They can help you plan the perfect date before you ask someone out in real life! The great thing about the titles in this category is that you can play for free online while trying to plan the perfect date.
To begin with, you should try Pico Sim Date 2, which is a great dating simulator.
(See for example, the difference between the series, which is very close to a Visual Novel style of gameplay, and the DOA Xtreme series, which is the closest thing to a true Dating Sim with mass-market appeal in the US.) If the game plays out like a Choose Your Own Adventure, that's a Visual Novel.
If it feels like you're playing an RPG, trying to keep track of everyone's feelings about you and giving out presents, that's a Dating Sim.
The game casts you in the role of a single father who has just moved to a new town with his teenage daughter.
Although the two of you have been on your own for a while, the death of your spouse—you can specify if they were male or female—clearly still weighs on your mind.
Because there is almost no market for true Dating Sim games outside of Japan, it's a frequent misunderstanding among western gamers that "Dating Sim" is the general term for all ren'ai (romantic love) games.
The Dating Sim is a type of game designed to set up goals, usually in the forms of schedules and stats corresponding to social skills, which must be achieved to discover a story focused entirely around the Character Development of the player's chosen girl/guy, get into his/her pants, or both.
Since the game is a Japanese advertisement, it’s difficult to discern exactly what is going on if you aren’t fluent in the language — but then again, it’s a game where you try to seduce a DCP-J952-ECO Brother printer, so it’s difficult to discern exactly what is going on regardless of the language barrier.
In the game, which you can play here, there is imagery of the printer being unboxed, so true to dating-sim fashion, the game is even creepier than a game about dating a printer sounds.
You meet six other dads who just happen to live in the same suburban cul-de-sac, and with a little help from a Facebook analogue called Dadbook, the dating begins.
The result is something as sincere and funny as it is heart-rending, a self-aware, deeply humanistic game whose witty script makes even the most groan-worthy dad puns seem to sparkle.