It’s another edition of Budget Bytes! In Budget Bytes, I recommend you great visual novels that are US $10 or under. I sometimes even add free visual novels, so if you’re just trying something to play without spending a dime, I got you covered! So, let’s dive into this week’s picks.
Blind Love is a visual novel created by Michaela Laws, who is most known for creating the Seduce Me series. However, you won’t find anything supernatural or steamy with Blind Love. Blind Love follows a man who just got into a car accident that caused him to lose his sight. Despite this, he tries to make the best out of his situation. However, will his newfound disability cause issues in his relationship? Will he be able to help his girlfriend without being able to see her face or her hardships?
While I really liked Michaela’s other works, namely Remember Me, Blind Love is something I haven’t seen done before in visual novels. It’s very rare to see a protagonist who’s blind and have it done well without insulting those who are visually impaired. Blind Love takes full advantage by giving the player sketchy illustrations which represent the protagonist’s way of visualizing things even without sight. As Blind Love‘s protagonist touches things or people, like his girlfriend, he’s able to visualize them. He’s also able to make things out thanks to sounds around him. If he hears something barking, he can easily connect that barking to a dog and picture it in his mind.
There are multiple endings to Blind Love which stem from the interactions you have with the girlfriend. The story shows how, even if a person is faced with hardships, you can still live a happy, fulfilling life.
Lily’s Day Off
Price: $4.99 (PC), Free (Android & iOS)
Lily’s Day Off is one of those visual novels that starts off normal: You meet a famous pop star named Lily after waking up on the side of the road. From there, you can live out a completely normal day where you hang out with Lily or stalk her at every turn…or she might end up becoming your stalker and turning into a yandere. The world can even end! Seriously, your choices will dictate how your day will go. If you’re a fan of wacky, no-holds-barred games, then you’ll get a kick out of Lily’s Day Off.
There are a total of 15 endings, all of which are relatively easy to get, since the game isn’t all that long. Depending on your choices, each playthrough can last about ten to twenty minutes. I should note that while the mobile version of this game is free, if you find yourself enjoying this game and maybe want to change how Lily looks, you’ll have to fork over some money to make that happen. With the Steam and itch.io versions, you’ll be able to get those outfits and any other extras for just $4.99.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)
LoveSick was a game that I had on my itch.io list for titles to look out for for quite some time. A couple of years ago, I finally took the plunge and bought the game. Despite my disdain for yandere characters, I actually enjoyed my time with LoveSick.
In LoveSick, you play as, you guessed it, a lovesick protagonist named Aimi who is saved by a kindhearted man named Katsu. She falls in love with him right then and there, as he’s the first boy who has ever shown her kindness. When trying to repay him for saving him, she makes the dramatic, almost life-shattering discovery that he’s in a relationship. From there, you can be the yandere that Aimi is meant to be and try to get rid of the girlfriend, or you can try to make peace with it and become close with Katsu or his girlfriend without murdering anyone. But where’s the fun in that?
For what it’s worth, the game doesn’t try to excuse Aimi’s behavior. Yes, there’s a reason for her behavior and why she seems to instantly attach to anyone who shows her the tiniest bit of kindness. However, it’s unsettling to see her describe the way she feels about a complete stranger, like how she’s willing to make him curry or how she tries to insert herself into everything, even a date that should only be between Katsu and his girlfriend. Even as I was playing this, I got uncomfortable, which isn’t easy to do.
If you’re someone who likes yandere characters, then you might find LoveSick interesting. It took me about two hours to fully complete, but it might take you even less depending on how quickly you read.
Prank Masters is an otome game that follows Juliet, who is named after the famous heroine from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. However, unlike the girl from the play, this Juliet loves to cause trouble. She lives her life the way she wants to, even if that means pulling some pranks to keep things interesting. As a teenager, though, she’s experiencing many changes. She recently moved to a new town due to her parents’ careers, so there are people at her new school who don’t know Juliet for the prankster she is. There are even some boys who love to pull a couple of jokes themselves. With this, Juliet decides to reveal her true colors and pull pranks on the various students in her new school. However, will she get more than she’s bargaining for? Will she fall in love and find a partner in crime?
Prank Masters offers what you would expect in a romance game whose characters are all high school students. It’s thankfully elevated by its cast, particularly Juliet. Juliet’s fun and her dialogue is hilarious! There are also a ton of cute CGs in the game, as well as over twelve endings, so like many games on this list, you’re getting a bang for your buck.
Strings of Fate
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)
Strings of Fate follows Andy, a boy who is ready to confess his love to a classmate named Kaya. He gets up early, bakes her great-tasting cookies. I mean, who would turn down someone down if they’re offering cookies?
Well, Kaya would. She claims her heart is set on someone else, but wishes Andy the best of luck with finding someone for him. After failing at winning Kaya’s heart, the gods—yes, you read that right, the gods—decide to help Andy out and see what he could have done differently that day. That’s when the short, comedic adventure of Strings of Fate truly begins. You’re in a sort of Groundhog Day loop as you try to help Andy win Kaya’s heart. With each failure means another chance to learn from your mistakes and try again. Andy’s bound to win Kaya over eventually…right?
I actually really liked my time with Strings of Fate; it’s a funny, cute, and even sad game. I say sad because of a particular ending that I won’t spoil. I recommend playing through this game and see how Andy’s day turns out.