Do you ever feel like reading a book and playing a game all at the same time? Contemporary Android tablets let you do both — read and play — and visual novels combine both of the aforementioned aspects. They let you enjoy a gripping story while having the interactivity of a game.
Visual novels feature intricate stories with numerous decisions, each of which could affect the ending you’ll see. In this regard, they’re no worse than the best role-playing games on Android. Moreover, visual novels take less time to complete, making them perfect for commute, or short breaks.
They cover a wide variety of genres: from hectic high school drama to vibrant fantasy and pitch-black horror. In this roundup, we’ve highlighted the best visual novels on Android.
1 Ace Attorney Trilogy
Typically associated with Nintendo consoles, the Ace Attorney series has been re-released on a multitude of devices as of late, including Android.
This interactive visual novel brings the drama, intrigue, and suspense of a courtroom onto your device’s screen. Take control of defense attorney Phoenix Wright as you try to uncover the truth behind a murder case and shed light on the perpetrator’s motivations behind the crime.
While there are several great Ace Attorney games on the Play Store, this trilogy contains the first three entries in the series, launching the famous lawyer’s career. You get Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, as well as its sequels, Justice for All, and Trials and Tribulations, for one price of $17.99.
2 Amnesia: Memories
In the console space, Idea Factory is a publisher well-known for its visual novels and JRPGs. But it has also published a couple of its more renowned games, those being Amnesia and Hakuoki, on mobile devices.
Amnesia puts you in the unfortunate shoes of a boy who loses recollection of anything that occurred before the current day. It’s up to you with whom the character will prioritize rebuilding relationships. Amnesia boasts a memorable cast of anime-style characters along with fully voiced dialogue.
You can play the game’s prologue for free, after which additional chapters become available for purchase at $2.99 each. Alternatively, you can purchase the game’s premium edition for $22.99.
3 Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Much like Idea Factory, Spike Chunsoft is no stranger to visual novels. Some of the company’s more notable projects include Zero Escape, as well as the AI and Danganronpa series.
Trigger Happy Havoc follows the story of Makoto Naegi, a student of an elite educational academy. Unfortunately, the academy becomes embroiled in a series of unfortunate events, and Makoto, along with over a dozen other students, gets trapped in the academy. In order for any one of them to escape, they must kill each other.
Danganronpa takes after Ace Attorney’s murder mystery premise, albeit with a much darker and more unlawful tone. Trigger Happy Havoc is the pilot entry in the Danganronpa series and boasts a relatively low price of $5.99.
4 EDDA Cafe Visual Novel
But enough with lost memories and murder. If you’re after something more mellow, then look no further than this visual novel by Mushroomallow.
EDDA Cafe stars Mina, a young girl weighed down by the burden of regretful decisions and losses that came along with these choices. One day, she learns of a cafe that has the power to turn back time. Does it have the capacity to alter her decisions and bring back the one she cherishes?
With warm pastel visuals and a cosy setting, EDDA cafe is just the visual novel to get you through the winter blues.
5 Everlasting Summer
Everlasting Summer is quite a unique visual novel. For one, its story takes place in Soviet-era Russia and follows the tale of a young boy named Semyon. One day, Semyon gets onto a bus, unbeknownst to what is about to happen.
This bus magically transports Semyon back in time to a pioneer camp called Sovionok. Without a clue on how to get back to his time period, Semyon has no other choice but to interact with the local populace in hopes of digging up clues that reveal how to return home. The question is, will he want to go back?
While the game’s visuals fall short of the likes of Danganronpa and EDDA, Everlasting Summer boasts a narrative and musical score to remember.
Some of the most renowned visual novels tell some of the simplest stories. These are stories that often happen to each of us about the excitement of love and the trials and tribulations that come when routine finally sets in.
Florence takes you through these experiences via the fictional life of a young girl, Florence Yeoh. She meets Krish, a musician with whom she falls in love, and subsequently embarks on a life together. But routine takes its toll on their relationship, and you’ll have to decide how it ends for her.
For a low price of $2.99, Florence might teach you a thing or two about relationships.
Going back to Idea Factory, the beautiful Edo-era Japan-inspired Hakuoki is another exceptional visual novel on Android. This is a faithful port of the original PSP version, with intact Japanese voiceover and all. However, the Android version does include exclusive scenarios to boot.
Hakuoki takes place during the tail end of the Edo era and the dawn of the Bunkyu era. At the center of its story is a girl named Chizuru. She finds herself pulled into a band of Shinsengumi, a group of elite soldiers formed by the country’s military government. Through Chizuru, you’ll acquaint yourself with the group’s members and learn of the dark secrets they hold.
Depending on your decisions, Hakuoki boasts multiple endings, which make the game’s rather steep price of entry easier to swallow. The full game costs $22.99 or $2.99 per separate chapter. That said, much like Amnesia, Hakuoki lets you play the first chapter of the story for free.
8 Mysterious Forum and 7 Rumors
Horror, mystery, and high school drama: these elements are at the core of Mysterious Forum and 7 Rumors. Members of a high school newspaper club discover that any rumors posted on the school forum turn out to be true. This revelation leads them to investigate the reasons behind the unsettling phenomena and hopefully prevent it from happening again.
If you’ve never tried a visual novel before, then this is the perfect place to start. Mysterious Forum and 7 Rumors takes only two hours to complete, but features all of the genre staples. This includes a stylized anime look, and interactive dialogue options which lead to multiple endings.
Taking advantage of one of Japan’s ghost stories, Paranormasight is an intriguing horror visual novel. Paranormasight tells its story from the perspectives of different characters. Among them are regular office workers, detectives, and high schoolers. Their paths eventually intertwine, as they investigate the curse known as the Seven Mysteries of Honjo.
Square Enix worked with Japan’s Sumida city’s governing bodies to create life-like representations of its environment. Given the effort involved in creating its setting, it should come as no surprise that Paranormasight boasts a hefty price tag. While the game was available for a considerably more affordable $14.99 at launch, it has since risen to $18.99.
10 Phantom of Opera
As the name implies, this visual novel is based on the classic story of the same name: The Phantom of the Opera. Developed by MazM, Phantom of Opera adds new story scenarios while still retaining the set pieces that make the original as iconic as it is. Making decisions throughout the story will also affects the ending that you’ll get at the end of the game.
In addition to the heartbreaking love story, Phantom of Opera features interactive environments. You can explore certain levels, learn more about your immediate surroundings, and participate in various mini games. All of this combines to supplement a visual novel well worth its salt.
One of the hardest story types to pull off successfully is the one that deals with time travel. That’s because it deals with events and time paradoxes that potentially defy the laws of known science or even physics. But one particular universe in Steins;Gate has done it successfully since 2009.
With anime and video game adaptations based on the original 2009 manga, Steins;Gate on Android focuses on Kyoma Hououin, a mad scientist who invents a time machine capable of sending messages to the past. Steins;Gate features the story from the perspective of six characters, each with their own role within the story, which means there are plenty of different endings to uncover. Combined with fully voiced dialogue, the game’s replayability makes the $20 price tag far more palatable.
12 Underworld Office
Visual novel games might often seem tame due to their colorful art style and cute characters. That said, they tend to tackle topics seldom found in other genres, and Underworld Office is no exception. This visual novel revolves around themes of life and death.
Eugene finds himself in a limbo between these two states. A mysterious ghost saves him from certain death, but Eugene is now stuck between two different worlds. Underworld Office pulls you into a world inhabited by the obscure. On top of traditional visual novel tropes, you’ll have to solve puzzles all of which may or may not affect the outcome of your story.
Immerse yourself in the best visual novel games
Visual novels are a niche genre that deserves more attention. Ace Attorney and Danganronpa need little introduction in this regard. That said, you’ll find plenty of genre newcomers poised to become future classics. Don’t let games like Everlasting Summer and Paranormasight go under your radar.
Having said that, did we miss a visual novel that you enjoy? Tell us why it should be included in our next article update.