What has kept me so preoccupied lately – from watching anime or dramas – happens to be the wonderful works of the OELVN community. So I thought I might share some of my obsession with those who might also be interested. If, like me, your enjoyment of Japanese VNs has been subdued due to a lack of kanji knowledge (or of the language in general), then these may satiate your hunger. Forewarning that most, if not all, are Girl x Boy.
Re:Alistair – (made by Sakevisual) A free stat-raising sim, so perhaps not technically a visual novel, Re:Alistair provides a cute storyline backed by equally cute art and interface. Relatively short in length. (Click the name for the website, where you can download it for free.)
Date Warp – (made by Hanako Games) Filled with delightful twists, a neat puzzle mini-game for decision making, amazing writing and memorable character. Medium length, I would say – I don’t really remember my play through time since I went through all paths and collected all endings. This is a commercial game. (Click the name for the website, where you can try the demo or purchase the game if you’re interested.)
Magical Diary – (made by Hanako Games) A stat-raiser similar to Re:Alistair, that is like an American parody version of Harry Potter, which should give some pretty great laughs in certain routes. Despite my reservations about stat-raisers, this one was worth the money. Also medium length, probably longer than Date Warp, and is commercial. (Click the name for the website, where you can try the demo or purchase the game if you’re interested.)
Always Remember Me – (made by Winter Wolves) Also a stat-raiser with gorgeous art. I haven’t played past the demo yet but what I have played certainly looks promising. So not sure about length, but it is commercial. (Click the name for the website, where you can try the demo or purchase the game if you’re interested.)
That Cheap And Sacred Thing – This is a Kinetic Novel (means there is no decision making), but don’t let that deter you. It has a beautiful, endearing storyline that may make you shed a few tears, sensitive or not. This one is free and takes about an hour or so to play. (Click the name and scroll for the download link.)
I’ll leave that for you to chew on for now! There are some other great VNs in development that have yet to be released, but I will certainly post on them the moment they are. Saying anything here might leave you in the agony of anticipation that I have been in watchin them all.
And although there are those who are certainly pessimistic about the English VN market, I think improvements are gradually being made. These are indie creators, not professional teams as in Japan.