Best of 2012 Nominations...
Scheherazade "Sadie" Keating has just graduated, but with famous (and missing) adventurous parents as her legacy, she has a bit more to live up to than most young women. When a thief reveals a secret and a mystery she never suspected has been under her nose all along, Sadie sets out on a massive globe-trotting adventure to uncover the truth... or, depending on your choice, forge her own legacy, become closer with families, kindle a romance, or much, much more in this huge, engaging visual novel simulation set in the 1930s.
After thousands of years, the Mugunghwa
, sent into space to establish the first interstellar colony, has been found floating dead. You're sent after it to discover what happened to its crew with the help of two very different AIs, but the truth is vastly more complicated than you might think, and nowhere near black and white. In Christine Love's debut commercial visual novel release, take part in a captivating, clever, and emotional story that deals with love, politics, forgiveness... and hate.
Miley's got dreams of being a comedic superstar, and the first step is to follow in the footsteps of Cherry Tree High's greatest and start a comedy club. The only problem is the student council insists she needs a minimum of three more members, and she only has a month to find them! Are her ambitions on the rocks, or can she hunt down and convince a bunch of unlikely recruits to join her? A gorgeous, energetic, and light-hearted game that blends adventure with visual novel and simulation elements.
Long has it been dictated that a woman in a fairy tale had better be either beautiful, meek, humble as apple pie, or a mix thereof. Someone hates her, a prince wants to save her, and some sparkly fairy dust is going to cause some type of dilemma. Throughout it all, this princess is going to hmmm and sigh but ultimately go along with the ride because, hey, she's a damsel in distress and you best not forget it! Fortunately for us, Moacube didn't just forget it, they threw it out of the proverbial tower turret to the alligator infested moat below. In the team's dazzling visual novel Cinders, they charge headfirst into the outdated and come out the other side with brand spanking shiny and new.
A small time data smuggler in the corporate-dominated futuristic city of NeoSushi, Dogeron Kenan's job is to transport passcodes in his cybernetic arm, trying to keep one step ahead of both the lawful and unlawful who want to stop him. But things just went south, and now everyone in the town is out to get him. It's going to be a long night. An excellent piece of interactive fiction by the Cabrera Brothers, with an atmosphere that more than makes up for parser issues.
Dear Esther is an interactive story told through a first person adventure setting. There's very little gameplay to speak of, just a deep mystery about the deserted island you're walking on, along with unanswered questions surrounding a horrific crash and a book written by a long-lost explorer. What happened in this dreary place? And, better yet, can you find a way out?
Do you love birds? Like... LOVE birds? Even if you don't, you definitely need to make a point of checking out this remarkably original visual novel from PigeoNation Inc. As the only human girl attending a school populated otherwise solely by birds, you have a hard time fitting it. But persevere and you may just find more than you expect. Clever, funny, strange, and shocking, Hatoful Boyfriend needs to be seen to be believed, and played all the way to the very last ending to truly appreciate. You won't regret it.
As the new girl transferring for her final year of school, you've got a lot on your plate, especially if you want to get into a top-tier university. But in Roxanne Chen's gorgeous, funny, and charming visual novel simulation, you've also got the potential to make friends that will last you forever... and maybe even find love, too. Packed with colour, energy, and tons of replay value, this is well worth checking out. You've only got one year... make it count!
Life for Lily, like any other visual novel heroine, is fairly typical. She feels like she's adrift after college and is only working at her uncle's restaurant for the money. But is there more to the eclectic staff than anyone might suspect? A free game made in just a month by Cyanide Tea, packed with romance, restaurant hi-jinks, and more than a few surprises you may not see coming.
In this massive, complex visual novel simulation, you're given a chance to change your life some people may dream of but most never get to experience. When a particularly fierce fever breaks, you awake to find yourself back in time at the beginning of high school, watched over by the excitable but well meaning angel Satsuko. Will you make something of yourself? Find the close friends you've always wanted? Have an impact on someone's life or maybe even find... love? If you have the time to invest in it, Shira-Oka has the engrossing experience and production values to deliver.
Short but striking, Cyanide Tea's second free indie visual novel tells the story of two people who have seemingly little else in common beyond the elevator they both take to work each day. David is a former police office who can't let go of his past, and Elena is a bright young girl who just happens to share the elevator with him daily. Will David be able to open up to her? And should he?
It starts with a letter from an old friend inviting you to dinner. How can something so simple, so innocent, throw you into a dark world of murder, mystery, and the supernatural? Set in London in 1603, this enormous Lovecraftian interactive fiction adventure will challenge and immerse you in a world that feels real and dangerous. Available as a free download or as an enhanced edition for Kindle devices and Nook tablets, this 12 to 15 hour adventure is a challenge, but one well worth undertaking.
Underhome is under attack... by red tape! In this big adventure game by storyteller Jonas Kyratzes, return once again to the surreal Lands of Dream when The Mysterious Druid calls you in to help with what he feels is an erroneous foreclosure attempt on the biotechnological dwelling. A sweeping, engrossing adventure about mystery, magic, money, and family, it's packed full of pop-culture references, intelligence, and unexpected heart.