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The Fuwanovel List of Notable OELVNs

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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: SteamDesura

 
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: SteamOfficial 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: SteamOfficial Site
 

JiseiKanseiYousei 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: SteamOfficial 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: SteamOfficial 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: SteamOfficial 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: AmazonSteam
 
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:

 

12.19.14 Added Air Pressure, Deathrule: code lost, and The Dandelion Girl to the list

10.30.14 Added Lucid9 and Violet Hill to the games to look out for.

10.23.14 Gave don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story its own entry after an impassioned argument from Arakura that it deserves it.

10.23.14 Removed Cradle Song from titles to look out for.

 

 

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 RookeRyechuInvertMouse, and Down for their input in putting together this list.

Edited by nohman

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I'd nominate Sepia Tears myself. Has a fairly good android port which is on the app store (which is actually how I read it, tablet mode.) It's short enough for you to just try it yourself to judge it.

 

Cradle Song has been shelved indefinitely by Dischan due to it just being too ambitious, so you might as well take it off the list.

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I'd nominate Sepia Tears myself. Has a fairly good android port which is on the app store (which is actually how I read it, tablet mode.) It's short enough for you to just try it yourself to judge it.

 

Cradle Song has been shelved indefinitely by Dischan due to it just being too ambitious, so you might as well take it off the list.

I read a good chunk of Sepia Tears. Decent enough but a lot of the humor is reference based and of course it has that side character who is a die hard weaboo i mean otaku. 

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I recommend Air Pressure too, it's a piece of art. Though I would suggest the Ren'Py version from here, as the flash version doesn't feature skipping and you have to beat this very short VN a few times to understand it.

Well, since I'm here... I'm suggesting The Dandelion Girl and Death Rule: lost code to be added to the list. Former is a kinetic sweet little romance story and literary adaption of a short story by Robert F. Young, so maybe the plot won't be new to some. Second one is a Battle Royale story, setting would be a mix between The Hunger Games and 999 and it's quite entertaining despite its flaws in the back-story department.

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Memo is a fairly decent visual novel, and by OELVN standards definitely worth checking out mostly because of the art and leisurely writing style:

Memo thread and download

 

Memo was also I believe the first Visual Novel the artist Doomfest was involved with. And these days Doomfest is kind of an important name in the OELVN community. 

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Memo is fairly decent visual novel, and by OELVN standards definitely worth checking out mostly because of the art and leisurely writing style:

Memo thread and download

 

Memo was also I believe the first Visual Novel the artist Doomfest was involved with. And these days Doomfest is kind of an important name in the OELVN community. 

 

 

I have read that. I have to agree that it's worth reading. CGs are nice and story is peaceful and well-written.

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https://vndb.org/v4738

 

I dont know if you guys have read this one, but it's calles Shira Oka: Second Chances.

It was a few years ago that I read it but I thought it was pretty sweet :)

If you think I am wrong, pls tell me your opinions!

 

edit: Well, to be honest(tbh)

saying it is pretty sweet is really underappreciating this VN. It is actually pretty great and if you have any questions about it please don't hesitate to ask. I always like to help where I can :)

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beyond the wall of sleep: a kinetic novel that tells lovecraft's short story from his dream-cycle mythos with great atmosphere and art.  https://vndb.org/v11705

 

the phantom ice cream truck a oelvn that tells a mystery / cosmic horror story with a slight lovecraftian styling has unique art, and a decent story  but very short.  https://vndb.org/v14988 

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I recommend Air Pressure too, it's a piece of art. Though I would suggest the Ren'Py version from here, as the flash version doesn't feature skipping and you have to beat this very short VN a few times to understand it.

Well, since I'm here... I'm suggesting The Dandelion Girl and Death Rule: lost code to be added to the list. Former is a kinetic sweet little romance story and literary adaption of a short story by Robert F. Young, so maybe the plot won't be new to some. Second one is a Battle Royale story, setting would be a mix between The Hunger Games and 999 and it's quite entertaining despite its flaws in the back-story department.

Is it better than Killer Queen? Sounds rather like that but could be interesting :)

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beyond the wall of sleep: a kinetic novel that tells lovecraft's short story from his dream-cycle mythos with great atmosphere and art.  https://vndb.org/v11705

 

the phantom ice cream truck a oelvn that tells a mystery / cosmic horror story with a slight lovecraftian styling has unique art, and a decent story  but very short.  https://vndb.org/v14988 

The Phantom Ice Cream Truck (?!) linky doesnt work, I got "This page does not exsist" or something like that :(

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