Harem is a term used to describe Japanese works wherein a single average male character is surrounded by numerous attractive females, most of whom are romantically interested in the main character.
Most Harem games deal with favorite genres such as Role-playing, Adventure, and Visual Novel as well as Otome. In such types of games, the story represents the narrative-based and mainly focuses on dialogue and decision-making gameplay.
The player assumes the protagonist’s role, who is either a beautiful and attractive male character or sometimes a female character with an objective to advance through the storyline, by attracting the character, finding the place for romance, and going on dates.
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Some games come with a horror-themed plot, where the player along with his/her friends stuck in the ancient mansion, forest, or other types of environments with a task to interact with NPCs, solve the puzzles, and complete quests to find a way out while engaging on dating and romance gameplay.
In this review, you’ll be diving into the colorful world of the best Harem games for PC that you should be playing right now.
Hero and Daughter
Imagine playing an RPG in which your main character can never progress beyond level one.
New areas still have stronger enemies, secondary characters far surpass you in level, and everyone you encounter makes fun of you for still being at level one.
This is the experience you will have playing indie JRPG Hero and Daughter+.
Ralph is a legendary default hero from RPG Maker VX Ace. It seems after years of defending his kingdom and dispelling dark lords, he tends to be a little on the cocky side. Upon seeing this, his king decides to inflict a spell on him bringing him back to level one and keeping him there.
How is a level one hero supposed to take on a new dark lord? Luckily after falling in his first battle, he is summoned to a pub in the local town run by the Haremancer.
Laughing at our hero’s weakness, the perverted Haremancer informs Ralph that he will assist you on your journey by summoning cute girls to help you in battle from summoning stones you can find in dungeons.
Building your own harem of battle-maidens brings a lot of variation to the turn-based battle system. You can bring up to three additional characters with you into dungeons, and each girl has a different set of abilities and specialization, allowing you to strategically form your party.
Unlike your hero, they will level up normally and learn new abilities as they grow. You’ll find quickly that they overpower Ralph, and to prevent him from constantly falling in battle, it’s necessary to find stat-boosting items in dungeons to keep him fighting fit.
With over 35 different girls to add to your harem, most of the story in Hero and Daughter+ is centered on them.
You can give gifts to earn affection points and unlock new conversations with them, and also give them any EXP that you have earned in battles. Since EXP is useless to Ralph, this helps beef up your current party or level up any newly summoned girls.
Dungeons consist of five randomly-generated floors filled with treasure and enemies, as you would expect. Battles aren’t based on random encounters, and in order to initiate a fight, you need to walk into the enemies that roam the floors.
The fifth floor is where the boss resides, and once a dungeon is conquered, you can always revisit it to repeat the whole process. This is encouraged, as each dungeon also has a set of optional enemies you can fight in order to fulfill a bounty for some cold, hard cash.
Collecting the seals from three dungeons and taking on the dark lord in his castle will take approximately three to four hours, thus completing the main quest. However, it’s the end-game of Hero and Daughter+ that really gives this game its shine.
After seeing the credits roll, the game opens up dramatically, delivering more content, more dungeons to explore, and of course more dark lords. The amounts of new activities you unlock make it feel like a fresh new take on the core game and can keep you occupied for hours.
Let’s address the elephant in the room for a minute here. While not given an official ESRB rating, the Hero and Daughter+ game is considered a mature one on Steam. Most of the character models can be suggestive and lewd.
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Evenicle begins with a simple premise, a boy named Aster wants to have sex with his two sisters.
However, it turns out that this is looked down upon, but not for the reasons that you’d think.
You see, the creator of the world Holy Mother Eve has two commandments: Thou shall not kill another human and thou must have only one partner for life.
If either of these rules is broken the individual is cast aside as an outlaw and forever banished to live in the world without aid.
Thankfully for Aster, one could avoid these rules if they become a Knight, this includes giving him the right to have multiple wives. That’s right, throughout Aster’s quest to become a knight he will also meet many women who end up becoming his wife one way or another.
It makes him sound like he’s a scumbag, which in a way he still is, but he does show real interest in these girls and they do seem to appreciate his company and want him around so hey, it’s their life.
The rules of the world create some interesting scenes. You see, these laws are final and even apply to the instance of rape. If a person has been raped they too will still be seen as an outlaw and will pretty much lose everything.
While people just seemed to accept the outcome of a terrible situation, Aster would question them and fight back a little.
There’s some good writing in Evenicle. The game has many hours of playtime. MangaGamer did an excellent job with the localization.
The team knew exactly how to set up each scene, whether the moment was romantic, comedic, or a horrible scene from the aforementioned scenario, the text supported the proper emotion expertly.
Each character shows a bit of growth and the side characters that you meet from time to time also offer more than you’d ever expect from an eroge.
Aside from the story, there are actually some pretty solid RPG systems in Evenicle. Players will roam around a huge open-world map and trigger random battles against various enemies. Each character can be equipped with stronger armor and weapons as they learn new skills and level up.
Graphically, the game has nothing to brag about by the look of the lackluster 3D modeled Aster runs around the map, but that doesn’t really matter because of how great the illustrations in the game are.
Character designs and CG scenes in Evenicle are pretty great, aside from the stupid tie the Aster wears which makes him look lame. Other than that, each character, even the NPCs, has nice expressions and overall designs.
Back to battling, there are some female enemies in the game who can be captured and used as equipment which adds various buffs to the character. As the party grows you’ll have to manage each character’s skills and equipment as well as remembering to visit a town to level up.
Evenicle has so many various systems that all come together to make the game a well-balanced RPG that would surprise anyone who was just looking for a straightforward eroge visual novel.
There are plenty of taboo scenes in Evenicle, but if you’ve read this far then we’re sure you’re okay with it.
Crusader Kings 3
Crusader Kings 3 is all about existing in a world where you can lie, cheat, steal, kill, and bonk your way to the top.
With this precarious way of life you’re bound to come across some enemies along the way who, understandably, want you dead after you slept with their spouse, so you better have an heir waiting in the wings for when you’re poisoned.
Everything in Crusader Kings 3 is always wrapped up in sex somehow. You can discover your wife humping a portrait of your grandfather, or even seduce the Pope if that’s your thing.
Crusader Kings 3 is a very honest look at what humans are like when left alone to be the worst versions of themselves.
Nothing much has changed in the graphics department here. Maybe slightly more detail in colors and bits of improvements when it comes to movement. Other than that, it’s basically the same as the previous titles.
The main music theme is pretty good and the ending themes are okay as well. When it comes to the background music, it’s not so memorable. It’s also kinda bland with the very few tracks it has.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
The Mass Effect series is the only reason you are ever likely to use the word ‘romanceable’ – at least until that inevitably becomes the name of a problematic dating app made in Silicon Valley.
There are ten romanceable NPCs in Mass Effect: Andromeda, and you’ll know when you meet them thanks to a little heart icon – which you can act on in conversation by ‘flirting’.
Flirting is a real-life mechanic that indicates you would like to indulge in a little romance-a-bants, and perhaps more.
Eventually, there will come a point, beyond the fulfillment of a companion’s character-specific missions, where you will notice their conversation become 100% wisecracks.
Kind of like the script for Skyfall, but with marginally more frequent reference to duty and colonialism. That is when the panning shots of bedroom antics usually begin, and the skin-tight space clothes come off.
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Love can be hard to attain sometimes. The object of your affection may just need a little bit more persuading than you’d originally anticipated, but such is the nature of the dance.
This is the case in Summertime Saga, and its Japanese equivalent could possibly be Momoiro Closet, a game about a secretive otaku who gets outed by the local loser, an advantage that you willingly exploit a relationship out of.
Momoiro Closet is a visual novel exploring the unlikely romance of average joe and the student council president. Experience the otaku mecca of Akihabara firsthand as you court your anime-obsessed cosplayer schoolmate, through either a tender love story or a passionate tale of lust.
We’re past the point of shame by now. So just know that with the addition of the adult patch, you can consummate your burgeoning romance in a manner most explicit.
You may even learn some stuff about Japanese culture along the way. It’ll only go as far as the phenomenon is known as pantsu, but every aspiring gaijin has to start their journey somewhere.
Things kick off with the protagonist of this title, a well-dressed chap, having a strange dream of a harem of demon girls at his side.
Though this dream might cost him his life, he sets out to make it a reality, and ventures down into the bowels of hell to romance whatever demonesses may come his way.
It’s a wildly original tale, one that has the gameplay to match. Players must make it from one side of a stage to another in a set amount of moves, dubbed will. Run out of will, and you are banished or at least back to the beginning of the level.
However, they don’t make things easy – spike traps that take double will, locked gates, tons of stones, and skeleton warriors all stand in the way of your cuties. Timing also plays a factor in certain parts of the title, with traps opening and closing at select times.
Most of the game follows this puzzle format, but there is a section of the game that requires fast reflexes. Some may decry this change of pace, but we found it a refreshing way to break things up.
Just be warned that those who typically like to take their time with their puzzle games will have to be on their A-game and pick up the pace a considerable amount if they’re looking to beat the game with their skill set.
Helltaker features good puzzle mechanics, great aesthetics, and amazing storytelling. Though it is a bit on the short side, this venture into hell is worth a go for anybody looking for a little love.
Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace
Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace starts the player off in the Future Gadget Laboratory.
The first thing Okabe hears is Mayuri’s voice, the lines mirroring Mayuri’s first lines of the original game.
This story seemingly takes place immediately after Luka’s D-Mail has been sent. Something’s different this time, though. It seems the D-Mail didn’t have the intended effect and has apparently thrown them into a different Attractor Field altogether.
Generally speaking, the game’s translation reads quite well and retains the humor that the original Japanese lines conveyed.
Unfortunately, not every aspect of the translation seems to have been done well. It seems as though the chapter titles were effectively untranslated, going under the same names as the pseudo-English on the title cards.
Given the nature of how the game diverges from the original, it’s quite hard to consider this game canon. That being said, it does introduce the fact that Okabe’s family are greengrocers, which was later used in canon titles, so certain details do make it over.
Like Phenogram, these details help build the world of Steins;Gate in small ways. The routes are generally good, although some are clearly better written than others.
My Darling’s Embrace is a solid entry into the world of Steins;Gate. As with all entries into the Science Adventure series, reading the stories that came before it will greatly improve one’s experience with the visual novel.
This is by no means an essential entry into the series, but it’s an enjoyable one nonetheless.
While some routes were better than others, all of them at least meet a decent baseline, although one, in particular, served mostly as comedic relief.
This entry is actually the 4th game in the extremely popular AMNESIA Otome series, but it’s also the only one that’s managed to make it to a PC port.
Considering its fan following in Japan and an enthusiastic Western audience that has begged for a stateside release for years, it’s no surprise this game shot to the top of the list.
You play as a college student whose consciousness is inexplicably and accidentally merged with a spirit named Orion while he was traveling between worlds – and in doing so, all your memories, your personality, and entire sense of self are lost.
Orion is your constant invisible companion, staying by your side until you can recover your memories and adapt to the strange world you no longer remember.
It’s lucky that Orion is chock-full of personality because your character is unfortunately something of an empty box of a Bella Swan.
Story-wise, it’s a side effect of getting her memories and her personality knocked right out of her, but she’s incredibly passive in many of her interactions with all the pretty boys. Sometimes a little too much so, especially considering how many dark turns this story can take.
This game makes no bones about the fact that it packages up a crazy, controlling, and stalkerish boyfriend into the most perfect romance ever – but heck, as we’ve learned with Twilight, that’s just A-OK with North American audiences these days.
That doesn’t make the story any less compelling or interesting to learn about fully by playing through all the different possibilities and endings.
It’s also what attracts other players aside from its usual target market of women wanting to romance good-looking men who see a strange, occasionally twisted story, and want to learn more about it.
The game is fully voice-acted and its production levels are through the roof with gorgeous art and hours of replayability. It also incorporates a set of mini-games and a little more gameplay than is the usual won’t in the visual novel experience.
Nameless ~The one thing you must recall~
This entry hails from Korean company Cheritz, whose dating sim style games have been appearing in English for several years now.
As of last year, have managed to get two of their more popular offerings onto Steam through Greenlight.
The story in Nameless starts off as simple as the others. You play a woman who recently lost her grandfather, with whom she has grown up alone. An avid collector of ball-joint dolls, one night they suddenly come to life – a group of incredibly good-looking, life-sized men.
Good writing and a relatable protagonist makes this story shine.
Nameless follows a more straight-forward visual novel style compared to Cheritz’s other game Dandelion, but still bucks the blank slate heroine trend of most VNs by offering a character that is at once likable and someone you can relate to, with dialogue options and decision-making choices that you would really probably make.
This isn’t to say that Nameless is free of all the dark twistiness that is almost a staple at this point of visual novels.
Nothing quite tugs the feels like horrible psychological trauma sometimes, and Nameless knows how to dish in spades. Be aware that this is paced a lot slower than the usual western or Japanese counterparts.
Half parody, half shockingly in-depth story, your character is the only human student at the prestigious St. PigeoNation’s Institute for talented birds.
As a sophomore, you go to class and you find romance among the birds at the greatest pigeon high school.
If you stick with it, you couldn’t be more wrong. Though it starts out looking like a few time worths of silly romancing, you slowly begin to realize that something about the world around you is very, very off.
And it’s not just the pigeons. Nothing is really what it appears to be, and the tone of the game can turn from hilarity to horror on a dime.
Screw your expectations, you aren’t just going to laugh at this game, especially not when you reset and decide to “fulfill the promise” to discover what the real experience really is.
The dating sim section really only feels like an extended prologue at this point, to introduce you to all these characters that you slowly become attached to. Then it proceeds to tear apart everything you have ever loved.
If you didn’t expect effective storytelling, you’ll find it anyway. And then you’ll probably never look at a pigeon again without crying under a table.
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Tales of Vesperia – Definitive Edition
Tales of Vesperia features a fairly classic 2D anime design.
But more than just the visuals, it’s the feeling of a grand adventure in faraway lands that makes this such a great anime game.
From pirates to dragons and mysterious magical forces, there’s a lot going on here.
The world of Terca Lumireis, ever beset by monsters, is only habitable thanks to the Blastia, ancient magical artifacts that protect from beasts and deliver conveniences.
Local ne’er-do-well Yuri is on the trail of a thief, who has the temerity to steal a precious blastia from the people who can least afford to lose it. Yuri quickly gets caught up in events that scale all the way up to saving the world.
Alongside him are a colorful crew of cast members, from his faithful canine buddy Repede to the almost painfully earnest Estelle.
Also here are Karol, one of the least-annoying anime children ever created, the blunt and honest mage Rita, shady veteran Raven, and the elfin badass Judith. New to the playable cast is Yuri’s old friend Flynn, and cheerful pirate Patty.
In a series where sea changes are rare and innovation tends to happen in the narrative and around the margins, Tales of Vesperia’s greatest strength lies in its cast, and it’s better than most at getting that cast far along the way towards embedding in players’ hearts.
Everyone is charming and just different enough from their selected anime archetype to stand out.
Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition excels in the places that matter most to Tales game, and in doing so earns the timeless adulation lavished on it by its fans. We can’t tell you if it’s the best Tales game, but it’s everything a Tales game needs to be, in order to be considered great.