By Operation Rainfall / March 1st, 2023
Here at oprainfall we all love a great visual novel. While these games can be in many of the other categories during our yearly awards, they don’t have their own. This is because we all play very different titles in this genre, so getting a winner when everyone would just vote for the titles they have played would be very hard. So, Leah and myself got together and decided to share a few our favorite VNs from last year. Without further ado, let’s see our Staff Picks: Best Visual Novels of 2022!
I have to say I was very surprised at just how great this title was. I fully expected with this being a Black Cyc title just to be full of crazy Guro and not much else, but boy was I very wrong. The story here begins with a young man named Kyouji returning to his hometown. He meets a mysterious young girl on the way to school. She tells him her name is Yuka and to remember it. He feels like he knows this girl from somewhere but cannot place her. Soon he will encounter Yuka again, but this time she is accompanied by a huge figure known as the Gore Screaming Show. This entity seems to be able to bend the very reality around them. Kyouji must solve the mystery of who Yuka really is if he wants to escape this crazy town with the girl he loves!
Each of the girls had a very interesting backstory, so each route had you hooked from the start. I will warn folks there is a bit of extreme content here, but there is one of the best horror stories ever written here as well. There are also in game options to turn the gore down a bit if you so choose to.
After the successful release of the first game, Evenicle 2 finally made its way West last year. Being a big an of Alicesoft titles, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one, and it didn’t disappoint. The story follows a doctor named Alex that discovered he could use the forgotten skill “Medica.” This sexy skill is the only one that could cure the variety of diseases plaguing the heroines of this land as they use their skills to defeat evil monsters.
This one just as much of an RPG as it is Visual Novel with its vast overworld map to explore and fantastic combat system. I had a blast using all the different skills dispatching the various monsters and exploring each area as this grand quest unfolded. The localization team did a great job capturing the over-the-top nature and humor of this one, making it a pure joy to play.
I’ve always been a big fan of CLOCKUP releases so when Erovoice released earlier this year from MangaGamer I was very excited to check it out . The story of Erovoice follows a young man named Daiki. He is just about to graduate from college and doesn’t really know where his life is headed, but one thing he knows for sure is he loves erotic voices. He decides to look for work until he can figure out what to do with himself, when he comes across a job that fits him perfectly. It’s a General Affairs position at a nearby placed called Cuckoo Clock. He will soon discover this is not only his calling, but there are some amazing gals working there as well.
The story here isn’t very deep, but that doesn’t mean the characters here are not great. Sekai was by far my favorite, not only because she is adorable but you really get to see how her personality changed as you grew closer to her. The other girls here are all amazing as well, so if you like great Nukige titles with amazing art and fantastic characters, this is a must play. – Steve
Here are some great Visual Novel picks for 2022 from our editor, Leah
So this year I actually played quite a few Visual Novels, which is a feat for me since I so rarely dip my toes in this genre. But I got bit by the otome bug hardcore after doing my Birushana review and ended up playing several titles before the year was out. Two of them really stood out to me and ended up being some of my favorite gaming experiences of 2022.
First was Birushana, which is an historical otome set during the Heiji Rebellion of 1159. Shanao is the youngest child of Yoshitomo Minamoto, and was raised as a boy in a temple after her father died. It’s her destiny to overthrow the Heike and avenge the Genji, but is that what she really wants? I love historical dramas, so this was already right up my alley, but the artwork, music, and voice acting really gave it a leg up. Koji Haneda’s character art work is just gorgeous, but then tossing on the voice talents of Jun Fukuyama, Yuichiro Umehara and Soma Saito on top of it? It’s like it was designed just for me. I found each character incredibly likeable, and the way they interacted with Shanao gave each route a very distinct feel. The Love Catch system made it easy to track my progress with each love interest so I could tailor my playthrough to whomever I wanted, which made replaying the common route slightly less tedious. The game did suffer from some questionable localization and was littered with the usual typos and grammatical issues I’ve (unfortunately) come to expect in otome brought to the West, but it wasn’t enough to sour the experience, and I overall had a fantastic time with this game.
I also played both Amnesia: Memories and the two-part fandisk Amnesia: Later x Crowd, the latter of which came to the West for the first time in 2022. While I very much enjoyed my playthrough of Amnesia, it’s actually Crowd that swept me off my feet. Building off the events of the first Amnesia – in which the MC accidentally gets possessed by a spirit named Orion and loses all her memories – both Later and Crowd expand the relationships from that strange August. But where Later felt lackluster and boring, Crowd grabbed the baton and ran with it, exploring each love interest’s character in interesting ways while also giving the MC a sense of purpose. It helped that, unlike Later, Crowd also included a Suspense route that brought back a lot of the mystery and danger from Memories, while also having the most satisfying emotional payoff I’ve read in years in its Love route. I am not ashamed to say that I cried. It was just that cathartic. Crowd had so much to offer, and getting to hear my boys again was wonderful. I will never not love Akira Ishida, Kouki Miyata and Hiromi Igarashi, and they were superb here. Like Birushana, there were more typos and grammatical issues than I would like, but that didn’t stop Crowd from being the single most emotionally impactful game I played in 2022, and it deserves all the kudos for that.
2022 was a great year for Visual Novels, and with Venus Blood, Rance, Jack Jeanne and other great releases on horizon, this year is looking good as well!
amnesia MemoriesAmnesia: Later x CrowdBirushana: Rising Flower of GenpeiEroVoiceEvenicle 2Gore Screaming Show