IF for Japanese visual novel fans

Recommendations by Kastel

A bunch of my friends into Japanese visual novels asked me repeatedly over the months about my IF recommendations. I should actually compile them instead of being lazy as usual...

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1. 9:05
by Adam Cadre
(2000)
Average member rating: (535 ratings)

Kastel says:

This is a great, short introduction to the uniqueness of text adventure games and what one can do with a world that's all text. It's also very funny.

2. With Those We Love Alive
by Porpentine and Brenda Neotenomie
(2014)
Average member rating: (103 ratings)

Kastel says:

People who love BlackCyc, queer political erotica, and eroguro titles in general will like Porpentine's works the most. This is her best title. If you like this game, you should buy Eczema Angel Orifice and go through the games there.

3. Toby's Nose
by Chandler Groover
(2015)
Average member rating: (114 ratings)

Kastel says:

Mystery and adventure visual novel fans (Ace Attorney, Danganronpa) would find this interesting since you play as a dog who can only sniff around in one room. However, the second you sniff, the world opens up in a very interesting way.

4. Citizen Makane
by Perry Simm (as "The Reverend")
(2023)
Average member rating: (8 ratings)

Kastel says:

A deckbuilder eroge about the history of a misogynistic line of parody games and wondering about its historical value. That should be enough commentary to know if you'll jive with it.

5. SPY INTRIGUE
by furkle
(2015)
Average member rating: (37 ratings)

Kastel says:

A high concept game where you must find ways to die in order to read the most tantalizing backstory.

6. Counterfeit Monkey
by Emily Short
(2012)
Average member rating: (238 ratings)

Kastel says:

Another high concept game that plays with how we experience words.

7. Spider and Web
by Andrew Plotkin
(1998)
Average member rating: (312 ratings)

Kastel says:

Its strange setting and forced exploration are abrasive enough to make most visual novel fans interested in its well-crafted puzzles.

8. Take
by Katherine Morayati (as Amelia Pinnolla)
(2016)
Average member rating: (34 ratings)

Kastel says:

Unique high concept game that plays with the different meaning of "take".

9. Repeat the Ending
by Drew Cook
(2023)
Average member rating: (23 ratings)

Kastel says:

A personal history of text adventure games and the interactive fiction community told through a scholarly edition of a "fake" game. Pretty ambitious stuff. There's a story mode too, but I would also recommend reading through the hints.

10. Endless, Nameless
by Adam Cadre
(2012)
Average member rating: (54 ratings)

Kastel says:

Another take on the interactive fiction community, this time more diegetic. It's a proper text adventure game that uses hints in the most interesting way.

11. The Archivist and the Revolution
by Autumn Chen
(2022)
Average member rating: (38 ratings)

Kastel says:

A light resource management sim of sorts about living in a dystopia. Tackles some hard social issues.

12. Shrapnel
by Adam Cadre
(2000)
Average member rating: (167 ratings)

Kastel says:

Play a bit of Zork 1 first before tackling this one. It's pretty dank.

13. A Mind Forever Voyaging
by Steve Meretzky
(1985)
Average member rating: (111 ratings)

Kastel says:

A "walking sim" that explores different versions of a city being ruined by an authoritarian president. Reminds me a lot of Fuyukuane Tom's more political stuff.

14. Trinity
by Brian Moriarty
(1986)
Average member rating: (100 ratings)

Kastel says:

A puzzle game exploring the different nuclear test sites that paint a tapestry of the impeding nuclear apocalypse.

15. Will Not Let Me Go
by Stephen Granade
(2017)
Average member rating: (61 ratings)

Kastel says:

For people who want emotional stories.

16. Bee
by Emily Short
(2012)
Average member rating: (84 ratings)

Kastel says:

Introspective slice-of-life game about being homeschooled. Kinda has vibes.

17. Amnesia
by Thomas M. Disch and Kevin Bentley
(1986)
Average member rating: (11 ratings)

Kastel says:

Rather difficult old text adventure game to get into that is clearly unfinished. However, it has a lot of interesting Philip K. Dick-isms that may interest people.

18. Photopia
by Adam Cadre
(1998)
Average member rating: (557 ratings)

Kastel says:

English-language Maeda Jun game.

19. Bogeyman
by Elizabeth Smyth
(2018)
Average member rating: (79 ratings)

Kastel says:

A pretty effective horror title about abusive relationships.

20. Anchorhead
by Michael Gentry
(1998)
Average member rating: (386 ratings)

Kastel says:

Classic Lovecraft text adventure game.

21. DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS
by Damon L. Wakes (as "Hubert Janus")
(2023)
Average member rating: (17 ratings)

Kastel says:

kamige

22. Leather Goddesses of Phobos
by Steve Meretzky
(1986)
Average member rating: (67 ratings)

Kastel says:

Historically significant interactive fiction game exploring adult themes.

23. LAKE Adventure
by B.J. Best
(2023)
Average member rating: (26 ratings)

Kastel says:

A parser game that explores trauma through player interactions.

24. Assembly
by Ben Kirwin
(2023)
Average member rating: (23 ratings)

Kastel says:

IKEA puzzle sim.

25. One King to Loot them All
by Onno Brouwer
(2023)
Average member rating: (15 ratings)

Kastel says:

A fun parser take on sword-and-sorcery novels that is linear in a clever way.

26. Gestures Towards Divinity
by Charm Cochran
(2023)
Average member rating: (16 ratings)

Kastel says:

A somewhat obtuse but interesting "museum tour" exploring the paintings of Francis Bacon and his abusive life with the subjects he painted.

27. Slouching Towards Bedlam
by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto
(2003)
Average member rating: (212 ratings)

Kastel says:

Not a fan of this game, but it needs to be included because it's Infinity series if it was a creepypasta.

28. Fallen London
by Failbetter Games
(2009)
Average member rating: (53 ratings)

Kastel says:

Homestuck for younger people.

29. 80 DAYS
by inkle, Meg Jayanth
(2014)
Average member rating: (90 ratings)

Kastel says:

The most interesting usage of choices in interactive fiction because it leads to different journeys.

30. A Paradox Between Worlds
by Autumn Chen
(2021)
Average member rating: (27 ratings)

Kastel says:

For the people who want to relive the Tumblr experience.

31. Rameses
by Stephen Bond
(2000)
Average member rating: (122 ratings)

Kastel says:

A coming-of-age parser game where the teenage protagonist has no agency.


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