Anyone with English translated visual novels on their holiday wish list might want to check out MangaGamer over the next two weeks. The site, which is one of the first legal options for downloading English titles in this genre is having a Winter Sale. With 25% or more discount on selected titles it’s the perfect opportunity to stock up. Since the sale includes hardcopies of certain titles you can also treat the visual novel loving friends in your life with something special this festive season. Check out the full list of titles below and then head over to the MangaGamer site for more information
After announcing the limited edition hard copies of EF – The Fairy Tale of the Two last month, MangaGamer is back with some more great news for visual novel fans. This time it is Chou Dengeki Stryker that is getting the limited edition treatment. Although the all ages version of the game is already available on Steam, this hard copy comes complete with the full adult version of the game along with some other physical goodies
Great news for fans of bishōjo games as the tongue twisting Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque has gone “golden master” and is in the process of being duplicated. This means that genre devotees will soon be able to get their hands on the “Editio Perfecta” (perfect edition) of the game
Steins;Gate started off quite interesting, and had me hooked with its unique story, but by the end I was literally on the edge of my seat. Although it is quite a long game, there is literally never a dull moment. The use of a mobile phone to make choices, and branch the story is a stroke of genius, and with six different endings there is a lot of replay value. If you want to experience a visual novel with plenty of action, drama, suspense and outstanding characters, then don’t miss out on Steins;Gate.
Gameplay: Not only is the story excellent, but there is actually a surprising amount of choices for a visual novel.
Graphics: The artwork and character designs are beautiful.
Sound: The original Japanese voice acting is very good, and the music is equally great
Fans of the visual novel genre should be familiar with ef – the first tale and ef – the latter tale by minori. These two titles are already available in digital format from MangaGamer, but they have something special up their sleeve this winter with the recently announced Limited Edition of ef – the fairy tale of the two
As far as visual novels go, Ef: The First Tale is one of the best that I have played to date. There isn’t much in the way of choices but the story is engrossing and kept me hooked until the end. Ef is also one of the longer titles I have played in the genre but remains polished and charming throughout. For a feel-good story with likeable characters and some great dialogue you can do far worse than Ef.
Gameplay: A visual novel with very little choices but a touching story.
Graphics: Beautiful artwork and plenty of scenes.
Sound: Original Japanese voice acting and an amazing soundtrack
Don’t play Kana: Little Sister if you expect a typical Hentei game and don’t play it if you are not a fan of reading and drama. If you can appreciate a good story with well written characters and a lot of heart ache then I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s definitely one of the crowning achievements in its genre.
Gameplay: It’s a visual novel so the gameplay consists of lots of clicking with the occasional multiple choice question.
Graphics: Nicely drawn characters but the focus is firmly on the story.
Sound: Minimal sound effects, no voices but touching music
While this game isn’t aimed at the typical visual novel fan, it serves as a nice introduction to the genre as well as the culture. The link to Google street view photos of the locations you visit is an inspired touch and you can pick up some interesting tips and facts about Japan.
Gameplay: A short but enjoyable tour of Japan.
Graphics: Nice apart from the recycled visuals.
Sound: No voices and recycled music
If you are a fan of the original role playing gamebook you will love the way that Tin Man Games brought it to life. You’ll still spend most of your time reading, but the great illustrations and comic book style presentation along with the soundtrack brings everything to life. The storyline is pretty straightforward, but infused with plenty of humor and parodies which makes it more entertaining. The different powers and story branches also give the game a lot of replay value.
Gameplay: Like reading a visual novel and making the key choices yourself.
Graphics: No animations, but some nice comic book style art and bold colors.
Sound: The music and sound effects make the game feel more dynamic