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Bustafellows is a murder mystery dating sim and overriding my better judgement

I want the game I imagine it to be

An otome dating visual novel? I've nothing against the genre, but it's not for me.

And yet, and yet, I keep re-watching the launch trailer and reading the Steam page for Bustafellows. Murder mystery? I love those. Puzzles and interactive narrative based in part around a time travel mechanic? Sounds neat. Lush art and a jazzy soundtrack? I'm all over it.

I definitely want the game these words make me imagine, but I've been duped before. Check out the trailer below and tell me I'm wrong.

In Bustafellows - love that name - you play as Teuta, a freelance journalist working in the American city of New Sieg. "She has a mysterious ability that allows her to leap in the past for a very short period in the bodies of others, and uses it to help people and collect data," says the game's Steam page.

Your pals? A crooked lawyer, a hitman who kills hitmen, a forensic pathologist, a master of disguise, and a hacker - and each one a hot anime boy of a different kind. It's not the dating aspect that puts me off these games, but the quality of the writing. I can only withstand so many ellipses, but perhaps Bustafellows is better than that.

I have the same reaction to the the background art. The oddly named "New Sieg" is obviously based on New York and the trailer has some beautifully detailed scenes, but again: I have been burned by this before. I have downloaded and played games that had beautifully detailed backgrounds but, it turned out, only four of them, which it aimed to then repeat over the followed 50 hours.

Perhaps this is the real dating sim: looking at snazzy screenshots and carefully worded descriptions and swiping left on what you think you're seeing. You can pick up Bustafellows from Steam for £31.49/€36.

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About the Author
Graham Smith avatar

Graham Smith


Graham used to be to blame for all this.

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