The best dating sims feature carousels of cute courtable characters ready for romance. Whether you’re moving into a sleepy seaside town searching for love or ready to find that spark with a kick-flipping dinosaur schoolmate, players have more options now than ever to date around.
While dating is at the forefront of these simulators, great examples of the genre are feature-rich, captivating settings, underlying intrigue and unique art direction, some of which could even be considered for the best PC games overall. The top dating simulators tend to twist the traditional visual novel style and fork it into a new genre, such as adventure games or dungeon crawling – and, believe it or not, one or two even take inspiration from horror games. Regardless of where you want to look for love, this list should have you covered, with the best dating sims to play in 2023.
Here are the best dating sims on PC in 2023:
Finding a date to prom is always going to be a nightmare, but the team at Beautiful Glitch at least knows how to make it fun. In school halls filled with beautiful beasts of all kinds, you’re tasked with seducing a select schoolmate and quite literally fighting for love – think less Monster Hunter and more monster lover. This clever twist on the dating sim formula also supports multiplayer, leading to interesting clashes with friends over who gets who, inevitably serving unwanted high-school flashbacks. Along the way, players will be kept laughing by its absurd branching events and self-aware humour.
If you finish with the original, Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp takes players to summer camp with new characters, mechanics and mixology to shake up the dating experience. Monster Prom 3: Monster Roadtrip is the latest release in the series and shifts the focus to surviving a romantic vehicular adventure. As well as flirting, you’ll manage resources while enjoying the quippy writing and charming ready-to-mingle characters.
Hooked on You: A DBD dating sim
It might look colourful and cute, but, yes, that’s a deadly weapon in The Trapper’s blood-stained hands. The cleverly-titled Hooked on You is, you see, a dating sim based on the 4V1 horror game Dead by Daylight, giving you the chance to date one of four eligible, um, killers. Instead of literally hooking you on a meat hook and sacrificing you to the entity, in this game, the DBD killers are all trying to capture your heart – that is, at least, until you turn them down.
With options to date The Trapper, The Wraith, The Spirit, and The Huntress, there are nine different endings to try for, so Hooked on You has a considerable amount of replayability. In four of those endings, you’ll end up happily in love with a psychotic murderer, while in another four, you’ll have your heart broken. The final ending, only achieved once you’ve obtained the other eight, features everyone’s favourite K-pop killer. Be careful what you say to them all though, as saying the wrong thing to the wrong person could see you dead.
Not your typical dating sim, Hatoful Boyfriend has you romancing birds that are usually classed as pests. As the only human attendee of an avian school for talented birds, players are tasked with finding a true mate at St. PigeoNation’s Institute. By becoming the ultimate sticky beak, players can meet birds of all kinds, but who will ‘peck’ your interest?
Attending classes at the institute, like Music or Math, will affect your stats and provide benefits to you in your romantic endeavours. All the while, you’ll also uncover the school’s dangerous underbelly and discover that Hatoful Boyfriend is equally about finding love and preventing the apocalypse.
Starting out as a Kickstarter campaign, 2021’s Boyfriend Dungeon is a marvellous dating simulator mix-up that pairs romance with dungeon crawling. In Verona Beach, things aren’t exactly what they seem. First off, slaying monsters for cash is the norm, and your dates will double as weapons! As a new and desperately single resident of Verona, you are urged to explore the eponymous Boyfriend Dungeon and pick up loot that can transform into sultry singletons.
As you trawl through procedurally generated levels, you will get to know your prospective dagger dates and grow bonds that benefit you both in life and battle. Talk about beating loneliness one slash at a time. You can find out more in our Boyfriend Dungeon preview from GDC 2019.
Move to a seaside town and become the ultimate DILF in Dream Daddy. After settling in a new place with your daughter, you find out that the entire neighbourhood is single and ready for your attempted advances. As well as plenty of dad jokes and strong voice-acting performances, Dream Daddy features a fun character creator where players get to decide what daddy archetype they’d like to be. You can be a ‘dreamy daddy’ or even a ‘rock and roll dad’ – the dating world is truly your oyster.
Within the flirty dialogue hides a range of moreish minigames. Brag Battle, for example, takes the fun of retro Pokemon battles and turns them into dad-on-dad combat. In this mini-game, the way you brag about your daughter matters, whether it’s an old report card or a story about their helpfulness; each interaction damages the opponent or yourself.
I Love You, Colonel Sanders
Yes, that’s the Colonel Sanders. Remember a few years back when KFC jumped on the gaming bandwagon and made a few jokes about releasing a chicken-cooking, next-gen gaming console of their own? While that (sadly) might not have come to fruition, but one joke that was deadly serious was the KFC dating sim.
I Love You, Colonel Sanders isn’t about dating the ageing Southern American chicken mogul though, and you instead meet the tycoon back in his youth, before KFC, when he is your handsome silver-haired classmate in culinary school. Knowing what you know from the future, it might not be a bad idea to try and work your way into his favour in an attempt to become the colonel’s business partner – or more.
Made by Psyop, the team behind Hooked on You, and commissioned officially by KFC, you just know I Love You, Colonel Sanders is the fun, tongue-in-cheek, finger-licking good dating sim you’re after.
If you enjoyed Stranger Things’ dalliance with the ‘80s, then Arcade Spirits might be for you. This romantic visual novel is set in an alternative future where the games industry didn’t crash in 1983. Here, E.T. got to go home instead of being buried a few feet underground in the New Mexico desert. In this homage to all things neon, play as a reluctantly hired employee at a Funplex arcade. Work hard and make clever choices, as each decision may lead you closer to finding the one. Search for love in the shadow of coin-ops in this heartfelt, synthwave-filled 80s homage.
Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers is the sequel to 2019’s Arcade Spirits, and while it uses familiar storytelling tools from the original, its new characters and clever writing make it well worth a play. In the follow-up, the protagonist is an aspiring esports star on the hunt for trophies. After joining a team of players, you’re tasked with lifting their spirits, uncovering hidden storylines, and of course, finding romance.
Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance
Explore a secret cryptid sanctuary as Stella, an awkward teen coming of age and trying to figure it all out. In this stylish dating simulator, players will navigate what it means to be a senior in high school, all while
You’ll pick up collectibles tied to your cryptid crushes and make important choices to determine who you’ll end up with once high school meets its end. Raptor Boyfriend boasts a gorgeous world full of ‘90s nostalgia.
The Sims 4
While broadly more of a life simulator than just a dating simulator, The Sims 4 features complex social and romantic mechanics and plenty of characters with deep lore. This allows new players with amorous intentions to embed themselves in the suburbs and woo who they may please.
Now that you can download The Sims 4 for free, it offers players a fully fleshed-out dating experience at no cost. For players looking to venture down the romance rabbit hole and a life full of trysts and meaningful relationships, there aren’t many stronger options. There are also boatloads of expansions available that come with a price tag but expand the world to bring greater realism to your endeavours. And when that doesn’t suit your needs, there’s always the best Sims 4 mods to download or The Sims 4 cheats to try.
Not found something that tickles your fancy with the best dating sims? Try our list of the most relaxing games on PC for something a little less stressful, or spend some time building up your own land with the best farming games, some of which also include romance.