Mid-February is the month of love, whether you’re dating someone or celebrating V-Day alone we’ve all had a brush with this strange little thing called love. It’s a powerful emotion and has been the muse of art, artists and storytellers since the beginning of time. Whether it’s a new love, old love or even puppy love, relationships and love are the stuff that dreams and nightmares are made of. So this Valentine’s Day let’s celebrate by playing some great indie games inspired by love.
Monster Prom Series
By Beautiful Glitch
Your first brush with dating and relationships probably began in high school. That’s hard enough, but imagine if that high school was filled with monsters. But just like in real life one of the biggest events of our young life has got to be prom. In Monster Prom you have only 3 weeks to get a date for prom. But if you want to be the Belle of the Ball you’re going to have to raise your stats and up your flirt game in order to get the beau of your dreams.
Go through absurd and funny situations, laugh at unapologetic dialogue and make the hard choices in this multiplayer (1-4 players) Dating Sim where you can be your worst self.
If Prom isn’t something you want to relive then check out the developer’s other games in the series. Such as Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp. Where you’ll find romance at Summer Camp. Or check out Monster Prom 3: Monster Roadtrip which have you finding love on a good old-fashioned road trip.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC – Steam, Mac, Linux
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
By Game Grumps
These times there are a changing and most modern-day romances don’t involve the beautiful classical damsel in distress and the white knight that saves her. Instead, they focus on more real-life situations. A single dad trying to raise his teenage daughter himself, and trying to date other dads.
In this sim, you and your daughter have just moved into the sleepy seaside town of Maple Bay. And other than a good school system it seems that your neighbourhood is chock full of other single, dateable Dads. Okay, c’mon real estate lady. There are 7 different dads for you to go out with, complete with sweet storylines, minigames, sidequests, and a variety of paths and endings.
This is a wholesome and punny sim that celebrates not just love but being a single dad and making friends.
A New Life
By Angela He
A New Life is a simple but classic love story of meeting your person, falling in love and hoping to grow old together. But ultimately realise it’s just as easy to lose love as it is to fall into it. Through your choices, you can see just how important communication is and sometimes how life gets in the way of love. The game is a short but stunning story that will pull on your heartstrings.
A New Life is the sequel to the developer’s previous game Missed Messages and follows the happily-ever-after story of August and May. Go through their emotional highs and lows, make the tough decisions and ultimately learn a little more about relationships and yourself. I’m not going to spoil any of it but there are 5 different endings and each gameplay will run you for about an hour. So it’s worth going through them all.
By Mediatonic, Hato Moa
Hatoful Boyfriend is a cult classic for a reason. It’s an absurd and hilarious pigeon dating simulator that ultimately focuses on learning to accept yourself. In Hatoful Boyfriend, you’ve been accepted as the only human student at the prestigious St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a school for talented birds! As the only human among a bunch of birds, you think you may not have a chance at love, well you’d be wrong there.
This is a silly visual novel game that is wonderfully written. Play through a full school year, and depending on the choices you make school events will give you the opportunity to build a relationship with one of several birds. Each day presents you with a small handful of choices to make. Do you want to go to math class to increase your wisdom? Or would you rather hang out in the music room and work on building up your charm? As you play, you’ll get to know each bird and hopefully by the end of the school year get the ending of your dreams. Maybe. I don’t know what you dream about. Do they include pigeons?
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC – Steam, Mac, iOS, Android
Trigger warning for abusive relationships. (Nothing is explicitly shown, it’s all done through conversation).
Abusive relationships are not a great theme for Valentine’s Day. But by not acknowledging that they exist and need to be recognised then we are doing a disservice to anybody who has ever encountered or is going through one. In Curtain, we follow artist and songwriter Ally, and her unstable but charismatic girlfriend Kaci. They live together and perform in a Glasgow punk band. Things get complicated after that.
Curtain is a short, free, narrative experience that experiences the couple’s day-to-day home life and explores the subtleties of an unhealthy relationship. It is a piercing exploration of ‘love’ that delves into the intricacies and subtle nature of abuse within a romantic relationship. Curtain is less a cautionary tale and more a cathartic exploration of a terrible, complex situation. A must experience if you’ve been in or know anyone in this situation.
It Takes Two
By Hazelight Studios
It Takes Two highlights the most traditional and formal type of relationship that we have these days – a marriage. And in some ways, marriage is the ultimate co-op game and this is one that you’re going to have a lot of fun playing with your partner. Whether it’s trying to steer a giant pencil around. Or swing swords and fight squirrels. This is a great one to play together.
The story centres on a very-obviously-not-compatible couple called Cody and May. They’re on the verge of getting a divorce and break this news to their daughter Rose later that afternoon. Rose’s tears, however, seem to have transported her parent’s souls into two dolls. And they’ll need to work together to get back to their bodies again. It’s a bit of a strange story, I’m not sure the lesson on relationships is the best example in this story. But the gameplay is quite stellar.
Platforms: PlayStation 5|4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC – Steam
To The Moon
By Freebird Games
To The Moon tells the story of Johnny Wyles, an old man on his deathbed whose dying wish is to go to the moon. He can’t remember why he desires to travel there, he’s not sure why he’s drawn to it, but he knows he must. Enter Dr’s Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts, employees of Sigmund Corp, a company which specialises in “wish fulfilment” – in short, creating artificial memories for people in the final moments of their lives. It’s their job to enter Johnny’s memories – traversing his innermost thoughts and his most personal moments – in order to plant a memory which will lead him to experience having been to the moon.
To The Moon, this heartfelt exploration of those universal things which affect us all is a short and outwardly simple little game that manages to pack a seriously powerful punch through its beautifully-executed story. This being a story-heavy game I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t played it.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC – Steam, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android
When The Past Was Around
By Mojiken, Toge Productions
Love and relationships come in all types and live through different stages. Sometimes the love we celebrate is a love that is already gone. When the Past was Around is a point-and-click puzzle game about love, loss and moving on.
It follows 20-year-old Edda and her mysterious companion through a series of disjointed and puzzle-filled rooms seemingly made from memories. With each gathered clue, solved puzzle, and unlocked door, you find your way, unravelling the secrets between her and her lover, the secrets which she used to know. This game is incredibly moving and really captures what it feels like to permanently lose a loved one and how the feeling of loss never truly leaves.
Platform: PC – Steam, Mac
I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator
What is fried chicken if not love? And now you get to cook and date in this delicious dating sim. In this Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator, you are a promising culinary student. And one of your classmates is the now smoke show Colonel Sanders. Throughout your journey, you’ll be faced with life-changing decisions that will affect your chances of friendship and love.
In order to romance the colonel, you have to choose the correct dialogue choices when the game presents them to you. There are wrong choices, and you can lose if you pick them. And by lose I mean not attaining the true love of the Colonel. This game is extremely silly but it’s free and by the end of it you’re more likely than not to want to snack on some delicious fried chicken. Amongst other things.
Platform: PC – Steam, Mac