Stories From Sol: Part 1 – VN Demo

Thank you to Space Colony Studios for reaching out to me about this upcoming demo. I’m so excited to tell you all about this new demo. It has touches of retro nostalgia, with space cadet aesthetics, and a really compelling intro. Those are the adjectives. What’s really going on here though is we have a new game entering onto the scene with no background really, although everything about it is seductively indie–it’s worth checking out, hands down. There’s a war, and then there’s not a war, and then there’s war again. It’s a space soldier kind of story, although this sneak peek led me mostly through sharp comedic timing and even… a romantic interest? Hey, it’s anime, that’s all you folks are looking for these days right? It’s more of the VA-11-Hall-A kind of anime though, which is pixelated and rests well in a visual novel.

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Neuronet Mendax Proxy

NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy – New VN Demo

“Dream Harvest,” the developers of NeuroNet: Mendaxy Proxy have provided a demo that gives a special preview of this futuristic fiction that showcases a highly visual and highly interactive story experience. The synopsis goes something like this. Wake up, you’re the newest programmed artificial intelligence developed by a very prominent corporation in the high-tech metropolitan Catena. Take it into your own hands in the bizarre POV of the AI, who is named Arc after a few calibrations in the prologue, or “beta” if you will. As you evolve, you’ll be given various responsibilities that will make you think and test ethical tropes that perhaps you aren’t as committed to as you think.

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Overboard! – Get Away With Murder – Really Funny And Dark – Review

With eye-catching flat graphics and exciting period stylized environments, no one could say the game Overboard! doesn’t have class. (Also known as Overboard! Get Away With Murder.) Literary elements and composition create an intellectual environment on the fictional steamship SS Hook, where your task is to resolve speculation on a murder. It’s not just an ordinary mystery though. From the very get-go, it’s made apparent that you, the apathetic yet charismatic, Veronica Villensey, are the killer–of her own husband! It is up to you to decide what your motive is, or if you even care! For context, however, it is hinted that the financial ruin of the late Mr. Villensey is most of the motive.

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Eternia Menu

Eternia: Pet Whisperer – Not a Normal Pet Game

There’s a short, charming story in Eternia: Pet Whisperer. Even if you’re a cockatoo/border-collie lover like me, or whether you lean more toward the exotic koala/frill-necked lizard, or rat brothers. These animals have a slight backstory, and cute appearance, plus a natural subtle wit. It’s got that solo dev quirk that I love best of all, where the plot derails to form a full loopable plot-line but keep things manageable; that’s a plus, folks. And I’m not going to spoil it for you, because you deserve that, but also because I think it’s one of the charms of the game.

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Free Visual Novel Music

Royalty-Free Music: What It Is & Where To Find It

There is an internet vast and full of stuff for putting together specific stuff with other stuff to make intended stuff. Having tested so many games for this site, I thought, “surely, all these fun audiovisual orchestrations must be tapped into some incredibly useful material source.” When I went to learn myself what was involved in making my visual novel, this surprisingly was not so simple. Do not get me wrong, I’m here to give you the goods, but when it comes to music, or graphics, or anything really, the way copyright protection works is stern yet often confusing. So, let me get you going here. Don’t fret–or do! I’m here to tell you that things are not hopeless. More specifically: how to obtain royalty-free music.

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Date NIght Bowling Menu

Date Night Bowling: Dating Sim Review

For the record, I am a big fan of Way Down Deep and their dating sim releases over the last year like the socially distanced romance sim Romantic Distancing and the popular release Half Past Fate. I’ve been eyeing Date Night Bowling since I first saw it in an upcoming games roster. So when the opportunity to play it on Switch arose, I snagged it and slipped on some bowling shoes. Eww, digital ones! I jest. Anyway, what we’ve got here is a combination of a very pleasant to look at video game with plenty of replay value and a pretty darn decent bowling simulator for the Switch. It’s about $8 right now on sale. I decided to play through a date and flip through the options, I’ll tell you what I observed here. Overall, to begin with, it’s a good game.

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Not It: Spookiest Edition – This One Is Pretty Scary

Earlier this year, I took a look at a visual novel from this developer called The Last Act. Incidentally, they have a new act called Not It: Spookiest Edition just in time for Halloween. In fact, this whole game’s story revolves around an old legend of a curse that arrives every Halloween. I suppose, being on hiatus and everything, I can still find some room to squeeze this one in because this whole month I’m doing a Halloween theme. Also, it is released today, so that’s a scoop I can’t resist. Therefore, from a very distraction-free space, mostly, let me enthrall you with a first look at Not It: Spookiest Intentions.

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Blake: Cyberpunk Mystery Visual Novel

Blake is an interesting new visual novel from LegendOri Productions about a complacent computer programmer turned vigilante in a futuristic cyberpunk city. The primary scenario within the game involves a new technology that can make somebody totally anonymous. Even amongst the modern people-tracking computers of its era, a criminal of heinous description is leaving a fatal trace and incidentally has decided to start toying with Blake’s sanity.

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Beacon Pines: Interactive Fiction Demo Impressions

Beacon Pines is a visual novel, but really it qualifies with a new level of cozy interaction and fathoms deep optimistic complexity to its characters. The basic structure of the story relies on an interesting “plot device” made of… well, plot devices! You start in a storybook tale of a young fawn, though I’d say that’s up for interpretation, named Luka at his grandmother’s. Through exploration and experimentation and interacting with those around you can acquire something known as “charms.” Charms help change the course of the story. You may need to go back and forth to test what works and what doesn’t, but with each charm, comes some new element that alters everything. Hold on to your BOOK straps, we’re going in.

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Kraken Academy: Hilarious

Kraken Academy has been on my mind since I first eyed a trailer of it some months ago. “I have to play that one,” came to mind. Many of you are probably familiar with my love of visual novels. And in this case, I’m working with a combination of visual novel and interactive fiction characteristics–an all-things-aside awesome and hilarious game. Explore the bizarre introduction to Kraken Academy with me, and I’ll explain why you might start loving visual novels after all and why you should continue to if you already do. LET’S GO!!!

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Arietta of Spirits: Supernatural RPG Impressions

Arietta, a young lady camping at grandma’s cabin along with Arietta’s mom and dad. Arietta meets a spirit named Arco during their first night. After Arietta’s departed grandmother greets her on the cabin pier and sends her on a quest to retrieve a silver ring, things take a major turn. With some authentic metaphysical storytelling involving realms, ghosts, and spirits, the integrity of the spiritual aspect of this game is solid. In reward, it creates a game with a story with countless possibilities and storytelling. Let’s take a look.

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Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance

Raptor Boyfriend: High School Cryptids Romance

Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance is an ambitious and masterfully crafted visual novel/dating sim that takes place in small-town Ontario. With fun cryptid characters and absolutely stunning illustrations, its gameplay value is probably some of the best I’ve seen for this genre. I have been excited to play this for some time, as a general fan of visual novels and cryptid fantasy games. You don’t have to worry about anxiety-driven creature interaction though, because this game is safe and accessible across diverse players. Shortly after the day began, I got started on this dive into the world of Ladle, Ontario. Scene one, which is what I played for you, took around roughly an hour. Some players on Steam had a playtime of over 20 hours! So, there is a lot of content here, and many different ways to play. Let’s take a look!

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Neo Cab: Rear-View Mirror of The Future: Review

Neo Cab is an award-winning visual novel released in 2019 somewhere within the future echoes of driver automation and the course of smart services. It involves themes of corporate monopolization, intimate driver/passenger simulations, and the management of being a business in the contemporary market. The story features Lina, an empathic cab driver new in Los Ojos, where being an actual cab driver is a rare occupation. There are many nuances to Neo Cab. Let me take you through each one.

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My Cup of Coffee Title Screen

My Cup Of Coffee: A Visual Novel Review

My Cup of Coffee: The Trouble with Earl Grey is a visual novel that takes place in a very imaginative turn of the century coffee shop presumably somewhere within Victorian society. You play as a family apprentice of the coffee trade and you more or less are plonked right into days as a barista. The story revolves around a casual plot involving a group of customers known as the Grey family. Using clues from casual conversation, you are tasked to unravel the feeling of tension between Mrs. Grey and Mr. Grey and their maid as well.

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Universe for Sale Title Screen

Universe for Sale: A Sci-Fi Game Prologue Preview

Universe for Sale is an upcoming title that combines sci-fi themes and metaphysical themes into a quirky and compelling visual novel/interactive fiction. I already do not recall the main character’s name, and neither will you, as the shroud of mystery is an important part of this introduction. He is a self-described “cultist” with a floating head who drops into a tea shop on Jupiter to meet with a young lady named Lila. The prologue sets up a story involving Lila’s special gift to create mini-universes! Hence the game title.

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What Comes After Menu

What Comes After: Interactive Fiction Review

What Comes After is an interactive fiction from the creator Coffee Talk in collaboration with the Rolly Glory Jam. This story-rich game takes place on a pandemic era commuter train that transforms into a ferry for souls to the afterlife after Vivi falls asleep. There’s so set directive, but the game is experienced through interacting with souls on the train. This ranges from average folks to owls and trees! It is a highly creative and somewhat mystical story that explores deep concepts of purpose and life as well as what comes after.

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Monster Pub Logo

Monster Pub: Where Every Monster Knows Your Name

Monster Pub is a neat and funny narrative wrapped up in a nice isometric, pixel art game that is ultra-casual. You’re whoever you want to be, a shadow-cloaked being, approached on a dark rainy street by a bright pink monster named Pfeffer. She leads you to a mysterious location that turns out to be a public house, for monsters, apparently based on the set for 80’s TV show Cheers. Only here, it’s where every *monster* knows your name. Let’s play some sandwiches!

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Wheels of Aurelia Screen

Wheels of Aurelia 1978: Interactive Fiction Review

Wheels of Aurelia is an interactive-fiction-style racing game set in Italy in 1978. The left-hand steers the wheel of a gritty game that is full of themes of crime, punk, and danger. While the themes are a bit serious, its thematic integrity is in check by fun, innovative game design, and a serious historical snapshot. Drive through the coastlines in low-polygon graphics and talk to your passengers about anything.

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forgotten fields

Forgotten Fields: Demo Impressions: Indian Indie!

Forgotten FIelds is an indie-developed story-rich interact game about a young Indian author seeking inspiration for his next book in the midst of a major family transition at his childhood home. The character, Siddharth, visits home which at first seems a distraction but may help him re-think his writing completely. The game design is aesthetically pleasing low-poly 3D modeling combined with interactive puzzles and visual novel style dialogue. It recently released on Steam, and is available to download.

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bard harder visual novel

Bard Harder! A Visual Novel: Review

Bard Harder is a fully released visual novel created by Shark And Pelican Games. The story is about a character named Robin who is invited into a casual imaginary tabletop RPG called Wizards and Wyverns. The game takes place in alternating environments between inside the fantasy game world and the real world amongst teammates and the DM Subin. The gameplay is surprisingly a very good simulation of what it is like to play a TTRPG without actually playing a full-on RPG game. As a bard class character, most of the game takes place on the final boss where you’ve decided to flirt with a dark wizard in an attempt to save yourself and your teammates!

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nyaa-kuza title screen

Nyaa-Kuza!! Japanese Cat Gangsters: Review

Nyaa-Kuza is an illustrated half-action interactive fiction title from the self-dubbed Catzooka Studios out of the University of Utah’s EAE program. Play as Mochi, an ex Nyaa-Kuza brawler cat, whose cat wife, Hime, has been “catnapped” by the syndicate. You’ll traverse the outskirts of a Japanese city interacting with leads and allies in a conventional visual novel style to find Hime. At other times, the game is highly interactive with button-mashing fight scenes with cat gangsters. The game is free on Steam, and I sincerely suspect you’ve never seen a game like this.

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scarlet hood and the wicked wood

Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood: Review

Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood is a new visual novel/interactive fiction game. The story follows Scarlet, a budding musician in an aspiring band of close friends. Start your journey on route to your band’s major performance at a club in the city, plus the opportunity it provides with a heavy offer from the club’s boss. In an unexpected twist, you’ll soon find yourself, through unforeseen circumstances, in another world! This land is filled with popular themes from classic fantasy stories and solvable puzzles, all blended nicely into a one-of-a-kind story.

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the last act visual novel

The Last Act: A Visual Novel: Impressions

The Last Act is a visual novel with a theatric theme about an actress in a lead play character. Interact with a social group of charismatic characters, while find yourself getting more and more into the script as the serious drama unfolds. The choices you make unfold the story in different ways, but ultimately you’ll find yourself interacting with supernatural characters that seek to interact in your fate. Will you continue on with the play? Or is it too much? Or do people just need to mind their own business? It’s up to you.

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vecter indie game

Half Past Fate: Dating Sim Review

Half Past Fate: Romantic Distance is a visual novel about a dating during the pandemic. It was released February of 2021. The story revolves around a mutual interest involving a young man and his broken laptop named Stephen and a clerk at a computer repair shop named Robin. Soon after they meet, the city goes into lockdown because of the pandemic. They try to make it work using video dating for multiple months, and test the limits of distant relationships. The game has a very pleasing 2.5D pixel art aesthetic and a catchy chiptune soundtrack.

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//todo visual novel review

//TODO: today: Visual Novel: Impressions

//TODO: today is a visual novel and dating sim. You’ll follow the main character through a crisis involving life direction in the context of paying rent, becoming an artist, working in a bookstore, dating, and the help of a cute but invasive artificial intelligence named Joyce. The game takes advantage of bright pastel colors and hand-drawn art. It conveys a message of getting out of a rut as an adult and using a motivation to solve life’s problems. The gameplay is a few hours and very interesting.

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crash autodrive visual novel title screen

CRASH Autodrive: Prologue Review

CRASH: Autodrive is a visual novel style point-and-click mystery that takes place in Pittsburgh, PA, the year 2027. You are a passenger in a robot auto cab that hosts you and three other passengers on your way to your respective destinations. The car takes an unanticipated detour and strikes a crossing bicyclist on a deserted back road in the city. With the aid of a host full of clues from your cab-sharers, you will use information and evidence from the individual to unravel the mystery behind the crash. In a world where A.I. is everywhere, you’ll have to deduct on your own the implications of this accident. The game is due for release sometime in the spring of 2021.

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arcade spirits new challengers visual novel

Arcade Spirits – New Challengers Review

I keep an eye on Steam’s demo listings on a daily basis. I’ve been really into visual novels for some time now. I like the way they hit my writer’s palette when it comes to emotionally charged game content. The game Arcade Spirits: New Challengers is a sequel to a 2017 visual novel named Arcade Spirits. The story takes place in an alternate history, the year 20XX, where arcades have not seen deprecation or obsoleteness. As such, the arcade is quite an interesting place to run into quirky characters and get into all sorts of gaming fun not quite afforded by the modern console/PC era.

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PizzaPost: Wait, Another? Game: Kraft and Slash 🍕

Yep, here’s the second post for first time in a while. This post’s game is called Kraft & Slash. An in browser game with a cute crafty aesthetic, decent tune, and solid gameplay. Not sure the motivation behind Kraft & Slash, but it appears it’s done its job in the look good feel good, please distract me into playing vibe. I am fond of this style because it reminds me of crafting field trips I used to take when I lived in the PNW. This would fit right in at a local artist shop or something of that nature.

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coffee talk visual novel

Coffee Talk: Demo Impressions

Coffee Talk is an interactive visual novel released in the pumpkin spice season of 2020. You play a barista in Seattle in a futuristic/alternate-universe. Your customers range from human to succubus, and it is your job not only to make them coffee in your coffee shop but also to help talk them through their personal problems. The gameplay is interspersed with actual barista beverage making with various ingredients and you can even make latte art. The game art is also enjoyable and has a high-quality direction in design.

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read only memories neurodiver visual novel

Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER – Demo

Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER is an indie interactive fiction visual novel project currently set for release sometime next year. Play as ES88 a psychic therapist who recovers lost memories for clients using the help of an organic “neurodiver.” You’ll start as a hybrid client named Crow. Crow has a mysterious background but is trying to restore a memory that has been tampered with to recover a memory chip at the center of a secretive trade he took part in. The art direction in Read Only Memories is colorful and fresh.

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cottage story cottage-core visual novel

A Cottage Story: Demo Impressions

A Cottage Story is an indie fantasy-style visual novel currently in development by indie developer LadyMeowsith on itch.IO. You’ll play as Emory, or whichever moniker you choose. Your form is selectable as well. Your are a human/changeling grown up far away from humans. You live within a fantastic forest of goblins, satyrs, elves and maybe more. Meet characters and treat their ailments with a mastering of herbalism and healing skills from herbs found in the forest. Participate for story or personal fulfillment in this stylistic story/dating sim.

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the life and suffering of sir brante interactive fiction

The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante: Demo

The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is an interactive visual novel that spans the lifetime of a character named Sir Brante. Progress through the stages of life starting with childhood, where you’ll forge deep experiences that will shape the course of your entire life later on. Your actions will affect your own character and also how others interact with you. Try to live true in a world dominated by an esoteric caste system and brutal classism, starting from the very bottom.

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superstorm melon date visual novel dating mutant weird

Superstorm Melon Date – Review

Superstorm Melon Date is a visual novel that takes place in a relatively near dystopic future. People live in shelters and return to the surface only periodically because climate change has plagued the earth with frequent superstorms that burden humanity. People have developed widespread allergies and only the rich can raise fully human children. Therefore, a hybrid species of half melon people have outnumbered humans because they have better immune systems. To tie it all together, the plot of the game is about you going on a date with a melon person listed on an internet dating website. A melon person named, Mel.

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demetrios funny visual novel interactive fiction

Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure: Review

Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure is an indie interactive-fiction/visual novel cartoon adventure. The interactive feature is much like you’d see in a hidden object story as well, although clues that you find unlock different possibilities. The story is very comical on purpose and can get as fresh out of the outhouse as you please. Despite this, it is a very well-thought-out mystery story about a complex theft and the clues can leave you curious about what’s around every corner.

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