Even though Halloween is over, that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a little bit of spookiness. With media like the Fallout franchise and The Walking Dead, apocalyptic scenarios are getting more and more popular. The uncertainty of the end of the world and the ability for humanity to survive with resilience are truly alluring to media enjoyers. I myself am a huge fan of this genre and I’m excited to share five of my absolute favorite end-of-the-world apocalyptic visual novels!
As We Know It by Jaime Scribbles
As We Know It by Jaime Scribbles is set in the underground city of Camden. When the world gets too hot to walk on the surface, people flee underground for sanctuary. Camden is one such refuge, and after successfully making it off of the waiting list, you and your mother get accepted into your newfound paradise. In Camden, you’ll make new friends, get a job, and possibly fall in love, all the while trying to solve the mystery of strange things that begin to happen. As We Know It promises heavy choices that can change the course of your relationships and future in Camden. Plus, you get to choose your character’s name and can customize her look, which is always a fun addition. With an eclectic cast of characters to befriend and romance, and lore that’s both exciting and suspenseful, this game is certainly worth checking out!
Aloners by Sonnet009
Aloners by Sonnet009 was first released in 2014 and later re-released in 2018 with brand new background art and an additional chapter. In this game, you wake up in a stranger’s bed only to find out that he’s the last man alive on Earth. Follow your relationship with Trash as you fight to survive in your newfound apocalyptic world. Having Trash be the only person the player interacts with gives the player more opportunity to get to know him and creates a more engaging experience. While the world is empty, you’ll feel very much immersed with your traveling companion. Aloners’ charm is in the fact that the story adjusts to your personality choices. Choosing certain decisions will shape the way your character is and the dialogue with Trash, but it won’t make him like you any less or lock you out of certain story options. Certainly check this game out, and don’t let its age deter you, because it definitely still holds up today!
Love in Oasis by Thoe
Love in Oasis by Thoe was made for the 2022 Otome Jam. You’ll play as a nameable protagonist and her companion, ten-year-old Kira, as the two of you try and make it to a settlement you’ve heard about. Of course, in the zombie apocalypse, nothing is ever easy. Meet three handsome love interests and a whole host of side characters, each with their own unique personality and stories. Who will you befriend and trust? The game only has two available romance routes, but each has a decent amount of content, with five endings each. The third route is currently in development. What I love about this game is that it features a diverse cast of characters. The MC is a woman of color, and you’ll meet other characters, including her own traveling companion Kira, who come from diverse backgrounds. This game is completely free, all you need is some time to sit down and get lost in a good apocalyptic romance!
The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car by Lox Rain
The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car is a free visual novel that was made in four days. Play as either Shelby or Dustin (both nameable) as you drive through a zombie-ridden world on a dark night. This story is hauntingly beautiful and uses a lot of creative techniques to completely immerse the player. The characters are both seated in a car, their sprites changing expressions as they talk. The text is presented in dynamic dialogue bubbles. So, despite taking place in only a single area (in this case, the car), there is a lot of movement that helps maintain engagement. The use of music and other sound effects also works to add to this ambiance. What The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car does best, however, is tell a story of humanity, with two strangers conversing in a car. Though neither Shelby or Dustin know each other, they’re able to bond and remind people that no matter what is happening in the world outside, there will always be strength in relationships and community.
It’s Just the End of the World, Love by Bill t’ergeist
It’s Just the End of the World, Love by is a free short visual novel that was made for the 2019 Spooktober Visual Novel Jam. Unlike the other games on this list, It’s Just The End of the World, Love is a lighthearted and fluffy love story. Follow Petra and Cecelia as they plan a Halloween party during the zombie apocalypse! This is a yuri visual novel, and when you read you’ll get some cute romantic scenes along the way and some brightly colored CGs. My recommendation is to end your apocalyptic game binge with this title, so that you can have a heartwarming ribbon wrapped on top. Plus, the game is only ten minutes long, so you’ll be able to finish it in a single sitting.
What are some of your favorite apocalyptic visual novels? Let us know in the comments below!