Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is a dating game every ‘birdy’ should play

Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is the sequel to Hatoful Boyfriend that was released last July on the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. For those who are not familiar with the Hatoful Boyfriend universe let me take a minute to explain. Set in an alternate version of Earth, you play as Hiyoko Tosaka, a teenage human girl in Japan who attends St. PigeoNation’s Institute—a high school for birds only. Your fellow classmates are pigeons and doves, and you must say and do the right things to make your chosen feathered friend fall in love with you. Sounds just a little bit strange doesn’t it?

In this fun-filled sequel, Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star will once again put your dating skills to the test. Is Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star just as compelling and unique as its predecessor? Let’s dive into the wonderful alternate world of Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star and find out. You won’t want to miss this review!

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The Good

Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is filled with lighthearted, comedic moments and that dark edge that made the original game captivating and entertaining. Hato Moa, manga artist and the games writer, has sprinkled in various references to other well-known visual novel games throughout this game. One of the more well-known references include Capcom’s own Phoenix Wright from Ace Attorney. Hato Moa has injected well known phrases such as “I object!” into Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star’s story that fits right in with what’s going on. It’s quite funny to see and fans will be sure to get a chuckle out of it.

One of the best things about Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is that even when the story involves “darker” situations, the game never really takes itself seriously. The lighthearted comedy and humour shine through even at the games “darkest” moments. You’ll be kept wondering what’s going to happen next in the delightful world of Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star.

Mediatonic and PigeoNation Inc. include a great deal of content with Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star. This visual novel is comprised of four main episodes, six short episodes, a gallery, and a six-part radio program—there is certainly plenty to see and do. During your travels through this delightful winter wonderland you’ll encounter tanks, zany lab experiments, solve mysteries and so much more. In all, it took me between 8-10 hours to see and do everything that Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star has to offer—exceptional value considering the games value price.

The environments in this holiday-themed sequel are exquisitely designed in magnificent high-definition. The surroundings are hand drawn with astounding watercolours, which give this game a truly unique look and feel to it.

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The Bad

As intriguing as Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is, it’s not without some minor issues. Compared to its predecessor, Hatoful Boyfriend, the sequel feels linear. Hatoful Boyfriend was filled with varied scenarios, branching plotlines, and a plethora of choices each leading you down a different path. Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star simply isn’t as deep as the original.

Quite often while playing; I noticed that many scenes were void of background music and sound effects. In contrast, the next scene would be filled with cheerful music and wacky sound effects. In addition, the characters of Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star are not voice acted. Although not deal breakers in my opinion, the lack of music and voice acting could be potential deterrents for those new to the series and unsure of the game.

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed my time with Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star and I would recommend anyone looking to try something new give this game a go around. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much fun you will have with this game. The games witty humour and colourful characters will keep you laughing all the way through to the very end.

If you a PlayStation owner, you’ll be happy to know that Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is a cross-buy title with cloud saves allowing you take your pigeon friends with you wherever you go. Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is available to download on the PlayStation Store and Steam.


Final verdict: Thumbs up


Platforms: PlayStation 4, PS Vita, PC

Developer: Mediatonic / PigeoNation Inc.

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Genre: Visual Novel/ Dating Sim

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)