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If you haven’t played a visual novel before, it probably makes you think of a children’s book. You might even stay away from visual novels because you think they all have perverted artwork and storylines.
Both of these perceptions are false—they don’t at all read like a children’s storybook, and some of the best visual novels have no trace of oversexualized garbage.
Gamers who aren’t familiar with the genre automatically dismiss it as boring. Even if you are a diehard Call of Duty player, I urge you to give visual novels a try. Here are some reasons why they’re worth playing.
1. Amazing Artwork
Visual novels have some of the best artwork, namely because they have to—visual novels typically use little to no animation. Characters will change positions every once in a while, but their motions aren’t as fluid as a typical video game. That makes artwork and style a huge focus. Some visual novels have retro, pixelated art styles, while others are anime-inspired.
Either way, you’ll always have a backdrop or a character to look at as you read the story. Pay close attention to the characters’ appearance or the surrounding environment. You’ll begin to notice the amount of detail that the game artists put into the visual novel, making you enjoy it even more.
2. You’ll Get Attached to the Characters
Visual novels allow you to spend a lot of time with the characters. After all, the entire game depends on your interaction with them.
Soon, you’ll think of the characters as virtual friends—you know their personality, quirks, and what makes them tick. As you progress, your relationships change. You might not even trust or like some characters, which makes visual novels even more diverse and exciting.
3. There Are Usually Multiple Endings
While some visual novels only have one ending, others have dozens. At the moment you think you’re finished with a visual novel, you’ll realize that you still have five more playthroughs to do. Depending on what type of gamer you are, you might appreciate the fact that you can spend an extended amount of time on the same game (or you might dread it).
I used to hate running multiple playthroughs of a game, but visual novels make reruns more appealing. Finding all endings make the game feel complete—you get to experience the story from all angles, allowing you to get to know the universe and characters.
4. Fantastic Music and Voice Acting
To make up for the lack of intense gameplay, visual novels always incorporate talented voice actors and awesome music. Most video games feature voice acting only during cut-scenes.
Thankfully, that’s not the case with visual novels. They often have voice acting throughout the entire game. As you talk with characters, you’ll get to hear their voice. This is especially a good thing if you don’t like to read.
Visual novels also tend to have great background music. Each track suits a different location, and some are even associated with certain characters. When you come across one of those tunes in the future, you’ll get the ultimate nostalgia—it’ll bring you right back to a specific moment in that visual novel.
5. In-Depth Storylines
Although visual novels are considered video games, their stories read like a well-written narrative. Nobody plays visual novels because they like to speed through heaps of text. Otherwise, there’d be no point in playing in the first place. Fans of visual novels play because of its story. The narratives are in-depth enough to suck you into a different reality.
Playing a visual novel gives you the same feeling of watching a really good movie or reading an amazing book. You can easily tune out the rest of the world once you get into the plot.
6. They Keep You Sharp
While some visual novels allow you to interact with the game through conversation, others prompt you to complete puzzles or solve mysteries. This type of visual novel is usually a hybrid between a visual novel and a puzzle game, but that makes it even better.
In the case that you do have to solve a mystery or puzzle, you have to stay sharp. Other characters might have a hint in their words or actions, so you have to pay close attention to what’s happening. Visual novels are a great way to keep you on your toes, especially if you’re tired of playing games that require no logic.
7. It’s Hard to Get Frustrated
If you’ve smashed one too many controllers playing hack-and-slashes, fighting games, or platformers, maybe you should take a break and try a visual novel. You can’t really get angry at a visual novel unless you get stumped on a puzzle or encounter a game over. There usually aren’t any intricate controls or annoying enemies, so you don’t have to worry about raging.
Visual Novels Aren’t as Boring as They Seem
A visual novel is nothing like reading a 500-page book. The music, voice acting, and characters make the story lively. Sure, it might not look action-packed, but the puzzles and storylines force your brain’s gears to start turning as you’re absorbed in your own imagination.
If you’re new the visual novel genre, you probably won’t know where to begin. Check out these amazing visual novels you should start with.