Thanks, in part, to My Next Life as a Villainess, the otome (dating sim) subgenre of isekai has recently become more popular and widespread. Also known as "villainess isekai," in these stories, girls are reincarnated into an otome game, often not as the intended protagonist but rather, a villain or side character.
Despite this, they quickly become the heroine of their own story, attracting the other characters through their charm and kindness. For fans of otome isekai interested in checking out an actual otome game, these five dating sims are sure to capture a similar feeling.
Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth
Otome isekai are usually set in Victorian-esque fantasy worlds, their casts filled with royals and nobles. While actual otome games come in a wide variety of settings, the world of Code: Realize will seem familiar to isekai fans. The game takes place in a fantasy version of Victorian England, even including Queen Victoria herself as a character. The story follows Cardia Beckford, a sheltered young woman whose touch is poisonous. She is seen as a monster and is nearly captured by the Royal Guard, but is saved by Arsène Lupin, the famous fictional thief.
Lupin and Cardia team up with several other famous literary characters, including Victor Frankenstein and Abraham van Helsing, and the group sets out to find Cardia's father and cure her of her poison touch. Of course, all of the men end up adoring Cardia, and the group even lives in an aristocratic mansion that becomes their base. Code: Realize has a much more serious story than most otome isekai, but its aesthetic is a perfect match -- with a bit of steampunk added in. The game has two sequels and was adapted into an anime in 2017.
For fans who especially enjoy the isekai elements of the genre, Period: Cube offers the trapped-in-a-video-game scenario that forms the basis of most otome isekai, with the major difference being that heroine Kazuha has a chance to escape. The game is connected to her brother's mysterious disappearance, and if she finds him and clears the game, they will be allowed to leave.
Complicating things is that a "Divine Sword" is supposedly needed to beat the game -- and apparently, Kazuha is that sword. Naturally, this leads to a lot of attractive guys becoming very interested in her, and she even gets a chance to romance an NCP. Like Code: Realize, Period: Cube contains significantly darker content than most otome isekai, but it emphasizes the isekai element far more strongly than most other games in its genre.
Alice in the Country of Hearts
The first in a series of Alice games, Alice in the Country of Hearts is another isekai tale, this time based on the classic story Alice in Wonderland. However, this Wonderland is far different from the nonsense world of the original story -- most of the characters are portrayed as handsome men, war and violence are everyday realities and all Alice wants to do is go home, which she can't do until she spends enough time with the strange characters she meets.
In this game, the Mad Hatter is a mafia boss, the Cheshire Cat runs an amusement park, and the Caterpillar is the literal personification of nightmares -- and all of them stand a chance at winning Alice's heart. Though she may not be the sweet, charming protagonist usually associated with otome isekai, Alice's situation is exemplary of the genre. The franchise spans several games, various spinoff manga pairing Alice with different characters and an anime film. Unfortunately, only the first game has received an official English translation, which is no longer available, but several of the manga can be purchased in the west.
In this recent game, protagonist Kotone Awaki inherits her late grandfather's café, only to learn that its regular customers are almost all inhuman men from other worlds. The regulars -- a headless fairy knight, a fiery beastman, an angel who happens to love otome games, a self-proclaimed demon king and an agent in charge of keeping an eye on them -- bond quickly with Kotone, and each route explores one of the men's backstories and problems as they grow closer to the protagonist.
Their stories can be heavy or over the top, but at the end of the day, the gang will always come together for a cup of coffee and some light banter. Café Enchanté sees Kotone visiting -- and helping to save -- many different worlds, but the focus is really on how much the characters care for each other and can overcome anything together. For fans of My Next Life as a Villainess and its cast of sincere, tight-knit characters, this game is worth a play.
An English-language otome game from an indie development team, Cinderella Phenomenon is perfect for otome isekai fans who enjoy the fantasy kingdom and reformed villainess aspects of the genre. Main character Princess Lucette begins the game a cold, selfish princess who is cruel to her step-family and has no empathy for the suffering of others -- until she is given the "Cinderella curse" and forced to live as a forgotten peasant.
In order to return to her old life, Lucette must perform three good deeds, but her self-centered nature makes this difficult at first. However, she soon meets five men with fairy tale curses of their own, and her growing bonds with them start to bring out her inner goodness. In many ways, Lucette is exactly the type of character that most otome isekai heroines are reincarnated as, but with the removal of the isekai element, she must learn to change on her own. An epilogue game, Cinderella Phenomenon: Evermore, is also available.