One of the biggest obstacles in trying to convince a non-visual novel gamer to play your favorite visual novel is admitting that they’ll have to read. It’s a tall order, even when that person is used to story-heavy games like Final Fantasy XIV, because though those types of games have a lot of cutscenes to read and watch, there’s a ton to do that breaks up those huge story bits. Even as both a fan and developer of the medium, I too sometimes find myself needing a break from playing VNs, because of the sheer amount of text. Sometimes, if it works for the story, developers can incorporate minigames into their game. Although these minigames are often brief, they give players a break from reading. For people searching for visual novels with minigames, here are just some visual novels with minigames in them.
Misadventures of Laura Silver
In Misadventures of Laura Silver, you play as Laura Silver, a detective sent to Czechoslovakia to find a creature known as the Vodnik. However, the case becomes bigger when someone is murdered in the very hotel Laura is staying at. Our heroine has to figure out who the murderer is while also getting more information on the Vodnik.
The game’s minigames come in the form of creating timelines for the case at hand. I really enjoyed these minigames when they popped up. They made me feel like I was a real detective trying to piece the series of events together in order to build my case against someone.
I adored Misadventures of Laura Silver. It’s an incredibly polished detective visual novel with a fantastic heroine to lead its story. Laura, being a female detective in the 1930s, isn’t ready to be dismissed. Confident that she can get the job done, she isn’t willing to listen to anyone talking down to her. She’s always on her toes, and given her line of work and how she has to deal with the supernatural, I can’t blame her. She does have her flaws, however. She’s jaded, for one, making comments about how the bulb in the light fixture burns brighter than her. She’s also paranoid, willing to pull out her gun without hesitation if you so choose. She’s a complex and realistic character that I found myself taking a liking to! I’m happy to report that the rest of the cast are also enjoyable and fleshed out.
Unfortunately, the second chapter of Misadventures of Laura Silver was cancelled due to financial reasons, which is a real shame but completely understandable. However, if you’re on the look for a good detective story with supernatural elements, I still think the first chapter of Misadventures of Laura Silver is worth your time and money.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux (itch.io)
One day, the heroine is invited to an exclusive party known as the Annual Valdemar Halloween Extravaganza. For two weeks, you’ll be playing a series of games while partnered up with super rich but handsome men. Can our heroine win the games set up for her and her team, and will she fall in love? Or will these two weeks end up being a complete waste of time? Halloween Otome is a rather cute but short game that shows its age with the UI, as the game came out in 2014. Some of the backgrounds feel out of place, with background art styles changing. While I see nothing wrong with using assets, I think if a developer does go down that route, they all need to be cohesive so it doesn’t become distracting to the player.
Halloween Otome was the first visual novel that I played that had mini-games. At the time, I was thoroughly impressed because I thought visual novels could never have anything like them. Even though they’re quite simple, like sliding puzzles and hidden-object scenes, they’re fun, engaging minigames. Your performance on each minigame will result in points being rewarded to you. At the start of the game, you can decide whether or not you want the minigames turned off. Although the minigames don’t affect whether you get a good or bad ending, how well you do in them does vary the endings slightly. However, the minigames are incredibly easy, so I don’t feel as though they need to be skipped.
Price: Varies between each title ($14.99 – $39.99)
The popular example on this list. During the game’s trials, which can take up a large chunk of time, several minigames are introduced, such as Hangman Gambit, where you need to find the correct letter to spell out the name of a piece of evidence; a rhythm game called Bullet Time Battle; and a snowboard minigame where you need to lead the character to the correct answer. These are only just a few of the minigames in the series. As odd as some of these minigames may seem, they work. They’re not just there to entertain the viewer, but to also get them to think about the case at hand, perfectly tying back into the game and making sense in the story.
Danganronpa‘s first two games are definitely fantastic, with the second game being my favorite out of the series. I feel as though the first two games are perfect combinations of suspense, drama, and comedy that have kept me engaged and really liking a lot of the characters, even turning my negative opinions into positive ones on some (such as Fuyuhiko from Danganronpa 2). While the action game Danganronpa: Another Episode Ultra Despair Girls marks the beginning of the decline of the series for me by featuring killer elementary school kids and an uncomfortable minigame where you have to stop the main character from getting groped, many fans and non-fans of the series enjoy the later titles in the franchise. If you haven’t given the Danganronpa series a shot, I highly suggest that you give the first two games a try and see how you like them.