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May 28, 2015 at 11:25 pm

For those who don’t know of the genre, to put it basically, it’s a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book in the sense that you usually receive options that change the story’s course. It can have no interactivity with the reader at all, making it a kinetic novel, where you travel through a story by the characters’ dialogue (with little narration in most cases) often accompanied by a sprite to show their appearance and a background to show the general surroundings. However, there can be small games to allow for more user interactivity, like point-and-click games to find items or stats to raise and lower. It tends to all be very simple, but I thought perhaps a greater amount of gameplay could make a visual novel less arduous if it lasts more than two hours?

There probably won’t be any 3D exploration and such anytime soon, but are there any mini games or types of gameplay you’d enjoy? Of course, it depends on the story (which is the focus of VNs) but would there be anything you’d personally find interesting as a breather from all the dialogue?

May 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Visual novels sound interesting and I used to love those choose your path/turn to page books. Are they quite niche or do they sell well on devices like tablets?

I am still a big fan of (point and click) adventure games as I love a good storyline and puzzle solving. Sometimes they can be frustrating though because they turn into pixel/item hunts, I get stuck and all I really want to do is to move on with the storyline. Perhaps a visual novel would suit me. Have you completed one I could try, or else could you recommend one? Something gritty or else with a sci fi story line?

I can’t really answer your question without playing one, but.. I will try! Personally I would prefer a good storyline to not be broken up by hunting for items every five minutes. If the story and the artwork are good (and the presentation smooth) I don’t see why two hours would be arduous. It takes me a lot longer to read a book.

If there was gameplay I would want it to be subtle, for example if the VN is a mystery then I guess put clues in images and text for me to hopefully notice. But don’t force them on me like when you can’t leave a scene without clicking on all clues. If I notice them great, if not then I failed and can play/read again.

May 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm

All of the VN I played were japanese, and didn’t have much interaction apart from some choices. One of those had some kind of mini card game, but it was boring as hell. (You could even activate some kind of cheat mode, which made your card extremely powerful.)

But, in my opinion, if you make a Visual Novel, there is no need for mini-games. There are pointless and break the flow of the story.

Either you do a full game with a lot of narrative (mass effect, The walking dead, etc..) or a visual novel exclusively.

Some visual novel I recommend : Fate stay night, Higurashi no naku koro ni, Umineko no naku koro ni, Katawa Shoujo

May 30, 2015 at 12:08 am

Hm I guess you guys are right, trying to include things just to entertain the reader might be a distraction more than a complement. I guess simplicity is best in these cases!
I guess my trouble with VNs is that, if you have different endings, you need to replay the whole thing to get to the one or two options you want to change. So you kind of lose notion of the plot and just want to see a small modification in the end. Kinda loses the magic a bit to me, but I guess kinetic novels should be more appropriate to fix this kind of worry! If the writing’s good enough, my readers won’t be bored.

@admin I usually don’t see any horror/thriller ones (because I’m a wuss haha) nor too much sci-fi, but these are just some recs based on my taste! Also, I usually look into English VNs rather than Japanese ones (which tend to be more known) because you can find English ones more easily and the art style is more appealing to me.

  • Regeria Hope
    (Short and sweet! I enjoyed the gameplay so much. It slipped into the story like a glove, really. Like Ace Attorney, it’s a court/crime solving VN, but only the first episode is out. Also, since this is made in Ren’Py, you don’t need to install anything!)
  • The Blind Griffin
    (I’m playing it right now and it seems pretty good so far! I love historical stuff. No installation.)
  • Those Without Names
    (It’s a bit sappy, but man, I loved it. Wished it was longer! Kind of sci-fi, has a cool plot twist. No installation.)
  • Invisible Apartment
    (In the App Store and Steam, I’ve played and loved it! not too many characters, and fairly quick to get through.)
  • Dangan Ronpa
    (Flashbacks haha but I did love this when I was younger, I don’t know what I’d think of it now. I just put it here since it might be more well known considering the fanbase. I just accompanied LPs on YouTube. Quite a long one, though, I warn you!)

And some stuff to look at that I haven’t really played, so I can’t really speak on behalf of the quality (except for Cinders):

  • Cinders
    (I cannot emphasize how much I look forward to getting this?? It’s a commercial game, but the demo’s free. It’s a more serious take on Cinderella and your choices affect the ending. The reason I look forward to it, though, is because they hired an amazing illustrator. I think this is the best art quality I’ve seen for a VN so far.)
  • Ever 17
    (Literally everyone recommends this? I’m always too lazy to play it since there’s an arduous installation process. Fate/Stay Night and 9 hours 9 persons 9 doors also tend to be a very frequent recommendation.)
  • Planet Stronghold
    (An actual sci-fi rec now! Hah, I suck at this. Basically, a lot of people tend to include RPG gameplay in VNs. I honestly think it has too many features to be considered a VN only, but it does have that kind of setup. A bit like Fire Emblem, I guess, which has VN aspects but revolves around the gameplay.)

I hope at least one of these is to your liking, I’m sorry I couldn’t find too much gritty/sci-fi content! A lot of my recs are fairly short, though, so hopefully, it’s at least enough to give you a notion of how the VN genre works. (:

May 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Thanks both for the recommendations.

@wendybirdx – I didn’t expect such in depth recommendations, I really appreciate it! Some of these look great. I am looking forward to starting one later. I will let you know how it goes 🙂