While an action-packed game where you control your character and explore an entire world is a lot of fun, it can also be a blast to play something else entirely. Instead of constantly playing games that require you to be totally focused on attacking enemies and completing missions, occasionally, nothing hits the spot like playing something slightly more relaxed and story-focused.
If that's the kind of mood you're in, you might be interested in a visual novel. Visual novels are a genre of interactive games that have a text-based story with some images, typically still pictures and scenes, to help illustrate what's going on. The player makes choices about what to say or do throughout the game.
To see the 10 best visual novels on PC, ranked from good to amazing, keep reading!
10 We Know The Devil
Released in 2015, We Know the Devil is a visual novel that is available on Steam for $7.99. This game is set in a universe where teenagers are tasked with taking on the devil when he comes to Earth periodically. They're trained to be vampire hunters and sent out to take on Satan himself. In this game, three teens spent their summer at bible camp before being sent to a cabin all alone to wait for the devil to come.
This visual novel has a uniquely dark art style, an interesting premise, and subplots that keep the story interesting, even when the devil isn't knocking at the door of the cabin. If you're looking for a uniquely spooky visual novel that isn't completely a horror game, definitely check this one out.
SIMULACRA is less than $5 on Steam and was played by a ton of different YouTube stars, so anyone who is familiar with visual novels or just video games in general likely already knows all about this surreal game. If you've only recently stepped into the visual novel world, this is definitely one to dip your toes in with.
This visual novel is heavy on the interactive element. You find the phone of a missing woman and are tasked with going through the apps, talking to her friends, and trying to figure out where she is and what's going on before it's too late. This game has a pretty heavy focus on realism, so it almost feels like you're really searching through a stranger's phone.
8 Her Story
Feeling up to a challenge? Her Story was released in 2015 and costs $9.99 on Steam. This game allows players to step into the role of a detective who is sitting at a computer screen, watching a woman be interviewed over and over by the police. She's being asked about the circumstances of her missing husband's disappearance and it's your job to use the clues on the computer and in the interviews to solve the crime.
This game is definitely one for people who really like to solve puzzles and get truly invested in the games they play. While some other visual novels are like reading a semi-interactive book, this game puts a lot of the story into the player's hands to figure out.
7 Long Live The Queen
Long Live the Queen is a visual novel that was released in 2013 and costs $9.99 to purchase on Steam. If you're someone that's super into the strategy aspect of games, then this one is definitely one that's worth checking out.
In this visual novel, you play as a Princess who is on her way to becoming a Queen...if she can stay alive, that is. And staying alive as she works her way through Queen training is actually a lot harder than it sounds like it should be. Although this game can get frustrating, each failure just makes you want to start the section over and try a new strategy, providing a sense of accomplishment once you finish it.
6 Tangle Tower
Tangle Tower is a virtual novel that ordinarily costs $19.99 on Steam, but goes on sale pretty regularly. This game was released in 2019 and even though it was only recently released, it has already become a fan-favorite among gamers who love visual novels.
In this game, the player is tasked with exploring a strange mansion that is full of all kinds of secrets. The biggest one? The owner was recently killed in a mysterious crime that has yet to be solved. This game is fully voice acted and has a really unique art style, helping to immerse players into the world and mystery.
5 Dream Daddy
Dream Daddy is a visual novel and dating simulator that was created by Game Grumps and was released in 2017. It costs $14.99 on Steam but goes on sale from time to time for a lower price. This game has the player create a character who is a single dad, who then goes out and dates other single dads.
This game has garnered a lot of hype around the Internet since its release, so the odds that anyone who is into visual novels hasn't already played or watched someone else play it are pretty low. Dream Daddy is fun, quirky and has some unique characters, making it fun to play over and over.
4 VA-11 Hall-A
VA-11 Hall-A was released in 2016 and costs $14.99 on Steam when it's not on sale. This visual novel is set in an interesting dystopian world in which corporations have completely taken over and everyone is injected with a nanomachine that is designed to hold people back.
In this game, the player controls a bartender working at a bar called VA-11 Hall-A, also known as Valhalla. Even though it may seem like a pretty ordinary bar, it attracts the most unusual and interesting people around. As a bartender, the player gets to hear all their interesting stories and secrets.
3 The Yawhg
The Yawhg is a unique choose-your-own-adventure style game that was released in 2013 and costs $9.99 on Steam. Players can either play it completely alone or with three local friends. The game is randomly generated, so the events will never be the same in two playthroughs. While not a traditional visual novel, The Yawhg shares many similarities with the genre.
You take on the role of a townsperson who lives in a village where an evil monster known as The Yawhg is set to return. It's your job to figure out how to prepare yourself and the rest of the townspeople for its return.
2 Monster Prom
Monster Prom was released in 2018 and costs $11.99 on Steam, but goes on sale for a lower price from time to time. This game will take you straight back to high school and the stress of preparing for prom, although this high school is so much cooler and prom is going to be incredible. Why's that? Because you're going to be going with a monster.
This game is a dating sim in which the player only has a few weeks until their school's prom happens. They have to make choices in order to try to win over the monster of their dreams!
1 Doki Doki Literature Club!
Doki Doki Literature Club was released in 2017 and is completely free on PC. This game has become incredibly popular since it was released, both with fans of visual novels and people who have never played one before.
In this game, the player is convinced to join a literature club at school for one of their friends. Although this game seems like a pretty average, adorable dating simulator when it first starts out, eventually, it takes a pretty strange and totally unexpected turn. Doki Doki Literature Club is on the scarier side, but it's important not to read too much about it before you dive in because spoilers will seriously taint the experience.