Developer : Pigeonation inc
Publisher : Devolver Digital
~~Warning! This review contains minor spoilers and a lot of bad bird puns~~
Hatoful Boyfriend: A School of Hope and White Wings, Catchy I know. Originally released in 2011 as a visual novel and then released as a flash game later the same year. Re released this year on PSVita and PS4 as Hatoful Boyfriend as a full digital release. The main premise of the game is a Pigeon dating simulator… Yes Pigeon dating simulator that has many branching paths for you to explore and find out what the hell is going on at St. Pigeonation School. If you have played any other Japanese style visual novels its pretty much the same. A lot of dialogue and some cute manga pictures in the background.
So lets begin. You start as a human female who gets enrolled in a pigeon only school, with the main aim of the game to find love and for you to integrate with the pigeons/birds. With 15 different story lines to explore there is a lot of content which although you might end up fast forwarding some of the text I would suggest paying attention the first few times to get an idea what’s going on. You have a nest of dialog options and trees to go down which over the course of different play trough’s you realise fowl play is well at hand. The game then becomes more of a mystery drama than a dating simulator which makes you want to explore every story line to find out what happened and why certain things happen to you and other characters.
The gameplay itself is very simple, press X to move the conversation a long and pick dialogue options or press triangle to fast forward scenes. One negative point about the fast forward is when the scene changes you are required to tap triangle again. I know this sounds picky but near the end it gets rather frustrating as there is flock of text and talking that constantly requires you to tap X or triangle. My main negative about this game is the fact it crashes all the time. I mean every 20/30 minutes it will crash so save often.
Graphically its just like a screensaver moving across, you can choose to see the human representation of the bird characters or just the birds. Choose the birds. Some of the birds, especially the pigeons look like someone at Pigeonation has just gone down to the local job centre and took a few snaps of the pigeons outside. Not much is said for the sound either, it adds atmosphere but I found it can play creepy music in parts that it really shouldn’t such as slow dark sounding music when my character was mentioning running a marathon.
Hatoful boyfriend is a very interesting game. If you make it to the end (only about 8 hours if you ready everything, 2 if you had a guide potentially) its worth playing all the endings to see the true ending as it is in my opinion the best part of the entire game. I wouldn’t go back and play it after id completed it and you might get some funny looks if people are near you. It does have cross save built in but be wary its not that great. The crashing is the main negative, hopefully the developers will fix it but currently it’s a bit bird pooh.
I wish I could Re Coop the money I spent on this game.