It’s about time we embarked on a path that leads to adventure, which is why I’ve put together this list of visual novels with stories that take players on an epic journey. From exploring a fantasy world, to the seas of the Caribbean, and even to the eventful life of a supervillain’s henchman, these games are bound to reach beyond your wildest imagination.
1.The Spanish Privateer
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io) (Steam)
Venture into the seas of the Caribbean in The Spanish Privateer and play as the witty Isabel Carlota de Castilla as she boards a ship entirely comprised of men.
Aside from the voyage of a lifetime, one of the best parts about this game is Carlota’s saucy matter of conduct that proves to spark more than a few lines of entertaining dialogue. A strong, sassy MC that can hold her own, a cast of characters of color, and a refreshing setting that explores the great open seas are all things that make this game worth diving into. If you give The Spanish Privateer a try, make sure to give the game a rating on Steam. Reaching ten reviews will help the game get better visibility on Steam.
2. To Libertad
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)
To Libertad is the story of an enslaved woman, Ada, who has escaped the confines of her masters, but not without the help of a strong and fiercely capable woman by the name of Martha. The two set out on a journey to Libertad, a city where freedom can be found for those who seek it.
This game dives right into the action from the start as we witness Ada in a life-or-death situation. The music which accompanies this is epic, and while it’s not an original soundtrack, each track is well chosen. This has to be the most engaging music selection I’ve heard in an action adventure visual novel in a while.
Martha the warrior and Ada the freed slave traverse the dangerous and uncharted path to Libertad. What’s more exciting is that what awaits them in the forest is far more than Ada bargained for. I was pleasantly surprised to see detailed creature sprites, and even more elated when Martha knocked them out one by one effortlessly. Overall, To Libertad is a top-tier adventure with excellent story progression. It will surely keep you entertained.
3. Gilded Shadows
Platforms: Windows (Steam) (itch.io)
Price: US $29.99
A cross between solarpunk and cyberpunk, Gilded Shadows treads into darker territory. It would be an understatement to say that this game is rich with lore, which makes it a great game for those looking to dive deep into an immersive sci-fi world full of factions, romance, and highly compelling characters.
Not only does this game take you on an adventure, it starts off by allowing you to choose what kind of adventurer you are. Are you cautious or are you courageous? Decide your personality by answering a series of questions, determining how your character will respond to the intricate story as it unfolds. Gilded Shadows also has a whopping nine love interests, so while you’re treading on the path of danger you’ll also rejoice in romance along the way.
This game has notable attention to detail. I love the protagonist’s holographic TV, a clear indication of the futuristic times. The writer cleverly inserts facts about this cyberpunk world without it feeling like an infodump, and if anything, it’s actually fascinating to learn more about this world.
4. Henchman Story
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io) (Steam) (Epic)
Price: US $14.99
Henchman Story takes an unexpected turn into the renowned superhero genre, following the lives of a supervillain’s henchman. This visual novel is like an interactive comic book filled with stellar voice acting and hilarious choices.
There’s no doubt that the premise of this game is enticing, and that’s probably thanks to the fact that it’s not common to focus on the villain’s side of the story, let alone their measly henchman. What’s even more fun is that your choices can affect how your fellow comrades in crime think of you. See what life is like on the dark side, and you may even run into superheroes that get in the way of your evil plans, leaving you head-first inside an alleyway garbage can.
5. Jester / King
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io) (Steam)
Price: US $12.99
Jester / King is a story-rich fantasy visual novel starring Madion, a jester who’s lost his memories in a downtrodden world where the king is dead and a wicked curse has afflicted the citizens.
Backgrounds play an important role in fantasy stories because they act as the visual representation of this other world. Jester / King is loaded with artwork and creative scene composition that keeps the story flowing smoothly and authentically. Occasional parallax backgrounds, lights glimmering subtly, and well-composed movie-like flashbacks all make this fantasy game feel like reality.
With dark curses and royal murders, there are dark machinations at play that keep you reeled in for the long haul. But even amid the malevolent themes, there’s romance to pursue as well, and it’s worth noting that you can even choose to flirt with the man that shoots you with a poisoned arrow.