Visual novels incorporate many different elements to create a cohesive and engaging experience for players. Sometimes words simply aren’t enough to tell the story the developer intends. Music, sound effects, and art can help to create a more dynamic visual novel. Players are able to glean a scene’s meaning by the background music that is being played and the expressions on the sprites’ faces. Backgrounds can tell players where the story is taking place and at what time of day.
Many visual novel developers have taken player immersion to the next level by incorporating voice acting for their characters. It is an incredibly immersive element that further helps the player relate to a character and their personality. There are two kinds of voice acting you can see in this space: partial voice acting and full voice acting. Partial voice acting encompasses character reactions to certain lines of dialogue or important scenes (like romances) that can be enhanced with voices. Full voice acting will have every single line of dialogue be spoken aloud to the player by the character.
We’re going to take a look at five visual novels that have brought their stories and characters alive with voice acting!
Akash: Path of the Five
Akash: Path of the Five is a fully voiced otome visual novel created by Truant Pixel. It features an incredible cast of voice actors, including Morgan Berry, Andrew Love, Chris Patton, Jason Wishnov, SungWon Cho, Ray Chase, Brandon McInnis, and others. Follow Aurora, one of the few pureblood female elementals left, as she navigates her school life, newfound popularity, and the pressures of finding a suitable mate.
Akash: Path of the Five has over 8,000 voiced lines in the script. Even minor characters like merchants are given a voice. What I love about the voice acting in this game is the emotion behind each line. It really does sound like real people conversing with each other, and the experience quickly shifts to that of watching (and listening to) things unfold, as opposed to simply clicking through narration. Each character has a distinct voice that matches not only their personality but their character design and elemental powers as well.
With stunning art, it was really hard for me to choose who to romance first! I definitely recommend Akash to any otome game fans, especially those interested in fantasy. Check this one out!
When the Night Comes
When the Night Comes is a romance visual novel released by Lunaris Games. While the game has been out for a while, last year it received an update that incorporates partial voice acting with a game that people already love. It features the voice talents of Jonah Scott, Gideon Emery, Adam Faison, Cyrus Nemati, Jalen Cassell, and Ione Butler. You play as a hunter who needs to uncover the mystery of several suspicious murders in the small supernatural town of Lunaris.
While the game features only partial voice acting, a large chunk of the game is voiced, sitting at 2,000 lines. As opposed to simple reaction lines like growls or gasps, full scenes are voiced by the cast. The main character remains unvoiced, which allows you to self-insert without any immersion being ruined. When the Night Comes features nearly 500,000 words, over 60 CGs, three post-game stories, and an LGBTQ cast. There are six love interests and two polyamorous routes to explore as well.
Even if you’ve already played the game, the voice acting alone is enough to warrant coming back to the game and checking it out! It’s always fun to see what your favorite characters sound like and if they match the voice you’ve had in your head.
ERROR143 is a short indie otome game released for the 2022 Otome Jam by Jenny Vi Pham. What happens when you try to hack into your rival’s computer? Turns out, Micah Yujin is just as if not more skilled than you are. The man develops a quick attachment to you as you two chat via direct messages and video calls.
All of the video calls between you and Micah are fully voiced on his end. Micah will speak directly to you, creating a fluid and immersive experience. Micah sings, he memes, and he animatedly throws his words around. He’s an energetic, funny, and sweet guy who isn’t afraid to let you know he likes you. Micah is voiced by Corey Wilder, who captures the edgy memelord’s personality incredibly well.
The game is worth checking out if you’re looking for a modern tech-based love story with an endearing love interest!
Backstage Pass is one of the older titles on our list, but that doesn’t mean it should be passed over! Backstage Pass is a fully voiced otome dating simulator developed by sakevisual. It features the voice talents of Micah Solusod, Casey Mongillo, Ian Sinclair, Joel McDonald, and more. In this game, you play as Sian, a girl trying to navigate her life as a makeup artist and college student. You’ll be able to purchase clothes to help you excel on dates, as well as raise stats such as money and your grades.
Backstage Pass has a ton of additional scenes and endings to unlock, some of which are hidden. This gives the game a lot of replayability. Because each scene is fully voice acted, it makes playing the game that much more enjoyable as you get immersed in even the most mundane tasks like attending classes. So, why not give it a try and see if you can unlock all of the game’s secrets?
The Hayseed Knight
The Hayseed Knight is an episodic visual novel in development by Sandra Molina. You take the role of Ader, an idealistic farm boy, who has somehow become the most talked-about knight in the land of Acazhor. How will his story unfold? Play through this multilayered story and meet a unique and fascinating group of characters along the way.
There are currently three episodes released, which will amount to about ten hours of content for players. Each character is fully voiced and has a vibrant personality of their own. Find out how each of these non-humans interact and survive in Ader’s story. You’ll be able to learn a lot by their voices alone—some characters are bubbly and others more subdued. When I first played this game, I was able to sit back with a snack and watch the story unfold almost like a movie.
The plot is captivating, and soon you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for the next episode’s release. Sandra has weaved a truly magical experience with their loving attention to detail in both vocal performances and the designs of the characters.
What are some of your favorite voice acting performances in visual novels? Let us know in the comments below!