Best Visual Novels of 2018

This has been one of the weakest years for visual novels, so much so, that I actually struggled to collect twenty titles and had to include games that otherwise wouldn’t have met the vote quota (which is part the reason why I delayed this video for so long) and were installments of ongoing episodic series. For comparison, only about ten titles in this list would have made it to top 20 of any other year I did.

However, as ironic as that is, this year has also seen the release of the currently top rated game on egs, and with median of 99 I don’t see anything topping it ever. I’m, of course, talking about Rance 10, and I imagine it needs no introductions.

The other noteworthy releases this year include Key’s newest visual novel Summer Pockets, that from what I heard offers a similar experience to their other works, Nukitashi that has an incredibly unusual premise and has gained somewhat of a meme status in social media, and finally Amazing Grace which is an interesting mystery that’s surprisingly educating on classical and to an extent modern art. I’ll be publishing a review for this one soon.

Apart from that, I Walk Among Zombies has been finished, which is one of the episodic visual novels I’ve been very interested in. I might wait a bit and pick it up in English to see how the translation came along though.

This year also saw the release of the second installment of 9-nine- series which has gotten a far better reception than the first (that didn’t even make it to the list last year). It’s hard to tell if the rating is artificially exaggerated because whoever didn’t like the first simply didn’t read and rate the second one, or if it’s actually improved. I might check this series too, especially since it’s receiving an English localization too.

But that’s about it. Erewhon seems somewhat interesting if you’re into Clockup’s mix of nukige and story. And Butterfly Seeker sounds promising since it’s written by the guy responsible for Apeiria (my favorite last year), but looking at the ratings it would’ve barely made it to top 20 at any other year, so I dunno.

Anyway, it was a pretty bleak year, and I hope the following one is going to be better. At least it looks like it’s shaping up to be.

 

[VN] Steins;Gate 0

Steins;Gate 0.jpg

Steins;Gate being among my favorite visual novels, I had pretty high expectations for Steins;Gate 0… and to say that they were not met would be putting it lightly.

Release: 2018 (5pb. Games)
Writers: Hayashi Naotaka, Takimoto Masashi, Tsuchiya Tsukasa, Yasumoto Tooru
Japanese difficulty: Medium
English: 5pb. GamesCommittee of Zero
Ratings: VNDB (8.21); EGS (8.00)

Visual Novel

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Top 10 Best Rated Visual Novels Translated in 2018

Although I’m a big fan of Island and Evenicle, this year has been nowhere near as kind to translated visual novels as the previous one with the top of this year not even coming close to the top five of the 2017’s list.

A lot of moege can be seen on the list this year, indicating where the market is heading to lately. I haven’t checked most of them as they didn’t fall within my area of interest, but if you’ve been following my reviews, you may remember I didn’t have the highest opinion of Sabbat of the Witch or Hapymaher (some people say it’s not a moege, but it shares all the worst parts with one as far as I’m concerned).

At least Sorcery Jokers made it to the list to represent the only chuuni release that I know this year. I wonder if we’ll see any next year.

I probably should check Maitetsu out since I’ve heard it’s actually a pretty entertaining read behind the excruciatingly cutesy exterior. And I’ll probably be checking Fureraba sooner or later too, as SMEE’s Pure x Connect was one of the few moege I actually enjoyed.

All in all, it was a pretty underwhelming year. I wish we could have released Damekoi this year as it was a good chance for it to contend for the top spot. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it’s released now. And I hope 2019 will be a more exciting year in general.

EDIT: Oh snap, I had to update the video because I missed a few things. First, one of my favorite visual novels Baldr Force was actually randomly translated and no one was talking about it. I’m flabbergasted it’s not on top of the list, but maybe it does look a bit outdated by today’s standards and not many people have gotten past the first two boring routes yet. I personally enjoyed it more than Baldr Sky, so now I’m starting to wonder how that game is going to do.

Tsujidou-san was also something I had in my to-read list for a while as it seems one of the few visual novels not written by Takahiro to successfully capture the charm of Tsuyokiss and Majikoi.

I also added a few special mentions I forgot. Namely, Chuusotsu, which I definitely expected to see higher on the list. I wonder if that’s because it’s only the first game in the series or that the west isn’t really into the old-fashioned philosophical visual novels in the vein of Cross†Channel and Subahibi.

And speaking of the first in the series, I Walk Among Zombies was also released this year to much lower ratings than I expected (it was pretty high up on egs and in my to-read list). I originally delayed reading it because I was waiting for the rest of the volumes be released, but it’s definitely one of the VNs I’m really looking forward to.

Finally, If My Heart Had Wings has been finally retranslated, so people can finally read the actual game and not the garbled mess shat out by moenovel. I thought it was pretty boring when I read it in Japanese, but it still deserved to be coherently translated at least.

It turns out this year wasn’t as bad as I thought with low-key fan translations surprisingly getting us some of the more interesting titles.

[VN] Nukige Mitai na Shima ni Sunderu Watashi wa Dou Surya Ii Desu ka?

Nukige Mitai na Shima ni Sunderu Watashi wa Dou Surya Ii Desu ka

A visual novel that sounds like nothing but a nukige, yet turns out to be a fairly interesting mix of comedy, chuuni, and actually relatively well thought-out story instead… though I still had a very hard time taking some of its plot seriously.

Release: 2018 (Qruppo)
Writers: Kamichika YuuKurahone Naoto
Japanese difficulty: Medium
English: Sol Press (upcoming)
Ratings: VNDB (7.81); EGS (8.18)

Characters

Visual Novel

Continue reading “[VN] Nukige Mitai na Shima ni Sunderu Watashi wa Dou Surya Ii Desu ka?”