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About this blog

Twitter (for news and announcements)

Steam Curator Page

External Blog

This blog is devoted to popularization (and discussion about) western-produced VNs. My main goal is to present notable non-Japanese visual novels that didn’t receive attention in the Fuwa community and, whenever possible, giving voice to people behind them. Doing this, I hope I’ll be able to give these projects and their creators the appreciation they deserve and oppose some negative stereotypes about non-JP VNs that circulate within our community.

I’m also going to talk about failed VN projects and review newly-released titles of various quality, using this opportunity to discuss the most common flaws and problems characteristic for the western VN development scene and realities of the OELVN market. 

Entries in this blog

 

Thank you all for coming along for this ride! (Indefinite Hiatus)

Hey there all!   I will start with saying  that I really treasure my time spent writing this blog and interacting with various people involved in the EVN community. You guys were awesome company in this journey and despite the obscurity of this project, I feel like it benefited me personally in many ways and maybe even helped people appreciate the value within the non-JP visual novel scene. I'm really thankful to all the people that read my blog, the devs that offered me their time and

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

The Fairy’s Song (Yuri VN Review)

The Fairy’s Song (Yuri VN Review)

The last time we talked about a “modern fairy tale” VN with a yuri spin to it, it was a very special one – Studio Elan’s Heart of the Woods, which I confidently gave my first and, so far, only 5/5 rating. The way it mixed relatable, modern characters with an emotional fantastical plot resulted in experience in many ways unmatched within the EVN scene. It also showed the huge potential of this formula, handling the clash between mundane and supernatural in a different way than typical fantasy or

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

Synergia (Yuri VN Review)

Synergia (Yuri VN Review)

Have you seen Blade Runner 2049? The cyberpunk epic that charms the viewer with its climate and polished visuals, but is probably a bit too convoluted for its own good and offers relatively little payoff for its massive, multi-layered plot? Now, imagine watching that movie without the context of original Blade Runner and accompanying shorts, all offering crucial pieces of worldbuilding and linking the main entries in the franchise together. How much meaning the sequel would lose and how hard to

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

Stellaren II (Western VN Review)

Stellaren II (Western VN Review)

Stellaren, released exclusively to mobile devices in 2017 was an important game in my engagement with VNs. A dark sci-fi adventure with a captivating setting and a tense, at times brutal story stood out significantly from most other visual novels available for smartphones and I think to this day is one of the best dedicated Android/iOS games of its kind [you can find my detailed review of it here]. It also cemented my love for VNs as a storytelling formula and while some of that infatuation was

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

NaNoRenO 2020 Highlights, Pt 3 – Romance VNs (Non-otome Edition)

Hello there and welcome to the third and final part of my NaNoRenO 2020 highlights! While in the first two posts I focused, respectively, on otome and horror VNs, this last batch of recommendations will be about other romance stories submitted to the event. I have to admit upfront that this is likely the least exciting list of the three, with no game standing out to me in a similar way as Enamoured Risks did among otome entries or Eislyn's Apocalypse did among horror ones. However, there's still

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Eldritch University (Yuri VN Review)

Note: I was provided with a free review copy of the game by the developer. All opinions are solely my own. Sequels to obscure, low budget EVNs are always a slightly awkward topic to tackle. They are inevitably tied to games which few people are familiar with and which can be, at least in some aspects, of subpar quality simply due to their indie nature. This makes giving a meaningful rating and recommendation for potential readers tricky – at the very least, any kind of conclusion about them
 

nothing & nowhere (Western VN Review)

Note: I was provided with a review copy of the game by the developer. To talk about the latest slice-of-life VN by ebi-hime, nothing & nowhere, we have to start in a less-than-obvious place. Nearly two years ago I made an overview ebi’s freeware games and one of the most memorable and unique of them was Lynne: a heavily stylized, pixelart horror game about a teenager crumbling under the pressure from her dysfunctional family and societal expectations she's unable to truly meet. Full of

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

NaNoRenO 2020 Highlights, Pt 2 – Horror (Updated)

Hello and welcome to the second part of my NaNoRenO 2020 coverage, where I’ll be going through the most noteworthy games submitted to the most recent edition of the biggest EVN game jam. While in the first part I focused on otome and other GxB romantic VNs, this time I’ll tackle the niche that, in my opinion, contained some of the best projects in the whole event – horror. Once more, I’ll be focusing on complete projects, rather than many demos and prototypes that get submitted to NaNoRenO – and
 

NaNoRenO 2020 Highlights, Pt 1 – Otome Games (updated)

NaNoRenO, the Ren’Py visual novel jam, is for many years now the biggest community event for EVNs, always bringing dozens of upstart developers, amateurs and veterans of the visual novel scene to share their work, ranging from demos and prototypes to complete (and often substantial) games. Since I’ve started the blog I’m always looking forwards to the opportunity to go through the projects submitted to the jam and present to you my personal highlights – games that are worth checking out not only
 

Mizuchi 白蛇心傳 (Yuri VN Review)

Anyone observing the EVN scene should know well that yuri, besides being my personal obsession, is one of the most vibrant niches for non-JP visual novels, with many studios and creators dedicated to this theme and a very active fanbase. This seems to be particularly clear nowadays, as even companies like Winged Cloud, the infamous producers of low-effort VN smut, capitalized majorly on the trend, producing mostly GxG games for the past few years. On the other side of the spectrum, Studio Elan r
 

Rainbow Dreams (Western VN Review)

Epic Works is a pretty unique phenomenon in the EVN scene: an African studio, developing games openly inspired by the Type-Moon visual novels and other classic chuunige. Their first release, Episicava, was something of a glorious trainwreck, launching with multiple technical problems and borderline-unbearable, edgy storytelling replicating most of the worst tropes of the chuuni game subgenre. The follow-ups included an unholy abomination of a nukige known as Analistica Academy, and a clunky and

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

The End of an Actress (Western VN Review)

Human beings are contradictory creatures, whose behaviour is rarely as consistent as we would like to see and whose motivations are often complex, to the point they’re not fully understood even by the specific person themselves. This fact is often minimized in fiction, which instinctively strives for clear narratives and characters that are ultimately possible to fully understand and assess according to some kind of moral standards. At the same time, there’s undeniable value in exploring the amb

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Steam Curator Wrap-Up – Winter 2020 (Legend of Everything; Weeping Willow; Usagiri; Revenant March; Tell a Demon)

Hello and welcome to EVN Chronicles' seasonal Steam Curator Wrap-up, where I cover the VNs sent to me for review through Steam's Curator Connect functionality. Lately, I’ve come to a sad realisation that I’m unlikely to keep up with all the games I’m receiving, with the appropriate tab in my Steam library growing more and more intimidating over time. However, I’ll be still working to give a chance to as many of them as possible, and assess them for all of you.                 This tim

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

VenusBlood FRONTIER International – Steam Version (JP VN/sRPG review)

When it goes to the Western market for Japanese eroge, VenusBlood FRONTIER is one of the most interesting marketing phenomena in the recent past. Belonging to a series that is most known for its corruption theme and related sexual content, it was rather brilliantly rebranded with a focus on its in-depth gameplay mechanics and the morality system which allows players to shape the fate of its fantasy world in various drastic ways. It is also a game I was highly anticipating because of its rare pre

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Rituals in the Dark (Yuri VN Review)

Note: I was provided a review copy of Rituals in the Dark by Marantana, author of the game's German translation. Rituals in the Dark, published on Steam November last year, is the latest yuri release by ebi-hime, one of the most highly-regarded EVN developers. Those familiar with ebi’s work probably know that her history with yuri is as long as it is unique. Most of her games add unusual spins to the formula, or at the very least showcase her distinct writing style, very introspectiv

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Fallstreak (Free VN Review)

You probably saw many cataclysms in stories you’ve read or watched in the past. Disasters that were natural, technological or magical in nature, limited in scale or apocalyptic, resulting in short-lived crises or civilisation-ending. From Muv-Luv through Swan Song to I Walk Among Zombies, plot-oriented visual novels never shied away from presenting these kinds of scenarios, and along with literature, they’re uniquely positioned to explore deeper consequences they could have for both individuals

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Chemically Bonded (Western VN Review)

Ds-sans is a British VN developer whose work I've been following since the times I started writing my blog, first being charmed by his free romance game Sounds of Her Love, (check out my review of it here). Released on Steam March 2017, this very tame and heartwarming, small love story was extremely by-the-numbers and rather cliched, but stood out through its solid execution and likeable heroine. Later, I’ve checked out this author’s first VN, Lost Impressions, which also proved enjoyable despit

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Bewitched by Graven VNs – That One Visual Novel I Tried Proofreading...

Today I wanted to talk a bit about an interesting project, and one that provided me with a unique opportunity to, for the first time, act as a proof-reader and do minor editing for a sizeable VN. Because of this personal involvement, this won’t be a full-on review, but more of a loose rant, highlighting both the worthwhile aspects of the game and my somewhat-peculiar experience with it. The VN in question, Bewitched is indeed a rather interesting one, as all games by Graven Visual Novels are – j

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Yuri Game Jam 2019 Overview (Updated)

The Yuri Game Jam is a yearly event celebrating my favourite romantic setup in visual novels in all configurations imaginable. Each edition attracts both newcomer and experienced developers, flocking to share their work of various sizes and various states of completion, and while it's not a purely VN-oriented event, in practice it was always dominated by those. From the early days of my interest in VNs as a medium, it held a very special place in my heart, spawning both celebrated classics, such

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Steam Curator Wrap-up – Fall 2019 (Summer Meetings; Omnimus; Knife Sisters; The Far Rings; 4 Alice: Lorange Journey)

Hello and welcome to my seasonal Steam Curator Connect Wrap-up, where I’ll be looking at games sent to me for review through my Steam Curator profile during the last few months – particularly the shorter/simpler among them, for which I couldn’t make dedicated posts. This time, the quality of the VNs I’ve received was a positive surprise, with each title offering something interesting and most of them exceeding my expectations in some ways. The highlights of today’s list are definitely the virtua

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Soundless -A Modern Salem in Remote Area- (Western VN Review)

There were few EVNs in the last few years that I’ve seen seriously hyped up by other VN fans and brought to my attention through multiple recommendations and positive reviews – particularly beyond titles by a handful of relatively well-known and respected creators such as ebi-hime. The game I’ll be writing about today, Soundless -A Modern Salem in Remote Area-, is one of such exceptions, enthusiastic opinions about which intrigued me to a major degree, even though it ended up being two years bef

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Maggot Baits (JP VN Review)

Maggot Baits is something of a Holy Grail of dark eroge, highly anticipated guro fans within the Western VN community and often hyped as possibly the greatest achievement of the company that produced it, Clock Up. As one the most gruesome VNs ever produced, and quite likely the most brutal one ever brought to the West, it contains dozens upon dozens of violent sex scenes, all accompanied by intricate CGs, with small variations in them so numerable that they sum to nearly 2500 unique illustration

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Our Lovely Escape (Western VN Review)

Few EVN studios leave me with such mixed feelings as Reine Works – a small team creating otome and yuri VNs at an impressive pace since 2017, known for titles such as Blossoms Bloom Brightest and Reflection ~Dreams and Reality~. While I enjoy the ideas behind much of their work and there’s usually a visible improvement in quality with each new release, the storytelling in their games always proved lacking, leaving me either bored or weirded out in the end. Still, I was invested enough to still s

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

Blog update + my VN FTL university project

Hello there, all you good people still following my content-starved blog! There will be no regular review post this week (I’ll be catching up next week with one about Reine Work’s Our Lovely Escape, and hopefully a week after that with one of the long-overdue games sent to me for review), but I’ve wanted to take this opportunity to share the reasons behind the recent slowdown on the site and talk a bit my plans for the future. A warning: this will contain a lot of personal musings that most of y

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

 

I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator (Free VN Review)

As it’s probably very clear by this point, I like visual novels. Like, a lot. I also happen to like KFC, which definitely places in my top 3 of fast food chains available here in Poland, occasionally coming very close to claiming that number 1 spot. The only thing stopping me from enjoying its antibiotic-filled, industrial chicken goodness every other day is the lack of convenient locales (in stark contrast to McDonald’s, as the closest one is in a very cosy corner just 10-minutes’ walk away fro

Plk_Lesiak

Plk_Lesiak

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