Five free OELVNs you should have played

Hey everybody,

while this is by no means a comprehensive list, I believe you'll find this helpful when deciding on what visual novel to read next. Many people are prejudiced against original English language VNs, but really, many are quality writing, not in the least inferior to their Japanese counterparts. This is what I think represents the cream of the crop. Note that these are not ranked, so number one on this list is in no way better or worse than number five. Note that all of these are non-commercial works, so don't hesitate to download them today!

1. Ori, Ochi, Onoe (ATP Projects)

 In my opinion, mikey's finest piece of writing yet.  What originally appears to be a rather standard story about a troubled marriage slowly turning into a menage-a-trois turns into a beautiful tale of submission for the sake of love, dealing with hurt feelings and how far people are willing to go for a relationship. The twist ending is a little difficult to find, but more than worth it. Even the music of this game plays a part in the resolution of the mystery!

2. The Elevator (Cyanide Tea)

While a little on the short side, The Elevator is probably the finest piece of non-traditional VN out there - both in style and in content. The art is distinctly non-manga, the writing follows classic detective stories more than it follows classic romance, there's a typical noir-SF element in the plot, and all of that together creates one of the most powerful experiences that visual novels can provide. Do not miss this!

3. [text] - A Summer Story (sakevisual)

Another shorter piece of writing, but this time, one of the most chilling experiences VNs have to offer. Using an unusual interface, this VN tells the story of a seemingly normal summer vacation through text messages the protagonist is exchanging with other people on her mobile phone. This unique presentation lulls you into a false sense of security replaying the game for its different endings, until you find out that sometimes the true endings aren't necessarily those that work out well for the protagonist...

4. Locked-In (saguaro)

The screenshot for this one alone should show you that it's going to be a very special experience: Locked-In is an almost classic tale of trust and betrayal, with the twist that it's told from the perspective of a person suffering from locked-in syndrome - that is, she cannot move her body but is conscious to everything that happens around her. Who of the people around her are her allies? Who are her enemies? You'd better find out, or being locked-in may not be the worst thing to happen to you...

5. That Cheap And Sacred Thing (carosene)

Well, and after muddling with your minds so much and sending you through all these mystery VNs, here's finally a straightforward romantic story. So straightforward that it's even a kinetic novel - a VN without any branches. Read this as you would watch a movie - the best thing you can do is set the text to auto-advance at a place you can leisurely read it and then just enjoy. This sci-fi story about the measure of humanity and the true meaning of love is sure to you get your eyes teary. Get someone you really like in front of the screen with you - you're going to need to cuddle a lot afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. Great list! I am downloading Ori, Ochi, Onoe and [text] A Summer Story right now!


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