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Top 7 Most Popular Visual Novel Games

Ace Attorney Characters

Visual novel or also called graphic novel is another genre in gaming world. Basically, a visual novel game allows you to explore the story with text-based gameplay. This kind of genre was originally come from Japan. That is why; we can see ourselves that visual novel games uses anime-style artwork for the characters and the environments.

Since it is text-based, the gameplay for a visual novel game isn’t as attractive as what you will find in RPG. You will hardly find a visual novel game with the heavily-animated monster summoning scenes like in Final Fantasy, but instead, the game will provide you with excellent plot and deep storyline. Among all of the good titles out there, here are the top 7 most popular visual novel games.

7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is the first title of the whole Phoenix Wright games. Made by Capcom, this game easily became the main attraction of Game Boy Advance and DS upon its release. This case-solving game is the best that Nintendo ever had, proved with its popularity and the excitement of Phoenix Wright fans to wait more and more sequels of it.

The original version of the game was split into four episodes that tell the story of the rookie, Phoenix Wright as a defense attorney. And then, probably because of Nintendo realized that the first title of Phoenix Wright series was a success, the remake of this game was made for DS, maximizing the features of the console. The DS version has an extra episode entitled: Rise from the Ashes.

6. 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

999 Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors or also known as 999 is the first entry of the Zero Escape trilogy. It is an adventure, visual novel-based game developed by Chunsoft which was released in 2009 for DS. Following the good response from gamer, this game was ported to iOS in 2013 with the title of: 9 Hours 9 People 9 Doors HD Smart Sound Novel.

The story of this game tells about Junpei, a college student who awakens in a small locked room. The only thing he can remember is that he was incapacitated using a certain sleeping drugs and got abducted by a person wearing gas mask. Later, he realized that he is aboard a ship wearing a strange kind of watch. With the other persons onboard who have the same fate as him, they must play survival games.

5. Rewrite


Rewrite is a Japanese visual novel which was released in 2011 for PC. This game is developed by Key, a brand of Visual Art’s. If you notice, the developer of this game is the same with the one who made Clannad and Little Busters, the other PC visual novel games who was released earlier. There is also a special edition of this entitled Rewrite+ which contains the original game and Rewrite Harvest festa!

The story of this game revolves around the life of Kotarou Tennouji, a high school student who lives in a town called Kazamatsuri. As the story goes, he joined the occult club in his school with all five of his potential love interests. They explore the town seeking information about the occult. If we complete all the heroines’ routes, we will unlock another two routes which will reveal more secrets of the mysteries.

4. Fate/stay night

Fate/Stay Night - Screenshot

Fate/stay night is a Japanese adult visual novel game which was developed by Type-Moon for PC. Released in 2004, this game and the other Fate/ series were known to have more action scenes than the other visual novel games. Being Type-Moon’s first commercial work, this game is a actually a doujin soft visual novel which later turned to some several series of games.

The plot focused on the battle royale which was known as Holy Grail War, where the winner will obtain the chalice called Holy Grail which can grant their wish. There are seven participants in total, and each of them is accompanied by Servant with unique powers and abilities to assist them. As the Master’s assistance in battle, only one Servant can be summoned in each war of the seven classes.

3. G Senjou No Maou

G Senjou no Maou Wallpaper

G Senjou no Maou is another Japanese adult visual novel game which was released in 2008 for PC. The creation of Akabeisoft2 was classified as a romance, drama, and comedy, with some thriller and mystery elements in it. There is also an interactive branching plot line with multiple scenarios which make the game feels more exciting and intriguing to follow.

The story revolves around the life of a high school student named Kyousuke Azai, which was known to be a nice and sociable person. But nobody knows that he is a smart and ruthless businessman who works secretly for his adoptive father who is happened to be a yakuza leader. The main plot has five chapters in it, with a lot of spoilers and plot twists, along with the unpredictable extraordinary events.

2. Katawa Shoujo

Katawa Shoujo - screenshot

Katawa Shoujo is a bishoujo-style visual novel game developed by Four Leaf Studios in 2012. Made for PC, this game uses a traditional text and sprite-based visual novel model with an ADV-style text box running on the Ren’Py visual novel engine. Although it has the appearance of a Japanese visual novel, this game wasn’t made in Japan. The developer tries to make it more appealing to non-Japanese audience.

The story takes place at a fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located in northern Japan. We will play as Hisao Nakai, a normal high school student whose life changed greatly after he suffered a heart attack caused by his long-dormant disease. Enrolled in Yamaku High School, he will interact with other students that have their unique disabilities, along with the five heroines’ routes.

1. Steins;Gate

steins gate (12)

Steins,Gate is a visual novel game developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus. Released in 2009, it became the second game in the Science Adventure series (the first was entitled Chaos;Head). This game was actually released for Xbox, but later it was ported to almost all platforms including smartphone. In 2015, PQube released the North America/Europe version for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.

The story revolves around the life of a self-proclaimed mad scientist called Rintaro Okabe. He is the founder of Future Gadget Laboratory in Akihabara, where he spends most of his time. What is unique about this game is the use of time travel theme, where we usually found in movies. This game shows good character development of the protagonists, along with the unexpected plot twists.

Read also: Cyberpunk Visual Novel N1RV Ann-A Announced as Sequel to VA-11 Hall-A

While some people think that visual novel game will be boring, the truth is there are a lot of good games of it nowadays. The existence of those games none other than because of the good reception from the audience. For a gamer who loves detective-style game like me, I choose either Phoenix Wright or 999 as my favorite. Basically I love crime-based game, and I think those two titles suits me well.

Which one is your favorite visual novel game on the list? Please share your thoughts in the comment below.

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Written by
A fellow RPG addict who played a lot of classic masterpieces from Square, Square-Enix, and Tri-Ace. "The epoch may change, but the classics will remain eternal"

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