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What is an OELVN? OELVN is an acronym that stands for Original English Language Visual Novel. If you're on Fuwanovel, you know what a visual novel is already. An OELVN is just that, but it's native language is English. An OELVN can be a commercial product, but a lot of them are actually free-to-play. Why are you making this list? Recently, I had to read an OELVN for the Fuwanovel review team. As someone with very little experience with that area of visual novels, I took to looking around the forums to get inspiration on what to read. Not surprisingly, there wasn't a real resource to be found on Fuwanovel that provided an excellent jumping point into that area of the medium. This was later brought up during brainstorming with the visual novels discussion moderating team and that provided me the impetus I needed to start this list. What is this List? As the title implies, this list aims to provide information on OELVNs that might be worth reading to you as a fan of the medium at large. I hope it'll be a good jumping point for those in the Fuwanovel community who want to read OELVNs, but don't know where to begin. As well, I hope it might also spark some curiosity for those who might have little-to-no interest in OELVNs. This will be by no means a comprehensive list. It is one put together through the generous input of a handful of Fuwanovelers and through other resources and reviews that I could find on the internet. What do you mean by 'notable'? This is not an exact qualification. I'm taking titles that have interesting sounding narratives, favorable critical reception, or professional quality production value and putting them together in a list that will hopefully be of interest to those interested in starting to read OELVNs. Some titles on this list will be commercial works, others will be free. Why are you writing this list? It's true that I myself have very limited experience with OELVNs, and I'm not the most comfortable putting together a list like this that doesn't rely heavily on personal recommendations, but it's a good chance for me to maybe discover new things to read as well as share what I find with the community. Now, without further ado... The Fuwanovel List of Notable OELVNS Air Pressure by Bento Smile Notable Tags: Only a Single Heroine, Multiple Endings, Lots of Choices This one is really short, but it has impact. Saying anything more might ruin the experience for you, it might be better to make the connections yourself. Where to play: Kongregate (online), Official Site (download) Analogue: A Hate Story by Christine Love Notable Tags: Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction If you keep up with visual novels, you're likely at least marginally aware of Christine Love and her works. Analogue: A Hate Story is an interesting work, putting you (the player) in the seat as a character in the novel, unraveling the grim details of what befell the crew of the Mugunghwa. If you are finding yourself put off by the art, you shouldn't let that stop you. It is an excellent story, with an interesting narrative device, that will likely leave some lingering feelings after all is said and done. You can find a demo here. The game has a direct sequel, Hate Plus: ~Mute's Golden Days~. Where to buy: Steam, Desura Autumn's Journey by Apple Cider Notable Tags: Otome Game, Fantasy This is a short one, clocking in at around an hour. The story and setting isn't my cup of tea, but it does have excellent production values. The art has a very professional luster and the music is excellent. There's really no downside to trying it out, it's free and the time commitment is minimal. Where to download: Official Site Bacchikoi! by BlackMonkey Pro Notable Tags: Shounen AI, Yaoi, Baseball Club, Lots of Event CGs For those of you that enjoy boy love. This looks to have a really clean presentation. A bit pricey, particularly the uncensored version. Where to buy: Official Site Bermuda by InvertMouse Notable Tags: Linear Plot, Protagonist with Voice Acting This is a visual novel crafted by our very own InvertMouse. It's fully voice acted, looks good, and has some pretty cool design choices for a visual novel. A demo can be found on his official site below. Where to buy: Official Site Cave! Cave! Deus Videt by We Are Muesli Notable Tags: Lots of Choices, Minimalist Sprites This looks pretty esoteric and weird, inspired by the works of Jheronimus Bosch. Might be worth a read if you're into that sort of thing. Where to download: Official Site Cinders by MoaCube & sakevisual Notable Tags: Female Protagonist, Fairy Tale, Multiple Endings Cinders is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, one that places an emphasis on the choice of the reader. The art assets look very nice and have a storybook charm, but there's some mixed reception. From what I can tell, it's on the short side. You can try a demo here. Where to buy: Steam, Official Site Clannad -The Past Path- by Scope Games Notable Tags: Fan Fiction, 80's, Early Branching Plot, High Amount of Bad Endings I haven't played this one, but I thought it would be worthwhile to mention it. It's an unofficial prequel to Clannad made in the Ren'py engine. It's free and the developer's site says it takes between 5-10 hours to 100%. Be warned, it does contain spoilers for Clannad. Where to download: Ren'Ai Archive Death Rule: lost code by MESI Games Notable Tags: Multiple Stories, Battle Royale, Third Person Narrative Haven't played this one, but it's a death game story. The premise will probably either remain interesting or be very tiring for you by now. Might be worth checking out, it's free. Where to download: Official Site Digital: A Love Story by Christine Love Notable Tags: Linear Plot, 80's, Internet This is the spiritual predecessor to Analogue: A Hate Story, made for the NaNoRenO. It employs a similarly unconventional storytelling approach as Analogue: A Hate Story, with the narrative entirely unfolding through BBS conversations in the late 80's. It's a cool concept, the story is engaging, and it's free. If you plan on reading A Hate Story, consider reading this one first as some aspects of Hate Story will spoil the ending to Love Story. Where to download: Official Site Doki Doki no Obama by Chris Sommer Notable Tags: Parody, Politics This might seem like a joke suggestion, but I promise this game is actually fairly amusing. It's obviously not the most high-brow political satire, but it has more to it than you might actually expect. Try it out, it's free and pretty funny. Where to download: 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story by Christina Love Notable Tags: LGBTQ, Teacher Protagonist, Adolescent Romance don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story is the spiritual sequel of sorts to Digital: A Love Story. One isn't necessary to understand the other however, so you can think of it as a stand alone work. Where to download: Official Site Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos by Dischan Media Notable Tags: Science Fiction, Female Protagonist This is the first episode of the Dysfunctional Systems story, with the second one slated for some time this year. I adore the art style of this game and you can't really go wrong with the price point of $4.99. Where to buy: Steam, Official Site Jisei, Kansei, Yousei by sakevisual Notable Tags: Murder Mystery, Superpowers This is a trilogy about a teenager with the power to relive the final, dying moments of corpses. The games look nice enough, has a pretty decent premise, and from what I can tell, get progressively better as the series progresses. You can find a demo on the official site below. Also available for iOS. Where to buy: Official Site Juniper's Knot by Dischan Media Notable Tags: Kinetic Novel, Multiple Protagonists, Demon Protagonist, Shota Protagonist Another NaNoRenO game, this one is a story told from two different perspectives. The art is very slick and you can't go wrong with the price tag of free. Where to download: Official Site Katawa Shoujo by Four Leaf Studios Notable Tags: Slice of Life, High School, Disabled Heroine This one doesn't need any introduction. It's probably the most high-profile OELVN. Chances are you've already played this one, and if you haven't, you probably need to look no further on this list to find what to read. Where to download: Official Site Leviathan: The Last Day of the Decade by Marcel Weyers & Lostwood LLC Notable Tags: Episodic Story, Cyberpunk, Dark Fantasy, Dystopia, Bloody Scenes An interesting premise and setting. It's an episodic game, with the 1st episode being free. They seem to be currently trying to fund the final episode. Where to download/buy: Official Site Long Live the Queen by Hanako Games Notable Tags: Raising Simulation, Medieval Fantasy, Female Protagonist It's hard to put into words just exactly why I enjoyed this game as much as I did. The art quality varies, topping out at alright and the music is pretty generic and forgettable. The "gamey" aspects of it lose value after a single play through. Reading it was fun though. Collecting all the ways the princess can die in an achievement collecting like fashion has a certain morbid charm to it and the setting is surprisingly grim. You can find a trial version on the official site below. Where to buy: Steam, Official Site Loren the Amazon Princes by Winter Wolves Notable Tags: Medieval Fantasy, Fantasy,RPG This is something of a visual novel/RPG hybrid, though. The RPG elements are a bit bland and the combat interface leaves a lot to the imagination, but it looks good, has an alright story, and it does have elements of character creation if you're into that sort of thing. The big downside is that the bundle that includes the dlc is a bit on the pricey side. Where to buy: Steam, Official Website Nicole by Winter Wolves Notable Tags: Otome Game, Mystery, Raising Simulation, Dating Simulation This one isn't really my kind of game, but it's worth mentioning. It looks kind of like your standard otome dating sim, but with the plus of having some great looking art assets. I've read that the writing is kind of cheesy, which could be a plus or negative depending on your tastes. On top of it all, there's supposed to be a yuri version of the game released at some point. You can find a demo on the official site below. Where to buy: Steam, Official Site RE: Alistair by sakevisual & Mugenjohncel Notable Tags: Otome Game, Dating Simulation Once again not exactly my kind of game, but the description makes it seem charming enough. The art looks decent enough, it's free, and its on the short side. Might be worth checking out. Where to download: Official Site Sunrider by Love in Space Notable Tags: Science Fiction, Mecha Combat, Starship Combat, War I'm currently playing through this one myself at the moment. The game looks nice in some select areas, but it is lacking in others and you may find certain 3D elements to be incongruent with the rest of the game. The story doesn't really seem that exceptional yet, but the game play is pretty decent and it's easily available on steam for the low time price of free. Where to buy/download: Steam That Cheap and Sacred Thing by carosene Notable Tags: Female Protagonist, Kinetic Novel, Science Fiction This one comes in at around an hour and I found it surprisingly touching. It has some pretty interesting (if common) themes, but they might seem a bit underdeveloped due to the length of the game. Nevertheless, it's a cool setting with a story that's worth the read. Check it out, it's free. Where to download: Lemma Soft The Dandelion Girl by /jp/ project Tags: Literary Adaptation, Time Travel, Kinetic Novel, Science Fiction, Adult Protagonist This is a literary adaptation of a short story by Robert F. Young. It seems to have a decent reception. If you're into that sort of thing, check it out: it's free! Where to download: VN-Meido The Elevator by Cyanide Tea Notable Tags: Adult Protagonist, Detective Protagonist, Slice of Life This is a free game that seems to be about a relatively simple, human story. I'm looking forward to setting aside the time to play it. Where to download: Official Site The Knife of the Traitor by Clua Notable Tags: Female Protagonist, Mystery, God Hero I included this on this list because of how interesting this title looks. The game's art and sense of style is eye-catching, the synopsis is very curious, and it's free and short. On the whole it looks like a charming title that's worth to try out. Where to download: Lemma Soft The Royal Trap by Hanako Games Notable Tags: Proactive Protagonist, Otome Game, Intrigue This one looks interesting. The art is decent, I actually hear the story is pretty good, and a premise of playing as a well-bred lady whose job it is to mold a prince into marriageable material is an intriguing premise. Throw in some court intrigue and I think this one is worth a look. Where to buy: Official Site The 39 Steps by The Story Mechanic Notable Tags: Literary Adaptation, Interactive Adventure Game, Protagonist with Voice Acting, Crime This is a curious title that never shows any of the characters on screen, but in its stead it's fully voice acted. An interesting concept. It is based on a book, which has a number of movie adaptations. From what I've heard, it's very faithful to its source material. Where to buy/download: Amazon, Steam Witches & Woodlands by Jan-Poo Notable Tags: Parody, Fan Ficion, Metafiction, Kinetic Novel I thought this might be of interest as this is a free Umineko fan parody. From what I've heard, it's actually pretty funny. Where to download: Official Site X-Note by Zevia Inc Notable Tags: Otome Game, Multiple Route Mystery, Murder Mystery It's an interesting synopsis, looks pretty good, and the few reviews I've found for it seem to be in agreement that the story is at least solid, if not good. There is a demo available on the site below. Where to buy: Official Site Some titles you might want to keep an eye out for in the future: Exogenesis - this one has really caught my curiosity. Lucid9 Huniepop - I'm far more excited for this one than I probably should be. Queen At Arms Violet Hill Waxwing Notable sites, tools, and resources: Planet EVN - a regularly updated blog about OELVNs Lemma Soft - discussion and development boards for visuals novels, datings sims, and story based games. Ren'Ai Archive - archive games made with the Ren'Py engine, a free software engine to build visual novels. Be weary, there's a lot of stuff in there that ranges from not-so-good to shit. Steam: Visual Novels Visual Novel Database Change Log: This list will continue to be a work in progress. I'm looking to further expand on it as I discover new titles and new games are released. If you have any suggestions on something to add or would like to point out something I glaringly missed, feel free to do so. Once again, this isn't a definitive, comprehensive list. It's not a list of 10 out of 10 games. They're "notable." You might find them interesting as fans of visual novels, you might even love them, but your mileage will vary. Credits: My thanks to Rooke, Ryechu, InvertMouse, and Down for their input in putting together this list.