Visual novels have become one of the most played video games on the market, well-known favorites such as the Phoenix Wright games to lesser-known gems like Dark Tokyo. Many visual novels are adapted from manga or anime, or they inspire an anime adaptation. With multiple storylines and often multiple possible endings, visual novels have earned a reputation for compelling storytelling and beautiful visuals.
However, with so many visual novels on the market and on so many platforms, fans or newcomers might be overwhelmed with the wealth of choice. For those who enjoy gaming on PC, there are visual novels that remain a staple for new and long-time gamers.
ten AI: The Somnium Files Are An Intriguing Sci-Fi Mystery
AI: Somnium files is a compelling sci-fi mystery visual novel. Players follow Date, a police officer who becomes involved in a case pursuing the Cyclops Slayer. AI: Somnium files also brings an interesting twist to the neo-noir detective genre.
In the game, Date can explore other characters’ dream worlds in short timed puzzle segments. Created by Kotaro Uchikoshi (zero escape) and Yusuke Kozaki (MORE HEROES, fire emblem), AI: Somnium files is unsurprisingly gorgeous, with moving 3D models instead of still images.
9 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a classic must-have
the original Phoenix Wright The trilogy remains one of the most successful visual novels out there and has gained a huge fan base. The trilogy includes over 50 hours of crime-solving, and each unique case presents players with new twists and significant character developments.
As Phoenix Wright, players fight to save innocent clients in court and solve the intriguing mysteries behind each case. The trilogy has sold over six million copies worldwide, making it a must-have title for any new or longtime visual novel fan.
8 Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the best “killer” games
In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the player controls Makoto Naegi, a student at the elite Hope’s Peak School, who is forced into a murder game with other students. The first game in the series of murder games, Danganropa is full of unique characters, each of which has special abilities.
Trigger Happy HavocThe pace of is excellent, with chapters divided into two parts: school life and the classroom essay. After waking up in one of the school’s classrooms, Naegi realizes that he is trapped with a group of other students. The classmates soon discover that they must kill each other if they ever want to quit school.
seven Grisaia fruit is heartbreaking and beautiful
The Fruit of Grisaia is a psychological drama, a romantic visual novel where players follow transfer student Yuuji to a small school of only five students. Yuuji and the other students each have unique backgrounds, and all of the main female characters are romantic.
The Fruit of Grisaia offers players more than 50 hours of story and a branching plot with multiple endings, each depending on the decisions made by the player. There are five main storylines after each heroine, but some decisions will end the game prematurely.
6 Senren＊Banka puts a supernatural spin on romance
Senren＊Banka is a more recent visual novel. The charming supernatural romance is set in the town of Hoori, which seems to be a few decades behind the rest of the world. After being forced to visit his grandfather, Arichi Masaomi attends a spring festival and accidentally breaks a mythical sword, resulting in various spirit-themed mishaps.
Masaomi ends up getting engaged to a shrine priestess and lands right in the center of demonic activity. Armed with the swordMurasumemaru, Masaomi decides to purge Hoori of his curse. Like any good visual novel, Senren * Banka includes multiple storylines with unique characters throughout.
5 Steins;Gate is the best part of the scientific adventure
Developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus, Steins;Door is the second game of the Scientific Adventure series, sequel Chaos;Head. This interesting sci-fi story follows a group of college students as they develop weather-altering technology. Players mainly follow Okabe Rintarou, who discovers time travel through his microwave.
Steins;Door is indeed humorous, but becomes more engrossing and intense as the story unfolds, especially as each character faces dire consequences as the story unfolds. Brittany Vincent of Destructoid describes it as “an exemplary visual novel with an exciting premise, memorable characters, and a ‘real’ fantasy ending that could very well make you cry.”
4 Zero Escape: Nonary Games are the precursors of Escape Games
Zero Escape: The Nonary Games includes the first two games of the zero escape series (999: Nine hours, nine people, nine doorsand The Last Reward of Virtue). nonary games have approximately 40 hours of mystery and puzzle-solving content, with players following a group of individuals who have been kidnapped by someone codenamed “Zero”.
As Seen Where Alice in Borderlands, the group must play a game of life or death to escape. The gameplay is exciting and involving, divided between new sections and puzzle gameplay. Like many other visual novels, zero escape has branching stories and multiple endings influenced by player choices.
3 Little Busters! Is heartbreaking but beautiful
Little Busters! is one of Key’s most successful and heartbreaking games, the same creators behind Clannad and summer pockets. Players follow orphan Riki as he navigates everyday life with his childhood friends, the Little Busters: Kyousuke Natsume, Masato Inohara, Kengo Miyazawa, and Rin Natsume.
However, all is not as it seems. With multiple endings and storylines, players will need to replay the game multiple times to grasp the full story. Little Busters! turns out to be a visual novel meant to bring players to tears.
2 Clannad is a fan-favorite high school drama
Clannad is an emotional romantic drama visual novel, following high school student Tomoya as he tries to find purpose through the people he meets and the romances he pursues. After the death of his mother, Tomoya struggles and wishes to find a deeper meaning in life.
After meeting fellow delinquent Nagisa, Tomoya begins to make friends and enjoy his life. Clannad has many branching character routes, one for each of the main female characters, and has approximately 80 hours of gameplay.
1 Fata Morgana’s house is stunningly gorgeous Gothica
Fata Morgana’s house is arguably the best visual novel on Steam and has a fantastically woven story that is impossible to forget. Players are an amnesiac man who wakes up in a mysterious Gothic mansion, where an unnamed maid tells him a story that leads him to uncover the mysteries related to the mansion and to himself.
Not only Fata Morgana’s house have stunning visuals reminiscent Castlevania, but it also has a chilling soundtrack and an epic storyline. The story spans multiple time periods as players learn more about the protagonist and their past, going back to centuries past.
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