Festive Visual Novels to Play Before the Year Ends

You can satiate your appetite for all things holly and jolly by checking out some of these Christmas-themed visual novels! 

Christmas is just a few days away, and with it comes the warm, festive feeling of holiday goodies, Christmas carols, and family bonding time. Until that time arrives, you can satiate your appetite for all things holly and jolly by checking out some of these Christmas-themed visual novels!

Christmas Otome by Synokoria 

Christmas Otome is the third installment in the holiday-themed otome game series by Synokoria, following both Halloween Otome and Valentines Otome. However, players do not need to play the others in the series to understand what’s going on. In fact, there is an in-game tutorial which will recap all that players need to know in order to be caught up. In this game, you play as Maia, a girl who is about to graduate. She has the difficult decision of whether she’s going to stay in the big city or go back home to live with her parents. Meeting a few handsome bachelors makes things a little bit more difficult. In Christmas Otome, you’ll have the chance to romance a waiter, a teacher, or a student. With over thirty CGs, nine endings, and over 130k words worth of content, you’ll have a lot to delve into and enjoy! There is also an interactive map, a shopping system, and minigames that make this visual novel all the more interactive. For the low, low price of free, this is a holiday gem! 

The Christmas Presents by Garbledmess 

The Christmas Presents is a short free game made for the 2022 Winter VN Game Jam. This game is great if you’ve only got a few minutes of free time or if you’re new to visual novels. The developer made this game as a gift for their ESL students, which I absolutely love the idea of. I think visual novels are a great tool to aid in education of all kinds and should be used in the classroom. This game is simple, but that’s where its charm lies. Why not take this game out while you wait for your holiday dinner to cook? It’d be a great way to expose and introduce younger family members, especially those who use English as a second language, to the medium and improve their language skills! In this game, you play as Eliza as she tries to buy Christmas presents for her friends. You can play this game in your browser for an even easier time! 

Renting Love for Christmas by HoneyBunny  

Renting Love for Christmas is a free otome visual novel by HoneyBunny. What happens when you find yourself alone with no holiday plans? Well, it’s simple: Find a cute guy from a mysterious notification that shows up on your phone. The game features four handsome love interests for you to spend your holidays with! I absolutely love how unique each of the love interests in this game are. You’ll be sure to find someone you like. There are three endings for each route and a plethora of accessibility options. The game is pretty short, so you’ll be able to finish it just in time to open some presents! I’m sure you’ll find yourself wanting to go through all of the routes, and if that’s the case, HoneyBunny has some walkthroughs available! 

Holiday Hearts: A Very Merry Christmas Dating Sim by Julia 

Holiday Hearts: A Very Merry Christmas Dating Sim is a free visual novel with three romance routes. In this game you’ll be able to choose your pronouns, and all three love interests are male. This game is an attempt at mixing holiday movie tropes with visual novel dating games. Who doesn’t love sitting down and watching a cheesy Christmas romance on their television? ‘Tis the season, after all! However, this game is even better than a movie, because it has choices. You’ll be able to reach four endings for each main love interest that you pursue. Holiday Hearts provides a feel-good story with a variety of diverse men to spend your holidays with. With all the festive art and music, you’ll be ready for the holidays in no time. Be sure to play this one before the new year hits for maximum holiday feels! 

Candied Carols (Demo) by VIOLET 

Candied Carols is a magical fantasy-themed winter romance game by VIOLET. Though this game is only a demo currently, there is a lot to enjoy. What happens when you wake up on Christmas Eve to a nightmare—a rat chewing on your presents? Following this intruder leads you to a magical world unlike any you’ve been to before. Make friends, uncover political secrets, learn some cool spells, and of course, possibly fall in love. You’ll be able to choose how your character looks in this game as well as their pronouns. This game has made it to the list because it encompasses the feeling of the holiday very well. This is the complete opposite of a slice-of-life game; instead, it focuses on the magical feeling of Christmas that we were apt to believe in as children. However, playing this will make you want the full version, so be prepared!

Are there any games you think we should check out before the holidays hit? Let us know in the comments below! 

Anna Mirabella