Six of the best English otomes with strong interactive elements

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If you’re interested in the fair maiden side of gaming but prefer titles with interactive features — such as games with dating sim mechanics — then you are in luck! For this “Six of the Best”, we are looking at otome games that deviate from the standard visual novel formula.

Here we will be exploring some otome games that involve more gameplay mechanics; these are great to enjoy when reading too much text late into the night is not a viable option for your heavy eyelids, or when your attention span is at its limit. Before we get into it, please take into consideration that we are not considering mobile games to help limit the scope of this article, and we’re only looking at games available in English.

Royal Alchemist as an engaging stat-raiser rather than a tiresome one

Otome game Royal Alchemist

As a gameplay staple of the indie market for many developers, stat-raisers are one of the most common to discover. sakevisual’s RE: Alistair+ +, Hanako Games’s Magical Diary series and Long Live the Queen, and even Cheritz’s Dandelion -Wishes brought to you- all have said feature, but if you ask me which title perfected the subgenre, then it is Nifty Visuals’ Royal Alchemist.

Stat-raising in Royal Alchemist contributes towards every facet of its design, with two separate systems. These affect both the main character and love interests’ stats, as well as the success rate of missions and crafting quests. It is therefore a lot more intricate and of utmost importance to put the right amount of time and attention into the correct procedures, otherwise it’s dead end galore!

If you enjoy the title then keep an eye out for their upcoming follow up release, Royal Order. You can also read more extensive thoughts on the title here.

Jack Jeanne as both a visual novel and rhythm game

Otome game Jack Jeanne

Is it cheeky of me to suggest a game that is still yet to release for the west? (No! – Ed.) If you can’t wait and still want some rhythmic otome action, you could give Princess Debut a go. This was one of the earliest otome releases in the west, though quite notorious for its mediocrity and repetitive nature, so unless you’re desperately impatient, wait for Jack Jeanne to arrive instead.

About Jack Jeanne then: set in an all-boys’ drama school, the heroine must hide her gender, with her one and only goal being to bag the lead in the final performance. Naturally, dancing and singing play an important role. With gorgeous visuals an music, the game being more “hands-on” than many other otome titles elevates it, with two separate rhythm game modes as well as stat-raising segments between chapters to help steer you into routes as a result of which classes you attend. I wish my school life looked and sounded as good as this.

Read more about the game with our in-depth thoughts about its upcoming release.

Pitstop in Purgatory as a point and click adventure game

Otome game Pitstop in Purgatory

Pitstop in Purgatory is a pocket-sized otome with a heavily tunnelled and streamlined plotline all about life after death. It seems like we’ll see a sequel soon, too, allowing the Purgatoryverse to expand and continue on for the foreseeable future.

The core mystery of Pitstop in Purgatory is the discovery of its heroine’s past and identity, and Tymedust Games keeps things all that more immersive and engaging with a point and click adventure-style system.

This makes exploring your environment a real mechanic rather than simple narration as seen in most otome games, making it all the more exciting to have an actual hand in uncovering its plot and secrets. With an inventory system and puzzles to solve to progress its story, Pitstop in Purgatory is as cosy as it is challenging, with it actually requiring some thought beyond the typical dialogue and action selections seen in other otomes.

Read our full review of it here.

Palais de Reine as a SRPG with romanceable characters

Otome game Palais de Raine

Palais de Reine stands as possibly the most distinctive otome available to western audiences, all the way down to its funky, sudden English release drop on Steam considering it’s such an old title, and the fact that it is primarily a grand strategy/time management political sim. To call it ambitious is the understatement of the century in terms of how much the game tries to do and implement.

As the saying goes, quality over quantity, and yet Palais de Reine’s particular quirks make it a truly charming and captivating experience that is worth working through even just once to see what its deal is. With a single playthrough taking well over 15 hours to complete — so long as you set up its Queen-to-be properly — that sounds like a done deal as is. Everything about Palais de Reine makes it quite unlike any other otome on the market; it’s a romance-based RPG with so many different features to wrap your head around.

Read our full review of it here.

The Bell Chimes for Gold as half dungeon crawling, half visual novel

Otome game The Bell Chimes for Gold

We have covered The Bell Chimes for Gold not once, not twice, but three times now here at Rice Digital. I’m simply too loyal to my oji-san love interests. As one of my favourite steamy otomes available in English and one of the very few that has been localised as an R18, The Bell Chimes for Gold has a simple and unique basis and gameplay loop. You’re tasked with hitting two objectives as the sweet herbalist Maria: prove her mentor who walked out on her wrong by showing what he is missing out on, and making a “buttload of money” to show him that she is capable of great things without him.

Doing so will bag you up to five potential bachelors who you bond with by paying them for their services when foraging and clearing mines together. Make up concoctions, sell them in the marketplace, and give bonuses to the grooms to further increase their infatuation towards Maria to unlock some of the spiciest illustrations found within the localised otome genre. Older dudes deserve love too!

even if TEMPEST as a detective/mystery adventure game

Otome game even if TEMPEST

even if TEMPEST has seen massive success since its initial release, and for good reason. Despite the actual journey falling a bit too short in runtime for my own liking, the solid interactive mechanics to its investigation and trial segments are what make it stand out as something distinctive and a big deal for the genre itself. With an Aviary Attorney-like progression system to its mystery solving when handling discussing and prosecuting the correct suspect of a murder, even if TEMPEST is one of the most broody, Gothic titles of any English localised otome.

It proves hard to put the game down with all the twists and turns it takes, and the interactivity of it all is both striking and refreshing for an otome, adding a layer of critical thinking required to deduce the best possible outcomes. It remains the only localised otome to be shaped in quite this way, with its time travelling premise and detective work that complements said storyline.

Read our full review of it here.

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Lilia Hellal
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