Storytelling evolved from classic literature to movies and finally to a more interactive form in video games. Likewise, technology gives you access to all these mediums and owning a recent Android tablet gives you the ability to relax with a good book, movie or game on the same device.
There is a genre of games that combines the written word of books, with the cinematic experience of movies, all with the interactivity that video games are famous for. Visual novels give you control over the character experience without bogging everything down with fiddly controls.
What seems like a fairly passive gaming experience compared to, say, the best RPGs on Android is actually anything but. Visual novels keep you engaged with great storytelling, branching paths, and as a result, numerous possible endings. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best visual novels on Android so you know where to find the next big story.
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 to your device 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 motives behind the crime.
While there are several great Ace Attorney games available on the Play Store, this trilogy contains the first three entries in the series, launching the career of the famous lawyer. Get Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, as well as its sequels, Justice for All and Trials and Tribulations, for $17.99.
In the console space, Idea Factory is a publisher known for its visual novels and JRPGs. But it has also released a couple of its most popular games, Amnesia and Hakuoki, on mobile devices.
Amnesia puts you in the hapless shoes of a boy who loses his memory of everything that happened before the present day. It’s up to you to decide with whom the character will give priority to 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 for $2.99 each. Alternatively, you can purchase the premium edition of the game for $22.99.
Danganronpa: Triggers Happy Havoc
Much like Idea Factory, Spike Chunsoft is no stranger to visual novels. Some of the company’s most 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 more than a dozen other students, becomes trapped in the academy. In order for one of them to escape, they have to kill each other.
Danganronpa takes up the Ace Attorney murder mystery premise, albeit with a much darker and more illegal tone. Trigger Happy Havoc is the pilot entry in the Danganronpa series and boasts a relatively low price tag of $5.99.
Visual novel EDDA Cafe
But enough of the lost memories and the murder. If you’re looking for something sweeter, then look no further than this visual novel from Mushroomallow.
EDDA Cafe is played by Mina, a young girl weighed down with the burden of regretful decisions and losses that have come with these choices. One day she discovers a coffee that has the power to turn back time. Does she have the ability to alter her own decisions and bring back the one she loves?
With warm pastel imagery and a cozy ambiance, EDDA cafe is just the visual novel to get you through the winter blues.
Everlasting Summer is a pretty unique visual novel. First, its story takes place in Soviet-era Russia and follows the story of a boy named Semyon. One day, Semyon gets on a bus, unaware of 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 historical period, Semyon has no choice but to interact with the local population in hopes of unearthing clues that reveal how to get home. The question is, will he want to go back?
While the game’s graphics fall short of Danganronpa and EDDA, Everlasting Summer boasts a narrative and musical soundtrack to remember.
Some of the most popular 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 the grind finally gets going.
Florence takes you through these experiences through the fictional life of a young girl, Florence Yeoh. She meets Krish, a musician with whom she falls in love, and later embark on a life together. But routine puts their relationship to the test and you’ll have to decide how it will end for her.
For a low price of $2.99, Florence could teach you a thing or two about relationships.
OPUS: Rocket of Whispers
Rocket of Whispers is a great example of how meaningful storytelling can be in visual novels and games in general.
OPUS tells the story of a couple of survivors left in a snow-laden post-apocalyptic world. They intend to build a rocket to send the remains of their ancestors into space, thus giving them a proper burial rite.
While still a visual novel at its core, Rocket of Whispers features exploration segments, as well as side quests, that add variety. The prologue to the game is free to download and play, but you’ll have to shell out a couple of bucks to unlock the full experience.
One of the hardest story types to pull off successfully is the one that deals with time travel. This is 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 been doing it successfully since 2009.
Featuring 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 that can send messages to the past. Steins;Gate presents the story from the point of view of six characters, each with their own role within the story, meaning there are many different endings to discover. Combined with fully voiced dialogue, the game’s replayability makes the $20 price point that much more palatable.
Visual novels are more than just interactive books
A well-written visual novel has the ability to draw you into a beautiful world, just like the greatest examples of literature. And there’s a ton of variety when it comes to the genre. From intriguing courtroom dramas like Ace Attorney to mysteries like Danganronpa, not to mention visual novels that tackle relationship issues and life itself.
Are you an avid visual novel reader? Mention your favorite story in the comments below.