When you unlock the epilogue, it will blow your mind (plus that's where all the controvercial scenes are...). The game has Ryu Umemoto's most famous music and a plot so detailed and finely crafted, everything else will look like doujin.
Word of warning, though; it may be a bit hard to find.
The way the mesh the genres just enough while still retaining their separate flavor is impressive. You can also look around in the OELVN community, on the Ren'py site I think, for some free dating sims.
Alice no Kuni, the natsume princess game fr the ds, tomeki memorial, And I suppose catherine might apply. I recall there being a pretty fun one called RE: Alistair but you play as a girl so that might not be what you're looking for. , Yume Miru Kusuri (these last two contain pornographic material) are good too, but they're commercial releases.
Hong fire has instructions on how to play various Japanese dating visual novels in English. They aren't exactly dating sims either but since you said you're fine with VNs, I'm throwing them out there.
If you play YMK, don't start with Aeka's route.edit: Added a link to the RE: Alistair site. Princess Waltz is pretty awesome in terms of story and characters, but it doesn't have much in the way of player input (outside of its surprisingly fun card-based battle system).
Jul 30, 2017: New demo for the full version of Lads in Distress is now released!
All download links for the old Na No Ren O version will be removed.Rin is about as far from a "typical" romance story as you can get.They start with manic pixie dream girl, but it rapidly becomes almost a deconstruction of that archetype. Persona 4 is basically two games, a dating sim in the real world, and a fantastic jrpg in the tv world.The latter two have an anime out already and little busters is getting one this fall. An english patch to the PC version was relatively recently released.The IP owns will get some of the money and you send the message that there is a market for that style of show. You have to play it because it is the single most important VN ever to be created.While not all the stories are brilliant, Rin & Emi's stories both do things I've never seen done in the genre, going places I would expect to see only in a quite good movie or book.