Today we’re going to take a look at some Hololive fan games — strictly unofficial games (typically for PC) that use various stars from the Hololive VTuber agency as their starting point.
In the years since VTubers have taken hold as a popular form of online entertainment, they’ve proven themselves to be a formidable source of inspiration for creative types. From clippers making funny compilations of the performers’ best bits to artists creating beautiful tributes to their favourite virtual stars, VTuber culture extends far beyond simple streams at this point.
One area of creativity that is particularly worth exploring is the art of the fangame. While independently developed, strictly unofficial fangames based on popular properties are nothing new to the Japanese audience, the growth in popularity of VTuber agencies such as Hololive in the west has seen an explosion in this type of thing among creators all over the world.
And y’know what? Some of these Hololive fan games are really good — so let’s take a look at five of the best that you can play right now.
Most followers of the VTuber scene are likely familiar with Smol Ame by now, as it’s one of the most famous Hololive fan games — several members of Hololive have even played it on stream.
And it’s a famous Hololive fan game for a reason — it’s a great 2.5D platformer in the style of PlayStation classics like Pandemonium, and features a wide selection of playable characters and levels to play — plus a ton of delightful in-jokes for those who are particularly well up on their VTuber culture. Crucially, though, no understanding of why Gura says “a” when she jumps or why everything Amelia does is accompanied by a hiccup is required to enjoy Smol Ame — it’s simply a fun game that anyone can play and find amusing.
Providing a “hub world” that leads to several different levels, each themed after a different Hololive member or one of their creative works, Smol Ame challenges you to reach the end of each stage (where you have to ground-pound a button marked “mom”, of course) as quickly as possible, with as few deaths as you can manage. If you’re feeling particularly pro, you can try to meet the quota of collectible moustaches and find the three hidden Bubba tokens in each stage, but neither are required to progress — all stages are open right from the outset.
The levels are immensely varied, taking in some relatively conventional platforming in Ame’s office, some abstract bouncing action in a stage themed around Ina’s mascot Takodachi, some perilous chase action in Pekora’s stage and a wonderful gravity-flipping level set in space — and the game is continuously being improved by developer Kevin Stevens with new characters to play as (many of which are based on the famous caricature GIFs by Walfie) along with new levels, music tracks and silly jokes to enjoy.
An essential Hololive fan game for the connoisseur of the broader VTuber subculture — give it a try for free here.
It was inevitable that Inugami Korone’s well-loved playthrough of the 2016 Doom reboot would get some sort of interactive adaptation, and it came in the form of DOOG by David Wu.
Wu was inspired by Korone editing herself into a Doom poster on stream, so decided to make DOOG a full-on Hololive fan game project — the first he’d seen through to completion, in fact, so he warns prospective players to expect a few bugs here and there!
In DOOG, you take on the role of Korone as she is called into action to rescue the Hololive offices from an invasion of badly drawn vegetables. Armed with her formidable finger-guns and a pocket full of yubi, it’s up to Korone to save the day by blasting the invaders, collecting keycards, stuffing her face with bread and gradually acquiring a fun selection of improvised, imaginary weapons.
Gameplay-wise, DOOG pays homage to classic ’90s first-person shooters with fairly straightforward level designs and a straightforward 3D engine — though a few concessions to modern games are provided through a physics model and 3D objects that would have probably been sprites back in the ’90s. The levels are interesting to explore and combine exploration, light puzzle solving and frantic combat, and Wu has placed a strong emphasis on speedrunning the game with online leaderboards and awards to unlock.
There are a couple of areas that could do with a touch of refinement — going up stairs feels a bit weird and the physics model can make box-pushing puzzles a bit of a pain at times — but for the most part, this is an enjoyable Hololive fan game in the form of a ’90s style shooter starring everyone’s favourite doog.
Deadbeat: Sick Tracks to Perish To
This Hololive fan game, heavily inspired by the popular indie title Everhood, challenges you to face off against the Grim Reaper herself in a series of rhythmic battles in which you’ll need to dodge “walls”, jump over slash attacks and counter whenever you can — all while listening to Calli spitting some of her finest fire at you.
Presentation-wise, Deadbeat is absolutely gorgeous, featuring a wonderful pixel art aesthetic with some excellent special effects and choreographed animations to accompany the various songs — it can feel like playing an interactive pixel art music video at times.
The gameplay is tuned a bit too difficult for more casual rhythm game players, however; a deceptively simple tutorial is accessible enough, but as soon as you try any of the actual songs you’re likely to spend at least a few attempts lasting little more than a few seconds each time. Thankfully, there is a “no death” option that allows you to just enjoy the song without worrying about “failing”, but it’s hard not to feel like this is missing the point of the game somewhat.
That said, if you’re already a dab hand at frantic, difficult rhythm games there’s a ton to like here — and as a recent release (it only came out today at the time of writing!) it’s highly likely that developer Fie will tweak and refine the game a bit as time goes on.
HoloEN Rhythm Game
Another rhythm-based Hololive fan game, this one heavily inspired by the popular Muse Dash, which has been played by a number of VTubers on stream when people behind the scenes aren’t being weird about permissions.
In HoloEN Rhythm Game, you control an energetic Gawr Gura as she attempts to fend off a series of attacks from Kiara or Calli to the accompaniment of some charming chiptune adaptations of their original songs Hinotori and Red respectively.
The game is based on a non-interactive animation originally created by zeth_total, and was developer nullrefrepro’s attempt to figure out how to put together rhythm game mechanics — as such, the latter has no plans to expand the game further beyond the two-song demo it currently is, except perhaps from adding some difficulty settings and bug fixes as required. The difficulty settings would be particularly welcome as the game is especially challenging right now — particularly for those who don’t have much experience with Muse Dash!
Despite the fact that nullrefrepro doesn’t have any plans to expand the game beyond its two current songs, it’s still worth experiencing for the beautiful pixel art and animation, and the excellent chiptune adaptations of the music.
WOWOWOW KORONE BOX
Another Korone-themed Hololive fan game, this time providing some twin-stick shooter-style survival action with a strong emphasis on collecting objects, and drawing inspiration from Vlambeer’s Super Crate Box and Nuclear Throne.
In WOWOWOW KORONE BOX, your job is to guide Korone, armed with an ever-increasing arsenal of heavy weaponry, to the various boxes of goodies scattered around the play area. Along the way, you’ll have to fend off all manner of dastardly beasties — many of which are, of course, references to broader Hololive and VTuber culture — with the weapons that are contained in these boxes.
Said weapons range from Korone’s classic finger-guns to a Metal Slug-style machine gun, shotgun and, of course, the all-important bonkhammer. Tons of Korone voice samples make this a huge amount of fun to play despite its simple structure and premise, and you’ll probably find yourself losing more time to this one than you’d care to admit!
Have you played any Hololive fan games — or fan games for other VTubers, for that matter? Be sure to share some of your favourites down in the comments — or drop us a line for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page if you’ve got more details to share!
Now… how long do you reckon we’ll have to wait for some games based on the newest additions to the Hololive lineup…?
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