Want to know more about otome games?
A genre of Japanese games primarily targeted at women, otome games have been kicking about since the early 1990s.
Manga in style and often containing erotic elements, some have even been toned down to be released on mainstream consoles and for PC gaming.
Popular across Asia and in the West, otome is an addictive visual novel/dating simulation style gaming experience ranging from simple plots to complex stories.
In this guide to the Best Otome Games, we’ll be taking a closer look at exactly what an otome game is along with a brief history of the genre. We’ll find out what the most popular titles are, both in the Japanese and English languages as well as giving you the best sites to play otome games.
- What are Otome Games?
- Brief History of Otome Games
- Best Otome Games
- Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
- Second Reproduction
- Dangerous Relationship
- Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome
- Signed and Sealed With a Kiss
- The Bell Chimes For Gold
- Love and Romance – A Study of Intimacy
- Love Ritual
- Tailor Tales
- Cute Demon Crashers
- Honorable Mentions: Other Great Otome Games
- Best Places to Find Otome Games
- Online Fandom Communities
What are Otome Games?
A type of Japanese game, otome game (often shortened to just otoge) quite literally translates as ‘maiden’ game.
Despite being generally targeted to a female audience there are otome titles aimed at guys too. However, the genre is one of the first (and few) types of games that are specifically marketed at and developed with women in mind.
Often story-based in the visual novel genre, the main plot of an otome game is for the central character to develop a romantic relationship with one or more other characters. Conventions of an otome game mean that the protagonist is typically a woman with the love interests mainly being male. However, there are plenty of titles available with female and non-binary characters to pursue.
Not to be confused with homoerotic yaoi games (‘boy love’) which also appeal to many fangirls in Japan who enjoy watching their favorite male anime characters share their passion, otome are principally romance games however more recently these have been evolving into more erotic ones with some having pretty explicit content and themes.
With elements of a dating sim and life sim game, the genre is pretty popular with women in Japan and in other East Asian countries but has also seen a rise in the number of fans in the West.
Structurally, otome games are mostly multiple-choice visual novels with the most popular titles having sophisticated stories with many routes through the game to a variety of endings. These can be good, bad or neutral with most games having just one ‘True Path’.
Brief History of Otome Games
A relatively new genre in the short history of video games, the first otome title was called Angelique, developed by a mostly female team (Ruby Party) and released as game for pre-teen and young teenage girls in 1994.
The game had a strong focus on romance with easy to operate controls but rather unexpectedly became a big hit with older teenagers and women in their 20s. The game became so successful in fact that it has spawned several later editions and spin-off titles with a huge demand from overseas game importers on the company to create an English-language version.
The game’s distributors, KOEI, were somewhat surprised by the crossover appeal to an older audience as no gaming studios had previously imagined a market for women and certainly not in this age range. Yet, Angelique was to become the first in an increasingly popular range of otome games which mainly focuses on romance.
Early titles were all based around the rather traditional stereotypes of girly heroines simply seeking sexless love. Narratives were quite simple and the conventions of the storylines quite tranquil, peaceful and ‘aggressively’ feminine.
Protagonists were cute girls, and the artwork was fluffy, pink and girly.
However, as the genre began to build a following and the selection of titles increased, there became a greater focus on expanding the elements of gameplay to be more diverse. This involved the inclusion of more complex plots, combat and action as well as increasingly more explicit adult content (along the lines of hentai and futanari)
The normative gender roles have also become more subverted and sub-genres of otome now include far less frilly and girly characters, often celebrating non-binary genders and alternative sexualities. The traditional power dynamics typically seen in the gaming world are also flipped on their head in otome games and the women become the pursuers, the heroes, the guardians, the warriors and the villains.
Heavily influenced by the shoujo genre of manga comics, the anime characters in early otoge titles are seen through the female gaze where men are objectified. Think rippling abs and bulging guns and you can understand the appeal.
And it wasn’t just in Japan and Asia that these games became popular.
By 2006, the first mainstream otome game to be officially translated into English and released for PC was Yo-Jin Bo. Also released on the PS2, the game enjoyed moderate success with the game’s distributors releasing a whole range of similar titles in a range known as AnimePlay.
Over the last decade, otome gaming has now largely split into two distinct sectors; those that follow a traditional romance visual novel/dating sim (considered mainstream) and those that are more adult in content and contain some more explicit sexual elements.
Some of these titles have some rather dubious aspects around consent and others fetishize homoerotic relationships for a female audience but all, at their heart, celebrate love, romance and relationships.
Best Otome Games
We’ve done our research on the best otome games with a more adult theme and tried to bring you a mix of genres from those that include action, adventure and combat elements.
We’ve also selected some original Japanese titles as well as those that have been developed specifically, or translated, for an English-speaking audience.
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds
Perhaps the first major otome title to be translated into Engilsh, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds was hugely popular in Japan. Owing much of this success to the inclusion of some key ingredients, the game is well developed, featues beautifully illustrated fluid animation and (despite being a romance game) is action-packed.
An historic fantasy visual novel, the game revolves around the quest of Chizuru who must find her father. Along the way she encounters a dozen of the famous samurai of the Shinsengumi, each of whom she may choose from as her love interest.
There are multiple endings and over 80 hours’ worth of romance to be played for and is available in English, Japanese and Traditional Chinese.
More romance-driven than anything XXX, this game is pretty mainstream but should be a great introduction of the genre; available to play on Windows PC and can be purchased via the Steam Store.
Stepping up the steam, Second Reproduction doesn’t have any explicit sexual detail nor any action on-screen but, instead, the sex is implied with discussion before and after the act. As a result, the innuendo and hints of BDSM are more tantalizing than anything else. However, the game itself is pretty good.
Story-rich with some really impressive illustrations, Second Reproduction is popular with otome game fans because of the balanced approach to both the romance and the action. The protagonist, Christina is a warrior princess on a secret mission to assassinate a demon lord. Accompanied by one of her loyal knights, she has three love interests to encounter but it is her struggle to comprehend the fact that the demons are not the enemy which makes this story so engaging. A tale of finding humanity where you least expect it, there is lots of bloodshed and romance.
A Japanese original title by the now defunct Heterodoxy (Operetta) the game has been translated by Ate The Moon Productions. You will need to download the original game and the patch to play this in English (available on Visual Novel Database).
With themes of public sex, bondage and degradation, there is a lot of sexual interest in this title from Dogenzaka Lab; however, not much of it is illustrated/animated and the descriptions are far from explicit. The writers either don’t seem to know or want to use the dirtiest of words so the text is pretty wholesome even if what they are describing isn’t!
The plot is pretty straightforward and you play a character who has just landed her dream job in show business and gets to date celebrity after celebrity.
From pop idols and magazine models to actors and comedians there are plenty of options to explore. Each of the love interests has their own approach to romance with the character known as Kei (an actor known for viewing women like prey) being particularly deviant.
You can download Dangerous Relationship from the Steam store to play on Windows PC.
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome
Perhaps one of the most well-known NSFW otome games on the market, this title by Manga Gamer/Kalmia8 has quite a following.
The sex scenes can be toggled ON/OFF as you please but if you choose to let the story run in 18+ mode then you can expect to find some pretty hot action. CGs are explicit and include storylines including nipple play, mirror sex, 69, fingering, oral sex, hand jobs, threesome, filmed sex and some moments of questionable consent.
Plot wise, you can name your protagonist but you basically play the central female character who is a bit of a recluse with a resting bitch face. Pretty much invisible to everyone at college, she has been discovered by two male fashionistas (one, a Dom, the other, a sub) who decide that she is their muse. The pet project of these two horny guys, our central character doesn’t relent willingly and makes them work hard for their rewards.
You can play a demo for free by visiting Manga Gamer or you can download Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome from the Steam Store.
Signed and Sealed With a Kiss
This indie game by Reine Works was only released in April 2019 but has received some great reviews and earned itself a small fan following. With the option of toggling the text and scenes to 17+ (without censorship), the story is smutty at best and though you get nudity in the CGs, there’s no genitalia. However, you do get to choose the pronouns and anatomy of the character you ‘create’.
And that is the storyline; you get to ‘grow’ your own love interest. Basically, you receive a large and unexpected parcel one day and inside is your very own, fully impressionable boyfriend. Your job is to shape him into the romantic lead of your choice. There’s quite a few paths to an ending here with some getting quite kinky, particularly if you opt to mold him into a ‘Bad Boyfriend’.
Available to download on Steam Store for Windows PCs, Signed and Sealed With a Kiss includes plenty of dirty talk and scenes which include shower sex, anal play, edging and oral sex.
The Bell Chimes For Gold
An English translation of the Japanese original Kane no tameni kane ha naru (For money the bell rings), this title was developed by the Otusun Club as a crowdfunded project on IndieGoGo and Patreon.
The story revolves around Maria, a skilled herbalist, who has been cruelly dumped by her master and mentor. It’s a sob story at first as she saved long and hard to earn enough for him to want her (?) and then he goes and spends the money and marries someone else. Her revenge is to earn more money and buy the man she wants to marry instead. Not a modern or enlightened path by any means but one which sees Maria court the love interests of several older and mature men.
CGs on The Bell Chimes For Gold are explicit and there are some kinks here other than old guys including watersports, plenty of anal attention and oral sex too.
You can download this title from the Steam Store.
Love and Romance – A Study of Intimacy
Available to download on Itch.io, Love and Romance – A Study of Intimacy is free to play and is partly educational as well as being a playable otome game.
The story develops around a romance author, Amelia Waters, who realizes that her novels lack a certain authenticity when it comes to the sex scenes. Her selfless agent takes her to an abandoned cabin to teach her how it’s done so she can recreate it in words. It’s not a complex game but does include some explicit sex scenes and romance options. With the focus very much being on consensual sex, the title is a sex-positive otome game.
In this title you get to play the role of an occult scientist headed to a fantasy city where some forbidden ritual was carried out. Along the way, two love interests will vie for your attention; one is a druid, the other a necromancer. With some kinky bondage and explicit CGs there are scenes of outdoor sex, full nudity and plenty of mature text.
Developed by Xand Arts, the game was released in April 2019 and can be downloaded from the Steam Store.
A romance visual novel in which the protagonist is an aspiring fashion designer. Set in a fictional European country, she has to design clothes for a cast of young male clients, each hoping to woo her in his own way.
Free to play on Steam, Tailor Tales isn’t the most explicit of games on our list but there is plenty of suggestibility in the content and some erotic voice-acting thrown in.
Cute Demon Crashers
Available to download from Itch.io, Cute Demon Crashers is a game which focuses very much on consensual sex and was developed as a sex-positive title.
A vanilla game which hopes to offer a safe space for the virgin protagonist to explore sex with a cast of demon boys, the title is a pretty short to play but features some interesting and erotic scenes which include:
- Wax Play
- Lesbian Sex
- Oral Sex
- Erotic Massage
Cute Demon Crashers is free to play and features 11 different endings. A casual game playable for a super-short time.
Honorable Mentions: Other Great Otome Games
We could go on with our recommendations but we think the above list gives you the best otome games available to play from a range of sub-genres and including varying degrees of NSFW content. However, there are some additional titles which are also worth a look if you finish checking out our top list:
- These Nights in Cairo – A more western style than traditional Japanese otome, this sprawling visual novel is based around a young archaeologist’s adventures in Egypt. Margaret Dawson can choose from three romantic leads including the villain and features erotic scenes, partial nudity and some fervent groping!
- My Butler – A relatively simple game where you get to seduce your personal butler from a line-up of celebrities….or they get to (forcefully at times) serve you up something special. Available from Steam and developed by Dogenzaka Lab.
- Typical – A short and cutesy romance about an art student, Amaterasu, who tries to woo one of several friends in her group. Sex is implied and some of the CGs are suggestive but at best is innuendo rather than explicit.
- Les Fleursword – The English translation of this game was released a while back now in 2017 by Magic House/Paradise Project but loses nothing in age. A more traditional looking Japanese game, the storyline should be a familiar one to anime fans and features knights and magicians in a fantastical realm. With a ‘fappable’ plot the audio is in Japanese with English subtitles.
- Sacrament – Another title released by the Magic House/Paradise Project combo, Sacrament is a classic looking Japanese game that has been translated with SFW in mind. Text is suggestive at best but does cover some explicit themes and acts including bondage, threesomes, oral sex and demon romance.
- Wilder – An abandoned project but one which you can still download two stories for. Short but pretty good in terms of text-based sexual content but with limited CGs. Available to download for just $3.99 each you can choose from Ran’s Story or Bahadur’s Story.
- Sounds of Verity – Kidnapped by a demon and sold to a demon prince, the protagonist of this story must escape using all her wits and wile. Featuring erotic descriptions of saucy encounters with fire and ice demons, the sex is all off-screen but there are still some explicit CGs.
And finally, though not to be fully released until February 2021, When The Night Comes looks to be a very interested LGBTQ+ friendly otome game. With players being able to fully choose and customize the pronouns and including non-binary love interests plus incorporating polyamorous lifestyles, When The Night Comes is a very exciting prospect indeed.
With more than 490,000 words over 11 chapters, the queer-driven narrative combines supernatural elements, murder mystery as well as forbidden love.
Best Places to Find Otome Games
There are plenty of places to find further titles which may suit anyone interested in otome games with our top platforms being:
Both Steam and Itch.io offer ways you can search for more NSFW titles as well as direct download links and purchasing options.
For Japanese language otome games, you can also check out:
Online Fandom Communities
If you want to find further information on otome gaming then there are lots of community forums online where members can share their thoughts and recommendations of the best otome games.
One of the most active is the subreddit r/otomegames which has more than 36,500 members and covers plenty of common questions and interesting topics including helpful hints on how to play some of the more popular games.
You can also follow the #otomearmada hashtag on Twitter to find a regular source of news and information the genre.
The Amino group Otome is also a pretty good community to hit up for recommendations and consists of more than 28,000 members.
Other otome communities that are pretty active include the Crunchy Roll otome games forum. With 846 members, it’s considerably smaller that the Amino and Reddit groups but is pretty active.