Welcome to my top 10 list of translated VNs for 2018, and I think it's the right time to make this seeing that 2019 is almost come. As for the rule, there's no yaoi, otome, fandisc (ie Fata Morgana fandisc), and re-release (Konosora and Chaos Child). As for my list here, my taste here is quite personal so I'm sorry if some of your favorite titles were didn't available here. I knew that there's some interesting release from Sekai such as Maitetsu (The interface is very good), but too bad it's censored and that I did took my interest to both of Nekonyan's releases more here. Here's my list of top 10 translated VNs for this year, and I hope that you'll enjoy it. As for the score currently I'm based on the average score at today (January 19th, 2019), although it may be change in the future seeing that the scores is often fluctuated.
10. Newton to Ringo no Ki aka Newton and the Apple Tree (VNDB 7.51, Erogamescape 72)
As usual Japanese like to genderbent historical figure, and this time we've got Isaac Newton who in fact turned out to be a tsundere 19(?) years old girl with the name of Alice Bedford. Other than the usual gender-bent premise, we also have the MC Asanaga Shuuji who distanced himself from science because of his grandfather who was left him and get dragged by his female childhood friend Yotsuko to Tenbridge University in London. Then both of Shuuji and Yotsuko were accidentally activated time machine in London and got thrown to year 1687, and they accidentally burned the apple tree that was the source of inspiration for Newton gravitation law which in turn indirectly alter the history. From there Shuuji decided to try fix the mistake while at the same time tried to befriended Alice. This VN is also the first VN that was released by Sol Press, in which it's also the second VN that they'd crowdfund after Sakusakura although the release order was reversed though because they did need to resolve Sakusakura's technical problem back when Newton VN released. So essentially we can say that Newton VN here is the debut VN for Sol Press, and for a supposedly moege it did have some talk in regard of science and the drama itself could be surprisingly heavy at that.
9. Hapymaher (VNDB 7.53, Erogamescape 78)
While I did admit that I was interested with this VN because of the costumes that the girls wear in the dream, I also can see that the costumes here is quite sexy so much that it did distract the reader's attention from the real meat of this VN which is the mind screw story that have some nakige element (I understand that the distraction may be deliberate, but it's still a waste though to have that kind of sexy costumes considering that this isn't nukige lol). As for the premise, it was in regard of the MC Tohru Naito who is burdened by his past that he was lost his family, so much that he can't rest because he did have lucid dream every night that he keep felt awaken in the dream. One night he saw two mysterious girls Alice and Maia, with the former was trying to help Tohru while the latter keep doing something bad. From there Tohru keep trying to find the solution to his own problem, while Maia somehow keep dragging the other girls into Tohru's dream. Since this VN involving people entering dream, what I can say is that it would be better to just enjoy the show instead of keep thinking seriously of how is that even plausible because it'll be hurt you head if you think it. Oh and almost forget to say that Hapymaher here did have Alice in Wonderland theme.
8. Sorcery Jokers (VNDB 7.78, Erogamescape 78)
The first 2018 release from Mangagamer that was announced back at Otakon 2016, and it's setting was in regard of a city which got some magic user that was exist after years ago when the magic was suddenly came to the existance. While at the first glance it made people felt more content seeing that they manage to a normal life, beneath that there's some secret plan happening one that was involved the life of some people. Two of those people were Senri (The magic using criminal) and Mutsumi Haruto (Ordinary school boy) who happened to be our MCs, and from there they'd try to understand more about what's happening around them in which they may need have a hard time to do that.
As for the MCs, yeah I did say it in plular because in Sorcery Jokers we'll going to have two MCs with each of the MC got two heroines each. That said, since this VN involving some combat and world building we won't see much romance at least until you finished the VN, and for more info this VN is a linear one with the feature that you need to unlock the scenes first. Also while there's only two MCs occasinally we also can see the perspective from three other heroines (The fourth heroine didn't have POV), or to put it simply it's like 11eyes Cross Vision system. Speaking about Haruto, I did hear that his 'not playing fair' catchphrase is annoying although I would say that Haruto here is overshadowed by far more cool Senri, and that you can slightly understand there's a reason of why Haruto is like that if you know the twist (The twist remind me of Tales of the Abyss's own twist).
7. Tsujidou-san no Jun'ai Road (VNDB 7.78, Erogamescape 78)
I did repeatedly say that it'll be better if we didn't expect Majikoi from this seeing that both premises were already different, but seeing that the tone is the same along with the fact that there's Takahiro who is infamously have big influence in each of his credited works, it's hard to say that it's not like Majikoi here. So perhaps the right word for Tsujidou here is 'Majikoi but no Majikoi', in which I know it's hard to understand but at least I'm certain that Tsujidou here will be full of comedy. Anyway the premise is that our Hiroshi who is far more normal compared to Majikoi's MC did spot the beautiful delinquent at his class Tsujidou Ai (The main heroine) did looking cute while pick a cat, and from there both of Hiroshi and Ai sort of in relationship for a while. While at the same time, Ai was dubbed as one of the three strong delinquent in their territory along with two other heroines (Renna and Maki). For more info, this is the second Tsurezure's work that in which Trip didn't like Maki to put it lightly and said that Hiroshi here is worse compared to HatsuKoi's Yuuma. Even so, they still managed to finish Tsujidou and I'm sure that most people who've been looking forward to this would be grateful, so I appriciate their work on this even with the fact that Trip dislike this.
6. Fureraba ~Friend to Lover~ (VNDB 7.86, Erogamescape 81)
The first time I find this VN was through the opening song, in which I did hear it when I'm binged Astral Air opening. One time I let my Youtube video player to play next video in the play list, and it happen that one of the video was Fureraba opening in which I'd find it addictive because it's sounds melancholic. Anyway after I'd hear the opening I search about the VN, and turned out that it's a VN from Smee in which back then there's no hope to be translated even though I'm quite interested with that. At least until Nekonyan did their debut and announced Fureraba as their first title, in which they'd release it quickly at the same month that they promised (March). As for Fureraba, while the opening sounds melancholic actually the game itself is full of humor so we can say that it got some mismatch lol. The premise is simple though that namely it's about Kyousuke (The MC) who strife get his girlfriend, and that you must accomplish it through the small talks between the heroines. As for the heroines, there's estranged childhood friend, best friend, very rude classmate, and very shy popular senior girl. Overall I did enjoy this VN and if you want more Smee VNs, there'll be more considering that Nekonyan picked Making Lover.
5. Evenicle (VNDB 7.90, Erogamescape 82)
The first attempt from Alicesoft to make new franchise now that they already ended Rance franchise, although both of Evenicle and Rance did share some of it's lore though. As for the VN story itself, it's self contained enough considering the scope was covering of the whole Evenicle world instead of a part of the whole world like Rance, although judging from the sequel we may have many different worlds for Evenicle series setting though. As for the first Evenicle premise, it's in regard of Aster who want to marry both of his childhood friend only to be stopped by the rule that man can only have one wife unless he became the knight. So Aster decide to become the knight in order to be able to marry both, and from there he met several other womans whose one way or another become his wives while at the same time he face several enemies whose based on Seven Deadly Sins. As for the gameplay I think it's like the combination of Final Fantasy 4 with fixed five party members with specified roles, and Final Fantasy 4 Heroes of Light with battle system that based on 5 BP that will regenerate by one per turn (Also with the seven sins thing). Overall I did find that Evenicle here is quite good.
4. Island (VNDB 7.96, Erogamescape 83)
Frontwing 15th anniversary project, and instead of ask four writers like back at Grisaia this time they decided to ask Goo to write this, so it's normal if we expect some sci-fi from this considering that Goo did write Himawari who is also known for some sci-fi element. As for the premise, it was in regard of Setsuna who at first didn't remember his name until a girl with the name Rinne call him with that name, and so Setsuna decided to go with it and helping Rinne while at the same time try to understand his own self. We also have the setting that there's a legend that Rinne here is one part of the three families in an isolated island, and that there's a rumored curse that was supposed to be happened because of apparent past mistakes that was done by supposed Setsuna's and Rinne's ancestors. Almost forget that like Tsujidou you can have a romance with the three family daughters, although since this is all age VN obviously we wouldn't have sex scenes (At least Yukari Tamura as Rinne here is more than enough tradeoff lol). Like Grisaia, Frontwing also adapt Island into anime and it should be good if for the conclusive ending only (The anime was kind of rushed though), while at the same time the VN was ended in slightly less conclusive note.
3. Sanoba Witch aka Sabbat of the Witch (VNDB 7.97, Erogamescape 80)
Back at last year I did thought that Sekai will bring more Yuzusoft VNs, and turned out I was wrong because the one who release it first was Nekonyan. Also to elaborate more Senren Banka license was moved from Sekai to Nekonyan, leaving Sekai with Tenshin Ranman and Dracu Riot in which both of those were frozen so any chance for near future release is small. So let me redact my statement by saying that there'll be more Yuzusoft VN in the future because Nekonyan did have Senren Banka. Anyway as for Sanoba's premise here it's about of how love that was started from masturbation, and it make sense in the context. Or if you want to be concise it's about our MC Shuuji who can perceive the emotion saw Nene who was masturbate in the library which turned out it's because of her witch contract that cause the horniness, and Nene sign the contract in order to fulfill her wish just like Madoka. While they say witch, I would say that magical girl here is more fitting to Sanoba but then again both of those were almost the same. For more info, this is the first officially localized Yuzusoft VN while at the same time the third (The second if you still wait for Dracu Riot official release) translated Yuzusoft VN, and once again there'll be more in the future thanks to Nekonyan.
2. Flowers -Le Volume sur Été- (VNDB 8.31, Erogamescape 81)
Also known as Flowers Summer and the most interesting JAST release at this year out of four releases to me. As for the premise, it's in regard of Suoh who attend Saint Angraecum (Latin name for orchid) and currently suffer some heartbreak after the event from the previous Flowers happened. Thus our snarky wheel chaired girl Yaegaki Erika took unto herself to recover Suoh and become the MC of this VN, and obviously we'll going to see of how Erika will handle her own problem in which she did find a new friend with the name Takasaki Chidori who'll later become her soulmate (This is shoujo ai VN after all). As for the whole Flowers itself, one may remember Maria-sama ga Miteru (Marimite) anime in which also did have the same setting, and also both of Flowers and Marimite were happened to be the tetralogy. Since this is the second part of tetralogy, obviously there'll be two more in which as of now JAST was working on the third part and hopefully they'll work on the fourth part later, and seeing that it's JAST I would say that it'll took them a long time to even release the third part. That said, the main part of Flowers Summer here is still resolved though so it would be fine if we play this as standalone VN just like Kara no Shoujo duology.
1. 428 ~Fuusa Sareta Shibuya de~ aka 428: Shibuya Scramble (VNDB 8.50, Erogamescape 81 (Wii version))
Currently the only VN that got Famitsu score 40/40 in which in term of video game it would be a big accomplishment (Only 25 games as of 2017), and obviously it mean that Shibuya Scramble here would be a subject of hype. Although as for that, I think the hype was pretty much justified seeing that this VN is quite unique because instead of usual anime like drawing, the creator decided to use photograph which mean that it's obviously will cost a lot. As for the premise, it start simple enough with a detective was tasking into resolve the kidnapping case by giving the ransom money to the kidnapper. Of course things turn out to be not as simple as the first look, and so the detective decided to unravel what's really happening behind the kidnapping. Other than the detective, there's four other characters who somehow are involved in the kidnapping case and you'll going to see from the perspectives of all of those characters so essentially we'll going to have five MCs. Other than PS4, Shibuya Scramble was also out for PC so you can play it if you didn't have PS4, although you can only use the keyboard to play it. Almost forget that if you like Canaan anime, you should check Shibuya Scramble here seeing that this VN is the prequel for the anime itself.
As for of the VNs at this year, I would say that with both of Nekonyan and Sol Press being aggressive looks like it'll be possible that we can get more VNs title. Although of course it's still up in the air though because it's still up to the company whether they can release it or not, and moreso if we know that the company situation could be easily changed. With this year was almost close, let's look forward to 2019 later with more potential VNs release.
PS - As for the title, I'm just combined Flowers's place setting (Saint Angraecum) with Shibuya Scramble, so we got 'Angraecum Scramble' for the title although of course there's no big scrambling zebra cross in Flowers like back at Shibuya.