I am a big fan of computer games of all kinds, I love a good strategy game, such as Sid Meier’s Civilisation series, or more recently Endless Legend, which is fantastic. A genre of games that has yet to really hit the big time is the Visual Novel, which can be really enjoyable and walk the line between video game and books. They’re basically one of those ‘Choose your own adventure’ stories that abounded in the 80s, except updated for modernity. A lot of them these days also have ‘otome’ or dating elements to them, which influence the story and eventual endings. I’ve listed a few of the better ones (all of which have romantic elements) that I’ve played over the years for you, and maybe think about trying out a visual novel game if you haven’t before!
Cinders: Cinders is definitely the place to start if you’re interested in visual novels. It tells the story of Cinderella, but it isn’t just about Cinderella. It is a realistic retelling (although there’s still a fair amount of magic around) where Cinders can be a sarcastic pessimist, a romantic idealist or just plain evil depending on your choices. The game also develops the characters of the Step-sisters and Step-mother in a way that no other retelling has done, and they become fully-fledged characters with their own motivations and backstories. There are also several possible romances, and up to 38 different endings. I won’t spoil anything, but this game is seriously worth playing. The artwork is stunning and the characters engaging.
The Royal Trap: The Royal Trap is a true VN like Cinders in that you read through the story and make decisions about your actions that affect how the story will continue. You play as Madeleine Valois, the friend, bodyguard and adviser to Prince Oscar, who is involved in the battle for the hand of Princess Cassidy, against several other Princes. It may sound tame but a kidnapping early on casts suspicion on everyone, particularly Madeleine and her Prince. You take matters into your own hands to clear your name and find the Princess.
Long Live The Queen: Long Live The Queen has the cutesiest, pinkest art style of any VN game I’ve played, and by far the most brutal deaths. You get to see cute little frilly Princess Elodie stuck full of arrows, drowned, and with her skull cracked open if you make the wrong choices. This is less of a true visual novel as there is far more of skill based system that affect your choices, but is still very enjoyable and life-destroyingly replayable. The aim of the game is keep Elodie alive long for 40 weeks until her coronation, and that is far harder than it first appears. I recommend saving a lot, as things can go from seemingly fine to ‘oh my god there’s an uprising and a war what do I do?’ in the space of two weeks. Definitely worth playing, but different to the others as it has more a skill building element to it.
So there you have it! Just a few recommendations if you haven’t played a VN style game before.
Has anyone got any other suggestions or have you played any of these before?