The gaming industry has come a long way from the pixelated games of old. True-to-life graphics and visuals that elevate gaming to an art are now commonplace across a wide variety of genres and platforms. But while video games have drastically evolved visually, storytelling has become equally as prevalent. Most gamers want their games to look gorgeous, but many also yearn for a compelling plot. And what best avenue to explore than the visual novel genre to enjoy unforeseen twists and gripping narratives? Akin to interactive books, visual novels are text-based adventure games. So, get ready to dive into ever-so intriguing storylines with these four visual novels.
Doki Doki Literature Club
With its typical anime-styled characters and kawaii design, Doki Doki Literature Club looks like your standard dating sim. The game kicks off as the player-protagonist joins his childhood friend’s high school literature club, only to meet with three heroines he may either entice with romantic poems or mercilessly friend zone. But this mundane book club is not as bubbly as it seems. And the story quickly takes a much darker turn, straying from its light-hearted vibe to steer into sheer horror. As a matter of fact, the rather duplicitous nature of this indie visual novel caused a moral panic upon its release. Still, Doki Doki Literature Club remains a must-play for fans of psychological horror video games.
Ever wished to protect the innocent from an unfair trial? This long-standing series gets you to play it like an ace attorney without needing to pass the bar exam. Putting yourself in the shoes of rookie attorney Phoenix Wright, your task is to defend your client the best you can to clear their name in court. But ruthless prosecutors and dubious witnesses will often stand in the way of justice. So, gather clues and interrogate witnesses to connect the dots throughout your investigation before engaging in epic courtroom battles. With their bigger-than-life character and out-there dialogues, Ace Attorney games might be the most fun visual novels can be. But the franchise doesn’t shy away from tackling mature themes either, not to mention putting together some solid murder scenarios. Three mainline games, a crossover with Professor Layton, and several spin-offs followed the original trilogy. And the Great Ace Attorney Chronicles recently rejuvenated the formula by travelling back to 19th-century Japan and Britain.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Selling over 5 million units since the release of its original title, the Danganronpa franchise is a staple of the visual novel genre. Often compared to the Japanese movie Battle Royale, the series revolves around characters trying to escape a game of death forced upon them by a sadistic robotic bear. But if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, you can always be late to the party and start fresh. Newcomers may dive into the franchise with its first entry, Trigger Happy Havoc. Trapped in a classroom within the Hope’s Peak Academy, your only way out is to expose the lies of your fellow students to get to the bottom of each murder case. You can then catch up on the other titles in chronological order before moving on to a spin-off game, Ultra Despair Girls.
Take a beloved casino staple, add some life-and-death twist, and you’ll get Thief’s Roulette. Your journey begins as you are forced to compete in a series of challenges to fight for your life alongside fourteen strangers. Split into three teams, the winners get to sentence their adversaries to death. Standing on a roulette wheel, one member of the losing team meets their end after a random spin. Inspired by titles like Danganronpa and Zero Escape, this indie point-and-click blends puzzle-solving and visual novels. Finding your way out also requires a fair amount of strategic thinking, just like rolling the dice at the roulette table. Roulette does not boil down to sheer luck, indeed. And top online casinos deliver some astute roulette strategies to maximise your chances of winning. Gamblers may use different betting strategies, such as the Martingale strategy or the Fibonacci sequence. Guides also lay out the ins and outs of progressive and non-progressive betting. Thus, players from all over the world can try their luck online before putting their skills to the test with Thief’s Roulette.
Visual novels may not be out there with RPGs and action-adventure entries gameplay-wise. But they are second to none when it comes to addictive stories, gripping premises, and enthralling mysteries.