Visual novels are games that focus on the story and narrative while sometimes offering branching storylines and even minigames. That being said, visual novels can appeal to a wide variety of audiences, and most visual novels aren’t designed for all age groups even if they seem to have been on the surface.
If you’re looking for family-friendly visual novels in particular, your best bet is to sort through original English-language visual novels, better known as OELVNs. Even then, it can be difficult to figure out which visual novels are all-ages friendly. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great games out there, which is why I’ve put this list of family-friendly games together!
Whether you’re new to visual novels or you’re simply on the hunt for a game to add to your collection, this article will highlight several visual novels that welcome players of any age!
Gidget & The Mysterious Thievery of Hoppity Town
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android (itch.io)
A town where frogs and other animals have evolved to be as intelligent as humans. Unfortunately, developing human-like intelligence also means they have adopted their tendency to get into trouble…Fable Novel
Gidget & The Mysterious Thievery of Hoppity Town offers point-and-click mystery gameplay. The story revolves around a small-town crime, but it’s wholesome and endearing in every way. Packed with frogs and geckos as the characters of interest, this story is full of creativity and wholesome artwork. This game is great for anyone interested in mysteries and crime investigations without any of the heavy stuff.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (Steam)
The (mis)adventures of Vinty, a nobody who thinks she’s somebody!InvertMouse
Without Within is an excellent starter visual novel because of how simple and short the story is—and to top it off, it’s free! Vinty, the main character, is an unknown calligraphy artist who often fantasizes about being famous. She has a charming and spunky personality as she stumbles through life in this comedic, one-of-a-kind visual novel. The game transitions from scene to scene in a very cartoon-like approach and offers choices that lead to a variety of wacky endings.
This slice-of-life game is full of silly scenes that are guaranteed to make you laugh. If you like Without Within, there’s a sequel on Steam for $5.
Medusa’s Mini Mystery: Do or Donut!
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)
After waking up from a longer than expected nap, the hair snakes awaken to find one of them has taken a bite out of a donut their Medusa had gotten from her favourite bakery. Help Agnesss find out which one of her sisters are responsible, before Melissa wakes up and they all get in trouble over it!Marionette
A comedic mystery visual novel, Medusa’s Mini Mystery is sure to make you laugh. There are point-and-click features that allow the player to investigate the scene of the “crime.” The game also has frequent dialogue choices for better interrogation of the other snake suspects. Make sure you do a thorough investigation and interrogate all your snake sisters before you make your accusation!
Medusa’s Mini Mystery is a unique game filled with a generous amount of choices for players to interact with, giving the game a good score in terms of replay value.
Artisan: Going Home Again
Platforms: Windows (Steam)
A well intended promise between friends leaves Ellie devastated when her parents decide to sell her childhood home. Now it seems the only chance this sweet but clumsy waitress has to save both the house and her word is to pursue an unlikely career in the one thing she’s actually good at: Art.Unseen Kingdom Studios
While visual novels are known for being story-heavy, it’s worth mentioning some of the games that have more gameplay features. Artisan: Going Home Again is the perfect mixture of story and gameplay. It’s a charming and relatable story about childhood combined with stat-raising mechanics and various minigames. Hone your skills as an artist, manage your career, build friendships, and create different outfits too!
Overall, Artisan is a very good visual novel that showcases a variety of elements that visual novels can offer.