It seems that the Switch is becoming a home for visual novels. Aksys is localizing and releasing many otome titles on the Switch. Beloved titles in the community like Clannad and the Grisaia trilogy found their home on the console, something I doubt fans could have predicted years ago. If you’re looking for some more visual novels to play on your Nintendo Switch, then check out these titles!
Famicom Detective Club
Famicom Detective Club was originally a Japanese-only release on the Famicom, Japan’s version of the NES. Now, The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind are fully remastered and in English on the Nintendo Switch. Even after their original releases thirty years ago, these games still hold up pretty well.
In The Missing Heir, the protagonist loses his memories after an accident during an investigation. You find out you were a detective investigating the death of a popular chairwoman. She seemingly died out of the blue, so foul play is suspected. As you dive deeper into the case, you realize there’s more beyond this chairwoman’s death. Who is behind it? Was her death was caused by a curse plaguing the village? What’s really going on, and can you get to the bottom of it?
The Girl Who Stands Behind serves as a prequel to The Missing Heir. This time around, the protagonist is investigating a case that occurred at a high school, which is never a good sign. A girl named Yoko recently died, and her death sparked up an old rumor about a girl who stands behind you. Apparently, this girl is covered in blood and will randomly appear and just stand behind someone. Are Yoko’s death and the “girl who stands behind” rumor related somehow?
This series is definitely for anyone who loved games like Ace Attorney or AI: The Somnium Files.
It’s going to be hard to not show my bias for Gnosia. I’ll get this out of the way quickly: this game is most likely going to be my GOTY this year.
Gnosia can easily be summed up as a variation of the popular tabletop game Werewolf. You play as a protagonist who is stuck on a spaceship with no recollection of who you or those around you are. You’re approached by one of the ship’s inhabitants, Setsu. She quickly tells you that there’s a gnosia on the ship, an alien lifeform looking to take out the humans on the ship. You have to deduce who the gnosia is and put them to sleep. If done successfully, you survive. However, what should have been a one-and-done situation becomes the story’s overarching plot.
You’re stuck in a loop. Setsu, who is the only other person who is aware of the loop, tells you to collect key information and discover what’s happening. If you do, you might be able to find a way out of the loop.
As you loop through the game more and more, the difficulty ramps up. New roles are unlocked, such as the doctor, who can determine whether or not someone who was put to sleep was a gnosia or a human. There are guards on duty, two people who are guaranteed humans. There’s the all-important engineer, who can determine who is a gnosia. If you’ve played any social deduction game, you’ll be familiar with these types of roles.
In order to solve the mystery of the loop, you need to play through the game multiple times in the various roles. Yes, that even means you’ll have to play as gnosia, the villain of this game’s story. You’ll have to kill your crewmates, even the ones you love. As you do this, you’ll unlock events that reveal important information about the cast as well as slowly reveal what’s going on on the ship. This game will answer questions such as: Why is everyone on this ship? What are gnosia? Why is there a talking dolphin named Otome here? Why do I love Otome so much?
One feature that I really liked about this game is the event finder. The event finder randomizes the set-up for each loop in order to steer the player on the right path to get new info. This is where my issue came up. Even with the help of the event finder, you still need to survive the loop. Sometimes, you’ll have to kill or keep certain characters alive in order to unlock a specific event, which can be hard when the AI wants to go against you. It’s a matter of luck sometimes. However, the game does have stats that can help make the game easier—if you’re having a hard time persuading people, maybe put some points into raising your charm? But again, you’ll have to replay the game over and over in order to do that, so there can be times where you feel like you haven’t made much progress.
Despite this, I loved Gnosia. It somehow was able to make me care about a group of characters I maybe saw 15 minutes at a time. It also weaved together a masterfully told story in a game where you find yourself in a loop. If you find this game on sale, please play Gnosia.
One Night Stand
One Night Stand is a game I had the pleasure of playing on PC a few years ago. For anyone looking for a short, memorable game for their Nintendo Switch, you can’t go wrong with One Night Stand.
You wake up in someone else’s bed after a drunken night on the town. From this point forward, you try to figure out who you came home with. Every action you make will determine your ending and how the girl you slept with feels about you. You can be a jerk and take a picture of her to show off to your friend. You can play detective and investigate various parts of her apartment, trying to piece together who she is and what kind of life she lived. Or you can get out of there before she even has a chance to wake up. Your choice!
WILL: A Wonderful World
It’s said that if you write your troubles on a piece of paper and pray, “God, please help me…” then God will listen and change your life for the better.
In WILL: A Wonderful World, you play as an amnesiac little girl who is an arbiter of fate. You read the letters of each person who has asked for your help, and in turn, you try to change their life for the better. However, changing their life can cause a butterfly effect. The smallest change can greatly affect another person or a group of people. It’s your job to try and figure out an outcome where everyone is happy. However, is that even possible? Can a God of Fate really make everyone happy?
I should warn you. Despite there being a cute dog in this game, this game takes some serious, dark turns. If you’re triggered by child abuse, sex trafficking, suicide, or mental illness, then this game might not be for you. However, the game does its best to handle these issues with care, and they’re over pretty quickly if you make the right decisions. Still, it’s a pretty drastic turn from how the game starts off, like a boy asking for his crush to like him back.
If you can handle dark, sensitive issues such as these, you’ll love WILL: A Wonderful World.
World End Syndrome
You play as a protagonist who moves to his uncle’s old mansion in the seaside town Mihate. There, you hope to start over and begin a new life. You get everything but that. The sudden death of a classmate at the local school launches a wave of strange incidents that begin to affect the town. All these events seem to connect back to the five girls our hero meets when he arrives in Mihate. When he begins to investigate everything that’s happening, he learns about the urban legend of “Yomibito,” where every hundred years, the dead rise and cause havoc across the land. Does this legend have some truth to it or is it just bogus?
What I find really interesting about this game is how it’s a mixture of multiple genres. It’s a slice-of-life romance game with a hint of horror. The game doesn’t get too risque, despite its M rating. I mean, it’s on the Nintendo Switch. There’s a limit to how much sexual content you can put on there, so you can probably guess why it has that Mature rating. There is blood and yes, more murders depending on your choices. If you want a darker romance game with a mystery attached that isn’t Collar x Malice, then you should check out World End Syndrome. There’s even a demo if you’re unsure about purchasing it!