With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might want to get into the lovey-dovey mood by playing some romantic visual novels. Or you’re like me and you want talk to hot fictional men or women to ignore the fact you’ll be spending the holiday alone. Either way, I’ve got you covered! Today, I’ll be telling you ten visual novels that will be perfect for Valentine’s Day. No matter who you are, I’m sure you’ll find something on this list that’ll pique your interest.
Note that none of these are in any particular order, so just because your favorite game is at the tenth spot doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as the rest of the games on the list!
10) Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~
Ever wanted to play an otome game that takes place in a steampunk London with emotional stakes involved? Well, Code: Realize is your game then! You play as Cardia, an isolated young woman who has a deadly poison running through her body. If anyone touches her, they die. So, clearly, you won’t be playing your typical romance where your love interests are going to be all touchy-touchy with Cardia. Instead, your five love interests are all trying to solve the mystery behind Cardia’s condition and cure her. There’s no ill intent behind it, they genuinely want her help with nothing in return. It’s a sweet change, and because of this, you get to see Cardia’s relationship grow organically with these five men who only want to see her smile. If that’s not the purest foundation for love, then I don’t know what is.
9) Akash: Path of the Five
Akash: Path of the Five is a coming-of-age story, making it a perfect set-up for an otome game. The main character, Aurora, is the first female of a race called the elementals to reach adulthood in 200 years, and whoever she marries will guarantee very powerful offspring. So obviously, men sought after her, hoping to have her hand in marriage. Aurora, though, isn’t interested in any of it. She would rather live her life than be tied down to someone she doesn’t know. That’s where your love interests come in. They see Aurora as more than an asset; they see her as a friend. Of course, if you pursue them, they will see her as much more than that. All of them play off Aurora well, making a potential relationship believable. Of course, the story is cheesy at times. The characters all fit into their stereotypical tropes, such as the flirt, the childhood friend, the tsundere, the cinnamon roll, and the mysterious one. Despite that, this beautifully drawn game is extremely cheesy in a cute way. If you’re in for a game full of cheesiness and a little bit of adventure, then Akash might be your game.
8) Hustle Cat
Like cute cats and love? Then this is the perfect game for Valentine’s Day! You play as Avery Grey, a customizable character whose pronouns and appearance you can pick at the start of the game. When they arrive at A Cat’s Paw café to begin their first day, things start to get…weird. Your fellow employees are cursed so that once they step outside, they turn into cats! Your job is to free them from this curse while also spending adorable time with them in the process—in both their human and cat forms. This magical, albeit short, game has some of the cutest characters I’ve seen in a long time, that made my heart jump with joy when I finally got their good ending. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to play a cute, inclusive game for Valentine’s Day!
7) The Blind Griffin
The Blind Griffin is an otome game that takes place during the Prohibition. The heroine visits the speakeasy conveniently named The Blind Griffin, but not so she can drink—so she can learn some magic! All the employees are magicians, and you can decide who you want to learn from. Maybe the kind-hearted Giovanni? Or perhaps the hot-tempered junior member Emilio? Perhaps the easily flustered Russian nobleman known as Alexei might be your cup of tea? No matter who you choose, this short, magical 1920s game will be sure to put a spell on you!
6) Love Esquire
Sometimes with love, you have to work hard for it and change yourself for the better. In the romantic comedy RPG visual novel Love Esquire, you play as a lowly squire that needs to get the girl before being shipped off to war where you’ll most likely die. There are five girls to chase, but you need to impress them with your skills and, of course, gifts! Be the best man you can be and maybe you’ll even become the hero with a girl by your side at the end of it! Or you can die at the end with no one to mourn you…But that wouldn’t be nice for Valentine’s Day, now would it?
5) Our Life: Beginnings & Always
Love can last a lifetime, sometimes blossoming right from childhood. That’s the case in Our Life: Beginnings & Always. You befriend Cove, a lonely boy next door whose father offers you $20 just to hang out with him for the summer. From that moment on, you two build a realistic relationship that spans 15 years. It’s one of the few games where you get to see both characters, you and Cove, evolve and mature as people. As you two grow up, so does your relationship. You go through the awkward phase of touching that used to mean nothing as kids but now means a whole lot as adolescents. It’s a charming game that will make any Valentine’s Day wholesome.
You can also check out VN Game Den’s review of Our Life: Beginnings & Always for more info.
4) Dr. Frank’s Build-a-Boyfriend
We all want to create the perfect partner because, sometimes, people suck and we just can’t find the perfect one for us. So, why not create the perfect partner? In Dr. Frank’s Build-a-Boyfriend, you do exactly that! You play as a heartbroken and slightly mad scientist named Dr. Frank, whose boyfriend just ran off with one of Frank’s experiments. Truly a tragic tale. So, he wants to make the hottest boyfriend as revenge. Makes sense. I mean, wouldn’t you do the same? If you’re looking for a funny, free BL game to try out for Valentine’s Day, then Dr. Frank’s Build-a-Boyfriend is right up your alley.
3) Arcade Spirits
What if arcades were still popular? What if the video game crash of 1983 never happened? Arcade Spirits plays with these ideas.
You take control of a customizable protagonist who gets a job at Funplex, a popular arcade that hosts many games and nerdy cuties that you can smooch. While the game has its little twists here and there, it continues to retain a heartwarming tale no matter whose route you go down. Arcade Spirits will warm the heart of any gamer out there, especially those who love puns!
College is a time for self-discovery, as they say. It’s also a time to find love! You can play as either the bad boy Max or the shy bookworm Anne as they both try to survive their first year of college. They live in the dorms with their four other roommates, who you can romance. Both protagonists have four routes and both have one same-gender route, which is always nice to see in games! Of course, whoever you choose to pursue will lead to fun, cute, and even some steamy moments. Who said dating your roommate was a bad idea?
For more information, feel free to look at VN Game Den’s review of Roommates.
1) Mermaid Splash! Passion Festival
Platforms: Windows/Mac/Linux (itch.io)
Let’s dive into our last suggestion! You play as CiCi, a mermaid whose dream is to enter the Passion Festival. However, she’s so excited about the prospect that she…sorta forgets to focus on what she’ll enter for. With the help of four amazing aquatic friends, she’ll be able to finally pick that one thing she wants to show off to the town. Will you go with art, ultimately spending time with Angie the angler, an easily excitable webcomic artist? Maybe the buff gardener known as Maka the shark might get you swimming excitedly? Don’t forget about Delora the sea slug, a gossipy dancer who’ll send your heart for a twirl. Lastly, there’s Bea the cuttlefish, the fighter who’s certain to knock you out with cuteness!