Visual Novel Recommendations

[Updated 1st February 2017]

These are, in my opinion, the best translated Visual Novels out there. Keep in mind that if I haven’t read them they can’t make it here, so don’t worry if you don’t see your favorites. Likewise, if they’re not in English I can’t read them.

I’ve recently removed a few titles from this list; the remaining Visual Novels are ones I feel a lasting connection to.

If you’re new to visual novels and want to know more about them, feel free to ask either here or using one of the options on my “Contact / Follow Me” page (under the “About” tab). Also, keep in mind that any PSP titles mentioned are available to play on emulators.

Disclaimer: Some of these titles contain adult content. They have been marked.

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Must-Read Visual Novels

Muv-Luv Alternative

R18

Review

VNDB

Muv-Luv Alternative Wallpaper VN visual novel

Muv-Luv Alternative is the third and final part of the Muv-Luv series (though the first two parts – Extra and Unlimited – are included in a single package). Whereas I would describe the first stories as average and good, Muv-Luv Alternative is an absolute masterpiece and should be read by all visual novel enthusiasts.

The series as a whole shifts from slice of life romantic comedy to hardcore science fiction, taking characters you already know from a normal setting and putting them in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction and human-piloted mechs are their only hope for survival. There’s plenty of action and emotion in the latter two parts, and you should definitely play them all in order.

Regardless of whether you’re into mechs or not (I know I wasn’t before I read this), I would be very surprised if Muv-Luv Alternative’s amazing storytelling and characters didn’t enthrall you.

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G-Senjou no Maou (The Devil on G-String)

R18

Review

VNDB

G-Senjou no Maou VN visual novel wallpaper

G-Senjou no Maou is another masterpiece that can’t really be compared to anything else. There’s nothing supernatural or fantastical about it but I have had few experiences as gripping or exciting as this Visual Novel. From its soundtrack to the method used to tell its various stories, G-Senjou no Maou is very nearly perfect.

It’s a tale about a youth’s connection to the criminal underground and his interactions with his normal peers during the day. There’s a whole lot of mind games and mysteries, with some very intelligent people constantly trying to out-think one another. Together, it makes for an incredibly compelling read; there were many times I was unable to put this visual novel down (figuratively speaking).

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Dangan Ronpa (PSP/PSVita)

Review

VNDB

Dangan Ronpa PSP Vita visual novel vn video game

What do you get when you lock 15 very strong personalities in a school and tell them to kill each other? What if you then tell them they’ll be allowed to leave if they aren’t caught? Add in a psychopathic robotic bear and you have Dangan Ronpa. Being a video game/visual novel hybrid, this is an experience that takes you along for the ride and does an amazing job of making you feel involved.

For a set of murder mysteries that require you to think way, way outside the box, you really shouldn’t look any further than this. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a story with more sheer personality than Dangan Ronpa.

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Fate/Stay Night

R18 (PG patch exists)

Review

VNDB

Fate Stay Night vn visual novel

If you ask about well-known visual novels, Fate/Stay Night probably sits somewhere near the top of the list. It’s a monster story that’ll take you a while to finish, but after a slow lead-in you’ll enjoy every minute of it. It has some of the best action scenes visual novels have to offer and multiple anime adaptations to keep you occupied once you reach the end.

Telling 3 main stories, Fate/Stay Night crosses a few different genres. Magic and more medieval weapons feature heavily, though the setting is modern day Japan. While it may sound cliché: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll find yourself glued to the screen while your blood surges with adrenaline.

Though it may look dated, there’s a reason that this series has spawned multiple video games, anime series and collectible figures: people just don’t want to let it go, and once you’ve played it you’ll know exactly why.

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The House in Fata Morgana

Review

VNDB

FataMorgana2

When you awake in The Mansion, you find that you are but a shade of your former self. You are greeted by The Maid, who assures you that your return has been long awaited, and that you will most definitely be able to recall your identity in due time. The Maid decides to guide you through The Mansion, and behind each new door you are shown the history of the people that have come before you. You share in their happiness, and in the inevitable tragedy that befalls them. Each. And. Every. One. For The Mansion is cursed, and you are its Master.

More than perhaps any other visual novel I have read before, The House in Fata Morgana is a production that strikes me as a labor of love; it is a completely unique and captivating experience unlike any other currently available on the English market. It is not colorful, it does not feature larger than life heroines aiming to leap off the screen and into your heart, and it is not full of the same Japanese tropes you might expect. What it is, however, is something very special. The House in Fata Morgana is an intensely fulfilling tale of tragedy, empathy and love that thrives on its uniquely crafted and immersive atmosphere. You’re not quite the same person you used to be once you’ve finished The House in Fata Morgana.

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Highly Recommended Visual Novels

Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo

R18

Review

VNDB

Sharin no Kuni Natsumi vndb vn visual novel himawari no shoujo

Sharin no Kuni has an incredibly interesting concept. Imagine a world where criminals are given punishments directly related to their crimes; for example, a con-man may be denied his right to speak. Now imagine a world where such punishments apply to even the most basic crimes (and non-crimes, even) and you have Sharin no Kuni.

There’s some comedy and action but overall this visual novel is about overcoming adversity and the human relationships involved in that struggle. It has much the same feel as G-Senjou no Maou, mentioned earlier, in its latter stages, being a previous work of the same company. Featuring an amazing ending and one of the best plot twists I have ever experienced, Sharin no Kuni should most definitely not be missed.

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Hoshizora no Memoria

R18

Review

VNDB

Hoshizora no Memoria vn visual novel wish upon a shooting star

Hoshizora no Memoria is gorgeous to look at, fun to read and its characters are unforgettable. There’s a little something supernatural going on but the focus is on everyday life and character relationships. Though there are some feels involved they’re not quite as potent as dedicated nakige (games designed to make you cry) and you’ll find yourself laughing and having a good time far more often than not.

I can’t express just how wonderful this visual novel looks and think it’s well worth your time, especially if you enjoy astronomy/astrology and looking up at the starry sky.

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Aselia The Eternal (Eien no Aselia)

Review

VNDB

Aselia the eternal eien no aselia visual novel vn

Aselia was my first visual novel, before I even realized visual novels existed. It has a fairly heavy gameplay component but the fantasy-themed plot is nothing to sneeze at. The protagonist is hurled from our own world into one with a slightly different take on the usual swords and magic formula, where he doesn’t even speak the local language and has to learn to fit in from scratch. As you might expect, things ramp up from there and transform into an epic tale that’s hard to stop reading.

The gameplay is basic but entertaining, though I would advise checking out the freely available guide released by the game’s translators. If you don’t mind putting some extra time in for your story, then Aselia the Eternal is most definitely for you.

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Corpse Party (PSP)

A.K.A: Corpse Party Blood Covered Repeated Fear

Review

VNDB

Corpse Party vn visual novel video game PSP blood covered

I’ve always enjoyed horror and Corpse Party is a shining example of how that genre should be done. It’s on the PSP and has a gameplay component but features a true visual novel style complete with sprites and CGs that will make you squirm in your seat. It’s gruesome in the best way possible.

Unfortunately you’re unable to skip past text you’ve already read and some of the bad endings come out of nowhere, so I would recommend using a guide for at least the final chapter or two.

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Chou Dengeki Stryker

R18 (With All-Ages Versions Available)

Review

VNDB

Dengeki Stryker vn visual novel

When Yuuki Yamato encounters the Memory Collector as a young child, he has no idea what’s in store for him. His wish to become his favorite comic book hero, Stryker Zero – one of the famous Dengeki Stryker cyborgs charged with defending Japan from the dreaded Balboran Empire – backfires when all of his memories are taken from him, and the hero of the tale takes his place in the real world. Suddenly having reverted to the body of a child living in a Japan that is very different to the one he remembers, Zero vows to continue his sworn mission of protection. Precious years pass as the body he has inherited grows, allowing him to hone his skill at using the electricity-based mechanical addons that remain from his previous life – he is absolutely certain that the Balborans will not lie quiescent forever.

The first thing you have to know is that Dengeki Stryker isn’t a story that can be enjoyed if you try to take it seriously. It has that “detached from the real world” feeling that allows you to forgive it for plot holes that would be crippling otherwise. It has the “let’s have the hero and the villains live right next to each other in tiny apartments in a world they know nothing about” comedy that has you laughing so hard your sides hurt. It has the “throwing all of your strength and commitment at an enemy to defend the people you care about” action that revs your engines and has you cheering from the sidelines as fights unfold. It has both the warm, confident feelings that make your days end on a high note, and a dash of the fluttering, heartbroken lows that make you value what you have in life, if you look hard enough. Basically, if it’s your kind of story, it can be a heck of a lot of fun, and for a superhero-themed comedy action romp with that little something extra, you simply cannot do much better.

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OVERDRIVE Duology – Kira Kira and Deardrops

Both R18 (With All-Ages Versions Available)

Review (Sort of)

Kira Kira Group vn visual novel

VNDB

Kira Kira has a horrific translation, an incredibly slow start and was the first visual novel to make me cry (incredibly manly tears). It’s also way upbeat (for the most part) and has some very lovable characters and an amazing original soundtrack. Think K-On! with plot and romance and Kira Kira is pretty much what you get.

Deardrops vn visual novel

VNDB

Deardrops is like Kira Kira’s elder sibling. They’re both about bands and enjoying youth, and a number of Kira Kira characters make an appearance in this second title (so you should play Kira Kira first!). Having said that, Deardrops is a much more mature representation of rock-band life. It’s still funny, it’s still emotional, but it will also appeal to those who found Kira Kira to be not quite to their tastes.

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Planetarian

Review

VNDB

Planetarian

The world’s in a pretty pathetic state, by anyone’s standards. Those who have managed to survive this long do so by rummaging through former societies’ leftovers, and are constantly plagued by the Rain which eats through just about everything it touches. Lured by the promise of untapped treasures, a lone Junker makes his way through an abandoned city. Wary of deadly robots and lethal mines, he’s more than a little surprised to find he’s the 2,500,000th customer of what must be the sole surviving planetarium on Earth. Its attendant humanoid robot girl wouldn’t let something as insignificant as the end of the world get in the way of delivering the best possible experience to her customers, however, even if she could understand that her most prized performance was never going to be seen again.

Planetarian is absolutely the best visual novel of its length out there, fitting the role of a short story in visual novel form expertly. It keeps its readers well entertained for its entire length and manages to include poignant emotion in a unique way that is definitely worth experiencing. Despite being an older title its visual and audial components work together well even if they don’t stand up to either newer or longer visual novels’ standards. All in all, I think it is almost required reading for visual novel lovers and even makes for a great entry point into the genre for newcomers, especially considering its easily-digestible length.

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Symphonic Rain

Review

VNDB

Symphonic Rain

Piova, The City of Rain. That’s what it used to be known as, at least. Now it is called The City of Music due to the prestigious Piova Communal School of Music within its bounds. As far as Chris Velding is concerned, however, the original name may as well have been kept. Rain falls every day without stopping, as he shops, as he wanders the town, and as he walks to his Fortelle lessons. The town itself is used to its weather, though, so Chris and the other students tend to ignore it. What he cannot ignore, however, is the distance between himself and his girlfriend, Arietta, living hours away in their home town. While letters may be all that connect them now, Chris’ time in Piova is coming to an end with his graduation recital but a few months away. With the rumor spreading that recital partners often fall in love, however, he may find them to be the most trying months of his relationship.

Symphonic Rain was a fantastic read due to both the comfort induced by its common route and the emotion invoked by its climaxes. The characters, art and story mesh in a way that allows for quick and deep emotional bonding, which gives those emotional highs and lows that much more impact. The use of a rhythm game, which in itself is not fantastic, nevertheless manages to complement the visual novels other components near-flawlessly with original vocal tracks that carry the emotion of the story with them.

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fault Series

Review (milestone one)Review (milestone two side:above)

VNDB (milestone one)  —  VNDB (milestone two side:above)

fault milestone two

Manakravte, the use of purified energy found coursing through the veins of the world and all living things, has characterized life in the Inner Pole for as long as anyone can remember. It has enriched every aspect of life, from creation to communication, and when the capital of one of the region’s kingdoms, Rughzenhaide, falls under attack, it allows the princess Selphine and her protector Ritona to escape with their lives intact. They are whisked away by Manastreams flowing underneath the soil and emerge in the last place they would have thought possible. The Outer Pole, the Godforsaken Continent, is a place where Mana has never been plentiful and people have had to struggle to merely survive. Using the mysterious discipline known as ‘science’ to harness what little Mana they can get their hands on, those of the Outer Pole have developed massive corporations and technology that the royal pair have never seen in their homeland. On the journey to return home, they meet a happy, bubbly girl by the name of Rune who agrees to show them around. The locals don’t trust Manakravters, however, and any caught in the Outer Pole risk suffering Manashock Syndrome.

fault is an episodic type series that has really come into its own following the release of its second installment. It likes to focus on smaller stories coursing through an overarching epic plotline that feature a great deal of emotion and foster some very enjoyable character development. Add onto that the exploration of some notably poignant and relevant themes, as well as boasting some fantastic visuals, and you get a franchise that I am very happy to recommend. Of the currently ongoing visual novel series, fault is the one I am the most excited about.

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Kara no Shoujo – The Second Episode

Review

VNDB

kara-no-shoujo21

Hitogata Village lies in the mountains of rural Japan. Even in the modern day it is ruled over by the powerful Hinagami family, the owners of Hinagami Pharmaceuticals in Tokyo, and given religious guidance by the esteemed Shigusa family. The settlement worships the god known as Hinna-sama, who has been known to curse and kill those that disobey its will. When women are being murdered and stuffed with the god’s likeness, detective Tokisaka Reiji is tasked with discovering the hidden links between the victims and the isolated settlement the curse stems from. Such killings have also occurred in the past, however, and their perpetrator has never been found.

As you might be able to guess Kara no Shoujo – The Second Episode – is a sequel to both Kara no Shoujo (Review Here) and Cartagra (Review Here). It’s easy to see that Innocent Grey has come a long way since their original release, as the series’ most recent entry takes a step up in quality to become the best they have written so far. In terms of story complexity and production quality there’s little more you could want from a mystery, and as a stand-alone tale that happens to use the same characters as its predecessors it is excellent.

[Note: For those wondering whether the earlier VNs need to be read to enjoy Kara no Shoujo – The Second Episode – my opinion is that KnS1 is required while Cartagra is optional. Several concepts from Cartagra show up but are explained within KnS2, and Cartagra isn’t good enough for me to recommend going back to it.]

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Other Recommendations

Little Busters! – Slice of Life + Crystallized Friendship

VNDB

little_busters

Utawarerumono – Japanese Fantasy Setting + Basic Tactics Gameplay

R18

VNDB

Utawarerumono vn visual novel

Remember11 – Modern Snowy Mountain Survival Story + “Supernatural” Aspects

VNDB

Remember11 remember vn visual novel age of infinity

Kara no Shoujo – Mysteries Within Mysteries + Gruesome Murders

R18

Review

VNDB

Kara no Shoujo VN visual novel

Phenomeno – Short But Sweet Horror

Review

VNDB

Phenomeno

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If you are interested in more recommendations, please visit my VNDB profile. Anything with a score of 7 or above can be considered worthwhile.

101 Responses to Visual Novel Recommendations

  1. Kai says:

    I’m actually playing Muv-luv atm. I only just finished all the 5 main routes of Extra. I’m planning to jump straight to Unlimited soon, skipping the Bad End (aka Marimo’s route). Hopefully, I can get to the “good” parts soon.

    • Silvachief says:

      Marimo’s route isn’t really a bad end XD I think you might actually enjoy it.
      Unlimited is where things start to get interesting but Alternative blows the first two parts out of the water. Just so you know, there’s an extra route unlocked in Unlimited after you finish your first ending (I recommend Meiya) which is worth playing.

      • Kai says:

        Hmm, not sure. My guide here says “Bad end”, lol. Although bad here in a way that she’s not one of the main heroines I believe. I’ll get to those hopefully soon, getting the whole Muv-luv series done need some time, lol.

        Also, been playing some sweet yuri VN in between as breaks ❤

  2. rikuo06 says:

    Distinct lack of Higurashi/Umineko here, which I know you haven’t read. Get on it!

    • Silvachief says:

      I’m actually on to the first episode of Higurashi Kai at the moment. As it is now though, I would have to give Higurashi a score that would not get it on this list. The good parts are really really good, especially the end of the first chapter, but there’s so much slice of life stuff in the way of each exciting portion that I get kind of bored of reading.
      Also…it’s looking like most of what happens isn’t due to a curse which is pretty disappointing =/

      • rikuo06 says:

        Whoops, well I mainly meant Umineko and only mentioned Higurashi for the connections between the two. I haven’t finished reading the Higurashi VNs and watched the anime instead.

        Being disappointed with finding the real solutions behind the “curse” is kind of naive, It is mystery genre after all, so the point is to cut through the supernatural to find the actual culprit. I get disappointed when the opposite happens, for example, in the horror anime series Another, where there seems to be mystery elements but in the end the curse is left unexplained.

        I wouldn’t dismiss the slice of life portions to quickly. I haven’t personally read them, so perhaps the novel version drags along more than it should, but from watching the anime they remind me of Little Busters! with their on-the-spur group activities and punishment games. Ryukishi07 has said himself that he was inspired by the “Key formula” of starting with ordinary enjoyable times before hitting hard with tear-inducing drama, except he replaced drama with horror. The slice of life stuff lets us get more familiar and sympathetic with the characters, strengthens their friendships over many loops (again, a la Little Busters!), and gives gravitas to the horror/mystery portion. Again, I haven’t personally read it through so maybe Ryukishi’s writing was subpar in those areas, but that’s my take.

        So regardless of whether Higurashi makes it onto your list once you finish, make sure to get on to Umineko. That stuff is on a whole ‘nother level.

        • Silvachief says:

          The problem for me was that in the beginning they pushed the curse big time. People weren’t acting like you expected them to, which was incredibly creepy. I didn’t know what was going on and that was part of what made everything enjoyable. I enjoy mysteries when i’m expecting mysteries, so I guess the fact that I was expecting a curse (I mean, that whole empty-eyed look screamed possession) meant that I felt let down when logical explanations were revealed for everything that happened.

          Having a short intro portion in each chapter to introduce new characters and plot points would have been fine but Higurashi repeats things you already know over and over and over again. The gap between the “holy crap, what’s going on?!” sections is just too large to keep me excited and wanting more. Additonally, the slice of life sections always have the same formula…there’s nothing new to keep each chapter fresh.

          Still! They’re not bad enough that i’m considering dropping the novel altogether. I’ve come this far and I intend to finish the story as I feel it still has the potential to surprise and entertain me. I’m also still looking forward to Umineko, so i’ll let you know what I think of that when I get around to playing it =)

  3. christopher says:

    Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me, MuvLuv is a monster and getting all three of them done is going to be one hell of a mountain to climb. Then again you have a mountain to climb yourself if you’ve got 11 Visual Novels to read before getting to Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head.
    Besides Higurashi/kai what ones come before them on that list?
    I wonder if I could somehow persuade you to raise them on your To Read list….

    • Silvachief says:

      Since you’re so keen on them i’ll play’em after Higurashi and Umineko. I actually have something like 40 visual novels on that list so it would take too long to list everything on there XD

  4. Lambda says:

    I’ve been telling myself to go play Muv Luv and Sharin for a while now. Although my computer is a windows 7 which apparently doesn’t like Muv Luv. ;.; I also can’t find a stream anymore. I’ll find a way, though. I’ll find a way… I keep getting distracted from the great games because the very good games catch my interest more. Backlog problems (by which I mean, I pretend to have one then ignore it for something shiny).

    On the subject of opinions above, Umineko is basically Ryukishi’s love letter to mysteries. If it seems any different at first glance, don’t be fooled. Because I’m obsessive with my research (if I don’t understand a term that actually seems to be a term and not words thrown together or using a theory name for an attack or something I have to google it immediately), they threw out a bunch of terms about mysteries that really bogged me down. There’s typically absolutely no point in saying “this game, like Knox’s rules and Dine’s rules, has no secret entrance you aren’t aware of already” and using Devil’s Proof as a super confusing term. (Remember11 was horrible for research, too. I stopped after I invested 2 hours reading about Jungian psychology). With how Ryukishi writes mysteries, Holmes must drive him insane. The characters’re pretty enjoyable, though. Steins;Gate > Chaos;Head (not exactly a stunningly exceptional opinion, I know).

    • Silvachief says:

      *Used Windows 7 to play Muv-Luv with no problems*

      [Links Redacted]

      I completely understand the backlog problems. I have a huge number of visual novels missing out on screen time because I keep finding new things to play XD

      I also like to look up terms I haven’t understood, though I don’t usually research them in-depth. Things like Schrodinger’s Cat and Laplace’s Demon seem to pop up everywhere XD

      Do you have any favorite VNs?

      • Lambda says:

        Was gonna, then I looked at the troubleshooting problems (which is something I do for every novel before I download) and found one that specifically says “Game may not work on windows 7/8 or it crashes. (try XP compatibility mode and cross your fingers)”. ;.; Fuwa fuwa is my main source my visual novels that aren’t doujin~ But I try not to torrent much because of paranoia.

        Yeah. I’ve had a list since September of what I want to play/watch and the only thing I’ve crossed off is Makina’s route in Grisaia (and I’d already completed the common route by then). Haha. Hahahahaha.

        I try not to research them in depth and then end up understanding none of the term… so I need in depth research, I guess. That stupid cat and demon are too common. Even in my textbooks, they appear (okay, so Laplace’s demon was originally a term determinists used and I was taking a course on free will. Still).

        Ah, yes, but my tastes are really pedestrian. Fate/Stay Night is my first and my favourite overall, probably (UBW UBW UBW Rin Rin Rin and Lancer the bro~). Then G-Senjou no Maou (that last chapter and epilogue… I was in tears). Also really enjoyed Hakuouki because of my otomegokoro although the routes are actually pretty good even without such a reason. Most ones I read I enjoy but wouldn’t put it past that (the one I’m reading now, Sharnoth, will probably also be like that. But I wasn’t going to deny myself a bunch of pretty people in turn of the century dresses with appearance by Winston Churchill and the Holmes cast in some fabulous amalgamation). So like Girlish Love Revolution wasn’t bad, I enjoyed it, I might play it again but I don’t think I could rant to my brother for hours about why it was awesome even after years have passed like I did with FSN and G-Senjou.

        • Silvachief says:

          Admittedly, I don’t think I used the Fuwanovel torrents for Muv-Luv anyway XD I may have used this one but i’m not entirely sure: [link redacted].

          Those first two are some very solid picks; I think you’ll find them in a bunch of top-tens ^_^ I gave Hakuoki a go but couldn’t get into it…maybe it was the otome-ness in general (though i’d prefer to think that it wasn’t) but I felt that the story didn’t go anywhere fast. I probably put about 5 hours into it before I never got around to picking it up again.

          • Lambda says:

            Thanks! I’ll try it. When I’m done Sharnoth.

            Yeah, that’s why they’re rather pedestrian, I think. I have nothing interesting to add to top 10 discussion because mine are likely carbon copies (you can basically tell what my favourite things in a genre are by asking yourself “what would a typical person who likes ____ would like best?”, including “what would a fujoshi that has grown out of the starting BL phase like best?” or “what would a typical shoujo fan like best?”, “what would a typical English visual novel fan like best?”).

            ….The story didn’t go anywhere fast says the guy who invested the time in Muv Luv Extra… Although I’ll admit to being really interested in history and politics and stuff (I also laughed for 5 minutes straight when someone said they had french weapons so everything was gonna be fine) and the Common Route kinda seems too long at parts. The second time I kept looking at the number of scenes before Souji’s route because I just wanted to get there. But I enjoyed most of the routes and the characters were pretty cool and sometimes really impressed me with their development. The routes had good variation and the order I ended up playing was kinda like the Original Story -> something different -> the original story (although Sano’s route could probably be considered a hybrid?) -> something different -> long version of the original story. The art’s really good, too (Hajime especially. Prettiest Hakouki).

            • Silvachief says:

              Hey, Muv-Luv Extra was hilarious 😉 It just didn’t go anywhere story-wise for a long time. I exaggerate how average Muv-Luv Extra is because I don’t want people to be put off by it and miss out on Alternative.

              Perhaps this is something to add to our discussion on whether being attracted to characters adds to your enjoyment of anime/VNs. I posit that while character attraction has minimal effect on overall enjoyment when compared to the overarching story, it plays a role in holding viewer attention until a sufficient level of story interest has be generated to facilitate continued viewing. I love making this stuff all sciency =P
              I agree though, Hajime is Best Guy.
              >.>
              <.<
              Was that weird?

              • Lambda says:

                Yeah, I was easily put off by Extra to be honest. I had a great stream and everything and then just lost interest and wanted to turn everyone’s voices off and it was a disaster. Extra killed my motivation in a few nights.

                Ah, yeah, that actually might be it. I know that keeps my interest for the first little bit (reasons I demand more hot eroge protags). No, you’re wrong. Hajime is prettiest, Souji is best (seriously Souji’s route was a thing of beauty in my eyes and Hajime’s disappointed me because he was the prettiest but got a pretty lacklustre route). And no, it’s not odd. Judging best girls/guys happens all the time in harems/love triangles. I judge best girls all the time~ Rin is Best Girl in FSN for example. It’s basically finding your favourite character of a gender and applying a label to them? Could probably happen with different genders in the same show, I guess, if there are love triangles centred around both?

                • Silvachief says:

                  I’m sorry, but I can’t just sit back and let that pass. Saber is most definitely Best Girl.

                  More seriously, though, i’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy Extra. At least you don’t really need to do everyone’s route to move on to Extra, so I would advise just doing Sumika’s and Meiya and avoiding the others’. Unlimited is in a whole ‘nother vein so I would hope it would rekindle your interest in the series. If, after finishing Unlimited, you’re still not at all interested in the story or characters then (and only then) would I be willing to admit that Muv-Luv may not be for you >.<

                  • Kai says:

                    Non, non, Rin is best girl xD *instills more debate*

                    About Muv-luv, I don’t know, some plot points in Alternative seems to be connected with Extra, especially Ayamime’s route, at least, according to what I read in some VNDB discussion threads (I haven’t even reached Unlimited myself). But it shouldn’t be anything significant, then again, I’m not completely sure… xD

  5. lifesongsoa says:

    Everything here is either high on my need to play list or high on my this is awesome list. I currently need to finish up blogging about Hoshizora no Memoria and then I just might dive into Muv Luv before going back to Ef.

    Someday I want to read enough to make my own list! I still have a ton of VNs left to read before I do though.

    • Silvachief says:

      I would most definitely be interested in reading a Lifesong’s Top Ten Visual Novels list, so let me know if you ever get round to making one! I’m glad to see you plan on doing more VN posts, since I enjoyed the ones you’ve written so far =)

      • lifesongsoa says:

        I do plan to do more, I just had to slow down for the holidays and each new anime season always keeps me busy. Hoshizora was pretty great so I want to do it justice before I move on.

      • Kai says:

        Speaking of which I may need to edit mine soon, lol. Hoshizora’s will definitely be on the list too after the revamp :p

  6. Silvachief says:

    @ Kai/Lambda:
    It’s true that there’s a character in Ayamine’s route that shows up in Alternative but his part is relatively minor and you don’t miss out on anything by not meeting him till Alternative.

    But Saber is Best Girl, no question.

  7. Lambda says:

    [Spoilers for Muv Luv Alternative and this time they aren’t minor so proceed with caution]

    Finished MLA-formatted giant robots. It only took me a month…! Anyway, chapter 6 and 10 were my favourite~ I already talked about chapter 6 and the first half of 7, my second and third favourite parts respectively, so I won’t go into detail. Chapter 10 basically makes up for the slow end to chapter 9, where we get to see them hang around the base. Again. Also it was really easy to see that all the superiors would die/become injured (actually, I thought they’d all die, so that was special), and in what battle. So that blunted any impact (also blunted any impact for chapter 10’s deaths, as I was actually more surprised that Takeru survived..!!). But the Best Girl is Mitsuki/1st Lt. Hayase, may no one forget it! Worst girl is Takeru. I think he’d be a fine character if we didn’t hear his thoughts. I remember saying that I could really connect with him. Well, that was before he was violently flipping between “I’ve changed guys!” and “I haven’t changed, only you guys have changed, despite everyone and their mother thinking I’ve changed”, sometimes several times in the same scene. Even in the final battle! His hesitation to pull the trigger drove me crazy, not to mention all of his questions during time-constricting situations and just.. talking in the middle of the hive and thinking about how they got there, not paying attention to the mission. Also everyone kept talking about everyone’s change ad nauseam after they showed a single act that was representative of said change. It was frustrating to have long speeches about how everyone’s changed and how they changed cause of x, y and z over and over. Also anti-American sentiment got so heavy. So heavy.

    On the other hand, the scene with the reactor was so good I got shivers. That scene where Takeru talks to them… and Tama’s body… Everyone deceiving Takeru because they cared about him was so tragic and only grew more tragic as more sacrifices were made. Everyone “finding something only they could do” was the theme I guess, and the final battle used it in a lovely way that got me pumped. I mean, Mikoto using a trap! Tama sniping! Takeru and Sumika and Kasumi triple-piloting with projection! Especially impressed with Kasumi. Possibly the only loli to get my full and unconditional approval! Also the fight scenes were all awesome. Loved the giant robots. And the animation used for Meiya’s final stand… Chapter 10 was just everything I was looking for basically. When it comes to chapter 8, a lot of lectures, but the parts with the 00 Unit were highlights that I loved. Takeru’s relationship with her is precious, in a different sort of way than his friendship with Meiya, which I also massively enjoyed. Chapter 9’s sudden base attack was great, felt tense enough, and really got you wondering about the BETA. Being Akane is suffering. . And learning about the 00 Unit… that was the right kinds of disturbing, and fit Takeru’s hints of PTSD and everything, easily peaking my interest in the BETA once more. Not entirely certain of their choice to do a sex scene right after THAT, but it fit into the plot later I guess. On a less-serious note, better looking guys would’ve been nice…(Girl rankings Hayase>Kasumi>Meiya>Mikoto>00 Unit> Yuuko > Marimo > Yuuhi > Isumi, etc. etc.)

    ……………………….Sorry about that. I just finished two hours ago, so… On the other hand, this should be the last separate comment on the subject until the review ( I think my comment might end up less-than-serious there).

    • Silvachief says:

      [More Spoilers For Muv-Luv Sorry Guys]

      I packed so much Muv-Luv into each day I think it only took me a week to finish it. I was practically breathing Muv-Luv by the time I finished it XD I guess I don’t tend to try to predict when people are going to die in stories unless giant glowing neon signs are used to give clues leading up to the event. I’m not sure that’s because it’s just not my style, or because I can’t >.> I have heard others say MLA’s pretty predictable like that though. For me Best Girl was 00 Unit because she was also Best Girl in Extra. While I was impressed with the amount of connection I felt to the new characters, I was too attached to the previous ones for any of them to be Best Girl. And yes, Worst Girl is most definitely Takeru! That whole change crap was what prevented me from really liking him. He wasn’t bad as far as protagonists go but his whining and hesitation was just annoying.

      That final scene was absolutely awesome, putting aside the convenient time skip just before it. I don’t predict but I knew there were going to be casualties so I was constantly wondering exactly which threat was going to be lethal. Everyone having their own role seemed a little cliche but I can’t say I didn’t like it. And making Takeru think everything was alright hit me right in the pit of my stomach; it was horrible knowing he was going to find out at some point. The amount of loss he suffered would be enough to crush anyone unlucky enough to be in his position; I simply can’t comprehend how he must have felt. Talking with the core had me so ridiculously tense…I was seriously wondering whether they were actually going to be able to communicate with it while at the same time my mind was screaming that it had to die =O Meiya’s animation though…cool the first time, pity it’s the same thing replayed over and over again.

      Lectures are a tricky thing to fit into a story. In MLA’s case I felt that the background info was incredibly interesting. The BETA absolutely terrify me so I enjoyed learning as much as possible about them. Trying to connect with the 00 Unit and get it up and running (>.>) was also a highlight for me. In fact, it was what I had been waiting for for all of Unlimited XD I…wasn’t sure how to feel about that second set of disturbing scenes. It did a damned good job of getting me angry but at the same time it was pretty distasteful. I’m not sure if there could have been a better way of riling up the audience’s emotions though, so I guess I can’t criticize it.

      I would love to do a favorite character list but it’s been so long now >.< You know who my favorite is, at least. Meiya probably comes second, then Hayase.

      • Lambda says:

        [Spoilers]

        I think I liked 00 Unit a lot better than I liked Sumika (here ’00 Unit’ means ‘MLA!Sumika ’cause it’s easier for me). To be fair, I liked all the characters better than their cliche Extra counterparts. The fact that they could be that well-developed while keeping their core personality is actually amazing. However, I must say my favourite characters are the new ones precisely because we spent so much time with the heroines. I got overexposed, I guess. There became times when I thought each one of them was wrong, or being a jerk, or being incompetent, because we spent a long time with each one (especially Meiya). Unrelated, but I have to ask whether the whole unit HAD to fall for Takeru while he was taking Sumika’s route. It didn’t really add anything but unnecessary pain, I think. I felt guilty about liking Meiya and Takeru’s friendship when I found out she was still in love with him… I do think Takeru is better than most protags in that he has a personality and reacts like one would probably do for a while, but… yeah.

        The lectures are interesting in that it’s actually an in-school lecture. They’re telling you like it is, really. However, I couldn’t help feeling like not every bit of information they told us was gonna be used, so why bother? It also really didn’t help that I couldn’t remember the BETA names despite the lecture so I was guessing from context most of the time… Using the 00Unit to break that up was actually a good decision. I was kinda neutral towards Sumika in Extra, but I kept wanting to see her in that chapter (actually, Sumika became likeable to me in MLA).

        “Meiya’s animation though…cool the first time, pity it’s the same thing replayed over and over again.” I agree on this point, although I have to say it encapsulates my problems with MLA itself, as well. Things that are cool the first go around are constantly talked about. For example, I think we talked about personal reasons to fight with Munakata + Meiya for about an hour straight, after Takeru continually talks about how cool Capt. Isumi was for merging personal and general reasons to fight (after they had that long talk on the boat no less). Takeru being unsure of himself and uncertain of himself is fine the first time, but it just keeps happening!

        Ichimonji makes me sad because he went from Meiya’s chauffeur to someone who dies the only scene he’s in and you don’t really realize it’s him (I had suspicions, but had to look up the last name…). Lack of Kasumi being Sumika’s adopted sister or Yuuko-sensei’s adopted daughter in the “perfect” timeline also makes me sad. I thought Kasumi’s relationship with Sumika was too cute! Oh, final point on ‘things I’m kinda disappointed about’, they stated that Takeru has an odd reaction to Alternative V activating, but that’s never really explored… I supposed that’s for Unlimited the Day After…

        Hm. Well I understand your top character and approve of your next two. And we agree on the Worst Girl. Doesn’t really matter what order the rest come in, really. They’re all really good and end up only beating each other by a few points in my mind anyway.

        • Silvachief says:

          [Spoilers, I think. I haven’t written the comment yet so we’ll see.]

          I understand what you mean with the overexposure. I liked Sumika and Meiya so seeing lots of them was fine. For the others…well, they just seemed less important as time went on. Setting aside the question of whether ALL visual novels must have ALL heroines fall in love with the MC as a rule, in this particular case the continuity makes sense. I mean, they’ve fallen in love with him in every other reality…so why not that one too?

          I’ll also agree with the BETA names not sticking with you. I’ve got a better grip on them now that i’ve watched Total Eclipse but to begin with I was just as lost. Though I already liked Sumika the 00 Unit story line also appeals to me because I love having a feeling of progress. Slowing making headway with getting a love one back to the way you remember them is especially powerful. And when they suddenly reject you for incredibly hurtful reasons? Wow.

          I personally didn’t notice the other repetition. For me it was just Takeru’s constant relapsing that grated on my nerves. I guess with the other things it was still done over a relatively smaller portion of the visual novel rather than spanning multiple chapters.

          *Didn’t even realize Ichimonji was in MLA*. The first time we were introduced to him in Extra I absolutely loved his theme music. I was incredibly disappointed that it didn’t become a recurring gag. I found Kasumi and Sumika’s relationship…somewhat distressing, actually. Having one person’s memories inserted into another and thereby transferring the original person’s characteristics because the receiver’s personality is so underdeveloped just evokes a sense of wrongness in me. However, that wasn’t something that impacted on my enjoyment of the story and their interactions (if that makes sense…at all). Unfortunately I can’t recall that final point, so I apologize for being unable to discuss it >.<

          I actually completely forgot about Isumi, who I would place just in front of Hayase.

  8. Alex says:

    Would you mind sharing a few thoughts on Katawa Shoujo? I’ve heard good things about it from a blogger I respect, but I’d like a second opinion. I’m considering playing it, but I haven’t played more than a couple of hours of VNs ever, and I’m not sure if I can drum up the motivation to play something for 10-30 hours like it says on VNDB. So you don’t have to write too much, haha. Cheers ^_^

    • Silvachief says:

      Katawa Shoujo is a pretty decent “beginner’s” visual novel. The characters’ storylines don’t connect so you can just play whoever’s route you want to play in whatever order, the art is alright and the characters are likable. People often say it practically oozes feels but i’d say its feels are pretty mild. All in all, decent stories with decent romance and comedy.
      Would I recommend it? Yes. Especially if you’re new to visual novels. It won’t knock your socks off but it’s worth the experience.

      tl;dr: 7-7.5/10 – Give it a go.

  9. Thai says:

    Coule you review little busters? Since I want to see your thought in it since you seem to compare little busters and hoshizora but from what i played(finished little busters, 2 route of hoshizora done) its not the same for me. And i honestly want to see how you found little busters final route 😀 (maybe it was the saddest thing you read like how it was for me?)

    • Silvachief says:

      While it’s probably been too long for me to give LB a full review, i’m more than happy to share some of my thoughts on it. The reason I compare it with Hoshizora is simply because they lie in the same genre: slice of life with a little something extra; directly comparing the two would be a little harder.

      Looking back on how I felt about Little Busters!, I have to admit that the common route and many of the character routes were average rather than awesome. There was some comedy, some basic romance and a little drop of drama at the end of each route but that was it. Haruka’s route was easily my favorite, while Kurugaya’s was my least favorite. I felt that many of the character routes just didn’t have anything special to them, which may be because they were all written by different people.

      Refrain, however, was a whole ‘nother story altogether. I’m sure many people would agree with me when I say Refrain is the reason Little Busters! should be played. I was gripped the whole way and, while it may not have been the saddest thing i’ve read, it certainly did squeeze my heart. While it did go on to have a happy ending, it’s one of the few stories where the bad end would have satisfied me because it was just so well done.

      This is a pretty generic opinion, so I apologize if it’s not what you were hoping for. In short: Common Route: 7/10, Character Routes: 7.5/10, Refrain:9/10 for an overall score of 8/10. When I wrote this list I obviously felt it deserved the place of my 6th favorite VN, but now i’m not so sure. It may end up moving down a few places when I next edit this.

      • Thai says:

        I see that you kinda have the same opinion than me~ honestly the common route I really liked it since it was really fun for me(10x more fun then hoshizora) and I really felt like Riki: “If only those time would never end” so it was really fun for me and made refrain even worse in term of sadness.

        About the character route… My least favvorite was kurugaya and my favorite was haruka too~ all the pther was good I didnt really find them average since little busters was my second visual novel my only complaint is how the love is… Kud had hundred of kisses and komari had only one and it was in the BAD END… So I kinda liked all the character route.

        Refrain was IMO the best thing I read so far and I am sad that I saw some spoiler before to read it and about the real end I knew it since it was KEY so the bad end could have been better. I couldn’t feel as much as the other but it was enough to make me say that it was the best thing I ever read.

        Also one last thing, what I like about little busters is how after I finished it, some stuff weren’t clear and you had to think hard to find it, for exemple: SPOILER—–>how did riki and rin came back on the bus scene in the real end? Did they travel the time? Well that pretty much my opinion.

        My rating : common route: 9/10
        Character route: 8/10
        Refrain : 9.5/10
        Overall : 9/10

        • Silvachief says:

          It’s interesting that you mention that LB was only your second visual novel. I’m a little worried that when I replay Kira Kira i’ll discover that I only liked it as much as I did because it was one of the first VNs I played and didn’t know any better XD

          Having said that, you should probably take my scores with a grain of salt because it’s been over a year since I played Little Busters!, so i’m going off of memory for everything I write.

  10. froggykun says:

    Any thoughts on Grisaia no Kajitsu? My friend’s been bugging me to play that lately and I’m curious about your opinion (if you’ve played it)

  11. Highly recommend Grisaia no Kajitsu. Yes, there are sequels, but the first game’s routes are full stories with complete conclusions. Whereas Muv-Luv Alternative’s strength lies with its wonderfully set world, Grisaia relies on its characters and their development and interaction/relationship with other characters to create the story.

    • Silvachief says:

      Considering that, of the visual novels I haven’t read, Grisaia no Kajitsu is the one that I hear about the most, I may have to bump it up on my list of visual novels. I’m currently reading Chaos;Head and will move onto Steins;Gate after that, but Grisaia no Kajitsu will be next.
      Thanks for the recommendation! We’ll have to see if it makes it onto the list =P

      • Chaos;Head. Haven’t heard of that one. Might check it out.

        Yeah, I finished Muv-Luv Alternative a week ago and am about to start the end of Fate/Stay Night (Heaven’s Feel). On my list afterwards are Cross Channel and Katawa Shoujo. Any insight to those two?

        • Silvachief says:

          So far I can’t recommend Chaos;Head, unfortunately. I haven’t finished it yet though, and it’s not bad, so don’t let my word put you off of playing it.

          What did you think about Alternative? And the preceding stories? I hope you enjoy that last route; a lot of people think it’s the best and I would have to agree.

          I haven’t played Cross Channel so I can’t say much about that. I just know that there are two available translations so it may be worth looking into that. Katawa Shoujo is unique and quite good for an indie title, though I don’t think it could ever make it anywhere near my top ten. I’ll be naughty and copy what i’ve said about it before:

          “Katawa Shoujo is a pretty decent “beginner’s” visual novel. The characters’ storylines don’t connect so you can just play whoever’s route you want to play in whatever order, the art is alright and the characters are likable. People often say it practically oozes feels but i’d say its feels are pretty mild. All in all, decent stories with decent romance and comedy.
          Would I recommend it? Yes. Especially if you’re new to visual novels. It won’t knock your socks off but it’s worth the experience.

          tl;dr: 7-7.5/10 – Give it a go.”

          • [Muv-Luv Alternative Spoilers]

            Eh, well I’ve played enough VNs so maybe Katawa Shoujo won’t be that good.

            The Muv-Luv series has a mixed placed in my heart. I personally don’t like it as much as Grisaia because I found the main characters of Muv-Luv pretty stale. I personally very much enjoy interesting character relationships and development, which I felt Muv-Luv lacked. Takeru’s relationships with the other characters is created at Muv-Luv Extra from the beginning and never really change.

            In fact, I cared for the supporting characters far more than the five main heroines. My favorite character has to be Kasumi Yashiro (rabbit girl) because there is a clear development from Takeru and Yashiro being complete strangers to being very good friends. Another character I liked was Isumi, the squad leader from Muv-Luv Alternative. Hell, I thought the ship captains dying for their comrades was more heartwarming than the main characters’ “Everybody falls in love with Takeru for REASONS.”

            The fact that I like the supporting characters more than the main characters is due to the fact that Muv-Luv Alternative has EXCELLENT world building; the universe is well-crafted. The fact that you feel a sense of danger and urgency in Muv-Luv Unlimited without ever seeing a BETA is one of the best examples. The juxtaposition (and I’m a sucker for juxtaposition) between the derpy Muv-Luv Extra world and Takeru and the dark Muv-Luv Unlimited/Alternative is what makes Alternative so enjoyable.

            There’s also a lot of nostalgia factor in Alternative due to the time-travel idea. Rereading the evaluation test is so much better the second time because Takeru triumphs over obstacles he’s struggled with before. Alternative’s hook is when Takeru, who supposedly seems on top of everything because he’s from the future, has everything crash around him. Again, that deviation from expectation intrigues the reader and makes the story more compelling.

            Also, the sheer production value of Alternative is stunning. I’d never seen a VN with mouth movement before this one and the mech battles were intense. Again, you give the audience high speed robot explosions and then suddenly follow it up with heartwrenching dialogue and both end up standing out.

            The final issue I had with Alternative is that it feels stretched out. The BETA attack on HQ was unnecessary, I feel. Just felt like a repeat of Isumi’s actions in the previous battle. The final conversation between Takeru and Meiya was insufferably long.

            tldr: The juxtaposition between Extra and Unlimited/Alternative makes for a well developed world but the main characters that stay consistent through the trilogy (who was never that interesting in the first place) fail to deliver. Yashiro #1.

  12. Silvachief says:

    [Muv-Luv Alternative Spoilers] – To Youthfullaughter

    *Frantically attempts to dredge up memories of Muv-Luv*
    If you reply to this one, please make it a new comment, just because of how each comment gets thinner.

    I have to agree with you about how Takeru and Muv-Luv’s heroines can be bland at times, with the relationships between them often taking the same road. However, the fact that they don’t change to any large degree is not something that bothered me because, in my opinion, it complements both the disparity between the two worlds and some of the pseudo-science involved in the story. It’s not so much that they stay the same as that they adjust to suit the new environment in a way that brings them as close to the other world’s relationships as possible.

    Sumika and Meiya were my two favorite characters but the supporting cast comes in before the rest of the main group. It was more Yashiro’s relationship with Sumika that stood out to me, though I agree that she was a good character for both of our reasons. After that both Marimo and Isumi round off my favorites list. The “falling in love for REASONS” thing doesn’t really bother me, though I acknowledge that it doesn’t substitute well for legitimate bond building. Maybe it’s because it’s practically a requirement for anything even remotely resembling a harem story and therefore is used so often, or perhaps because it’s the developments occurring after the initial spark that interest me; i’m not sure.

    I fully agree with you when it comes to Muv-Luv’s world building. One of the things that I was aware of when reading the VN, but only really hit me recently, was the significance of the fact that all of the trainees other than Takeru were female. Yes, it’s convenient for the “surrounded by women” aspect the writers were probably after (and easy to overlook because of that), but when you consider that it’s because every single male candidate for training is either dead or already fighting…the implications of that are terrifying. And then there’s the level of detail regarding the BETA themselves. While I can’t quite say yet whether juxtaposition alone is something that interests me, it’s specific use in Muv-Luv works really well especially at the end of Alternative. We can all at least begin to imagine the terror of being thrust into a strange new world, but then being returned to our own one after years of fighting a horrific alien race? That’s something else entirely.

    Yeah, they also do a very good job of leading the audience, along with Takeru, to the crushing realization that his knowledge of the future alone simply won’t win the war on its own. And, while I have seen better, I agree with you on Muv-Luv’s production value as well.

    Meiya’s insufferably long final scene aside, I really enjoyed the attack on the HQ. It got my blood pumping, showed just how fragile humanity’s final defenses really were and set up for some extra Sumika & Yashiro development. It was the battle as a whole that I liked though, as opposed to the actions of individual characters, I suppose.

    It seems that while we agree on many aspects there are some reasonably major points we have differing opinions on. I see exactly what you mean about each point though, so I can accept that Muv-Luv may not have been as much of a masterpiece in your eyes.

  13. [Muv-Luv Alternative Spoilers]

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. Muv-Luv Alternative is easily in my top 3 alongside Grisaia no Kajitsu and Fate/Stay Night. I have so many gripes about it because I loved it so (don’t even get me started on Grisaia. I can gripe about that VN for hours.)

    When I meant “the five heroines,” I was referring to the five of Unlimited; I did not include Sumika. I have this weird impression of Sumika because she’s voiced by the same voice actress as one of the characters in Grisaia, Suou Amane, who is very similar to Sumika in that they both cook for the MC, are very caring, and also short-tempered. Their only difference is that Amane is the “slutty” character and hence very large-breasted., a gag often played out in the Grisaia VN.

    I too enjoyed Sumika and Yashiro’s relationship as well, but it made me like Yashiro more than Sumika. Yashiro’s growth from a girl who barely started interacting with others (just Takeru and the scientist doctor professor super smart lady whose name I forgot) to a girl who deeply cares about both Sumika and Takeru is touching. I just feel like Sumika was very stale in that regard. Sumika ends up clinging to Takeru a lot and Yashiro was kinda left in the dust. Though, it would have been interesting to see Yashiro go through some internal conflict about their relationship, something along the lines of “They’re important people to me, but now that they have each other, I’m so lonely” maybe?

    Marimo does not make my favorite list because if I let her make that list, I will weep and cry and my heart will break into more pieces than it already had in that scene.
    (I love her and I’m in denial. She’s the perfect “motherly figure” to Takeru and she and her relationship with Takeru tugged more heartstrings than I knew I had.)

    I would also agree with you on the harem idea showing the harshness of the BETA situation.In fact, when the American Major and Rebel leader showed up in the Japan Civil War arc, you truly understand just how hardened the men of this BETA world are.

    Overall, my gripe with Muv-Luv is that it’s too excellent for too long. It has what I call “Attack on Titan syndrome,” it’s TOO dark/intense/emotional and has no variation. There’s constant shit hitting the fan to the point that I was numb to it by the time of the BETA invasion on HQ; I distinctly remember jokingly predicting which characters will die when and I was pretty much spot on. I know my preference for atmosphere changes is a personal preference; some people may call a series that has this trait “schizophrenic” or “inconsistent.” I like that inconsistency because makes the light, happy scenes all that much happier and the darker, “feeeeeeels” scenes that much sadder. Individually, the arcs, scenes, and writing are top notch, but there’s so much excellence that they dull each other in comparison.

    • Silvachief says:

      [Muv-Luv Alternative Spoilers]

      I know exactly what you mean about finding it so easy to complain about things you love. My Ao no Exorcist review is nearly completely filled with complaints but I still loved the series.

      My issue with Yashiro and her relationships with others (not really an issue, so much as an observation) is that i’m still not entirely sure how much they are affected by what she learned from interacting with Sumika. How much of her personality developed on its own, and how much of it was imprinted upon her by having such an intimate connection with Sumika’s memories? Still, that only lends more weight to your argument that Sumika’s relationship with Takeru should have elicited more of an emotional response from Yashiro; I hadn’t thought about it before but you’re absolutely right about that. I think many of Muv-Luv’s relationships were shafted in favor of the overall plot, which is both and good and a bad thing I suppose.

      If you’ve read my review you’ll know how much I loved the way they handled Marimo’s part in things, so i’ll leave it at that while I go an cry in the corner.

      “Too excellent for too long” XD Thankfully that’s not an issue I had – I applauded Muv-Luv’s ability to keep me on the edge of my seat for such long stretches of time – though I can see where you’re coming from.

      • We can cry about Marimo together.

        Tears.T^T

        Extra was all about the relationships; Unlimited and Alternative was all about the overall plot; I mean, Unlimited’s “choice” is basically whose gift you receive and bang at the end of the night. :T

    • acetatsujin says:

      Attack on Titan and Re:Zero were inspired by Muv-Luv Alternative. MLA came out in 2006, anything PTSD is pretty much inspired by this visual novel.

  14. blazingsea says:

    Recommending EVER 17!! One of the greatest story i’ve enjoyed in my life. But the start can be a bit slow and it tends to put people off. But once you started it get to the end quickly and i can assure you that no one ever regret that time spent with the game once he reaches the ending!!

    • Silvachief says:

      Thanks for the comment! It’s funny you should say that, because I didn’t enjoy Ever17 all that much >.< Not so much that I regret spending my time with it though. The ending and the connections between the routes were really great; it's just the stuff leading up to it that got a little old for me.

      Have you played Remember11? It's by the same people as Ever17 and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I hold Never7, also by KID, in the same regard as Ever17: certainly not bad, but not something that I would recommend.

    • George says:

      I think this list becomes pretty much void if Ever 17: The Out of Infinity isn’t recommended. It’s one of the best stories ever told , and especially where each route has something to add to the story from a different perspective for arguably the best and thrilling true ending twist you will ever experience. It’s slow, painfully slow to start, but you know you are in one hell of a ride. If you would like something similar but one that engrosses you right from the start to the end, I’d suggest 999: 9 persons, 9 doors, 9 hours done by the same person with almost the same theme and one that has probably the best escape the room puzzles ever.

      • Silvachief says:

        Ever17 is certainly popular, as is 999. While I do partially agree with you regarding the former’s ending, and I don’t regret reading it, I didn’t enjoy the VN as a whole enough to add it to the recommendations list. As for 999, I dropped it before reaching the end, so I can’t comment there. Having said all that, I haven’t ruled out replaying the two now that i’m regularly writing reviews, so they may yet make it onto the list.

        If we’re talking about favorite ending twists, my favorite is definitely Sharin no Kuni’s. It’s impossible to see coming and throws the preceding story on its head, so I highly recommend giving it a read.

        Thanks for the comment!

  15. fire says:

    Silvachief,

    I’ve just found your blog – and I thought your VN reviews were all very thoughtful. I especially liked how you came up with the terms of Post-Plot Depression and Emotional Investment Refractory Period – they describe perfectly how much emotional investment we put in VNs, and the sadness we feel after finishing them.

    I’ve actually just finished MLA myself! It was excellent, especially plot wise, though I didn’t feel it was as godly as others said it would be. I think a big part of it was that I didn’t care much for Sumika, and without much emotional investment in her, the climax and its significance rendered a lot less impactful. In fact, I find that that as I read more and more VNs, it’s harder and harder for me to be emotionally moved by them. Yume Miru Kusuri was the third VN I had ever read – and it played with my emotions much more than MLA did, despite the latter being an objectively better VN. Would you agree that there is this sort emotionally-numbing, as it were?

    On a related note: Do you plan to review G-Senjou no Maou, which you rated as 10/10? For what it’s worth, I agree that it is a masterpiece. Its characters are utterly compelling, its plot mind-twistingly riveting, and its theme of love and revenge and redemption powerfully presented.

    Would you consider reading Comyu after you’re done with Chaos Head? Ixrec should be done translating it soon – if not this month, then the next. I’m really looking forward to it – you might find it interesting too! It’s actually by Akatsuki Works, which spawned from the now-defunct AkabeiSoft2.

    http://fuwanovel.org/novels/comyu-kuroi-ryuu-to-yasashii-oukoku

    • Silvachief says:

      Thanks for the comment and the kind words =) That Post Plot Depression post was actually the first one I ever wrote, so i’m glad people are still interested in it.

      I can certainly see how not liking Sumika could put a limit on how much enjoyment you get out of MLA. In fact, the developers took a real risk in making her the main focus of their finale; i’m just lucky she happened to be my favorite character. I do have to agree that there is a degree of desensitization that comes from reading visual novels, especially when it comes to aspects of plot that are used repeatedly. Nothing’s quite the same as the first time a character dies or something similarly horrific occurs – you will always look back on the first visual novels you read fondly. However, I also believe that if you are invested enough in a character or visual novel – that is, that they are presented well enough that they grab your attention and hold it – then any development will feel fresh and new and will hit you with that same amount of impact as the first time you experienced it. There’s a sort of synergy between overall quality and the use of recycled material, if you will.

      G-Senjou no Maou was one of the earliest visual novels I played; it’s been so long since I experienced it that i’m not confident I could write a good review. If and when I read it again I may write one, but for the moment I don’t think I could do it justice. Hopefully its presence on this page will convince some people to read it, though.

      I’m starting to build up a queue of requests XD At the moment i’ve got Chaos;Head -> Steins;Gate -> Grisaia no Kajitsu lined up, so i’ll tag Comyu on the end of that list and hope it’s translated by the time I get to it (which it should be, considering how little time I have to read VNs nowadays >.<). I hadn't taken a look at who it's by, so i'm pretty excited for it myself now!

      If you ever have anything to discuss (visual novels, anime, anything really) that would take up too much space for a comments section, then feel free to contact me by email – it's under the "About" tab in "Contact/Follow Me".

      • fire says:

        So you’ve started on Grisaia! How much have you read, and what were your first impressions? Do any of the girls particularly impress you?

        I was admittedly torn when deciding which route to go into. None of the heroines really made me care about them – perhaps another instance of emotional numbing! It didn’t help that the heroine that I was slightly leaning towards (Yumiko) was supposed, according to many others, to have the weakest route (it really’s wasn’t very good). Amane’s route, on the other hand, was breathtakingly good, and I think it says a lot that her route impressed me despite me not even being emotionally invested in her character. The highlight of her route is Amane recounting to Yuji her history. This flashback – Angelic Howl – was truly godlike.

        Looking forward to your thoughts on Grisaia, particularly Amane’s route.

        • Silvachief says:

          I’ve just entered Makina’s route; i’d be further along but Uni has been busy lately. My first impression was a good one overall, as I enjoyed the humor and gradual development of the protagonists relationship with the other characters. I have to admit that things were getting a bit stale just before I entered the route though and they haven’t really picked up again yet. If I had to pick favorites so far it would go something like Sakaki/Amane > Sachi > Michiru/Makina, though none of them really stand out yet – i’m hoping the character routes will make me feel some kind of connection with them. If what you say is true then at least one of my preferred characters’ routes is good. I’m a little disappointed to hear that Sakaki’s isn’t one of the better ones >.<

          As far as route order goes i'm just following the easiest way to hit all of the routes in one playthrough. I'll certainly be posting a review once i'm done. At the moment it hasn't quite differentiated itself from average but it certainly has the potential to do so if it plays its cards right.

          • fire says:

            I’ve just started Comyu, and right from the start the sheer awesomeness is making me shit myself in anticipation.

            Not since G-Senjou no Maou, have I been so excited by a VN, from the very beginning. Even Steins;Gate started a bit slowly. Even MLA, I think, doesn’t really compare well since it required the whole of Muv-Luv, including the sometimes dreadful Extra, to set up.

            I’ll probably do a lengthier review eventually, but for now I must say that Comyu is shaping up to be the kind of VN that makes you want to stop every once in a while just to savour the exhilaration the story generates in you.

            • Silvachief says:

              I was pretty glad to see the Comyu translation was completed the other day, and it’s great to see that you’re enjoying it so much. It’ll have to wait till after Grisaia and Steins;Gate, but i’m really looking forward to it now!

  16. fire says:

    Finished Comyu, and was actually motivated enough to write a review!

    Comyu is incredible. In fact, it’s so good that I’m going to take a long break from reading any visual novel or any story of any sort. This feeling has been aptly described as Post Plot Depression. The story you just read was so great that you don’t feel that anything else you read will possibly compare to what you’ve just experienced. The power of words abandon me when I try to explain how fuck-tastically-awesome Comyu is, so I won’t even try.

    As with any visual novel, we need to first look at the characters – the very cornerstones of a story. In Comyu, everyone has their own distinct motivations, with the main characters being so well-written as to be life-like, but what really makes Comyu what it is, are three compelling characters. There’s the King, Gasai Itsuki, who despite technically being a side character, has so much charisma and conviction that every scene he is in is automatically made awesome by his very inclusion. He would make a fantastic protagonist, and that’s saying something. Then there’s our protagonist, the Clown, Mizuwa Akihito. He’s arguably the weakest link in the otherwise wonderfully perfect story that Comyu tells, by being too stubborn and Shirou-like at times, but he’s still very compelling. You understand why he does what he does, and his personal backstory is one of the most brutally enthralling of all VN protagonists. But of course, the beating heart and soul of Comyu is none other than the Witch, Hinaori Kagome. Akihito’s backstory is brutal, but absolutely nothing in comparison to Kagome. One of the most interesting things about Comyu is that our protagonist and his group of friends would arguably be villains if the story were told from any other perspective. And the greatest villain of all would be the perfect, peerless and preternatural Kagome. She stands out immediately from the start with her breathtaking arrogance and disregard for social norms. Even throughout the other heroines’ routes, she’s always there, and so utterly unignorable as the sun itself, just by being there and being who she is. Her route is the true and final one, and it completely lives up to its hype. You learn Kagome’s incredibly backstory, but what is truly impressive is what lies unsaid – only through understanding her backstory and what happens in the other heroines’ routes, do you truly grasp the almost obsessive love that she has for Akihito. The Witch, it turns out, is not perfect, because she has a weakness, and his name is Akihito. Kagome is a character that would send the world to burn in hell just to protect him, and you will love her for it.

    Beyond that, Comyu’s plot is incredible. The Common Route is the absolute best I’ve ever read, and so unbelievably laced with sheer awesomeness. Action and tension and revelations are so finely and cleverly handled that literally no part of it is boring. Comyu has a great premise (people gaining the power to control giant steel monsters), but what makes it superb and utterly riveting is how Hino handles pacing. Too often (Muv Luv Alternative comes to mind) a story drags on in places it shouldn’t, and blazes through parts where more time should be spent – but in Comyu’s case, no such problems emerge. It drags a bit in the middle (parts of Hisoka’s, Mayuki’s and Ayaya’s routes), but the major routes (Common, Benio, Kagome) are flawless in this regard. Comyu is really fucking good, I think, because the author gives you just enough action and plot knowledge to want more, but not enough to make the rest of the story predictable. Only in one, very important aspect (Sting) are you given enough hints to make guesses for yourself, and it makes the climactic revelation all the more satisfying. I like how Hino doesn’t treat his readers as idiots – I myself don’t really enjoy having every unnecessary detail rammed into my face like a vengeful sledgehammer.

    An important part of visual novels, for me, are the themes they discuss. I treat visual novels the same way I do normal novels, and hold them to the same standards as I do serious literature. Visual novels, like any kind of literature, are great opportunities to explore the human condition and what matters to us, and in this regard, Comyu is second to none. Comyu is, I think, ultimately about us – about people, no more, no less. A big part of Comyu, as becomes very apparent from the very beginning, is fantasy, reality, and the difference between the two. Comyu really lampshades and deconstructs and even sometimes play straight all the tropes associated with fantasy, with manga/anime/VNs, with the familiar shounen plots. Against that fantasy, Comyu portrays the darkness of the human heart and the capriciousness of the world. The titular idea of the “Gentle Kingdom” comes up very often, and it’s used ironically – the idea being that the world is so gentle (permissive) that anything can happen – including the very worst things. Comyu shows that what we often value the most, are illusions, but nonetheless illusions we cannot live about.

    More specifically, Comyu is a really clever portrayal of human society. Like the Connectors in a Comyu, we can do what we want, but if we really want to accomplish anything, we need the help of others. As with real society, individuals disagree with each other, and though the majority can simply ignore the minority’s wishes, the whole group is weakened by disunity. And as with reality, when a group gets crushed, so too does the individual die. The Comyu-net, the collection of all Comyus, is a further metaphor for society as a whole. Comyus, like people in real life, can choose to cooperate, or to fight each other. The idea of the prisoner’s dilemma comes up – the temptation to “defect” and just attack others exists because we do not trust each other to do the right thing, and because defection carries with it tantalizing rewards. Cooperation and harmony may not emerge naturally, but is ultimately unstable, without laws or a strong leader to maintain said peace. And even the Comyu-net is a small marginalized part of the whole world, with the potential to come into conflict with that wider world. Things in the story do indeed go south, with death and devastation and destruction as the result. Again, this is a metaphor for society and the conflicts that endure between the majority and the minority.

    But above all, Comyu is about what matters to us humans the most. The idea of human relationships, and whether it is possible for us to breach the gap between individuals, is very prominent. Akihito, our protagonist, is one cynical bastard in this regard, but in every route his heart is touched by someone else. Comyu shows how love brings us to hope and fight and struggle despite being faced with overwhelming despair and harsh reality. And, on the other hand, we are also shown the depths of hatred and revenge to which love can make us plunge, and what we are willing do to those who hurt the ones we love. Comyu portrays the hatred engendered in our hearts when our loved ones and other innocent people are hurt senselessly, along with the senselessness and horror of evil and death and suffering. But what impressed me the most about Comyu is its very mature, very adult, very powerful portrayal of morality – and of how we often can’t tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. A key “antagonist” (Gasai Itsuki, the self-proclaimed “King”) is arguably much more heroic than Akihito himself. Many other people, who do villainous things, often have very good reasons for them. Akihito himself is shown to be almost criminally selfish in his inability to look out for the greater good. That is the final theme, and irony, of the story Comyu tells – many of the terrible things that happen later on in the story could have been mitigated by Akihito accepting that doing evil is sometimes required to prevent a greater evil from occurring. Instead, our protagonist Akihito, motivated by psychological trauma from his past, stubbornly tries to save various individuals despite the consequences (like dear old Shirou from FSN) , and Takakura City burns for it. The story shows how, as Itsuki proclaims, it may be right to kill a hundred to save a thousand, yet nonetheless the hundred might rightfully resent that evil, and resist. And so that conflict continues.

    I’ve read almost all translated visual novels worth reading, and amongst them all Comyu stands out as a masterpiece. I haven’t read anything as good as it since Looseboy’s godlike G-Senjou no Maou – which I personally consider the greatest – nor do I expect to read anything that will match or surpass it until I get my shit together to read Subarashiki Hibi in Japanese. Comyu is a tragedy and comedy both. It is our fantasies dashing themselves upon the rock of reality. It is a raging whirlpool of powerful themes, awesome happenings, and compelling characters, which will suck you in and then spit you out, leaving you empty. The ending, especially, is so poetically depressing, and perfectly encapsulates the dark fantasy that is Comyu. Comyu is dark – very dark. And I loved every moment of it.

    • Silvachief says:

      If I didn’t know any better, i’d say you want me to read it XD You’re not making it easy for me to wait till after my next few visual novels, i’ll tell you that! I’ll wait to make a full reply to this till i’ve actually played it (though i’ll most likely be writing my own review anyway).

      Your points about pacing are probably what excite me the most. Even great visual novels have issues with pacing, so I really love seeing it done well.

      • fire says:

        What’s the backlog looking like? Was the plan to do Comyu right after Grisaia?

        • Silvachief says:

          Currently at Grisaia -> Steins;Gate -> Comyu

          • fire says:

            Do you sometimes feel the need to take a break between “heavy” VNs?

            I planned to do Umineko after Comyu, but I’m not feeling up to it – I just can’t bring myself to commit to another story so soon after experiencing Comyu.

            Are there any “light” VNs that you would recommend? VNs that don’t require much emotional commitment, and are relatively interesting but not terribly immersive?

            • Silvachief says:

              I do normally tend to swap in lighter VNs, but if there’s an initial light-hearted slice of life segment then that works just as well in my opinion. Umineko takes a pretty long time before it becomes “heavy”, so you could probably get away with going straight onto that one. Having finished it recently I can tell you it has some absolutely amazing scenes…but drops the ball later on (I would almost recommend only reading the first four chapters). I’ll have a review for it coming out before two long.

              Interesting but not immersive. Let’s see. I think i’ll fall back on my #10 slot. Dengeki Stryker, Kira Kira and Deardrops are all good fun to read but don’t really drag you into the story like some of the better VNs. If you want something mostly light-hearted but still with action then go for Dengeki Stryker. If you think something more musical is for you then try out Kira Kira (which takes a while to get into things, admittedly). Deardrops would be for after Kira Kira if you liked it.

  17. Lion says:

    I just missed my three favorite visual novels: Umineko, Higurashi and Tsukihime, everyone should definitely give those a try. But it was a really good list!

    • Silvachief says:

      Thanks for the comment =)

      While I’ve actually played all three of those I didn’t feel that they made my list. I know that a lot of people love them but for me personally they were each only average. Having said that, I loved the first half of Umineko and the only reason I don’t recommend it is because I really didn’t enjoy the second half.

  18. RedPandaStorm says:

    Hey! Sorry, I’m still very much a nooby to VNs. So just curious, where do you get/buy most of these VNs? The English version I mean.

    • Silvachief says:

      Heya! Thanks for the comment, i’m always happy to help out people who are new to the game. If you flick me an email (address is under About –> Contact/Follow Me at the top of the page) i’ll fill you in on both the legitimate and…er, not so legitimate methods of getting your hands on visual novels.

      Happy to help, but…not so keen on publicly promoting any particular method.

    • Silvachief says:

      If, for whatever reason, you can’t contact me there then let me know where I can contact you (heck, i’d be happy to private message on some sort of forum).

  19. Arka says:

    dude can u help me find some good VN under the genre Comedy,Romance,Adult…..no tear jerkers…..???

    • Silvachief says:

      Unfortunately you’re going to be hard pressed to find something fitting those genres with no drama at all. I haven’t played them but the Sono Hanabira series is well liked (though they’re heavily yuri-focused, so i’m not sure if that fits what you’re after.

      My Girlfriend is the President is probably the most comedy-focused story I can think of.
      Otherwise everything I can recommend has drama components. The first half of Muv-Luv is relatively drama-free and fits the comedy/romance/adult bill, but the sequel content is all very heavy sci-fi.

      Kira Kira and Deardrops are relatively light-hearted, especially to begin with, though they’re not particularly serious. You could also take a look at Hoshizora no Memoria or Majikoi.

      Neither Little Busters nor Rewrite have any adult content but they have comedy and romance mixed in.

      That was a surprisingly tough request, so i’d recommend checking those titles out on VNDB and seeing if you like the sound of any of them. Many of them include drama at some point or other, however. Hopefully that helps!

      • Arka says:

        thanx dude….though watched Hoshizora no Memoria, Majikoi,……muv -luv alternative…..though still didn’t watched Little Busters( though it’s said that Little Buster ecstacy was the adult version of LB…..)….though the fact is i didn’t want any tearjerkers like clannad….otherwise light-hearted VN are good enough with proper amount of comedy and romance…adult is not a must need as long as story is good….anyway thnx again…

        • Silvachief says:

          Little Busters EX adds in three new routes and H-scenes, though it’s not currently translated. The original visual novel is something like 3 parts comedy, 1 part drama, so it may be right for you!

  20. Ryan Fadholi says:

    Hey, great list!

    I’ve always enjoy manga/anime and JRPGs, been enjoying visual novel/video games hybrid for a while (Danganronpa, Phoenix Wright, 999/Virtue’s Last Reward).

    Just finished my first pure VN, World End Economica, and it’s been great! Have you read it? guess I’ll pick up some more at the next Steam Winter sale 😀

    Do you have another recommendation for mystery/sci-fi VNs? No horrors though, I’m a bit coward lol.

    • Silvachief says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      It’s funny that you mention WEE because I actually won a copy of the first episode in a contest a while back. I haven’t played it yet because i’m planning to wait for the full three episode release. I’m glad that you liked it, as that means I have all the more to look forward to ^_^

      Mystery/Sci-fi without horror? If we’re talking sci-fi then Muv Luv is an absolute must. It starts off with a romance comedy that some people find a little slow (though if you’re newer to VNs like I was when I played it then hopefully you’ll enjoy it like I did) and then launches all the characters you’ve built connections with into a sci-fi universe with mechs and aliens. To be completely honest with you, the aliens are a little gruesome but I wouldn’t say there’s a horror aspect and if I could pick any one visual novel to have you try it would be Muv Luv (just be sure you don’t judge it till you get to the good stuff!). More info here: http://i.imgur.com/ESNwP.jpg

      If I’m liberal with my definition of mystery then G-Senjou no Maou is a must (and it’s just been released on Steam!), as it will have your head churning non-stop.

      Kara no Shoujo is probably the closest visual novel to the mystery genre out there. Again, some gruesome aspects but few and far between. I’d recommend playing it with a guide because the choices don’t really lend themselves to working things out on your own. Both a sequel and prequel have been released as well though I haven’t picked them up yet.

      Remember11 has a reasonably strong mystery aspect, though not in the usual detective vs criminal style.

      Sunrider is an Original English Language Visual Novel with a sci-fi focus that’s free on Steam. Maybe not as fantastic as other, longer titles but still pretty enjoyable.

      Finally, though neither of them are on my recommendations list…

      Umineko no Naku Koro ni has some fantastic mystery components throughout its course, though they’re mixed with fantasy which tends to steal more of the spotlight as the story progresses. A lot of readers really love the whole thing, though.

      Steins;Gate is adored by many a reader and has a sci-fi focus revolving around time travel.

      And that’s probably it! If you want to know more about any of those then feel free to ask. I’ve got reviews up for all of them except Remember11.

      Thanks for the comment!

  21. Origami says:

    Just a general passerby. Great website and reviews. Really like your view and opinion on the games. Made me add Sharin no Kuni to my to play list and possibly omit Cross Channel.
    The only thing I notice is that you have a distaste for ‘filler’ parts e.g. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
    I have played the first episode and did enjoy it. The slice of life parts served as character building for me and a technique to alternate between the dark and light.
    So the only thing I have to watch out for is if you mark a game down based on this since I am not as critical about them as long they serve some purpose. Apart from that I can almost follow your recommendations 1 on 1.

    But it’s great to see a website with someone so critical about them and has an easier time seperating the cream from the crop.

    • Silvachief says:

      Thanks very much for your comment, I really appreciate it =)

      For all I may complain about Cross Channel (and believe me, my review isn’t kind), it -is- loved by a very large number of people so be sure to seek out a second opinion. Very happy I managed to convince someone to pick up Sharin no Kuni though! Once I got past my initial dislike for the protagonist it was a fantastic experience.

      Filler is probably my nemesis, though slice of life done well can be fantastic. I’ll be reviewing Ayakshibito this weekend which is an example of where I enjoyed the filler far more than the plot. Figuring out where your opinions stand in relation to a reviewers’ means you can adapt their reviews to suit your own needs, so i’m glad my reviews have allowed you to identify where we differ because sometimes it can be a struggle to figure out why someone has scored something in a particular way.

      Again, really happy to see you’ve found the site useful. I often wish I was able to enjoy the VNs i’ve rated below the average more, but so long as people enjoy the critique it’s all okay!

  22. Nice post! I would like to read Symphonic Rain, but I am having troubles to find a link on the internet. Could you tell me where did you get it?

  23. Alexandre Laframboise says:

    Yu-No’s 2011 translated version should be on here, as I find the balance between humour and good Sci-Fi story-telling amazing~
    The fact it has time travel/parallel dimension aspects makes it my favourite game of all time.

    • Silvachief says:

      I definitely plan on playing YU-NO as it has a wonderful reputation. Since it has a remake in the works, though, i’ve been thinking I might wait until that releases.

      If you’re looking for other top VNs with time travel and/or parallel dimensions i’d recommend Steins;Gate. Muv Luv is fantastic and has alternate dimension aspects but constantly travelling between them isn’t really a feature and I assume that’s what you’re after. Seinarukana does that, but its prequel Aselia doesn’t.

  24. jack says:

    What about Ao no Kanata Four Rhythm?

  25. animeloverxX93 says:

    You conveniently forgot to mention that Aselia to Eternal’s western release is a censored mess and not truthful to the original Japanese release.

    • Silvachief says:

      Having not played the Japanese version, I can’t compare. I’m vaguely aware of an “evil route” that was cut, presumably because it contained some fairly dark H scenes.

      Censorship sucks, but the reality is that the English version is still a good read and didn’t contain any awkward scenes that made it obvious that content had been cut out. Unlike, for instance, the all-ages G-Senjou no Maou.

  26. Lazarinth says:

    I pride myself on having read all of your Must Reads list once again. I hope its exclusivity for high standards remains as strict as it has been so far.

  27. I’m wondering, have you ever played If my heart had wings, and what’s your thought about it?

    • Silvachief says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      If My Heart Had Wings had a lot of controversy surrounding its release. A significant amount of content was cut (not just the H-scenes, which I don’t usually worry about), and the translation itself is purportedly not particularly good.

      So i’ve been waiting on the restoration project that’s been in the works for a very long time, and i’m not entirely sure where that’s at right now. But I would very much like to play If My Heart Had Wings at some point, and when I do so i’d like it to be at its best ^_^

  28. megaapple18 says:

    Great list! Now I have more titles to try.
    Tell me, do you consider 999 and Ace Attorney series VNs? And if you’ve played them, what do you think of it?

    • Silvachief says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      I think they’re close enough to visual novels to be included in the genre (I mean, we could debate about whether they’re games or VNs first and foremost till the cows comes home, but that would be a waste of time XD).

      I played the first two games in the Ace Attorney series and, while there were aspects I enjoyed, I found that I wasn’t having fun for most of the play time. There was a LOT of running back and forth in between cases where there wasn’t a great deal going on and that put me off from playing any more.

      999 is one I need to give another go. The conditions I played it in initially weren’t ideal, so I plan to pick up the Steam version at some point.

  29. the baller says:

    wheres Steins;Gate???

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