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10FinishedFata Morgana no Yakata| Peak fiction
10FinishedSubarashiki Hibi ~Furenzoku Sonzai~| People complain about the earlier parts being too unfocused, boring, having too much SoL, etc., but this VN had my full attention all the way through and didn't bore me for even a second. It manages to actually convey its message and philosophies without sounding pretentious, and the disturbing nature of the VN works for what it is trying to do. Every single one of the main cast is likeable in completely different ways, and Tomosane in particular stands out even among them as one of my favorite characters. Whatever happens, I will always try to follow the title's simple, beautiful message: "Live Happily!"
9FinishedSaya no Uta| Short and incredibly well paced: Extremely rare when it comes to VNs for me. Top-tier atmosphere that really cannot be praised enough, with an excellent premise that hooks you in immediately. Has a small cast of characters, but they all serve their purpose well.
9FinishedTsumugareru Koto mo Naku, Kyakkou mo Abizu, Tada Horobi Yuku Monogatari ni| Somehow Fata Morgana makes even 5 minute short stories hit you like a brick.
8.5FinishedBALDR SKY Dive2 "RECORDARE"| (Aki route = 6 | Makoto route = 8.5 | Sora route = 9.5) Aki's route didn't vibe well with me and Makoto's route was great. Sora's route was amazing and it ended up being one of the best VN experiences I've ever had, getting me hooked right from the get-go. Story, characters, gameplay and world building were all great, and I found the way the main antagonist was built up and executed very interesting. Minor nitpicks I had for the Sora route include it having a stretch of time where the plot started getting noticeably formulaic (which happened twice) and the climax getting a bit tiresome by the end with a constant barrage of gameplay, battles and enemies that could have maybe been cut down a bit.
8.5FinishedFata Morgana no Yakata -Another Episodes-| (Requiem Part 1 = 7 | Requiem Part 2 = 9 | Assendo Dele = 10 | Happily Ever ~After~ = 8 | Fragment = 10 )
8.5FinishedFate/hollow ataraxia
8.5FinishedFate/stay night| (Fate = 7 | UBW = 8 | HF = 9.5) Although I wasn't a fan of the ideals explored in Fate and UBW, I appreciated them and enjoyed the routes. However, the Heaven's Feel route is one of my favorite stories and one that means a great deal to me even now. It definitely has its flaws (especially with the True ending, which I wish was expanded on more), but the route does a great job when it comes to story telling, characterization, fights, & the emotional moments in it to compensate for them. Kino route, and easily Nasu's best work for me so far.
8.5FinishedGyakuten Saiban 3| The best Phoenix Wright game in the trilogy. Doesn't introduce any new mechanics like the previous game but two of the new characters introduced (Dahlia and Godot) are instantly endearing in their own unique way. The final case "Bridge to the Turnabout" is one of my favorite stories and the first VN story that completely blew me away. The way it completes an overarching narrative across multiple games while giving every character their moment to shine while also being the best case in the trilogy makes it the best possible fanservice I could have asked for.
8.5FinishedKikokugai - The Cyber Slayer| [Read the remake version] Short, well-paced and an extremely smooth read. The setting and world building is great despite Kikokugai being a fraction of the length of most VNs and it has a cool OST going for it. The fights are pretty cool too and they never overstay their welcome. Like with Saya no Uta, it has an small cast of characters (who actually matter) but they all serve their purpose well though none of them stand out too strongly. Some minor complaints I had: the story gets a bit formulaic with how it’s structured and the events in the middle aren’t as engaging as the beginning and end. Very minor complaints overall though.
8.5FinishedMahou Shoujo Shoumou Sensen - DeadΩAegis| (Ending 1 = 9.5 | Ending 2 = 6) Ending 1 fucked me up multiple times in multiple ways and ended up being one of the most engrossing things I've ever read. It's edgy as fuck and it has a LOT of sex scenes: most of which is incredibly uncomfortable, but it managed to make me cry and be depressed as all hell. Ending 2 couldn't reach the same highs but it was still decent despite being kind of rushed and off-tone.
8FinishedBALDR SKY Dive1 "Lost Memory"| (Rain route = 7.5 | Nanoha route = 8.5 | Chinatsu route = 7) Great setting, world building and gameplay. Main characters are very likeable but the narrative structure can get tiring at times constantly moving from the past to present. Nanoha's route definitely the highlight for me in this first half. Best way I can describe this VN is that it is good at mostly everything, but doesn't excel in any particular category.
8FinishedCartagra ~Tsuki Kurui no Yamai~| Has an amazing atmosphere going for it with its rural winter setting. The main route & mystery were very enjoyable and the bad ends/routes were pretty fun too most of the time. The girls are pretty attractive (and fun) and I feel this was Miki Sugina's best work in terms of the character designs and the art he did for the girls themselves. The writing can feel too succinct and condensed at times so this is one of the rare VNs which I wish was more verbose when it came to the prose/writing. I also wish one of the characters in particular had gotten more screen time and was explored more as I found them to be a cool character (sadly the fandisc did not give me enough of that as well).
8FinishedFata Morgana no Yakata: Gendai-hen
8FinishedGyakuten Saiban 2| An improvement over the first Phoenix Wright game in mostly every way. The cases/trials are shortened and paced much better and the investigation sections have been spruced up by introducing the psyche-locks/magatama mechanic that makes them more engaging and mysterious. Franziska von Karma is a step down from the previous game's prosecutor Edgeworth though, which is the only real downgrade I can come up with from the previous game. Like with the previous game, the final case "Farewell, My Turnabout" is step above the rest of the cases with excellent writing, twists & turns and an amazing tense finish. Great stuff.
8FinishedKara no Shoujo - The Second Episode| An improvement on the first Kara no Shoujo VN in pretty much every way. The writing quality noticeably improved and felt more emotive and the characters were much more likeable and interesting to follow this time around. The plot & gameplay structure also improved which made it less tedious to go through the story. The romance aspect of the VN still kinda sucked (though it's much less prevalent compared to the first VN). The initial prequel sections were also terribly slow and boring which made them a chore to get through but they set things up for the rest of the VN well.
8FinishedMuv-Luv Alternative| Greatly benefits from the build-up done in Muv-Luv Extra & Unlimited and has unquestionable quality to it with great writing, world building & attention to detail which makes up quite a bit for the mediocrity of the previous Muv-Luv entries. However, it had some flaws as well which hampered the overall experience for me. The first quarter of the VN is basically an abridged version of Muv-Luv Unlimited which was painful to get through plus the VN only really starts to shine once it reaches Chapter 7 (it had a lot of boring moments until then for me). The ending feels too wishy-washy and I'm not really a fan of it either but even with all of that, this is still a great VN overall and I can understand why it is so highly praised.
8FinishedPhenomeno - Mitsurugi Yoishi wa Kowagaranai| Very fun and engaging horror VN that captured the creepiness and horror really well with its great production values and nice art. Felt both complete and incomplete at the same time (the latter makes sense as this is an adaptation of the 1st chapter in the 1st volume of a novel series). Might read the novels one day.
8FinishedSoukou Akki Muramasa| Excels in a lot of areas with Kageaki and Hikaru being top tier characters (especially the latter) but somehow the final product was not as good as the sum of its parts (in terms of enjoyment). Hero route: (8.5/10) The best route in terms of overall consistency though the pacing was too fast sometimes and some events are too succinct & condensed. Nemesis route: (7.5/10) The dynamic developed with the heroine was interesting but I didn't really vibe with her and her faction much so it affected my enjoyment. Some of the more interesting characters were also sidelined early on which didn't help either. Conqueror route: (8/10) A mixed route which felt too bloated at times with horrible side-plots & distractions and at other times felt like a 10/10 masterpiece (usually when Hikaru is on-screen or when Kageaki & her were in focus which was most of the time thankfully). The direction that the story took and the ending was pretty unique but the main heroine of this route was pretty disappointing.
8FinishedUmineko no Naku Koro ni| (Ep 1= 8 | Ep 2= 8.5 | Ep 3= 8.5 | Ep 4= 7.4) Has a great setting, intriguing mystery, memorable characters and one of the best OSTs in the medium. The setup with Beatrice is well done but some of Ryukishi07's typical writing quirks ended up making me not enjoy it as much as I could with the writing coming across as bloated at times and the interesting supernatural elements slowly being relegated to nothing but a lot of smoke & mirrors to obfuscate the truth and drag the conclusion. Halfway through Episode 4, I was starting to get annoyed with it and the gaudy "red vs. blue" battles had long since overstayed their welcome with how it was being used more for misdirection rather than the truth. If the conclusion to Umineko was incorporated here then I would have had a much better opinion about the series. Instead Ryukishi07 stubbornly stuck to his 8-episode Question/Answer structure from Higurashi when it wasn't needed at all, compromising the quality of the series for me.
8FinishedZanmataisei Demonbane| Fun VN that made me actually enjoy mecha fights, which is rare. Does well in most aspects (barring the female character designs which are atrocious most of the time) and the mecha + eldrich/lovecraftian horror theme is pretty cool and unique. The 3 routes are too similar which means you will be spending a LOT of time skipping the common stuff in the routes which affected my enjoyment. The routes themselves mostly follow the same structure as well which makes it difficult to rate them as standalone experiences. The final chapter of each route is a cut above the rest with a lot of hype going for it and all 3 of those final chapters made me shed a few tears.
7.5FinishedEvenicle| Fun, wittily written game with fun gameplay to complement it. Didn't really excel in any particular aspect but had 2 scenes that made me pretty emotional. H-scenes were pretty fun most of the time but there's too many with some unappealing girls (which I usually skipped) and the rape scenes could be rather uncomfortable at times.
7.5FinishedEvenicle 2| Mostly the same opinion as Evenicle 1. Fun game. Differnces: The gameplay and the UI were better. Girls and H-scenes in this game weren't as good as the previous game (except for Ende). The story and the antagonists were more unique compared to ones in Evenicle 1.
7.5FinishedEvenicle 2 Rance| Much better than Evenicle Rance & genuinely funny a lot of the time. Ende & her interactions with Rance carried most of the game early on but the supporting characters later contributed in their own right and made a for a pretty fun & funny playthrough.
7.5FinishedKatawa Shoujo| (Lily route only) I liked how the VN handled the topic and depiction of disabilities. The drama in Lilly's route was pretty mild but engaging, and I really enjoyed it and the characters. I'll read the rest of the routes one day.
7.5FinishedTsukihime| (Arcueid route= 7 | Ciel route= 6.5 | Akiha route= 8.5 | Hisui route= X | Kohaku route= 7) Extremely dated with rather poor production values all around but the VN still manages to shine with its interesting characters (except Ciel), good atmosphere and its unique ideas and concepts. Akiha and her route were the standouts for me, and the Far Side routes overall explored the story in a way that vibed rather well with me. I've completely forgotten the Hisui route so I can't really put up a rating for it.
7FinishedChrono Clock| ( Makoto route = 6.9 | D.D. route = 4 | Michiru route = 9 | Misaki route = 5.5 | Cro route = 9 | Common route + Miu route = 6.5 ) The quality is all over the place but Michiru and Cro's routes were great and made me cry more times than I could count. I wish the routes were more focused and had a more concrete plot going for them as they all start rather slow (and most stay that way) and there's more SoL than I would have liked in all of them. At least two of the girls and routes in this VN are are unnecessary and they could have been cut out to streamline the VN and its quality. It feels criminal to rate a VN that made me cry so much with just a 7 but in terms of overall quality that's about par with how I felt owing to the mid routes dragging it down.
7FinishedDoki Doki Literature Club!| The first VN I read that didn't have any gameplay. Fun read and it's willing to actually use the medium and try something with it which is more than what I can say for 95% of VNs out there. It's unique enough that I had a good experience.
7StalledFate/EXTRA CCCWatched Servant (Gil) route playthrough on youtube
7FinishedGyakuten Saiban| My first VN. Fun experience with lots of wacky entertaining characters and witty writing. The cases/trials (and the "gameplay") in this first game are fun if a little basic but they are too long for what content they have and are not paced well which made it a tiring read sometimes. The final case "Turnabout Goodbyes" is a step above the rest, setting a trend for the final case in each game of the trilogy being amazing. I disliked the post-game case "Rise from the Ashes" as it doesn't feel like it belongs in the story and it's awfully paced.
7FinishedHigurashi no Naku Koro ni| Has a good setting with an intriguing mystery going for it and the main characters are pretty likeable. The 8-episode Question/Answer structure is pretty interesting, but every single episode feels longer than was necessary with too much time spent on boring SoL scenes and fluff that was superfluous (probably a nitpick I will always have with Ryukishi07's writing). The anime adaptation of the Question arcs (which is by no means a perfect adaptation) was much more entertaining with the shift in tone to a more slasher/horror vibe while trimming pretty much everything that bored me to tears in this VN so I'm happy with it.
7FinishedSeaBed| A case of wrong expectations hindering my enjoyment. Had a very strong emotional core and an amazing soul rending ending but my incorrect assumption of what the VN would be like made me unprepared for the SoL sections in it which takes up a large majority of the VN. Even with all that, the ending still managed to make me cry and haunts me even now (in a good way). Probably will be a more enjoyable experience on a re-read.
6.5DroppedDies irae ~Acta est Fabula~| (Kasumi route = 6.5 | Kei route = 7.5 | Marie route = 7.5 | Rea route[dropped] = 4) A decent VN with some good action that escalates the scale of the conflict rather well with each successive route. The prose is extremely long winded & verbose though and it gets tiring & annoying to read especially with how long the VN is. The common route and the SoL scenes are pretty boring which is a problem considering how Ren's entire existence seemingly revolves around preserving his everyday life. I got pretty jaded with the prose by the time I started Rea's route and a combination of certain events within it making me lose interest in the route and the epilogue to Marie's route feeling so satisfying made me decide to drop the VN.
6.5DroppedHaruka na Sora| (Sora route = 9 | Yahiro route - 4 [Dropped]) Sora scenario was great, made her original route in YnS better in retrospect and gave it the epilogue it needed. I had a blast reading it but I quickly got bored with Yahiro's route and knowing how mediocre the rest of the non-Sora girl's routes in YnS were, I ended up deciding to drop the VN.
6.5FinishedUmineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru| (Ep 5= 6 | Ep 6= 6 | Ep 7= 6.5 | Ep 8= 8.5) A downgrade from the Question arcs for me with a whole load of hot air that needlessly dragged this second half. Unlike Higurashi, there was absolutely no reason to stick to this 8-episode Question/Answer structure and doing so just made the series much weaker. Still ends up having the highest highs of Umineko for me though with the Episode 7 Tea Party in particular being amazing and Episode 8 being very good with a solid, well-done and satisfying ending (unlike Higurashi). The OST remains a certified banger and adds even more tracks that kick ass. The manga version of Episode 8 is superior though, providing better insight into some characters and a more "solid" answer/resolution for the reader.
6FinishedKara no Shoujo| Decent premise and mystery. The romantic relationship that serves as the heart of the main story/route is pretty mediocre (the romance aspect in the VN was mediocre in general), and the writing can feel sterile at times. The "gamplay"/route structure is annoying, and it makes it difficult to see all the scenes even with a guide. The only point where I felt truly invested in the events happening on screen was when characters from Cartagra were involved in the main story.
6FinishedMELTY BLOOD| (True Route = 7.5) True route was pretty good, Sion is a good addition to the cast and the Night of Wallachia/TATARI is a really cool concept. The story being spread across multiple routes (that requires you to win or lose specific fights) diminishes the experience imo. Melty Blood manga adapts the story in a better format so I'd just recommend it if all you want is the story.
6FinishedMuv-Luv| (Extra = 5.5 | Unlimited = 6.5 [Meiya route/ending only]) Extra was so-so with some decent comedy but the routes were mostly misses. Unlimited was better & I appreciate the change in setting but on looking back it feels like nothing actually happened in it. Overall this felt more like set up for Alternative than anything else.
6FinishedRance 01 - Hikari o Motomete -| Already watched the hentai/OVA adaptation, so I just ctrl skipped to see the new scenes. Art is great. Funny at times.
6DroppedShenzhou Zhe Jian Lu| Decent VN that serves as a prequel to Honkai Impact 3rd centered on the disciples of a certain Celestial. Probably the best written out of the 3 Honkai VNs, which isn't saying much. The VN itself is incomplete and I doubt I'll ever go back to finish it even if the rest comes out as I've already finished Part 1 of the gacha game's story.
6FinishedTsukihime PLUS-DISC| The Alliance of Illusionary Eyes scenario was pretty cool. Omake stuff was whatever.
6FinishedTsuki Kidou Kaisen ~Saisho no Tokushu Sengihei-tachi~| Dead Aegis prequel that goes over events that were briefly described in the main story. Decent read and has more Lisette who is very fun as always.
6FinishedYosuga no Sora| (Kazuha route= 5.9 | Motoka route= 5 | Akira route= 5.9 | Nao route= 5.5 | Sora route= 8.5) Decent but dull VN for the most part with Sora and her route being the exception with how enjoyable they were. Sora is a cutie and carries the VN and her route was enjoyable enough that I re-watched the anime immediately after I finished it and then also re-read the route immediately after that. Art is much better than I expected but the OST and how it's mixed in leaves a lot to be desired.
5.5FinishedHigurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai| A downgrade from the Question arcs but like Umineko it ended up having some of the highest highs of Higurashi overall with Ep 5/Meakashi being great and Ep 7/Minagoroshi being rather good. That's where my praise ends though as the Answer arcs have some laughably bad writing at times, boring resolutions and answers to most of the mysteries, a really unconvincing antagonist, the power of friendship trope done worse than most battle shounen, moments that made me cringe really bad and a lame ending filled with events that stretched my suspension of disbelief to breaking point. Ep 8/Matsuribayashi is straight up bad and made me regret reading it after I had originally dropped the VN in favor of watching the anime (it's not much better there either but at least I didn't spend as much time with it as I had sunk with this VN).
5.5FinishedMahoutsukai no Yoru| (Chapters 1-4 = 5 | Chapters 5-8 = 5 | Chapters 9-13 = 7) Has high production values, but I honestly couldn't get into it. I didn't vibe much with the characters, the SoL did nothing for me and I found the whole thing to be pretty unfocused. I enjoyed chapters 9-12 and the VN had one hype scene which pushed my experience more towards the positive side. Still a pretty underwhelming experience overall.
5.5FinishedRance 02 Kai - Hangyaku no Shoujo-tachi -| Good art but the age of the game and its outdated adventure-game gameplay made this a chore to play through. Had a few witty & funny lines but this was an incredibly barebones package overall.
5.5FinishedToradora! Portable| Stupid premise. I read it to get the Minori Ending as I wanted her to "win" after finishing the anime. It was a ok and it was fun seeing more of the Toradora characters.
5FinishedBishoujo Mangekyou -Norowareshi Densetsu no Shoujo-| Good art but plenty of other nukige out there have fun interactions, witty writing and more actual "plot" that complements the sex/hscenes and makes them more enjoyable than this VN. Hscenes go for quantity over quality as it goes on and most of it feels unearned which results in things getting rather boring after the initial good impression.
5DroppedGrisaia no Kajitsu -LE FRUIT DE LA GRISAIA-(Dropped at the Common Route. Switched to the anime)
5DroppedGyakuten Saiban 4| The original Phoenix Wright trilogy was still rather fresh on my mind which meant it was a tough benchmark for Apollo to live up to from the get-go. Ended up dropping it rather early on but I do intend to get back to it and its sequels one day.
5FinishedNagomibako Innocent Grey Fandisc| (Sacrament = 7 | Hydrangea = 3 | Inogure = 5.5) I was looking forward to this Cartagra fandisc a lot for the additional Yura and Rin content, but I can't say I was satisfied with what I got. Sacrament made me feel conflicted as I feel it could have done a better job handling Yura and exploring her more. I wanted more Rin content, but Hydrangea ended up being just porn with nothing else to it (which made me rather annoyed as I really wanted more SFW Rin time). Inogure made me chuckle a few times but this was a disappointing overall product as sad as I am to admit it.
5FinishedNi Shang| Prequel VN to the Honkai gacha game. Was an okay read early on but the last 1/3rd of the VN is absurdly rushed, fragmented and doesn't even properly depict the events that are described in the main Honkai game and manga (which was supposed to be the entire point of this prequel VN), leaving a bad taste in your mouth after you're done.
4FinishedKagetsu Tooya| Spending time with the Tsukihime characters again is fun and there are some fun scenes/skits but the loop structure of this VN is fucking atrocious and it's a nightmare even if you use a guide. The main scenario is kinda underwhelming and the extra content outside of it is somewhat cool but the payoff is not worth the trouble honestly.
4DroppedLittle Busters!(Dropped at the Common Route. Switched to the anime)
3.5FinishedKono Yo no Hate de Koi o Utau Shoujo YU-NO| (Common route= 2/10 | Eriko/Mitsuki route = 2/10 | Ayumi route= 2/10 | Mio route = 4/10 | Kaori route = 2/10 | Kana route = 6/10 | True route = 5/10) The writing is poor with barely any emotion to be felt in the prose and Takuya is one of the worst VN protagonists I have ever seen. The dated adventure style gameplay is boring while also being time consuming. The VN is saved by having one decent heroine route which actually attempts to explore a very sensitive subject matter which I really appreciated, and the girl featured in it (Kana) is the one genuinely good character to have the misfortune of being present in this story. I actually wish the character and her route were featured in a different VN and written by someone else so that both could have fulfilled their potential. That and the stunning pixel art in the OG VN are the only positives for me.
3FinishedEvenicle Rance| Ruins the fun first chapter in Evenicle by replacing Aster with Rance leading to a mostly eye-rolling experience. Had one funny moment when Aster's sisters threw Rance off a cliff like the trash he is, so the game gets a +1 for that. Gets a -1 because Rance is the MC though.
3FinishedFate/EXTRA| Has a nice aesthetic, an interesting jazz-oriented OST, and Tamamo is cute but that's literally the only positives I can come up with. Formulaic to a fault with some insipid writing all the way through that barely made me feel any sort of emotion. For some reason it incorporates some of the most eye-rolling battle shounen tropes out there like showing off the enemies' sad sob story the moment before they die and having a poorly setup final villain. Easily one of Nasu's weakest written works and the gameplay is mind numbingly boring to boot which makes for a real bad combo.
-StalledKana ~Imouto~
-DroppedUtawarerumono| Dropped after the first 30 minutes. I have too much emotional baggage which prevents me from being fair on this game/VN. Will probably take a while, but I intend to go through the trilogy some day when I'm ready to judge this fairly. >>