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These games are often designed to be played multiple times.
Tools like multiple save slots, quick-save features, and the ability to skip text and rewind help players efficiently pursue every potential partner character and reveal every story path.
They enjoy a healthy fandom, but many acclaimed titles remain in their native Japanese—frustrating, because romance and relationship games are more popular than ever.
Lots of players get turned onto these aspects from story and character-driven Bio Ware games like Dragon Age, and if you’re a fan of those, I have a few recommendations to help welcome you into the otome genre.
It’s like backwards-engineering a narrative database -- and you may be surprised to find how much the story changes when you focus on a different partner each time. Hakuoki is a period piece, taking place in the Bakumatsu period of Japan at the time of civil unrest between the Emperor and the Shogun.
Otome games can be played on your PC, your PS2, your DS, your cellphone, or more.
Most of these games exist in Japan, but there are some available in English as well. The Videos blog covers the dramatic opening sequences from games (usually Japanese). On the Fans page we link to other sites and blogs talking about otome games, so you can find reviews of the games you're interested in.
While all you need to be “good at” is reading and making choices -- don’t worry if you don’t normally play games -- there are some important things to know about how these games work.
Generally you meet several characters, and will have to choose one to court.