To Pay or Not to Pay: Free to Play vs Paid Mobile Otome

Like all full-time students I am confident enough to say that I know the value of the dollar. Sometimes money just doesn’t stretch the entire month; between rent, food, bills, food, metro fare, food, books, tuition, and did I mention FOOD money seems to disappear at an alarming rate. But my pitiful part-time retail slave paycheck still allows me some pleasures. And by pleasures I mean paying for the company of sexy 2D pixel men, thanks to the wonderful world of mobile otome games. But, with so many options, which ones are best? 


Pros and Cons of Free to Play Social Mobile Otome Games

Pros of Free to Play Social Games

  • Well for one they’re FREE. As a student free-99 is my friend. Free food especially, but a no commitment rendezvous with a sweet piece of pixel booty—now that is a dream come true.
  • There is a community aspect to social games that some paid games never have. As annoying and time-consuming as Friend Collaboration Events and Missions are, they force the player to reach out and bond with others within game.
  • It forces me to pace myself. The daily free five ticket/pass is a lesson in self-restraint if I ever saw one…I am forced to literally savor every choice and every piece of dialogue, because when that last ticket disappears I have to wait 24 hours for the next reload.
  • Finishing a route is a mini accomplishment! If you are like me and you don’t spend money on extra tickets, you know that it can take weeks if not months to finish a route. But when you do, the satisfaction is worth any early clear bonus!

Cons of Free to Play Social Games

  • I have to wait and for me distance does NOT make the heart grow fonder, no, it makes the heart wander. I can go months without playing a game.
  • Checkpoints really put a damper on the flow of the story. Imagine if you will: Your pixel man is about to confess his undying love to you. He is leaning in his perfectly drawn face is inches from your own, he’s about to speak so you click for the next line of dialogue, when, BAM, an item checkpoint!images (1)
  • Free doesn’t really mean free, not when you have to pay real money for coins, which buy you premium items, which in turn get you PREMIUM ENDINGS!!!!

Pros and Cons of Pay Per Route Mobile Otome Games

Pros of Pay Per Route Games

  • I get the entire story, no checkpoints, no waiting, nothing stands in the way of my love!
  • Sound, glorious sound! BGM and VOICES!!! Granted, some free games have BGM, but I get to hear the characters talk!
  • I can replay the story! There is a replay value with paid games that doesn’t exist with the free to play games. If I want to relive a story I can do so without worrying about items, coins, etc.

Cons of Pay Per Route Games

  • The money! Some games can be costly, even if you pay by route, you could wind up spending $20-$30 on just one character and if you like more than one character that number can double if not triple. Then there are the sub stories and sequels. Some games allow you to pay on flat fee for all stories and routes, but even that can be costly. (P.S. SUPPORT PAID GAMES!!!)

I prefer pay per route otome games over fremium games

My usual go to is Voltage Inc, because they are the most accessible, but I have been known to dabble in the independent games, patches, etc. I am pretty open to suggestions when it comes to getting my otome fix. But despite my meager earnings, I still prefer the quality and reliability of paid games over free social games. There is no time limit on my experience and I can spend all day with my 2D love. While waiting until 5 AM for passes in free social games to reload has me feeling like I’m watching paint dry.

alice waiting
Any day now…

Not to say free games aren’t as fun as paid games, heaven’s no, there are some free games that far surpass anything the paid games have to offer, but the instant gratification of completing an entire story in a single night does give them a considerable edge.

At the end of the day it comes down to preference

In the end the choice really comes down to preference, I just prefer paid games. I don’t hate free social games like the Shall We Date series or the Voltage Party series, I just don’t have the patience for them. Between school, work, and sleep, I don’t really have too much time for games like I used to. So if I don’t get to play the next chapter, like now, chances are I won’t play it at all.

I will admit that sometimes the plot of the social games like the Voltage Party games are better than the paid app versions, but at the end of the day I feel like I get more bang for my buck when I pay for the route.

Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome!

Blerdy Otome Logo Small

If you like what you see consider giving me a follow! 

Twitter | Instagram | Etsy | Twitch | Discord | Ko-fi

6 thoughts on “To Pay or Not to Pay: Free to Play vs Paid Mobile Otome

  1. A relevant topic for sure! I’m not a fan of moblie games but I have paid for a route and can say that I like the instant ability to go through the entire story. But like you said, us students gotta keep our money in check.

    I don’t use them as much as I wish I’d like to, but if the Voltage games upped their narrative, I’d be willing to save for a route or two. Do you have any recommendations? I’ve played Love Letter to Thief X, and it was the only one I was interested in. (Except no Kiss CG for Takuto:( )

    I’m glad I saved up for a Vita though lol since Code Realize and Norn9 are coming. I hope that more people will purchase the games just to prove there’s a market here.

    1. I have a love-hate relationship with mobile games…but I really like voltage games even if they are kind of predictable…
      As for suggestions…I absolutely love Be My Princess (Joshua and Edward especially) and Star Crossed Myth is my New favorite, I loved Scorpio’s route (but I have a thing for thunderes and sadistic men with a soft side)
      As for Takuto…I was so hurt by the lack of a kiss CG…but his stories are super amazing!😍

  2. OMG somebody that relates to this! I’m a poor poor uni student aswell and GODDAMN the goodies that a bishie lover can find on apple/android store. I seriously tried to play a multitude of otome games, all types, from free to paid, to Japanese collectible card games, to Japanese rhytm games and “make your idol” games….I can pretty much agree with you; most, if not all, of the free games (blighted GREE) out there ended up forgotten somewhere in the most remote part of my Ipad 2. One might hope and wish to be able to screw 1-2 hours of sleep for the “2D bishie” dose, but it’s just IMPOSSIBLE. At least not for a long period of time (mine usually doesn’t exceed 1 week….).

    Paid games = my life.

    1. I almost feel bad for neglecting them, but mobile games try my patience. I never remember to play them consistently so when I do finally play them after weeks if not months of inactivity I end up with welcome back bonuses…
      Student Otome/Otoge Fans Unite!

Gush about cute otome boys~