Visual novels are a game genre that is popular in Japan. They are text-heavy works that typically feature anime-style art and user choices that influence the story’s route. These game came about during the ’90s and have been popular since, with many being turned into anime and manga.
To celebrate the popularity of visual novels, Goo Ranking asked the Japanese community to vote for the best reads.
10Yakouchuu – 43 votes
Quick Pitch: The Captain of the cargo ship “Dana” and her crew has been at sea for 6 months. Strange mysteries began to crop up during the journey.
9The Eden of Grisaia – 48 votes
System: PC / PS Vita
Quick Pitch: Kazami Yuuji is arrested under false terrorism charges, but the Ichigaya group plans to leverage him for political gain. However, the girls of Mihama Academy will do anything to free Kazami.
8Gakkou de atta Kowai Hanashi – 71 votes
Quick Pitch: Newspaper Club member Sakagami Shuichi is tasked with collecting seven stories of strange occurrences that have been happening at school. The club’s officer arranges meetings with seven different students that will share their potentially gruesome stories.
7Otogirisou – 72 votes
System: SNES / PlayStation / Wii / PSN / Wii U
Quick Pitch: Kohei and his girlfriend are in a car accident after they hit a tree felled by lightning. After getting stuck in a remote forest, they decide to spend the night in an abandoned western-style mansion.
6Clannad – 78 votes
System: PC / PS2 / PSP / Xbox 360 / PS3 / PS Vita / PS4 / S3G / FOMA / Android
Quick Pitch: Tomoya Okazaki has already decided to waste away his high school life, but a chance encounter with Nagisa Furukawa alters his plans. She was held back a year due to a severe illness and dreams of reviving the school’s drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, Tomoya decides to befriend Nagisa and help make her dream come true.
5Steins;Gate – 102 votes
System: PC / PSP / PS3 / PS Vita / PS4 / Xbox 360 / iOS / Android
Quick Pitch: Rintarou Okabe rents out a room in Akihabara where he indulges his fantasy of being a mad scientist. Joined by his childhood friend Mayuri Shiina and the perverted hacker Hashida Itaru, the trio spends their time inventing “future gadgets.” Their most successful gadget is the “Phone Microwave,” which turns bananas into piles of green gel. However, they learn gadget’s true potential after they discover that it can send emails to the past, which can alter the flow of history.
4Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time – 111 votes
System: PlayStation / PS 2
Quick Pitch: Akane, Tenma, and Shimon are sucked into a mysterious old well that transports them to Kyou, which is another world that resembles Kyoto during the Heian Period. According to a young scion, Akane is the “Ryuujin no Miko” who has come to save Kyou from the Oni Clan. She is tasked with helping the eight Hachiyou, with her friends Tenma and Shimon among them.
3Banshee’s Last Cry
System: SNES / PlayStation, Game Boy Advance / PC / iOS, PS Vita
Quick Pitch: Toru is overjoyed to be invited to go to a ski lodge by Mari, a girl he has a crush on. The two are enjoying their trip when a sudden snowstorm traps them in the lodge with other guests. Everything is fine until one of the guests is suddenly murdered, which leads to whispers of a local legend about a deadly banshee.
2Fate/stay night [Realta Nua] – 226 votes
System: PC / PS 2 / PS Vita
Quick Pitch: Shirou Emiya is an amateur magus who attends Homurahara Gakuen in Fuyuki City. One night, he is cleaning at the school when he is caught in the middle of a fight between two Servants. After receiving a grave wound, Shirou unwittingly summons a Servant called Saber. After that night, the two are pulled into a battle royale known as the Fifth Holy Grail War.
1Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – 312 votes
System: PC / PS2 / PS 3 / PS Vita / Nintendo DS / Android / iOS
Quick Pitch: Keiichi Maebara moves to the quiet village of Hinamizawa during the summer of 1983. He quickly becomes friends with schoolmates since all of the grades share a single classroom. While Keiichi’s life seems idyllic and laid back, there is a darkness lurking in the town’s history of murders and disappearances that occur in connection with an annual festival.
What is your favorite visual novel?