In this game, you're cast in the role of an extraordinary high school student -- you have magical powers!Consequently, in true Harry Potter fashion, you've been sent to a school that's suitably equipped to deal with your unique talents, and over the course of the game it's your job to refine those powers into something that's going to get you through your exams.These are no ordinary exams, of course; being a magical school, they naturally involve you being transported into a dank, smelly dungeon and tasked with finding your way out using the spells you've managed to master in the preceding weeks.
Exactly who you get the opportunity to make puppy dog eyes at depends on the actions you take at school -- do you perform well in class, or do you concentrate on building up your non-magical abilities?
Do you agree to help out with school events, or do you prefer to sulk by yourself in your room?
Eventually, you'll find yourself on one of several different paths to the game's ending, each of which explores your character's relationship with a very different type of person.
None of the paths are a particularly easy ride, however; relationships are complex affairs, and this is something that author Georgina Bensley clearly understands intimately.
It may not be a Japanese game in itself, but Hanako Games' Magical Diary is a great example of not only a traditional dating sim model, but also of "otome games" aimed specifically at female players.
For those of you who missed last week's installment, we're currently in the middle of Dating Sim Month, a community playalong organized by GAF poster and online acquaintance Anne Lee.
During Dating Sim Month, the aim is to get people trying out relationship-centric games in all shapes and sizes, ranging from full-on traditional dating sims to romantically-themed visual novels or but which was subsequently rewritten into an "all ages" formula, and a game that blends elements of dating sims, visual novels, strategy games and RPGs to create something enormously compelling.
This week, we're taking at something a little different, in a number of ways.
game -- a game where you play a female protagonist and, in this case, pursue relationships with people of both genders.
We're slowly starting to get more of these in the West, but for the most part relationship-themed games that get localized from Japan are still largely of the variety, where a heterosexual male protagonist pursues relationships with one (or, occasionally, more than one) of the impossibly attractive female cast members.
Oddly enough, it's Western developers rather than localization teams who seem to be leading the charge for gradually changing thanks to titles like the excellent Sweet Fuse.