didn’t have any story besides choose-your-guy…

  • http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/25050-farm-mapping-contest/#entry239430 Chaos17

    Those shady games are not on console but on mobile. That means different type of customers. Those customers like fast trash (cute?) games and if possible with some quality but most of mobiles games are just shady.

  • Kittymimiko

    If you found some really misleading typo on only the Shall we Date? series then you must have missed some from Voltage!! Then again their series are pretty good… and straight forward they are too.

    But I have to admit that this series is pretty terrible. I could not get into the story or anything in any of their series (okay maybe the celebrity one). Maybe it’s because after I had played many Voltage series and started on Shall we Date? it was hard to get into others -.-

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