As the temperatures begin to drop in some areas of the world, it’s the perfect time to grab a warm beverage and curl up under a fuzzy blanket. Grab your laptop (or get comfy by your computer desk) and get ready for the upcoming season with these winter themed VNs that are sure to keep your heart warm!
Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ by Otomate
Code: Realize is a well-known otome visual novel series. You play as Cardia, a girl who many consider a monster. Whatever or whoever she touches begins to melt, literally! When Cardia gets swept up by the infamous gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, her world turns upside down and she finds herself in the middle of a situation she would have never thought possible. The base game features five romance options and an action-packed story. Wintertide Miracles is the second fandisk to the original game and also includes stories for the two new love interests added in the first fandisk, Future Blessings. It features lighthearted winter-themed stories as snow falls over the city. Choose who Cardia goes out on dates with, including new two-on-one interactions where you can invite multiple men out at once. I recommend playing the first two games to get the gist of the story and the characters, as Wintertide Miracles’ story takes place after the main story.
You can get the game on the PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch.
Stevens by lazytiger
Stevens is a short, free visual novel by lazytiger that was created for the 2021 Winter VN Jam. It’s a wholesome story about two cats outside on a winter day. It’s pretty short and can be played in one sitting—however, if you enjoy the game, there are multiple sequels! Stevens has a unique pixel art style, and I absolutely adore the background used where Stevens is overlooking a white picket fence, which seems to be the only detail in focus aside from sprites. The actual background itself is a gradient of colors, used to showcase the time of day as well as create a vibrant atmosphere. The text shows on-screen next to the cats, appearing as dialogue with no narration: Stevens and Alina are telling you their story. The fact that this game is about cats being cute is convincing enough, but if you need another reason, perhaps the relaxing lo-fi backing track will be enough to sway you!
You can play the game in your browser or download it on itch.io.
A Frigid Space by Rinzamakani
A Frigid Space is a free visual novel with multiple endings and a chilling story. After waking up in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by nothing but the cold snow, you’re met with a handsome stranger. Will you befriend him or decide to go your own way? This visual novel is full of exciting lore about the world the player finds themself in. As you make more decisions, you’ll uncover the truth about your new companion. There are sweet moments shared between the characters which may be enough to warm both your and possibly the main character’s heart. I recommend this entry to our list if you like your games with a sparkle of hope amidst a melancholic atmosphere. There’s just enough charm that will have you reaching for the new game plus, which unlocks even more of the town’s lore as well as adds additional endings!
You can download the game on itch.io here.
It’s a Promise by Foxpancakes
It’s a Promise is a free yuri kinetic novel by Foxpancakes. Erin is a little disillusioned with love. She’s unsure if it’s a possibility for her, yet she yearns to go on a date and find true love. Her brother explains to her that without taking a risk and being open, Erin won’t be able to make her dream come true. What happens when a beautiful girl from Erin’s past comes back into her life with the promise of love? In this winter-themed visual novel, you’ll find a heartwarming tale full of charming moments and a sweet date. The game’s cozy aesthetic is eye-catching and, paired with the music, gives the player a warm feeling. It’s a Promise is unfortunately rather short, and by the end you’ll find yourself wanting more. I’m particularly excited that this game features a lesbian couple at the center, which seems to be overlooked quite a bit in popular holiday media.
You can download the game on itch.io or play it directly in the browser!
Lights by sanngrith
Lights is a browser-based visual novel that you can play completely free! It was released by sanngrith for the 2021 Winter Jam. Lights tells an enchanting tale about the legend of winter fairies who choose someone to grant a wish to on the night of New Years. The game’s art is in a painted style which is absolutely gorgeous. I can imagine seeing a still image from the game on a Christmas card or as a canvas painting in a store. However, the subtle animation of glitter sparkling and the fairies bobbing up and down as they float about is a welcome addition that brings the story to life. If you like folk tales, fairy tales, or even traditional legends, you won’t want to miss out on this heartwarming and charming visual novel experience.
You can play the game in English or Russian here on itch.io!
What are some of your favorite winter-themed games? Let us know in the comment section below!