Do you even lift? ‘Cos these macho guys certainly do! While the heroes of otome games, story-based romance games aimed at women, tend to err on the feminine side, the hunks in this mobile game cater specifically to women (or men!) who like their guys beefy. And when I see beefy, I mean ox-on-steroids beefy.

Otome games are huge in the mobile gaming industry right now. They’re often straightforward visual novels where you choose which hot guy’s route you want to read, then occasionally make choices which will affect the ending you get. Others involve a dating simulation aspect, often focused around some kind of stat building. But with all these apps aimed at young women flooding the market it’s getting harder and harder to stand out, and that’s leading to companies coming up with weirder and weirder concepts to try to grab people’s attention. Enter Muscle Paradise (Kinniku Paradise in Japanese) where your guys get more muscular the harder you love them. It bills itself as a “love app drama” and asks potential players “Do you wanna fall in love with a macho man?!”

The protagonist (i.e. you, the player) start working at a sporting goods company called Makila where the boss, called MTK (short for Muscle Teacher Kira), is a brawny older man. At the company you meet three weedy guys and choose one to train on a journey where you’ll cultivate not only his muscles, but also your relationship. It’s not enough to be good – he has to be the best! Can you push his muscles past the limits?! Just how far can the protagonist’s love push things?!

▼ There are so many questions about this game, but the one I keep coming back to is: why?


While it might look like the game is making a move to draw in bara (a genre of manga aimed at gay men that features more masculine bodies than in works aimed at women) fans with all the beef on show, it’s definitely anchored in otome tropes. Let’s take a look at the three guys on offer who are just begging for a workout. There’s the tsundere (a character who is initially cold before gradually revealing his or her more loving side) childhood friend who’s resistant to the idea of building muscle, the gentleman model who loathes weight training, and the cool department head who knows he can’t lift. At the end of every chapter there’s a “muscle quiz”, as well as three types of mini-game that can crop up as you read, and your chosen guy will beef up depending on how you progress through the story. Check out the guy’s muscle progression in the image on the right. Attention short guys; apparently now weight training can also add height as well as bulk!

▼ I’m seriously disturbed by just how huge that shadow is. I’m imagining his skin’s taken on at least a tinge of green.


However, the player reaction probably hasn’t been quite what the developer was hoping for.

▼ “I started playing this game “Muscle Paradise” but it’s kinda freaking me out, so it’s okay to uninstall it, right?”

I’m all for shaking things up and trying new things in the otome genre, but I have to agree with the sentiment. It’s nothing against muscled men, it just feels like there’s something gone horribly wrong in those images. Apparently there’s a big demand for muscles in Japan right now, though, so who knows; maybe this game will find itself a dedicated fanbase who like their men mountainous.

The game is currently only available in Japanese, but you can download it for Android from the Google Play Store or for iOS from the Apple Store.

Source: Net Lab
Top image: Twitter/@ikarinosuna