Characters bring visual novels to life, and without them, there probably wouldn’t be a story. When it comes to romances, this is especially true. A well-written character makes the story feel believable, so it’s crucial for characters to be unique with fleshed-out stories behind them. Today, I’m going to be highlighting three upcoming or new romance games that have done an excellent job at writing appealing love interests.
Deliver Us From Evil
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)
Deliver Us From Evil is an otome game featuring two male love interests who are polar opposites of each other. They give you a choice between a devilish bad boy, Ace, or a straight-laced angel, Michael. I initially picked up this game because of a review on itch.io that praised the writing, claiming that this otome scratches the itch for anyone who is a romance novel enthusiast. Naturally, I interpreted this as the characters having a “romance novel allure” to them, so I had to find out for myself.
Ace instantly captured my attention; the writer definitely hit the mark by making his character a charming bad boy. His dialogue and banter are playful and teasing, and I have to say, the voice acting made me giggle like a schoolgirl at times. But he’s far from perfect, and I think that’s the appeal, and what makes his character believable is the fact that he’s troubled by a dark past. He’s also very respectful of boundaries with the MC, Ariel, and I think that gives his character a 10/10 from me.
Galen Games does a great job at writing characters, but my only critique is that I personally was not drawn to Michael at first glance. He doesn’t hold the same level of mystery or intrigue as the other characters do, and his tone and dialogue felt forced. On the other hand, Ace and Keldran (although the latter does not currently have a route) were absolute showstoppers, and I think the partial voice acting also contributed to the appeal of their characters.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (in-development release available on itch.io)
Sci-fi visual novels usually aren’t my cup of tea, but when I saw this promotional art I was immediately drawn to the cast. A character’s sprite is the first look inside their personality, and the art for these characters is impressive and really portrays a diverse set of individuals. When you dive into gameplay and meet the cast, their dialogue is so natural that it’s no wonder these characters are all lovable.
There are seven love interests in this game, and what I like about them is that even though you can get them to flirt with you pretty early on, the dialogue is so spot-on that it really feels authentic. Oftentimes I find that this is difficult for writers to achieve. As you play through, you’ll find these characters also have deep backstories. I love this because it really makes me feel immersed in the story.
My favorite character out of the batch is Sebastian, or “Bash.” Bash is a breath of fresh air because he’s outgoing and teases you, but the way he goes about it comes off as friendly rather than mean. And let’s face it, his bionic arm and glowing tattoos are pretty cool! He’s clearly been through some things, but that didn’t make him bitter in the least. Okay, maybe it has a little bit, but he still has a smile plastered on his face, so you can tell he’s an all-around good guy.
Made Marion has a very diverse cast with seven very unique love interests to choose from; this includes five male characters, a female character, and a nonbinary character. Although this visual novel is still in development, the demo gives us enough time to get to know the cast. The narration and dialogue are carefully crafted so that even upon the initial introduction of the love interests you’re already able to get a good sense of their characters, all of which are unique.
The best part is there’s a sense of mystery behind each of these individuals that ignites your curiosity. They all have a purpose and an extensive backstory that ties in with the descriptive world lore. Each of them has subtle traits, quirks, and even different dialects that set them apart from the rest. These characters have secrets, and there seems to be more to them than meets the eye.
It’s almost impossible to pick favorites in this game, but if I had to choose, it would be Will—he’s just so mysterious! He’s quick on his toes, which is to be expected from someone with three daggers openly strapped to their waist. Anyone who is involved in a faction of rebels, and whose name is “Will, the Scarlet Blade,” automatically skyrockets to the top of my list. Overall, there’s not a single character in Made Marion that I’m not intrigued by, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the full release.