Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a great update of the free visual novel released by ebi-hime in 2014. In addition to some stunning new artwork and a great soundtrack the story is still as unique as it is captivating. Don’t let the visuals fool you, this novel is not as lighthearted as it first appears and thanks to some great writing the story is a lot more memorable than expected. The game is short enough to complete in a single sitting, but still manages to have a bigger emotional impact than stories that are ten times longer.

Gameplay: Pretty much a kinetic novel with only a single choice, but the story is so good that it is hard to stop playing.

Graphics: The updated artwork looks really nice, but the option to play with the older visuals is a nice touch.

Sound: The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is definitely a highlight

The Falconers: Moonlight

The Falconers: Moonlight

Help Cassandra Winter save a small New Zealand town from a monster in this engrossing Visual Novel by Bionic Penguin. Instead of romance or fan-service, this title places the emphasis on action and intrigue. It is a little on the short side, but the unique setting and fascinating lore ensure that there is never a dull moment. Three different endings also provide the game with some replay value, so if you are a fan of the genre then this is definitely one to add to your library.

Gameplay: The story will have you hooked from the start and never lets up.

Graphics: Great character designs and good use of color.

Sound: No voice acting and the music frequently just stops, but the sound effects are excellent

NEKO-NIN exHeart

NEKO-NIN exHeart

Join Haruki, the protagonist of NEKO-NIN exHeart, as he suddenly finds himself with two catgirls on his doorstep claiming that he is their new master. Haruki is understandably dubious about the whole situation and not entirely keen to accept responsibility for the two ninjas, but eventually warm up to their cuteness. This visual novel is a lighthearted affair with beautiful artwork, but the story isn’t’ exactly memorable and it is all over without much really happening along the way. Fans of cat girls will definitely enjoy it, but everyone else should probably try the free demo first.

Gameplay: Only two choices in the entire game and not much in the way of character development, but still enjoyable.

Graphics: The artwork is beautiful and the moving cat ears are as adorable as advertised.

Sound: Nice Japanese voice acting for all the girls, but the music isn’t exactly memorable

Sakura Space

Sakura Space

The Sakura series heads into space for a yuri adventure with this release by Winged Cloud. Players get to experience what happens when Captain Shika and her crew of mercenaries stumbles across the bounty of a lifetime. Although it might look like you have choices in the game, it plays out more like a kinetic novel, but offers some entertainment nonetheless. We would recommend sticking to the uncensored version though, as it offers a bit more content.

Gameplay: There are some interesting story elements, but the focus is mostly on the ecchi escapades of the girls.

Graphics: The artwork by Inma is gorgeous as always, but the cast is small and the locations limited.

Sound: No voice acting and decent, but unremarkable music

Queen’s Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past

Queen’s Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past

Queen’s Quest 2 features a different lead character than part one, but improves on the original game in all areas. There is a large cast of fairytale and folklore characters to interact with, beautiful hand-drawn locations, plenty of puzzles as well as a variety of hidden object scenes. While the game isn’t very taxing, it remains entertaining throughout and we can certainly recommend it to fans or those who are curious about the genre.

Gameplay: Neither the puzzles or hidden object scenes are very difficult, but remain fun.

Graphics: Beautiful artwork and plenty of variety.

Sound: Decent music and the voice acting isn’t too bad either

Copoka

Copoka

Copoka is a unique sandbox experience where you get to play as a bird that is reveling in its freedom while surrounded by the oppressed citizens of a totalitarian city state. Your only object is to gather bits and pieces for your nest while listening to the conversations around you to advance the story. It is a very serene experience and the sensation of flying is quite relaxing, but after an hour or two you will have seen everything there is as the gameworld is quite small. While it is not a game for players seeking action or a big challenge, Copoka is fun while it lasts and offers something a little different without costing an arm and a leg.

Gameplay: Fly around eavesdropping on citizens while collecting shiny objects for your nest.

Graphics: The visuals are colorful and stylish, but not that detailed.

Sound: Decent audio and pretty good voice acting

Sakura Agent

Sakura Agent

Akira took the job working for a mysterious agency because it gave him the opportunity for free trips around the world and meeting women. However, despite his high success rate, he is on the verge of getting kicked out due to his antics. He has the opportunity to prove himself though when an influx of other-dimensional beings start making a nuisance of themselves. Sakura Agent is a typical Winged Cloud visual novel with plenty of scantily clad women, comical situations and a paper thin plot. If you are a fan of the genre and the developer you’ll enjoy the game, but everyone else will probably find it a little lacking.

Gameplay: Humorous characters and situations, but the story isn’t exactly engaging.

Graphics: Beautiful character designs, but far too few backgrounds.

Sound: The music is unremarkable while the sound effects and voice acting are non existent

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks is a game where you get to search large, detailed, hand drawn landscapes for people and items. This is repeated across four different landscapes made up of 14 levels. The gameplay is simple, but addictive, while the monochrome visuals and mouth-originated sound effects further add to the charm. If you are looking for something that is easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep you busy for a while, then we recommend you give Hidden Folks a chance.

Gameplay: Very simple, but finding all the hidden folks is quite a challenge.

Graphics: The art style looks great and some of the larger scenes are really impressive.

Sound: Instead of traditional audio the game uses mouth-originated sound effects for everything

Queen’s Quest: Tower of Darkness

Queen’s Quest: Tower of Darkness

Queen’s Quest: Tower of Darkness is a decent enough hidden object puzzle adventure starring a royal heiress on the trail of an evil sorcerer who kidnapped her infant daughter. The colorful and detailed artwork is certainly very eye-catching, but the animations could have used a bit more work. The story never really takes off either, but there are plenty of hidden object scenes and mini-games to sink your teeth into. While far from the best that the genre has to offer, Queen’s Quest has its heart in the right place and can still provide an entertaining experienced, provided you don’t expect too much from it.

Gameplay: The story and puzzles are a little lacking, but there are plenty of hidden object scenes and mini-games.

Graphics: Colorful and detailed, but the character animations are a little off.

Sound: Decent enough for the most part, but some of the voice overs could have been much better

Sweetest Monster

Sweetest Monster

Sweetest Monster is the latest release from ebi-hime, which means interesting characters and memorable situations. It is defintely a much darker title than what you might think, but one that kept us hooked right to the very end. At only about 40,000 words it is slightly shorter than the average visual novel, but the story is good and the price very reasonable. Anyone looking for something with a bit more substance than the typical lighthearted cat-girl visual novels should definitely give this kinetic novel a try.

Gameplay: Beautifully written and definitely very memorable despite the lack of choices or story branches.

Graphics: The game only features a limited amount of character sprites and backgrounds, but they are all great.

Sound: There is no voice acting, but the background music and sound effects are of a very high standard