It’s been over two years since I did my original TOP 5 Upcoming Visual Novels list, and seeing as how most of the games on it are now officially out, I decided to give it a bit of a refresher with a new list. So I loaded up my friend VNDB and managed to narrow down a massive list to just five visual novels, all confirmed for an official English release. The list is in no particular order, so let’s just get right into the first VN.
Irotoridori no Sekai
Irotoridori no Sekai is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. It’s a multiple route mystery pure love story from the same studio that did Hoshizora no Memoria. I have always been a sucker for these longer mystery stories and having a fleshed-out romance attached to that is just kinda an added bonus. It’s a fantasy story too and the art really sells that theme, with bright vivid colors in a way that we don’t really see in other visual novels.
Unfortunately, the localization has been having some issues. It was originally launched as a Kickstarter project in February 2019 and has since run into numerous delays and even the localization company – Sol Press – straight-up exiting the visual novel business entirely. They still plan on releasing the game to fulfill the Kickstarter, but we don’t currently have an ETA outside of the game supposedly being 100% translated and edited. That update was a few months ago, so at least there’s been some activity, but we’ll have to wait and see just how long it takes. Whatever the case, I’m excited to get my hands on it.
Sona-Nyl of the Violet Shadows -What Beautiful Memories-
Sona-Nyl of the Violet Shadows is unlike any other visual novel I have ever seen. I mean, one quick look at the art style already tells you that this is going to be VERY different form what we usually get in the medium. And yeah, I’m all for that. It’s a steampunk dystopian visual novel set in 1907 and NOT in Japan. It actually takes place in New York, with the protagonist on a journey to visit old Manhattan and discover what set off the “great disappearance” that nearly wiped New York off the map.
I don’t know about you, but we rarely get visual novels with such a unique premise and on that aspect alone I’m already sold. The unique art to go along with it just makes it that much better. The very confusing relation chart on VNDB suggests that this game is part of a larger series, but my quick research shows that they can each be read as a standalone title, so it’s just a matter of waiting for it to be released. At the time of writing, the game does not currently have a solid release date, but the translation is 100% complete and now the team is working on image editing, so hopefully we can see it sometime this year.
Musicus! Is one of those rare visual novels with a music theme to it. We don’t get a lot of them, but the ones that we do – or at least, the ones I know of – have all been well-received. This one is no exception, maintaining an average rating of 8.69 on VNDB. It was there that I also learned that apparently philosophy is a big theme in the game and as someone that unironically enjoys that subject, I gotta say that this one is looking pretty good. Slice of life drama, romance themes, existential crisis, it’s got all the goods.
It is also notable for being the final project from VN studio Overdrive, a fairly popular studio known for works like Kira☆Kira, Dengeki Stryker, Go! Go! Nippon, and BokuTen – which I gave a positive review a little over a year ago. And we don’t even have to wait that long for its release. Literally as I was working on this list, MangaGamer announced that Musicus! would be releasing on April 8th, so I guess I’ll be playing that one really soon.
Doukyuusei is probably going to be a more niche pick, but one that I’m excited for nonetheless. Its title translates to “Classmates” and if you aren’t familiar with it, it is literally the game that defined the dating sim genre. The original came out all the way back in 1992 for the PC-98 and has since spawned numerous re-releases, a sequel, a bunch of hentai OVAs, and other weird spin-offs, including a mahjong game for the Game Boy Color. The reason it’s on this list is because it just received a brand-new release in Japan simply titled Doukyuusei Remake and that version has been announced for an English release courtesy of the team over at Shiravune – who most recently released the PC version of Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen.
I have no doubt that the story and entire presentation of the game might be a bit dated, but I’m a sucker for these older games. It’s always nice to be able to play a piece of history, especially for a niche genre like this. The remake definitely brushes up the visual side though, so I’m excited to give it a look when it launches sometime this year.
Clover Day’s is one I have a bit of an interesting history with. And by interesting, I mean I liked playing the opening theme in osu!, so yeah that’s why it’s on this list. Aside form its banger of an opening theme, Clover Day’s is another one of those slice of life romcoms – this time being based on the theme of childhood promises. Yeah, we may have seen that setup before, but this one looks to be a very high quality take on it. It’s got some solid ratings in Japan, a nice clean art style, and it’s quite lengthy too at around 30-50 hours.
What’s even better is that the English version coming out is based on the “plus” version of the game, which adds new scenes and other goodies to the original 2014 Japanese release. It’s currently being translated by NekoNyan, who have a solid history delivering such titles – so we probably won’t have to wait that long for this one. I’m already looking forward to kicking back and giving it a play whenever it does come out – it’s gonna be a fluffy one for sure.
And yeah, that’s my list. Five very cool visual novels to look forward to. It was a bit of a pain to make this list as I had to limit down my shortlist of like 20 games to just these 5 and it really hurt to let some of those go. But I did manage to finally do it, so hopefully you guys enjoyed. I plan on reviewing some of the VNs I mention here in the future, so be on the lookout for those!