It’s okay. Calm down. What we’ve got here is a good, old-fashioned misunderstanding. Dating sims are different from romance-centric visual novels. You mention Katawa Shoujo as a dating sim, and it’s not. It’s in the latter category.
If you aren’t familiar with visual novels, it’s easy to confuse the two terms. Let’s start with the wiki entries on both just for a primer.
Dating sims are a sub-genre of visual novels. They generally include RPG elements that can be something like “friendship” and “love”. The idea is that you try to woo one or more characters. The whole goal of the game is romance. Generally, you’ll have X amount of days in order to complete this. It’s more free-roaming and you can complete tasks to raise your own stats (like “knowledge”, “strength”, or “charisma”).
If Starswirl were a dating sim, it would look more like this:
(Click for larger view)
You can see the difference there. There’s usually not any sort of story that goes along with dating sims. You’ll pick a girl and then do everything you can to get her to love you. Up there in that mockup, you can see there’s a “hug” button and an “ask out”. Robin would probably accept a hug from you, judging from her “friendship” level, but if you asked her out, she’d probably laugh seeing as how “affection” is only at 41. You could go get a job and work to get money to buy her gifts, but that would take time out from your thirty-day limit. It’s all about balancing and leveling up.
Visual novels can (and usually do) involve romance of some kind, but that’s really where the similarities end. They play out as stories where your choices within that story affect which direction the plot takes. You can generally blow through most dating sims in a few minutes if you know the tricks to them, but visual novels will usually take hours and hours to read through.
If you want a quick taste of what I’m talking about, here’s an old Newgrounds dating sim, Ganguro Girl [NSFW].
SO TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
Is Starswirl a
dating sim visual novel with romantic elements?
Yes. Yes it is.