The Time is upon us, Steam summer sale is finally here. The time of year where we sacrifice our wallets to Gabe Newel in order to obtain dirt cheap games, but fear not for I am a generous man. Instead of wasting all your money on Games you will never play, the latest early access craze or Skyrim for the 17th time – I have taken a look through steam catalogue of Visual Novels in order to find you some great games you can hopefully pick up at a decent price.
I’ve tried to leave out game that seem obvious to pick up if you Have not already and games that are quite costly like Clannad, Steins;Gate, Muv-luv and Grisaia but if you haven’t picked these games up I highly recommend you do. Now with all the preamble out of the way let’s get into the list.
Planetarian: Reverie of a Little Planet
Planetarian: Reverie of a little planet is a Kinetic Visual novel by Key and written by Suzumoto Yuuichi. The game is about a “Junker” in a post apocalyptic world who finds a pre-war planetarium, this building is home to a service robot named Hoshino Yumemi. She greets the Junker as their first customer in 30 years and attempts to show him the stars but is unable to due to the broken projector. He then helps the robot repair the planetarium in order for her to show him the stars and that is where the story begins.
This Visual Novel is a short, beautiful and compelling story. Despite the length and very small cast, Planetarian manages to build an incredible, intriguing world and some lovable characters. The music and art, despite being from 2004 still hold up even today even compared to new releases,
If you are looking for a Short visual novel with that tells a beautiful and melancholic story, I highly recommend that you check this out.
Higurashi: When They Cry
Higurashi: when they cry is a Kinetic Visual Novel by 7th Expansion and Ryukishi07. The game tells the story of Keiichi Maebara, who has recently moved into the small countryside village of Hinamizawa. His days are peaceful until he discovers the curse of Oyashiro and the mysterious deaths that occur on the night of the Watanagashi festival.
Over the many story arcs, Ryukishi07 manages to construct a complex and compelling Showa era, murder mystery filled with many twists and revelations. The Transient nature of their peaceful, cheerful lives and the gruesome horrific acts by the cast creates an incredibly gripping story that you can’t pull yourself away from.
The Mystery themselves are thought-provoking and its overarching nature in quite unique in the medium of visual novels. The Visual novel emphasises and encourages making conjectures about the mystery which makes figuring out how each arc fits into the story all the more satisfying.
If you are a fan of Murder mysteries, Horror and strong characters – Higurashi: When They Cry is definitely the game for you.
Umineko: When They Cry
Umineko: When They Cry is also a Kinetic Visual Novel by 7th Expansion and Ryukishi07. Umineko takes place in 1986 on the secluded island of Rokkenjima. The head of the Island, Kinzo Ushiromiya is on his deathbed and eleven of his family are deciding how to distribute his fortune once he passes away. After the eleven family members arrive, a typhoon traps them on the island and shortly after people start to be mysteriously murdered.
Similarly to Higurashi, Umineko tells an incredible, thought-provoking murder mystery told over many arcs but in this case the mystery and the questions proposed are much more complex and philosophical than Higurashi. The characters are also very well written and the cast has great chemistry. Again similar to Higurashi the game invites you to make conjectures in order to piece together the mystery which is my favourite part of both games.
Again if you are a fan of Murder mysteries, Horror and well-written characters – Umineko: When They Cry will also be the game for you.
The House of Fata Morgana
The House of Fata Morgana is a Visual Novel by Novectacle and written by Hanada Keika. In this Visual novel, you wake up in an old mansion. You see a woman stand before you claiming she is a maid and you are her master, You have no memories, no concept of self or certainty you are still alive. The Maid invites you through the mansions lifeless halls, showing you the various tragedies that have befallen its residents. She suggest that you search amongst them in order to find yourself.
Fata Morgana tells a powerful, emotional and dark tale about love, death, fate, pain, tragedy, revenge and salvation. The Story is rich and emotional, full of twist and turns with a dark, surreal atmosphere captivating you from the moment you start reading. The art for this game is unconventional for Visual Novels but fits the dark, surreal atmosphere of the story very well and the music is also incredible.
If you are looking for a dark, surreal and emotionally gripping tale completely different to Visual Novels then this is a game you must consider buying.
Symphonic Rain is a Visual Novel by Kuroneko-san Team and written by Nishikawa Maoto. Symphonic Rain takes place in a fictional city of Italian heritage, where rain falls everyday. The Locals have adapted to this phenomenon and carry out their everyday lives as if the rain wasn’t there.
The story follows Chris Velding, a student at the famous Piova Communal school of music. Separated from his childhood sweetheart after moving to the city, he keeps in contact with her by the means of weekly letters. Chris treasures her letters and keeps them as he promised he would one day return to her once his draw became totally filled. The game starts in Chris’s third year as a student looking for a vocalist in order to participate in his final exam.
The story of Symphonic Rain is bitter-sweet and subtle, the story starts of slow but as you continue to read it, the Visual novel opens up to reveal some charming characters and beautiful, sentimental music that compliments it’s melancholic setting. The art of the game is great and compliments the overall feeling of the game. There is also rhythm game sections which are quite fun to play as well but these can be set to automatic if you want to sit back and enjoy the music.
Overall Symphonic Rain is a Visual novel with a beautiful and melancholic story with great characters and powerful, sentimental music. If a great game with a musical setting is something you are looking for make sure to pick this up.
We can’t mention Visual Novels on steam without this title, right? Nekopara is a visual novel by Neko Works, Yukihito and Sayori. The story of Nekopara follows Kashou Minaduki, the son of a long line of Japanese confection makers who has moved out in order to open his own Patisserie. Amongst his belongings he finds two of the cat girls his family are raising called Chocola and Vanilla. He tried to send them back but they kept begging and pleading until he finally gave up and now they are opening La Soleil together.
This is probably the least serious game on this list. Nekopara is a very cute slice-of-life Visual Novel depicting the daily antics of Kashou living with his cat girls The story is short and sweet with its cute characters and light-hearted romance. The art by Sayori is incredible, especially the animated sprites and colourful, detailed backgrounds. There is also an 18+ patch on Denpasoft for the game in case you are a man of finer taste.
If you are looking for a cute slice-of-life with light-hearted romance and have somehow not picked up this series yet then you should probably pick this visual novel up.
Flowers -Le volume sur printemps-
Flowers -Le volume sur printemps- is a Visual Novel by Innocent Grey and written by Shimizu Hatsumi. The story takes place in the prestigious all-girls school Saint Angraecum Academy. This is where Suoh Shirahane, a painfully shy girl with a mysterious past will begin her first year of high school. The game follows her and the new friendships she forms as she attempts to unravel the many mysteries at the academy.
The Visual novel tells a beautiful, coming-of-age drama with great characters and a well-written narrative to accompany them. The game has lots of strong character interactions and well handled Yuri relationships. The art by Aoki Fumio was one of the strongest aspects of the game. Its Victorian-esque aesthetic combined with the water-colour art style was breathtaking and some of the best art I’ve seen in a Visual Novel.
If you are looking for a powerful coming-of-age story focused around lesbian relationships I highly recommend you take a look at this Visual Novel.
If My Heart Had Wings
I won’t go in to very much detail for this Visual Novel as I have previously as I have a review that you can read on my blog. In Short, if you are looking for a Slice-of-life Visual Novel about a club coming together to attain their dream, this Visual Novel is for you. With its fun cast of characters and some well-written romance, this is a worthwhile read.
G-senjou no Maou
G-senjou no Maou is a Visual Novel by Akabeisoft2 and written by Looseboy. The story follows Kyousuke Azai, the son of an infamous gangster. He often listens to classical music and works part-time for his step father. His life begins to change when one day a transfer student by the name of Usami Haru appears bringing with her the international criminal Maou, dragging Kyousuke into their game of cat-and-mouse filled with dark plots and intrigue.
This Visual Novel tells a trilling battle of wits between Haru and Maou and has you hooked with its fast paced story and dark themes of deception, revenge, greed and mystery. The Visual Novel also doesn’t fail to show some heart-warming moments and compelling romance between the girls and Kyousuke. Aside from the main route, the side routes stand on their own too as well written after stories. This music by Tiko-µ is composed of remixes of classical pieces with their own unique twist which fit thematically with the game and create a very unique atmosphere.
If you in need of a Fast paced, Battle of wits that will keep you on the edge of your seat with some great complex characters look no further than G-Senjou no Maou.
Dies Irae ~Amantes Amentes~
Dies Irae ~Amantes Amentes~ is a Visual Novel by Light. During May 1st 1945 on the eve of Berlin’s collapse, a group of men and women carried out a sacrificial ritual using the countless lives lost in the battle. To them, the outcome of the war meant nothing. It is unsure whether it was successful and they faded away from sight and mind, only remembered as a myth.
61 years later in Japan, we find our protagonist Ren Fujii attempting to rebuild his life after the hospitalization of his friend. That plan eventually falls apart as chaos beyond common sense devours the city, seeking to destroy everything he holds dear. With the desire to return to his simple, joy filled life – he decides to fight against the Longinus Dreizehn Orden in a war full of madness, Carnage and maledictions.
Dies Irae has a great story with a dark, gritty atmosphere and brilliant characters with crazy, twisted personalities which grip you from the beginning. The themes of the game are thought-provoking and philosophical in nature. The battle scenes are exhilarating and over-the-top embracing the Chuuni-ness and the shounen tropes. The Art and Music was also great complimenting the fight scenes.
If you are looking for an Action visual novel with a dark atmosphere with twisted characters and thought-provoking and philosophical themes then check out Dies Irae. Make sure to read up on Nietzsche, Kafka, Goethe, Wagner and Kant to understand it on more than a surface level.
World End Economica
World End Economica is a Visual Novel by Spicy Tails and written by Isuna Hasekura, the author of Spice and Wolf. The story takes place in the far future on a colony on the moon. Haru is a young boy who dreams of standing where no man has stood before. In order to fulfil his dream he needs capital. He then learns to use the stock market in order to obtain the wealth required to reach his goal.
World End Economica’s strengths come from its great setting and the very human characters that inhabit it. The story has some great themes focused around Economics, Poverty, Depression, Self worth and sentimental value. The game has some great CG and sprite art with some rather unique character designs.
If you are looking for a Visual Novel about Economics and Stock trading with some great themes and characters then you should also pick this VN up – especially if you are a Spice and Wolf fan.
So this wraps up my spotlight on some Visual Novels to look out for during the steam sales. I didn’t mention some games mostly because I haven’t played them or have no prior knowledge about them. Some examples would be Eden*, Kindred Spirits, Dengeki Stryker and Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition. Check these games out, sadly I cannot recommend them personally but I’ve been told to play them myself.
Anyway, Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope that this guide was helpful for you and enjoy these games as much as I do. Happy Hunting during the Steam Sale and I will see you on the next VN Completionist.