A long time ago, let’s say eight years in the past, D3 Publisher decided to release a rather dark otome game. Kurayami no Hate de Kimi wo Matsu began with a hiking trip and ended with murder. Yes, it was a point-and-click horror game where you happened to romance dudes while dealing with a serial killer. It was not only an unexpected sort of dating sim, but not exactly the sort of thing you’d expect on a Nintendo platform. Yet there it was and, despite the odds, the ensuing relationships that appear in the story make sense.
This might seem like an odd thing to say. After all, one of the six possible bachelors in this game is the actual psychopath who’s put the entire group in this situation. Even though the canon does establish a connection between them all, as one is the teacher and the other characters are all students at the same high school, this isn’t what helps make blossoming relationships seem plausible. What does is the fact that these people need to work together to survive.
Being forced into Kurayami no Hate de Kimi wo Matsu’s situation, where characters need to rely upon each other’s specialties and strengths, causes them to open up more than they would in other situations. Even though one bachelor, Mio Aoi, seems suspicious due to his family having built the school and his impressive knowledge surrounding it, he’s also one of the few people who knows the ins and outs of it. You have to have faith in him to get through it. Yousuke Honami has a father who was basically a mad scientist. He seems to know about something lurking in the school, but he’s also a wise ally. Tarou Kazano is a delinquent who’s disrespectful and harassing, yet he can see through others. Each one has certain capabilities where you have to trust them and work together.
It helps that most of Kurayami no Hate de Kimi wo Matsu’s actual commitment scenes happen outside of the actual kidnapping situation. It’s when you and your new boyfriend escape that you actually start to see a real relationship has formed. While there are romantic moments in this otherwise scary and thrilling encounter, it’s more of an impetus for a love affair, rather than the most horrifying first date ever.
As for the killer’s scenario, this route ends up making sense for an unexpected reason. It flips the entire point of the game around. When you consider the mental states of the people involved in this storyline, leaping into such an unexpected and unhealthy relationship makes sense. It’s disturbing, but you can get why they’re behaving the way that they are. When you’re that broken, making even more bad decisions suddenly seems reasonable.
Kurayami no Hate de Kimi wo Matsu is an incredibly weird game. It’s certainly one of the oddest otome games released on the DS. It’s often unsettling, and sometimes even scary. You wouldn’t think that it could be romantic and present believable relationships, but the unorthodox situation actually works for it. You can see people getting closer after surviving or going through such a situation, and the story comes across as a little more compelling as a result.