My best friend got the original Sims game when it came out in 2000, and I remember staying up late with her playing it for hours. It was so much fun being able to create our own world where we could be whoever we wanted to be and do whatever we wanted to do.
Today, there are a ton of other simulator games besides The Sims, especially in terms of dating. Not only do dating simulators give you the chance to interact with people from all over the world, but they can also help you improve your communication and overall dating skills. Below we’ve narrowed down our favorites based on factors like their popularity, reviews, and pricing (or lack thereof). Click the links to jump to the section that best meets your gaming needs.
Best Overall Dating Simulators (#1-2)
Miniclip and Date Ariane are our top 2 picks for best dating simulators overall because they’re fun and beloved among gamers.
Miniclip is among the top game companies worldwide, with hundreds of downloadable games available, including simulation games. OurWorld is one of their more popular simulation games, hosting over 75 million players who mingle in a virtual reality. Or — if you’re more into fantasy games — you can play Knights and Brides and duel other players online. You may just capture the heart of a clever princess or brave knight while you’re at it! Miniclip offers dozens of different simulation games where you can network with fun-loving people with ease.
Created by Ariane Barnes, Date Ariane is a well-known girl simulator that includes over four different scenes to interact with Ariane in — as well as customizable music, text to speech, and hints and cheats if you get stuck at a certain point. FYI: This girlfriend simulator contains adult language, nudity, and sexual situations, so you must be over 18 years old to download and play it.
Best Dating Simulators for Guys (#3-4)
Whether it’s online or in person, talking to girls can be intimidating, but playing a dating simulator can make it easier to learn how to express yourself — which you can then apply to your real life.
If My Heart Had Wings
If My Heart Had Wings mixes romance with comedy in the story of Aoi Minase. After tragedy strikes, this young boy meets a special girl, Kotori Habane, and works with their friends to reunite their Soaring Club and build the world’s best glider so they can live every kid’s dream — being able to fly around the world.
The Flower Shop
Don’t let the name fool you — The Flower Shop is a popular dating simulator for guys, partly because it’s also a farming simulator. In this game, you get to be Steve, a poor, lazy college kid who’s having trouble with school, his home life, and his girlfriend. When he’s forced to spend his summer at a farm, he learns all about making new friends, keeping relationships with the old ones, and discovering what real love is.
Best Dating Simulators for Girls (#5-6)
It’s 2016, and gaming isn’t just for guys anymore (if it ever was). The 2 simulators below are all about female empowerment and women taking control and kicking ass in any situation.
There are five different versions of the Hakuoki boyfriend simulator, with the most recent being Shinkai Kaze no Shou, so try them all out until you find your favorite. Published by Aksys Games and developed by Idea Factory, the Hakuoki franchise is compared to “choose your own adventure” books where you’re presented with a bunch of options that change the outcome of the game.
Sweet Fuse At Your Side
Sweet Fuse At Your Side plays off the young-heroine-saves-the-day theme that’s made movies like “The Hunger Games” so famous. During the grand opening of a new theme park in Japan, a shrouded figure forces an ultimatum on the crowd: play his seven-day game or he’ll blow up the park. You get to be Saki Infaune, the woman who volunteers and rescues the hostages.
Best Free Dating Simulators (#7-8)
Let’s face it, we all like free stuff. Add the word “free” to something, and it often makes that something more desirable. Our favorite free simulator games come without a price tag — and with all the excitement.
Set in modern-day Japan, Katawa Shoujo centers around Hisao Nakai, who has to start going to Yamaku High School for Disabled Children after he’s diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Help Hisao overcome his perceived handicaps, make friends, and even find true love, with five different storylines to choose from.
RE: Alistair is what’s known as an otome game, a dating simulator with a female protagonist and male bachelors. In this world, you’re Merui. She loves video games, but she’s got an angry side to her, which comes out when someone she plays games with, a guy named Alistair, steals a rare item from her. Your mission is to find out who he is — all while balancing school, friends, and romance.
Best Dating Simulator Apps (#9-12)
Most of us are on our phones what like half the day, if not more? We live in a mobile-obsessed world, and that includes when we’re playing games. We’ve chosen 4 awesome dating simulator apps that are convenient and fun — no matter if you’re an Android or iPhone user.
Pirates in Love
“It’s time to sail on the sea of love” is the description for Pirates in Love, which has 4 1/2 stars in The App Store. Recommended for those 12 and older (because of situations like drug use and mild fantasy violence), Pirates in Love is where you accidentally become a crew member of a pirate ship with six handsome men. You’re the only woman on board, and you get to go on a “sweet” voyage for treasure with them. Ahoy, matey!
Download: Pirates in Love for iOS
Shall We Date?: Ninja Love
With 4 out of 5 stars on Google Play and more than 450,000 users, Shall We Date?: Ninja Love is one of the most popular love simulator apps out there right now. Whether you’re a guy or girl, you get to be a powerful ninja and go on a romantic adventure. The conflict comes when you fall in love with an enemy and have to decide between them or your comrades. What will you do?
Roommates takes place in the Latin House, a dorm at one of the best colleges in the country. Men get to play as the “rock god” Max, while women get to play as the “book smart” Anne. You’ll go through freshmen year attending classes, working a new job, living with fun roommates, and even meeting someone special for a little extra curricular activity.
Download: Roommates for iOS
Shall We Date?: Angel or Devil
The first game in the Shall We Date? series, Angel or Devil has just over 4 stars in its Google Play customer reviews. To get started on this romantic fantasy game, choose between three main characters, deck out your avatar, and then start your romantic adventure. This anime dating simulator also includes beautiful Manga-style illustrations.
Ready to Get Started?
While playing The Sims for hours on end never led me to my Mr. Right, every now and then it was nice to take a break from the common stresses of reality and have some virtual fun. I hope this list helps you recharge your batteries as well and encourages you to get out there with even more determination. Once you’re ready to try your virtual dating skills in the real world, be sure to check out our reviews of the top 10 dating sites to help get you started.