Who doesn’t love a perfect happy ending? As it turns out, some of us prefer bad, messed up endings to the perfectly good and happy ones. Most visual novel games are known for their non-linear branching storylines depending on the player’s choices, which eventually result in alternate endings. But of course, these endings don’t always result in “happily ever after”. Some of them are actually messed up enough to leave psychological scars in our hearts. Here is my list of visual novel with bad endings that will definitely make you cringe in discomfort.
note: some of these visual novels contain adult contents such as murder and rape scenes.
1. Saya no Uta
After waking up from a terrible car crash accident, the life of Fuminori Sakisaka takes turn for the worse. The accident has killed his parents and left him with a brain disorder. Due to this, the world and the people around him seem to have transformed completely, taking the shape of hideous and gory creatures. Unable to stand the horror, Fuminori considers to end his misery by attempting suicide. It was then the fateful encounter between him and a young girl named Saya occurred. Even though she looks completely normal to him, this young girl is actually a monster who feeds on human flesh. And so begins the horrendous love story that will leave you sympathizing with the characters, yet will also make you contemplate what does it mean to be a human.
Saya no Uta is a visual novel produced by Nitroplus and written by the infamous Gen Urobuchi. Released way back in 2003, Saya no Uta is still considered as one of the most famous visual novel with bad endings. This VN has 3 alternate endings and it’s still debatable which ending is actually the worst. Even with its dark and depressing theme with nothing but bad endings, Saya no Uta is still extremely emotional. So, if you’re planning to give this VN a go, you’d better prepare your heart. Because if you’re not careful, this VN with murder, violence and rape scenes will make you care for its character, only to leave you with more grievances at the end.
2. Kara no Shoujo
In 1956, private investigator Reiji Tokisaka receives a request from his former buddy from the police force to take on the case of a serial murder targeting high school girls. The case reminds him of another serial murder case 6 years back where he lost his fiancee. As he starts to work on the case, he meets with a young girl named Toko Kuchiki. Toko makes a strange request to Reiji to find her true self, leaving him confused about what she could possibly meant. Little did Reiji know that Toko might actually has a connection to the case that he did not expect.
Kara no Shoujo was released in Japan in 2008 by Innocent Grey. Unlike most VNs, the gameplay of Kara no Shoujo is not simply choosing the character’s dialogue. The player will get to examine crime scenes (like in Ace Attorney) to uncover new evidences. What’s interesting about Kara no Shoujo is, as the story progresses, you will get to meet new characters, learn about their stories, become friends or even lovers with them. But as you’ve probably guessed form this article’s title, things are not going to end well for them. However, unlike Saya no Uta, this VN offers a true ending which, believe me, is no less depressing than the others. That’s why if you’re looking to play this visual novel with bad endings, I only have one advice for you: don’t try to save everyone.
3. Swan Song
The date is December 24. Snow falls onto the ground and the city seems more peaceful now than ever. What suddenly breaks this silence is a massive earthquake engulfing the whole city. When quiet starts to return, the city is no more. In this wreckage that used to be a city, everyone needs to find ways to survive. There are those who seek help from God, those who gather together and those who attack others to survive. Meanwhile in an abandoned church building, the meeting of 6 people trying to seek refuge from the snow occurs, marking the beginning of their journey together.
Swan Song is a 2005 visual novel by studio Flying Shine. It tells about the survival of our 6 main characters: Amako Tsukasa, Sasaki Yuka, Tanomura Shin, Kawase Hibari, Nogi Taeko and Kuwagata Takuma; in the midst of a post-apocalyptic, chaotic society. Throughout the game, the player will alternate between these characters’ point of views as the story keeps unfolding. Luckily, this visual novel offers one single “good” ending (speaking relatively). If you’re planning to play this game, please make your choices carefully because the wrong ones may lead your characters to brutal deaths or even worse — getting raped.
4. Katawa Shoujo
When Hisao Nakai receives a love letter from a girl who turns out to be his crush, he suddenly collapses. Later he found out that he has been diagnosed with arrhythmia. After being held in hospital for several months, he is forced to break off his new relationship. When he is finally discharged, Hisao has to enroll in Yamaku High School, a school specialized for disabled students. There, Hisao must learn to come to terms with his new life. Later in the story, Hisao will develop a romantic relationship with one of the five heroines based on the player’s responses.
Katawa Shoujo is a bishoujo visual novel developed by Four Leaf Studios. This visual novel has a classic choice-based gameplay where the player picks a response in certain dialogues. Compared to all visual novels with bad endings mentioned above, Katawa Shoujo might be considered as somewhat mild. Unlike those mentioned above, this visual novel has various endings, ranging from bad, neutral and good. Fortunately, while some of the bad (and neutral) endings offered in this visual are depressing and somewhat disturbing, each and every heroine still has their own share of good endings.
Not every story can end in a happy ending, especially so in these stories. But what we quite often forgot, is that the ending is not really all that matters. Sometimes, rather than the ending, the process is what makes the whole thing worthwhile. That’s why, if you ever decide to try one of these visual novel with bad endings, don’t forget to enjoy every single moment of it. Because honestly, that’s the whole point of playing a VN.
With that said, my list of Visual Novel with Bad Endings that Will Break Your Heart comes to a close. Have you played them all? If you have any suggestions about another visual novel with bad endings, let me know in the comments below.
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