This can lead to confusion, as visual novels are considered a subgenre of adventure games and are not technically included in the dating sim genre.
While the two genres often share a common visual presentation, dating sims are sometimes considered to be more statistically based than the "choose your own adventure" style of visual novels.
The gameplay involves conversing with a selection of girls, attempting to increase their internal "love meter" through correct choices of dialogue.
The game lasts for a fixed period of game time, such as one month or three years.
It’s like backwards-engineering a narrative database -- and you may be surprised to find how much the story changes when you focus on a different partner each time. Hakuoki is a period piece, taking place in the Bakumatsu period of Japan at the time of civil unrest between the Emperor and the Shogun.
But you’ll need to focus, as playing the field can result in an unsatisfying ending, and no one likes that.
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The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game in Japan, can involve several technical elements such as a time limit, several statistics such as looks and charm which can be boosted through exercise, or an "attraction meter" which can increase or decrease depending on one's decisions.
Some original-English dating sims include Sim Girls, In a typical dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters.