September 23rd marks the first day of Fall, and despite the heatwave we’re having, I can’t help but be a little nostalgic. For most, the season marks the start of the new school year and many have already started making the daily trek back to the classroom. Everyone has at least one or two fond memories of their school years from late night study sessions in the library to hanging out with friends in the halls to after school clubs and activities.
It’s one of those universal experiences, so it’s no wonder school settings are so popular in our media. School romances are especially popular topics in otome games, from sweet first crushes to the angsty drama filled romances, otome games give you the chance to explore all your school romance fantasies. So, today, I wanted to dive into 10 school romance otome games, that’ll give you some nostalgia for our bygone school days… or maybe even give you the chance to live out your wildest school fantasies…
Dreamy Days in West Tokyo
Voltage has a lot of great school romance titles to choose from (some of which are also on this list), but one of my favorites is Dreamy Days in West Tokyo. In the game you return to your hometown where you reconnect with your childhood best friends, but 10 years is a long time and you find your feelings changing. Day by day you grow closer as you navigate the ups and downs of school, life, and love.
Dreamy Days in West Tokyo follows you and your crush through all the ups and downs of life from your high school years to college all the way up until your adult years. This is one of the more comprehensive otome games on this list giving you a sense of how the relationships between the characters grow and change over the years. Dreamy Days is just a really wholesome game.
Winter Wolves games are a bit of a mixed bag, people either kinda like them or they outright hate them, but one of their better titles is the slice of life comedy romance, Roommates. In the game you play as a college freshman navigating the ups and downs of college life. Unlike most games where you play as a single protagonist, you can choose to play the game as Max, a laid back guy who wants to be a professional musician or Sally a shy, sheltered bookworm looking to spread her wings a bit. While certain events happen in each route, your overall college experience varies depending on which protagonist you choose and which love interests you pursue.
Roommates has a lot of comedic moments, and it does take a lot of liberties with some of the characters and events. But I was genuinely surprised to discover how realistic some of the college “experiences” were… stuff, like dealing with RAs and crazy roommates, college parties, studying, hanging out with friends… campus protests… Honestly, this game reminded me a lot of some of the stuff I got into when I was at Howard, especially the drinking party the characters have midway through the game. College is a crazy time, and Roommates does a great job of capturing all the shenanigans.
Wanna know more? Check out my reviews: [Special Valentines Day Guest Blogger] My Boyfriend Played an Otome Game?!- Roommates: Max’s Side
Available for Steam
Everyone knows about Cheritz’s third game, Mystic Messenger, but before that they developed two stats raiser PC otome games. I definitely recommend playing both of them, but most folks agree that Nameless is the better of the two. Nameless is a modern fantasy otome game, that follows Eri, a young girl who copes with her loneliness by collecting ball joint dolls. One day she wakes up to discover that her precious dolls are suddenly living breathing bishies, turning her quiet life upside down.
While most of the game focuses on the fact that Eri’s harem of living ball joint dolls, Nameless spends a lot of time showing us Eri’s day to day school life. Eri makes up a fake backstory to explain the sudden appearance of the boys so they can enroll in her school. Hi-jinks ensue… It’s fun seeing the boys get acclimated to Eri’s school and they even participate in school events like the School Festival.
Our Private Homeroom
So, remember when I said Voltage had a lot of school romance titles? Well, here’s another one! Seriously I could probably fill an entire list with just Voltage Inc. games! Our Private Homeroom is one of their newer releases and the first release (in English) that deals with teacher/student relationships. Their earlier titles After School Affairs and Class Trip Crush do have a student/teacher romances, however they weren’t a part of the initial English release (the student route in After School Affairs was released much later).
In Our Private Homeroom, you play as a third year high school student who finds herself living with one of her teachers… It’s kind of like the manga Faster than a Kiss… This definitely plays up the forbidden romance, since you are a student and each of the love interests are teachers at your school. The game makes it less creepy than it sounds since the teachers are still pretty young, mid to early 20’s, so if you’ve ever been curious about a romance with a teacher… Our Private Homeroom has you covered.
Storm Lover Kai
Of all the games on this list, this is definitely the one that gives you an in depth school/life experience. Storm Lover Kai is a life simulator school romance otome game that literally takes you through an entire school year… every SINGLE day! So, if you are not big on life simulators or stats raisers, take this as a warning, this game is kind of intense. You play as Yuna Igarashi, a transfer student at the prestigious Saint Louis High School, where you meet some of the school’s most eligible bachelors. But, unlike most otome games where you pursue one guy at a time, Storm Lover Kai gives you aren’t beholden to JUST one guy. You are not obligated to stay with the same guy, any of the available guys are up for grabs as you navigate your complex and turbulent love life.
I love this game, because you can actually jump from guy to guy at your leisure (that is if their affection is high enough. On my first playthrough I was dating Kyousuke, but I also spent a lot of time with Yuuto, so Yuuto legit showed up to my Christmas date with Kyosuke and confessed. I then had the choice of staying with Kyosuke or dumping him for Yuuto, but it gets better, when I Yuuta down he avoided the hell out of me for weeks and even after that our interactions were awkward… THAT’S THE LEVEL OF REALISM I WANT IN MY OTOME!! But what I love about the game is that it takes you beyond the honeymoon phase, you have to maintain your relationship for the entirety of the game… so even if you manage to make a guy your boyfriend, you have to work to keep him!
Wanna know more? Check out my review: Love is in the Forecast: Storm Lover Kai Review
Bad Boys Do It Better
Hey, look at that, another Voltage game! I fully expected to hate this game, but surprisingly enough, Bad Boys Do It Better is one my favorite games. In this game your parents are traveling abroad, so you transfer to a high school with a dorm. Unfortunately the school in question was formerly an all boy’s school and all of the students are delinquents… You are the lone flower in a sea of wolves, and so begins your eventful new school life!
The gimmick with this one is you date delinquents, however none of the guys is really a “bad boy”, they may get into a few fights or skip class, but they aren’t criminals… just misunderstood. It’s really a cute title and it’s nice to see the guys showing their softer sides as they start to fall for the MC. Bad Boys Do It Better is a surprisingly sweet school romance, ESPECIALLY Keiichiro’s route!
This is one I haven’t had the chance to play yet and with the mixed reviews on Steam, I’m not exactly pressed to add it to the top of my play list. From what I’ve gathered Gakuen Club is a PC port of a mobile game, that kept the story, but got rid of all the puzzles. The MC transfers into the prestigious Kirika Academy where she stumbles upon a secret night club operated by a couple of the school’s hottest guys. It’s kind of like a watered down Ouran High School Host Club, but without that spark that made Ouran so memorable.
This game just kind of toes the line, so if you’re looking for something light and inoffensive to play. The character designs are cute and I like the idea of everyone running a secret after hours cafe…
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome
This game is hilarious, Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome has the feel of a comedy anime more than a by the book high school romance. This game definitely reminds me a lot of the movie She’s All That. Two good looking guys take the antisocial Ema Tachibana and try to give her the makeover of a lifetime… hilarity ensues!
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome is an off-beat comedy with a colorful cast of characters, this is like the love child of Lovely Complex and Kimi ni Todoke and oddly enough it works. Like many before me, I was on the fence about this game, but I seriously could not stop laughing at how ridiculous everything was; the characters are insane and the premise is cliche but somehow it all just kind of works.
Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons
So, I mentioned this before, but there is a bit of controversy surrounding the creator of this game and while I don’t like judging a work based on my opinion of the creator… it’s hard to separate the two. However, in this case, Mystic Destinies Serendipity of Aeons is a really great modern fantasy game with some great lore and themes. In the game, you play as Tsubasa a first year university student that has immense magical powers forced on her by her mother. With no clue why this has happened to her and no way of controlling her new powers, she is thrust headfirst into the secret world of the supernatural.
Each of the love interests is a member of a different supernatural community from fae to dragons to phoenixes and everything in between. Tsubasa must navigate the dangerous new world and uncover the secrets behind her powers while also balancing her normal life. She takes special classes at school to learn how to control her powers and while the game is largely focused on the supernatural goings on of the world we do see Tsubasa and the rest of the characters doing every day normal student stuff. There’s a great balance between realism and fantasy that you don’t see too often in games like this and it makes for a much more enjoyable experience.
Wanna know more? Check out my review: [First Thoughts]Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons
Alright, closing out this list is surprise surprise, one of the few free to play mobile games I’ve enjoyed! It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of f2p games, in fact I lowkey avoid them, but a few years ago I discovered Wizardess Heart and it had me hooked! I love the Harry Potter series so the idea of an otome game with a wizarding school was right up my alley. You play as a wizardess in training who has been living as a veterinarian in the kingdom of Gedonelune. One day you receive a letter from the prestigious Gedonelune Royal Magic Academy, once there you are paired up with a Buddy who will help you get acclimated to your new school. The fate of each Buddy pair is linked, so failure isn’t really an option. Together you and your buddy must pass every trial if you have any hope of becoming full fledged wizards.
I really liked this game, it seems like it’ll just be another lighthearted romance, but Wizardess Heart is anything but! There is a lot of drama and mystery in this game, which is the only reason I stuck with it as long as I did! Each guy has a “secret” that you have to uncover and some of them are pretty tragic, like heartbreakingly tragic stuff. The art is all cute and bright, but the stories themselves are pretty dark (for the most part), which will definitely keep you coming back for more.
School is back in session with these otome picks!
So, whether you’re already in school, heading back to school, or looking for a way to relive your youth, each of these games offer a unique school romance experience! From slice of life first loves to drama filled romantic rendezvous, make some time to dive into a school romance otome game! Relive all those rose colored nostalgia filled days from your youth or create the school romance you always dreamed about!
And seriously, if you’re looking for school romance otome games, there are plenty to choose from, school romance is one of the most over used otome premise there is and there are more being developed everyday.
Of course this isn’t an end all list! Tell me about your favorite school based games, and if you’re not into otome games, tell me about some of your favorite school themed media!