Published on September 5th, 2014 | by Ninjette Natasha0
Hatoful Boyfriend – Game Review
All is fair in dove and war
Game: Hatoful Boyfriend
Developer: Mediatonic Games & Moa Hato
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: Steam, Humble, and Gog on PC, Mac, and Linux
Release Date: 5/9/14
Price: £6.99 Standard edition & £11:99 Special edition
Playing Hatoful Boyfriend has left me all in aflutter. If you haven’t heard of this game then please let me enlighten you, it is a visual novel pigeon dating game…that’s right! A pigeon dating game. The story is that you are the only human left in Littledove, Hachiman City and you live as a hunter gatherer in a cave in the wilderness. However you have been accepted into a prestigious school, St. PigeoNation’s Institute for birds. You then proceed through the game making decisions on which eligible bachelor pigeon to set your sights on whilst holding down your studies, and taking up a summer job if you so wish.
This game was originally created by Moa Hato as an April Fools joke to make a parody of the dating sim genre and include her love of pigeons, this was release in 2011 as an online flash game. Now the games developer Mediatonic games, well known for titles such as Amateur Surgeon and the publisher Devolver Digital, have teamed up to release an international high definition version of the game on PC, Mac, and Linux which can be found on Steam, Gog, and Humble.
You start the game by entering your name and then you are immersed straight into the experience with your friend Ryouta Kawara (a rock pigeon). He is one of the birds that you can get close to in the game. The others include; Yuuya Sakazaki (a fantail pigeon), Anghel Higure (a bleeding-heart dove), Kazuaki Nanaki (a button quail), Sakuya Le Bel Shirogane (a fantail pigeon and the half brother of Yuuya Sakazaki), Okosan (a fantail pigeon), Shuu Iwamine (a chukar partridge) and Fujishiro Nageki (a mourning dove). Azami Koshiba (a java sparrow) who isn’t a new character to the re-release but in this version is now a datable female character.
Depending on how you play the game, focusing more on a certain subject, having or not having a summer job, will all add to the ending that you will get which is brilliant. There is also element of mystery and surprise within some of the storylines.
Helen Burnill, Biz Dev Manager and Ed Fear, Creative Producer from Mediatonic Games were kind enough to answer some questions that I had, check them out below.
1. For those of us who haven’t heard of Mediatonic games, tell us a little about yourselves.
The studio is now just coming up to nine years old now. We’re probably currently best known for our games with Adult Swim such as the Amateur Surgeon series, minis like WTF?! And Monsters (Probably) Stole my Princess and, recently, Foul Play (a side-scrolling beat ‘em up set in a Vaudevillian Theatre). Basically, we try to make games that are a different – that have humour, heart, an edge to them. All of our games have narrative running through them (our writers work on our games from the beginning) so a rich, crazy visual novel made perfect sense to us as a passion project. We’re also doing a lot of work in Japan at the moment, and have a number of Japanese speakers here, which is what brought us to this incredible project in the first place.
2. What made you want to remake this pigeon sim dating game?
We basically initially approached this project as fans. We loved the concept from the moment we heard of it – it sounded exactly like the sort of game we SHOULD have made. And then we saw the pigeons.
It sounds like a gimmick comedy game, but it quickly transcends that and becomes a really engaging, well-written tale that’s full of surprises and heartbreaking twists. It fits in with everything we try to do in our own original games: slightly off-the-wall experiences that are backed up with great characters and writing. That’s when we knew we HAD to bring this game to a bigger audience. We got in touch with Moa-san, the game’s original creator, and she was totally on board.
3. Originally the date of release was in August, how comes there was a delay?
We had a few last minute things that we wanted to do to make sure that our HD remake lived up to everyone’s expectations, so we needed a little extra time. Like we say, we’re fans of the game ourselves, so we care about delivering something that respects the rest of the fans. Sorry for the delay, but we promise it was worth it!
4. How has the reaction been to the lead up of the release of this game?
It’s been really phenomenal. People who hadn’t heard of the game were as bowled over by the concept as we were. But the original version already has a fan-base – and we’ve been blown away by the support from the community. A lot of these fans seem to totally share our point of view: just plain excited to share it with a wider audience.
5. What’s next on the horizon?
We’ve got loads of launches coming up at the moment throughout the rest of the year, so watch this space! We can’t reveal too much about the games we have coming up yet, but there will be a lot of platforms getting love from Mediatonic over the next few months.
6. Which pigeon out of the game would you date?
Impossible! It depends on who you ask in the studio and when. And everyone seems to have a soft spot for their first. The French half-brothers are particularly popular with the ladies, whereas some with more dangerous tastes (I mean, like, really actually dangerous) like to go straight for the faculty. Watch out for the faculty.
Even though this game started out as a parody, the high definition images from the re-release and the story really suck you in completely immersing you in the world, with this and the bursts of humour in the dialogue this is a game that every-birdie can enjoy, so definitely pick it up. Hatoful Boyfriend is available in a standard edition at £6.99 and the “Summer of Dove Collector’s Edition” this includes the official digital soundtrack, an exclusive digital comic from series creator Hato Moa, exclusive wallpapers of Oko-san, and a digital St. Pigeonations 2014 Yearbook. You can purchase this on Steam, Gog, and Humble on PC, Mac, and Linux.
Have you been looking forward to this game? Let us know in the comments below, Consumers!