From the 1st to the 6th of May, prices have slashed left, right and centre in the Steam Golden Week sale that includes many of our favourite Japanese titles. Listed below you will find 9 recommendations comprising of the best visual novel titles with the biggest savings on them currently. Grab them while you can!
428: Shibuya Scramble at 80%, was £39.99, now £7.99
428: Shibuya Scramble as I have previously stated in an older article is one of the best mystery games out there. As a staple of the visual novel genre and a fan favourite both in Japan and outside, its story is one of the wackiest out there. From slapstick comedy on one route to an overarching kidnap case that progressively becomes more intricate and disturbing, 428: Shibuya Scramble offers an engaging and intriguing story from start to finish. Players are in control of five characters whose actions and choices are made by the player until a dead end is met where players must successfully guide a different character through their story point to affect the other. There are 95 endings attainable due to the game’s many branching plot-points and bad ends, with some of the most entertaining alternative conclusions within visual novel games.
If My Heart Had Wings at 75% off, was £10.99, now £2.74
As MoeNovel’s biggest hit, If My Heart Had Wings is a romantic and emotional game, with a focus on the themes of youth and loss. Player character Aoi Minase returns to his hometown Kazegaura after suffering from a bicycle accident that leaves him unable to follow his career dreams of becoming a racer. He meets Kotori Habane, a young girl bound to a wheelchair on top of a hill. As they watch a white glider cross the sky, they agree on the shared goal of reviving their school’s almost defunct club “Soaring Club”. Aoi’s journey of building new relationships, overcoming obstacles and discovering new passions will tug at your heartstrings. With breathtaking visuals, beautiful character designs, and life changing themes, If My Heart Had Wings is a visual novel not to be missed.
Hakouki: Kyoto Winds + Edo Blossoms at 73% off, was £22.78, now £6.14
Arguably the biggest otome title known to Western audiences, not much more can be added that hasn’t already been said about Hakuoki. As a series with many installments that can cause confusion to newcomers, put your mind at ease with the purchase of its two latest entries. Kyoto Winds and Edo Blossoms are currently the most updated editions of the game. As remasters split into two parts of the game’s original story, this entry includes additional routes of 6 more love interests originally not available in its previous games. That makes a grand total of 12 routes overall!
Set in Kyoto, Japan in 1864, the player character Chizuru Yukimura is in search of her father who has not returned home in months. Disguised as a male as security for her safety as she travels, she is attacked one night by crazed ronin. She is saved by the intervening Shinsengumi, only to be held for interrogation at there headquarters. With both Chizuru and the Shinsengumi sharing a goal of locating her father, discover love, uncover your father’s mysterious circumstances, and learn of your past in this gripping historical fantasy tale.
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning at 70%, was £49.99, now £14.99
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is a hybrid survival RPG and visual novel title, conceptualized by the talented Takayuki Sugawara who partly kick started the creation of the Danganronpa series. The game offers challenging dungeon crawling segments, and an engaging and emotional visual novel storytelling with many twists and turns we can expect from the mastermind behind Danganronpa. Players initially take control of Haruto Higurashi, as he awakens to island ruins alongside 7 other islanders. Notably each character, other than the mysterious Sachika Hirasaka who does not seem to age, have a “Cross-Key” as their bellybutton, the literal key to their survival as they can be reborn if they die. Each chapter jumps to a different character’s perspective as the new chapter focuses on their bleak past that unravels throughout the chapter. The eight characters can succumb not only in battle but by player’s poor management in other survival elements, such as staying too long in dungeons where characters can die from hunger or fatigue.
With each chapter that reveals even more tragedy than the last and featuring a variety of gameplay mechanics unseen in many of Spike Chunsoft’s other games, Zanki Zero: Last Beginnings will have you hooked from start to finish.
Danganronpa 1/2/V3 at 70% off, was £60.97, now £18.27
The Danganronpa trilogy are undoubtedly some of the most popular visual novel styled games of our time. It is almost impossible to not sing its praises at every given opportunity, so give the series a play through to understand us fans’ obsession of its intriguing killing game setup, shocking story revelations, clever dialogue and unforgettable characters.
In the first game Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc players are in control of Makoto Naegi, average student who finds himself enrolling in the elite high school Hope’s Peak Academy after he wins a raffle to join the academy as the “Ultimate Lucky Student”. Once he finds himself at the academy, things take a sudden turn, as Makoto loses consciousness and wakes up alongside fourteen other newly enrolling Ultimate students in the same situation. The robotic Monokuma tells of their lifelong imprisonment in the locked school unless students kill one another and successfully avoid being discovered as the murderer. As fellow students succumb to either being the killer or becoming the victim, find the culprit using clues, debunking evidence through nonstop debates, and seeking the truth with a final closing argument against the perpetrator.
With well over 100 hours of game time for just £18.27, each game offers a new setup, with different locations, characters, cases, executions and mysteries. And with one of the most iconic villains to come out of Japanese gaming, start from its humble begin all the way through to its shocking and polarizing send off.
Zero Escape trilogy at 68%, was £39.28, now £12.56
The trilogy of Zero Escape offers many different, challenging puzzles in a setup only Zero Escape can offer. The trilogy starts with the originally DS exclusive title Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (999). As student Junpei who finds himself on a sinking ship alongside 8 other individuals, players must participate in life or death games, or be killed on the spot. Orchestrated by the individual “Zero”, players must search and locate items that they can combine and use in the Escape rooms they will be locked in alongside the other characters players choose to proceed with to solve these various puzzles. The game’s masterful storytelling and misleads will have you second guessing character’s intentions.
Featuring branching plot points, shock endings, revelations and a story-line that grows deeper with each game installment and character relation revealed, the Zero Escape series deserves all the recognition it receives.
The Silver Case at 60% off, was £14.99, now £5.99.
The Silver Case was conceptualized by the imaginative mind of Suda51, responsible for some of the most unique games of the last two decades, from the No More Heroes hack and slash series, to hidden gem adventure game on the Nintendo DS called Flower, Sun, and Rain: Murder and Mystery in Paradise. The Silver Case was Grasshopper Manufacture’s first title, originally released on the PlayStation and later remastered for PC and mobile devices.
Set in 1999 in the fictional city “24 Wards”, the Heinous Crimes Unit (HCU) have sent out two detectives to investigate a number of peculiar murders taking place in the city. They soon find similarities between these cases to an infamous serial killer, Kamui Uehara, who targeted and assassinated a substantial number of important government persons 20 years ago in a case well-known as the “Silver Case”. However, Uehara has been contained in a mental hospital and is in no condition to kill again. What does the “Silver Case” and Uehara have in relevance to the current murders? Players experience the game through two perspectives, as each chapter jumps between a journalist covering the investigation and the detective investigating the murders.
The Silver Case is un-apologetically and quintessentially Suda51. With usage of full-motion video segments in between its anime art, point-and-click mechanics extremely unique to the visual novel genre, and interactive questioning and answering in interrogation scenes, the game’s many mechanics interlink to create a one of a kind experience. The Silver Case’s specific style of old school, neo nior detective influences can be compared to media such as the 1995 American thriller movie Seven. Overall, the game offers engaging original puzzles and riddles that makes for a new, gritty and gripping mystery tale for thriller lovers.
The House in Fata Morgana at 50%, was £18.99, now £9.49
As an increasing popular visual novel game, The House in Fata Morgana first appeared on MangaGamer’s store, then hitting the Steam store, and finally earning a Limited Run Games physical release. The House in Fata Morgana follows the amnesiac player character awakening in a mansion and approached by its maid. Together the pair explore 4 different time periods set in the mansion in the hope that the player character regains her memory.
The game has many reasons for its growing notoriety. Featuring a fittingly gorgeous shaded gothic artstyle gives its an edge over other visual novels typically with moe art, and instead adds more substance to its dark plot. This goes hand in hand with its impressive soundtrack, with over half of its 65 tracks featuring vocals as to make the game feel as theatrical as possible. As one of the most effective thriller stories in visual novels, pick the title up for your Steam library at half price now.
Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome at 50%, was £18.99, now £9.49
As the relatable player character Ema Tachibana, she is an unsociable shut-in. After becoming a new student in an unfamiliar school, those around her are intimated by her unapproachable appearance and taller than average height. Despite Ema not minding this introverted school life, she is approached by passionate fashion designer Miki Hiraizumi and standoffish photographer Saito Shinjou as they fixate on their new goal of making Ema into a model.
This otome features only two love interests, but makes up for it with its free DLC that consists of its uncensored R18+ CGs and events not often seen in localized visual novels. This is notably the only otome licensed title available for Western audiences with explicit scenes currently. For gamers who do not want the steamy events, the game offers plenty of comedy, with its many endings being played on for laughs. Even the very first choice of the game has Ema choosing to decide on sleeping the day off, therefor missing the game’s events which leads to an uneventful life as the game ends with ‘And Then You Died’. At half price currently, Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome offers something potentially new for many otome fans who may be wanting more spice than fluff, as well as a premise similar to that of guilty pleasure high school J-dramas, and hilarious dialogue to boot.
What bargains have you obtained this Golden week? Let us know in the comments!
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