If you, like many other people of culture, love ladies who love other ladies, then you’re well catered to these days. There’s a wide variety of excellent yuri visual novels out there — and it can sometimes be tricky to know where to start exploring. Never fear, though, because Rice Digital is here with five top recommendations for you!
SeaBed is one of those stories where to explain too much is to give away part of the fun, so I’ll refrain from too many spoilers for now. Suffice to say that this yuri visual novel provides a deeply emotional, touching story wrapped in a blanket of intriguing mystery that will keep you guessing from start to finish.
The story focuses on the relationship between its two main protagonists Sachiko and Takako. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear at the outset of the narrative, the two have been separated for some time, but both have their own independent stories to follow, with the game’s narrative perspective hopping back and forth between the pair of them — and, later, bringing a third character who is acquainted with both of them into the mix. Eventually, the game does provide a few answers — but also poses a lot of questions, too.
Sachiko, Takako and the other characters they interact with are all complex and believably depicted, and the story as a whole is an enjoyably slow burn perfect for a bit of bedtime reading. There’s a warm, comforting atmosphere to the whole visual novel, but it’s also tinged with an air of melancholy that is oddly intoxicating. Be ready to Feel Things at fairly regular intervals.
SeaBed is an all-ages yuri visual novel that is available for Windows PC via Steam, or Nintendo Switch. Play-Asia is doing a limited physical run of the Switch version, but this is still in the pre-order phase at the time of writing and has been for some time.
Nurse Love Syndrome
Nurse Love Syndrome follows the misadventures of newly qualified nurse Kaori, ably voiced by Kana Asumi in a role that’s about as far from her iconic depiction of Neptunia’s Blanc as it’s possible to get. Kaori is an energetic and enthusiastic nurse who quickly finds herself out of her depth in her new role, but there are plenty of people around to support her and help her learn some tough lessons. This is emphatically not a visual novel that in any way fetishises nurses; this is about the often grim realities of day to day life in a busy hospital. Plus yuri, obviously.
Nurse Love Syndrome will resonate with anyone who has ever started a new job and found themselves completely overwhelmed with everything they are suddenly expected to do. Kaori’s struggle is very believable, and the times where it all gets a bit too much for her to deal with will be painfully relatable for many readers. The many different narrative paths down which the game can proceed explore a variety of different responses to such a situation — and how other people around you aren’t necessarily the cool, calm and collected colleagues you might have initially assumed them to be.
Nurse Love Syndrome has an absolutely stellar voice cast; besides the aforementioned Kana Asumi in the lead role, it also features Asami Imai (Noire from Neptunia, Ikaruga from Senran Kagura), Eri Kitamura (Homura in Senran Kagura, Cordelia in Atelier Rorona and Totori) and Yumi Hara (Yumi from Senran Kagura, Atui from Utawarerumono), among others.
Nurse Love Syndrome is an all-ages yuri visual novel that is available for Windows PC via Steam, and for Nintendo Switch. Limited Run Games also do a physical bundle of this game and Nurse Love Addiction, which is in stock at the time of writing.
Nurse Love Addiction
Far from being a straightforward sequel to Nurse Love Syndrome, the second title in this well-regarded yuri sort-of series is a very different sort of experience, hence it being worth consideration completely separately from its spiritual predecessor. This time around, we follow trainee nurse Asuka as she attends nursing school alongside her sister Nao, but over the course of several distinct narrative paths, there is the distinct possibility that things will get… a little odd.
Once again, to explain too much of what Nurse Love Addiction is really about would be to spoil some of the surprises along the way, but suffice to say this one’s narrative goes in some very strange directions according to which of the main love interests you choose to pursue. All of the main routes except one complement one another, too, offering a compelling and intriguing mystery to uncover over the course of multiple playthroughs. And that remaining route offers the potential for both a heartwarming tale of love and an absolutely heartbreaking conclusion depending on how you play it.
Like its predecessor, Nurse Love Addiction has an amazing voice cast, featuring Azumi Asakura (Misaki from Aokana) in the lead role, plus both Asami Imai and Yumi Hara returning to the fold — albeit playing completely different characters this time around.
Nurse Love Addiction is an all-ages visual novel that is available for Windows PC via Steam, and for Nintendo Switch. As noted above, Limited Run Games also do a physical bundle of this game and Nurse Love Addiction, which is in stock at the time of writing.
Ne no Kami: The Two Princess Knights of Kyoto
This intriguing two-part yuri visual novel is based on a peculiar combination of Shinto legends, Norse mythology and an element of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. Creator Fenrir Vier is a strong advocate for creating diversity in gaming and visual novels through authors expressing their individuality through their work, and saw Ne no Kami as an opportunity to finally realise a narrative vision he’d been carrying around in his head for years. The result is certainly a memorable experience.
Ne no Kami’s narrative concerns a girl named Len, whose life is upended when she reconnects with a childhood friend and finds herself drawn into the conflict between humanity and the otherworldly ayakashi forces. Len, the very definition of a reluctant hero, has to learn how to understand the powers she apparently has and how they fit in with this conflict — and, moreover, she has a lot of feelings to come to terms with when she rekindles a relationship with someone who used to be very important to her.
Ne no Kami’s first part ends on one hell of a cliffhanger, and the second part unfortunately had to recast the role of Len owing to the sad passing of the original voice actor Mochi Yomogi. Both parts are well worth your time, however — and as an honourable mention, you may also want to check out the author’s other work Sacrament of the Zodiac: The Confused Sheep and the Tamed Wolf (NSFW link). This 18+ title is not directly related to Ne no Kami’s main story, but does unfold in the same world and offers plenty more in the way of ladies who love ladies — plus a unique “dual perspective” narration system.
Ne no Kami is available in all-ages format for Windows PC via Steam, with optional 18+ yuri content available as DLC. A complete adults-only version is available directly from publisher Denpasoft (NSFW link).
The Expression: Amrilato
Isekai fiction is, like, so over, right? Wrong! And it doesn’t even have to be about someone being dragged into a world that bears an uncanny resemblance to a role-playing game. In The Expression: Amrilato, protagonist Rin finds herself inadvertently stumbling into a whole other world that bears an uncanny resemblance to modern-day Japan — but she finds herself completely unable to communicate. The reason? Everyone there speaks Juliamo — a creative variation on the real-world constructed auxiliary language Esperanto.
Interestingly, The Expression: Amrilato was designed as much as an educational tool as it is a wholesome yuri visual novel story to enjoy. As Rin develops her relationship with leading lady Ruka, she gradually comes to learn the language. And, optionally, you can participate in her lessons, too; the game features a full suite of interactive Juliamo lessons which you can use to learn real-life Esperanto, albeit using a written alphabet developed specifically for the game.
The Expression: Amrilato allows you to take control of your experience; if you want to skip the lessons, you can do — and once you’ve cleared the game once, you can even turn off the custom alphabet or revisit any of the lessons at your leisure. While the real-world application of Esperanto might seem a bit limited, the amount you’ll discover it’s possible to learn in a surprisingly short time when cute girls doing yuri things are involved may well spur you on to greater things.
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