Best of 2022 | Otome Game Recommendations

The year of 2022 has come to an end, so it’s time for a reflection on the games I played and loved this year! I’ve broken down my favourites into several categories, which I’ll explain as I go.

All the games listed were released in 2022, with the exception of the “Backlog” game. I chose the “best” game for each category based on my personal preferences and enjoyment, and it’s worth noting that I didn’t play every otome game that came out this year!

While it may be frustrating to watch my backlog grow ever larger, I’m incredibly excited to see the otome community and industry continue to boom. Each year we get more games than the last, and I can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store!

But, before I get ahead of myself thinking about the future, here’s a look back on the year just passed, with my “Best of Otome, 2022″…

Best Otome Game

even if TEMPEST

If you follow me on Twitter it will come as no surprise to see that even if TEMPEST blew my mind this year when it released on Nintendo Switch on June 9th (my birthday!) simultaneously in both English and Japanese. This was a first in many ways, being the first straight-to-Switch Voltage game and, as far as I’m aware, the first otome game to have English and Japanese versions released at the same time!

One of the biggest stand-out features of even if TEMPEST was its protagonist. Anastasia Lynzel is equal parts compassionate and brave, although she does have her flaws. Her backstory is deeply tragic and the decisions she makes throughout the game reflect the trauma she endured. Rather than focusing on the love interests, even if TEMPEST is, first and foremost, Anastasia’s story, and I finished the game just as much in love with her as I did the rest of the cast.

The story certainly gets heavy, but this is complemented by uplifting, wholesome scenes. It’s not about succumbing to despair in the face of overwhelming adversity, but instead the empowerment of overcoming such situations. From the art, to the voice acting, to the intricate, compelling storytelling, I loved every moment I spent obsessively bingeing even if TEMPEST, making it an easy choice for my favourite otome game of 2022.

Game Name: even if TEMPEST
Developer: Voltage Inc.
Publisher: Voltage Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Teen (ESRB)
More Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter.

Best Indie Otome Game

Wrapped With A Kiss

The last otome game I completed before the end of the year was Wrapped With A Kiss by LegendEx Studios, and it turned out to be a wonderful way to wrap up my 2022 otome journey. I’ve been getting more and more into indie games lately, so I wanted this “indie” category to highlight my favourite from this year.

I played Wrapped With A Kiss on Twitch as part of my holiday festivities, and I’m glad I did! Wrapped With A Kiss is the exact type of sweet, moving love story I wanted to experience during such a sentimental time of year.

While there were several indie titles I loved this year, the succinct yet evocative writing style in Wrapped With A Kiss left me with all the warm and fuzzy feelings that fit the intended genre, audience, and season so perfectly that I had to make it my top indie otome game of 2022!

Game Name: Wrapped With A Kiss
Developers: LegendEx Games
Publishers: LegendEx Games
Platforms: Steam, itch.io
Genres / Vibes: Romance, Hallmark, Sweet, Visual Novel, Otome (GxB), Indie
More info: Twitter, itch.io

Best MC

Anastasia Lynzel

Since Anastasia was one of the reasons I made even if TEMPEST my otome game of the year, it seemed fitting to make her my “Best MC” of the year too! I identified with her struggles, as well as her willpower to perservere and keep trying, even when things seem hopeless. I was moved by her journey, fell in love with her character, and I appreciated a heroine who broke the mould in terms of both personality and appearance.

Character Name: Anastasia Lynzel (first name customizable)
Game Name: even if TEMPEST
Developer: Voltage Inc.
Publisher: Voltage Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Teen (ESRB)
More Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter.

Best Boy

Noritsune Taira

Noritsune’s route was the first I played in Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because he completely blew me away with his compelling story and deeply rewarding character arc, but also a curse because now the rest of the cast have to follow him!

Noritsune became one of my top favourite love interests of all time – not just this year – and I could easily rave about him for days. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that he and Shanao feel like the perfect match for each other, and his route was a perfect balance of angst, drama, action, and romance.

It was beautifully fiery and passionate, but also deep and meaningful. I loved his story, and I loved him, so Noritsune is easily my “Best Boy” of 2022!

Character Name: Noritsune Taira
Game Name: Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei
Developer: Otomate, Idea Factory, Red Entertainment
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Teen (ESRB)
More information: here!

Best Side Character

The Witch of Ruin

This is a bittersweet category to celebrate my favourite un-dateable side character from 2022! While I finished even if TEMPEST head over heels for the antagonist, the ‘Witch of Ruin’, he is, unfortunately, not one of the love interests.

Falling for ikemen we cannot have is a common source of melancholy among otome fans, and I was not spared this year. To add insult to injury, the Witch of Ruin is voiced by Tetsuya Kakihara – one of my favourite voice actors – who made this villain far too charming for someone who doesn’t have a route.

He’s beautiful, petulant, slightly homicidal, and riddled with angst. He captured my heart, but alas, I cannot capture his. Instead, I will pine for him from afar, and consume every ounce of content in which he appears. And hope and pray that he’s added later in a fan disc, of course…

Character Name: Witch of Ruin
Game Name: even if TEMPEST
Developer: Voltage Inc.
Publisher: Voltage Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Teen (ESRB)
More Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter.

Best Backlog Game

Amnesia: Memories

This year I played through some “backlog” games that came out prior to 2022, but that I hadn’t yet played. My favourite of these older classics was Amnesia: Memories, which was ported to the Nintendo Switch this year. I haven’t quite finished yet, but I’m already in love with the disconcerting atmosphere and intriguing mysteries.

Plus, there’s the fashion. I’ve seen the memes making fun of their clothes, but I won’t lie, I’m here for their mid-2000’s scene kid, viusal kei aesthetic. I adore them in all their edgy glory, and the voice cast adds further appeal to their character designs.

Game Name: Amnesia: Memories
Developer: Idea Factory / Design Factory / Otomate
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Steam, iOS, Android.
Age Rating: Teen (ESRB)
More information: Website, Twitter.

Best Demo

Na Daoine Maithe (The Good People)

Looking back on 2022, I realised I played a lot of demos for upcoming games. It’s honestly exciting to see so many amazing games in the works for 2023 and beyond, so I wanted to spotlight my favourite demo from 2022, Na Daoine Maithe, also called The Good People.

I’m an absolute sucker for anything to do with fairies, and The Good People is the most fairy-like fairy game I’ve ever played! It features classic folklore and myths, a beautiful woodland-mystical aesthetic, and some stunning character designs. While I was writing this, the Kickstarter campaign launched, so I highly recommend checking out this demo and, if you like it, backing the campaign!

Game Name: The Good People (Na Daoine Maithe)
Developer: Moirai Myths
Publisher: Moirai Myths
Platforms: Steam, itch.io
Release Date: TBA
Age Rating: N/A
More information: Website, Kickstarter, Twitter, Tumblr.

Best Non-Otome Game

Stray

While otome games hold a special place in my heart (and a special interest in my brain), there are also many other non-otome video games that played and loved this year, including Stray, an action-adventure, story-driven game about a cat traversing a post-apocalyptic city.

There are some games that I love simply because they’re fun to exist in, and Stray is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay was enjoyable and the story ended up being quite moving, but the immersive experience of roaming a wasteland as a cat was the true highlight of Stray for me.

Every time I remember the game, I get warm and fuzzy feelings in my heart, and it’s an easy recommendation to anyone looking for an easy game to enjoy, with just enough excitement to make it truly stand out.

I also want to give an honourable mention to Pentiment. I was torn between Stray and Pentiment for this category, but in the end I chose Stray since I finished it this year, whereas I’m still only halfway through Pentiment.

Game Name: Stray
Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation.
Age Rating: Everyone (10+) – ESRB
More information: Website.

Your Turn

These were my favourites, but what about yours? Let me know in the comments below so everyone can celebrate their faves and reminisce on what turned out to be a fantastic year for otome games!

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2 comments

  • Thank you for this lovely “best of 2022” edition! I love how you manage to rave about each of your favourites in such a concise and insightful way. 😀

    I wouldn’t be me without misreading something and having a laugh after doing a double take. This time it was (quote:) “I’m here for their mid-2000’s scene kid, viusal kei aesthetic.” Instead of “kid”, I read “kink”. Well. It is kinky. Right? All those buckles and belts… 😉

    My favourites were shared on your Discord channel, so I don’t need to repeat them. But I haven’t mentioned my favourite non-otome game. It’s also a VN and has gatcha and rhythm game elements. But the reason I love Ensemble Stars is the amazing story.

    When the game released, people made fun of it on Twitter because of its bad translation, but it’s not that bad at all. It feels a bit stiff, and a friend told me that it’s probably because the translation is often very literal/close to the original. There are typos and the grammar sometimes sounds strange (to me as a non-native speaker, so take this with a grain of salt). But! The story is amazing. There’s a huge cast, with many characters who have their own quirks, flaws, and dreams. It’s a story about a bunch of “loosers” who want to become idols. But it’s incredibly deep and engaging. Beneath that big dream of being stars, lies the heart of the game: the struggles of many different characters and their stories of friendship, mutual support, and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lmao kink is accurate!!!! That’s a beautiful misreading XD Also I’m so glad you love Ensemble Stars! I remember you saying part of your reason for trying it was to get used to playing rhythm games in preparation for Jack Jeanne, but is seems like it has become a favourite for you all on its own! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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