Top 5 Visual Novels With Animation

These are my top 5 visual novels that have great animation!

If you read any of my previous articles, you might notice that I love visual novels that have motion and animation. This includes noticeable sprite movement, 3D camera animation, video cutscenes, and more! These are my top five English visual novels that use animation to help tell the story.

5. Winter Flower

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)

Winter Flower is a visual novel that was submitted to the 2021 Winter VN Jam. The story features a female protagonist, Haru, and her quest to find a cure for her sister’s illness. She finds herself caught in a snowy winter storm, encountering a mysterious individual along the way. There are two endings that players can achieve in this historical romance.

What I love about this novel is that it does a great job of depicting traditional Japanese culture. The way the story is told visually feels like the pages of an ancient book, yet it also feels incredibly cinematic, and that’s what really draws me in. Upon the game’s launch, players are immediately immersed in illustrations and slow camera movements that bring the story to life. Particles of snow dance across the screen as the story unfolds. There isn’t a moment where the novel feels stale, because the artwork is constantly changing to fit the narrative, and that’s a major achievement for a jam entry.

4. Beauty and the War

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)

Beauty and the War is a dark fantasy visual novel featuring a female protagonist, supernatural entities, and a ruthless but potentially malleable king. A bold and beautiful woman from Virgo Island is set on persuading the king to believe her claims. This otome game offers five romance options as well as two secret love interests.

This game amazed me with the amount of art that it has to offer. This developer takes the phrase “attention to detail” to a whole new level. Not only is there a ton of artwork, but every scene is animated and flows from one animation to the next like a movie. Beauty and the War sets the example for what extraordinary art direction looks like. The game is currently still in development, but I’m very eager to see the final version, because this is a beautiful game.

3. fault milestone one

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (Steam)

fault milestone one is a fantasy visual novel that follows the adventure of Princess Selphine and her royal guard, Ritona. After the two escape an attack on their homeland, they find themselves transported across the world and must embark on a journey to return home.

This visual novel uses 3D technology to animate the sprites and the backgrounds in tandem. The parallax effect is an illusionary technique that grabs the viewers’ attention. In other words, sprites and backgrounds move at different speeds simultaneously. The creator, ALICE IN DISSONANCE, has a strong sense of composition of the game’s art assets and how to put them into motion in a way that’s desirable. The CGs and cutscenes are by far some of the most impressive and visually pleasing scenes I’ve ever seen in a visual novel, and I can’t stress enough how much I hold this game in high regard.

2. Crystalline

Platforms: Windows, Mac (Steam)

Crystalline takes place in Terra, a fantasy world the protagonist unexpectedly arrives in. Visually, the game feels like Genshin Impact mixed with Sword Art Online and turned into a visual novel. Mechanically, Crystalline offers a generous number of choices and a handful of characters that the protagonist meets along his journey to find his way back home.

Crystalline is a shining example of a beautiful game, so it’s no surprise that it landed number two on this list. The sprites in this game are fully animated so that the characters’ arms, shoulders, and facial expressions match the narrative. The game is fully voiced, and the sprites’ lips are in perfect sync with every line of dialogue. I’d say this is as close to an MMO feel as a visual novel can get while still staying within the genre.

1. The Letter

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (Steam) (itch.io), Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S, PlayStation 4/5

The Letter is a horror visual novel that follows a group of people and the events that unfold after the discovery of a mysterious and chilling letter. The cinematics in this game are exceptional because not only are the animated CGs immersive, but all of the other elements of the game come together and create the atmosphere.

Every room is breathing with motion and buzzing with ambiance. There’s the subtle movement of the chandelier oscillating back and forth, the sound of a dismal news broadcast in Isabella’s room, and even the special effects of rain pouring over the Ermengarde mansion. The sprites have a generous amount of motion, but not so much that it’s distracting. This game is highly esteemed, and I have highlighted it numerous times in a few of my other articles because of how well done it is.

Spooktober 2022 Visual Novel Jam

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