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File 165426625460.png - (732.87KB , 1187x791 , otakukun.png )
2306 No. 2306 [Edit]
I've developed this habit out of low effort and laziness. I'll go to vndb.org and filter only games I can play on the browser. Usually I'll focus on very short reads in order to have a whole story in one sitting and try to spend as least time as possible actually selecting the title. I'll quickly go through the filtered list and click on the first title that stands out for me that day. If it needs a login or anything like that I just quit and try something else. Really handy when you're too depressed to go through the process of choosing and downloading something to play. There's also a surprise factor there where you don't really know what you're getting yourself into, it's nice. Just remember many of those freeware titles are done by very small studios and ocasionally a single person, so don't expect a high production value, though there are many of those as well.

To kickoff this thread here's what I read today. Gomen ne, Otaku-kun. It's about a girl flerting with poor Otaku-kun for laughs. Things get out of hand.
https://vndb.org/v28443
https://2795.sv02.novelgame.jp/game/2795/GomenneOtakukun/

Needless to say you can also filter through language to find English translated vns in the same way. Let's see the stuff we can find.
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>> No. 2307 [Edit]
File 165533180094.png - (1.25MB , 1427x809 , ojisantoasobou.png )
2307
Visited novelgame.jp today and this one was trending. Ojisan to Asobou. You're a 'famous on Twitter' girl getting lots of attention. One day an old guy sends you a message talking about your diet. Things might get out of hand from there. It was cute enough. Very short. You can see all the endings in 20 minutes or so.
https://vndb.org/v36255
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/6610
>> No. 2308 [Edit]
File 165539378312.png - (371.69KB , 799x496 , 公衆電話.png )
2308
Bored again, went back to novelgame. Picked up this one, Koushuudenwa. It's one of the best rated horror games in there. You're stuck inside a phone booth and have to figure a way out. Played for an hour and didn't get anywhere. Ended up checking on youtube. The author is always adding new numbers for you to dial. Interesting concept. This game is also available in English.
https://vndb.org/v28334
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/1059
>> No. 2309 [Edit]
File 165540333189.png - (653.25KB , 970x595 , 振り返ってはいけない道.png )
2309
Furikaettehaikenaimichi is a short, 15 min game about trying to cross a very ominous street.
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/1050
>> No. 2310 [Edit]
File 165548697611.png - (336.98KB , 973x615 , お分かり頂けただろうか?.png )
2310
Owakari itadaketa darouka? is a short horror game where you get to explore a supposedly haunted school building. It's a little gimmicky but it's a fun short read. There are a couple of endings in there. Standard stuff.
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/1409
Apparently this is another one not catalogued on vndb.
>> No. 2311 [Edit]
File 165565149813.png - (953.41KB , 1219x809 , noroinobiru.png )
2311
Noroi no Biru is the best game I've played this year on novelgame. It's a horror VN with the 'you're the chosen one' trope. The backgrounds are mostly pictures but they are really nice. The story is well put together and there's actually a lot of effort put into it, specially for a free game. Many places to explore and there's a lot of paths you can take. It took me about 3 hours to go through all the normal and best endings. There are 16 of them, granted half of those are just pretty similar game over screens. Only issue I think is the use of silhouettes instead of fully designed characters, but if you played a lot of these free VNs this is nothing new.
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/6638
>> No. 2312 [Edit]
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2312
Yuuhi receives a strange call at night. It's Rei, a girl from her class. She's not Yuuhi's friend. In fact they only talked once, very briefly. Rei says she's been kidnapped and don't have anyone else to help her. All she knows is she just woke up in some abandoned building, handcuffed to a bed. It's up to Yuuhi now to help her colleague figure out what is going on and help her escape...

I predict this game will become a favorite in novelgame. The production value on this is honestly quite amazing. I have seen many worse looking paid VNs than this. The music is great, the art on the characters are very close to professional quality. And there is voice acting! Not just one or two sentences. Every single line here is voiced. For people who are into seiyuu culture, this is a very interesting experience, specially if you only heard highly paid professionals working on the animation industry. These are aspiring voice actors and they maybe not sound like professionals with several years worth of practice but they're very good and enthusiastic about their characters. A very interesting experience all things considered. It takes about an hour or so to see all the endings, in my case it took way more than that because I listened to this whole thing twice. I was that impressed.

The plot may sound a little cliche but the characters here get some decent development and I became quite attached to them. Even though the story is simple, the writers managed to bring some genuine emotion to it and because of it, this is a very good read. Along with the voice acting, music and art, I'm amazed this is a free game. Steam is littered with VNs 100x worse than this costing 10 bucks. All endings actually matter btw. They all add something interesting to the story and it was really rewarding going back and try to read them all. There's 4 in total, two bad endings, a normal ending and the true ending. If you been reading this thread at all but didn't bother to check any of these games, please check this one, it sounds and looks very good for a free title, you'll be impressed.

This game is a very recent release so there isn't 'no commentary' playthroughs of it on yt yet and most videos are from vtubers with their avatars taking too much of the screen. This is the best footage available right now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnkyZU3pgBQ

https://vndb.org/v36489
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/6365

Post edited on 20th Jun 2022, 2:22pm
>> No. 2313 [Edit]
File 165590838417.jpg - (560.06KB , 1429x800 , zigokuno.jpg )
2313
Jigoku no Internets is a weird experience. It's such a mixed bag in all fronts it's difficult to even organize my thoughts around it. I guess it has more good than bad in it, since I don't regret playing it. The character you see is the only one with effort put into it. You play as freeter and aspiring blogger trying to make it in the publishing industry. You spend most of your day writing shitty urban legend stories, eating unhealthy food and lying in bed. One day you meet Naraku-chan and your life goes off the rails... more than usually. It's a game about how the internet is shit but still pretty interesting at the end of the day.

The music is pretty nice but there are large parts of the game where there's no music at all, which is a very weird artistic decision and I don't like it at all. Art is serviceable, mostly pictures with lots of filters, but that's standard for free VNs. The story is divided in 4 chapters. The first one is kinda nice but it doesn't go anywhere. Second one feels like filler, third one is OK but worse than the first and the fourth is good. It has four endings and they're very good, which makes you leave the game with an overall positive impression. It takes a couple hours to play through and see all the endings. There are some point and click minigames here and there but it's not really fun, it's just something you do to move the story forward. Also it's a very linear game, not many choices here until the very end.

https://vndb.org/v31574
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/5227
>> No. 2317 [Edit]
File 165601602734.png - (591.22KB , 1258x806 , 放課後闇倶楽部.png )
2317
Houkago Yami Club is a VN about 4 students struggling to keep their clubs from being disbanded due to lack of members. I never disagreed so much with the tags for a game as I did with this one. It's classified as 'adventure' 'school' and 'horror' and the only accurate one is school. I feel this is a drama with some mystery elements and a character study focused plot. Most definitely not adventure. Also an incredibly slow burn game. You wouldn't know this by the tags alone but you'll soon realize it while it slowly introduces its 4 characters.

Eri is a painter and runs the art club. Her design is also obviously inspired by Mizuki from Kono bijutsubu mondai ga aru. She's a sweet girl who loves painting and also has something of a dark secret. Urara is a very energetic student with golden hair. She runs the drama club. She would love to act in a play but like Eri, she's the only one left in her club, which she finds very embarrassing. She also has a dark secret. Riku is a soporific student running the astronomy club, she's also the last member of said club and spends her time sleeping in an empty classroom. And guess what? She has a dark secret. Finally my favorite, Eisuke, is running the tea club. I like her best because she dresses in self-effacing colors, has a sort of hime haircut going, an old Japan sensibility towards life, talks in a heavy Kansai dialect... and has a dark secret.

Once you're introduced to them all, you must choose which club to join, effectively saving it from being disbanded. From then on, you'll explore more of the life of the character you went with. I admit I didn't play through Riku or Eri's routes yet because they looked the least interesting to me but I'm planning to. The backgrounds are, again, pictures with filters but it looks decent enough. Not much variety btw, you basically spend the whole game in a single room, having a very long conversation. The character designs are quite nice and I really like Eisuke. She has a paper fan. The music is generic but it works. The stories are interesting but it completely depends if you care or not for the characters as the story here is an exploration of their lives.

Each student has a good and a bad ending and that's your only choice besides selecting which club to join; during the climax of the plot, you select an obviously bad or obviously good move regarding the situation at hand and the rest plays out. Once you go through all 4 clubs there's a special true ending but I haven't seen it yet. It takes about 40 minutes to go through each character, so it's a fairly long game, considering it's a free title on novelgame.

Overall I really enjoyed this one. I just wished it had proper tags. Also, I didn't want to make a post just for this, but I regret having the word 'Casual' on the title of this thread. Only later I remembered casual has a bad connotation in gaming and anime centered communities like tc. I hope people won't disregard these games because I said they're casual free reads. These VNs are actually very interesting and they're part of the weird, chaotic and wonderful world of Japanese self-published VNs.

https://novelgame.jp/games/show/5586

Post edited on 23rd Jun 2022, 2:49pm
>> No. 2318 [Edit]
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2318
​​Yakusokuhitotsu is one of those games it has one or two interesting things going for it and you end up playing it through despite several other things you don't like or don't care about. This is a love story where the guy and the girl get together on the very first act and the story that follows is sort of split between the guy thinking how cute his girlfriend is. The girl is blushing every other scene and has a hard time saying anything because of how shy she is. You've seen this before about a billion times and that's the part that really bored me out, but I stayed because the guy is a little bit of an unreliable narrator and quite the pessimistic type. Well, until he gets a girlfriend, then he gets a little bit more optimistic but there are still bouts of depression in there that is affecting his relationship.

The art is maybe 4 screens and 2 pictures for Botan, the narrator's love interest. 3 if you count the one on the game's frontpage. Music is kinda nice, there's actually a very good ending tune going but overall it's very generic. This is one of those VNs that you just sit there and read through, there are only 2 choices to make, the first choice changes nothing so it shouldn't be there and the second one changes the ending. Lots of talk about dying and leaving your loved one behind and all that very intense way teenagers usually understand love, or at least that's how they're usually portrayed in anime, games and whatnot. It takes about an hour to go through it all.

I picked this one because of the title and I liked the character design. Almost quit about half way through when the dialogue got very generic but it soon picked up again. The ending is actually quite nice. It's a sad love story and a little bit confusing.


https://vndb.org/v36495
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/6655
>> No. 2319 [Edit]
File 165625720639.png - (1.15MB , 1431x717 , 雨音と自動人形.png )
2319
Amaototo, like >>2312 is a game that if you're not going to play it, it's at least worth watching it. The creator went the extra mile on the production value. The music is really good and manages to be unique, the art for the characters is professional and there are even voice actors. All lines for Aya and Mizuki, two of the main characters, are fully voiced and they do an excellent job at it. The only thing that shows this is a free game are the backgrounds. They're 'just' pictures but I feel like there was actually some location scouting done for this one because they look gorgeous and carefully selected. You can tell when the person just went out around the neighborhood taking pictures and when there's a thoughful process behind it. There's a lot of art for the main characters and a lot of places you visit throughout the game.

Even with all this quality for the visuals and music, what really stands out here is the story. This is a long game for a free title, took me over 2 hours to get through it all. I think the best way I can describe the story is this: Imagine an universe that is a mix of Mushishi and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. Put those two in a blender and you have Amaoto to Jidouningyou Musubi. You have a future where humanity is long past its prime. Human population is dwindling. Androids were developed and built to help keep civilization going. The story focus on Aya, an android waiting for someone on a bus stop in an isolated road up in the mountains. Now, this is not a traditional VN where you take routes by choosing things to say or do. It's a completely linear title, no routes to choose here. Just sit there and read it. Your only choice is at the start where you can pick which chapter to begin with. The story is divided in 5 chapters. It's a odd decision since the story builds up and it has a linear progress. It only makes sense if you start from chapter 1, it's not an episodic thing.

It's very hard to talk about the story without going into spoilers, maybe nobody here is going to play this and it doesn't even matter, I'm not sure. For now I'll just say it's a 'gloomy hopeful' type of story, with bittersweet turns with kindhearted, endearing characters. Mushishi and Yokohama like I said. If you enjoy any of those titles you'll very much like this game. There are some plot twists here and there but I'm sure how effective they are, honestly I saw them coming from a mile away but just now I checked a couple of youtubers who played through this and they were surprised, so maybe it's not that obvious. Or maybe there were only pretending to be surprised. I don't know.

So yeah, Amaototo is an emotional rollercoaster of a story, touching on friendship, love, persistence, devotion and kindness, all wraped up in a sweet, declining world, Yokohama style. Beautiful, endearing characters, good music and very decent art. And it's free.

https://vndb.org/r82882
https://novelgame.jp/games/show/5632
https://freegame-mugen.jp/adventure/game_9954.html
I don't know what's up with free VNs but their gameplay on yt is pretty much dominated by Vtubers. I wouldn't mind if it didn't detract so much attention from the game itself. I got lucky and there's a Vtuber free playthrough of this one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz9Kh2ZImpM&list=PLMO18hMgPqORCjq5wJdo7PSLs_lAYg8Lu

Post edited on 26th Jun 2022, 8:35am
>> No. 2320 [Edit]
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2320
Hayaku Tobira wo Akete is a game focusing on building tension and increasing your expectations about what's going to happen. I know all stories try to do this to some degree, but this one right here is laser focused on achieving those things. It has nothing else going for it. And it actually manages to do it with a very simple story. It's even silly really. You're locked inside your house. A woman comes in, many times during the day to knock at your door and try to make you open it. That's it. As the story unfolds you get to know more of what's actually going on and it builds up to the point of being a little bit of a horror game, which was a nice surprise.

The art there is to this game, you're seeing it attached here. It's your front door. There's no music or sound effects of any kind and that's unfortunate, some SE here would go a long way. It's just you and the scrolling text on the text box. You'll be staring at your door the whole time, wondering if you should open it or not. Very simple concept and it works pretty well. It take about 30 minutes to go through it, there are 3 endings available.

https://novelgame.jp/games/show/6342
>> No. 2321 [Edit]
File 165655240115.jpg - (182.55KB , 1280x720 , metory.jpg )
2321
This game is absolutely wonderful. It hurts to know nobody played this. I can't understand why it's not more popular, even within the novelgame community it seems rather obscure. Maybe the slightly odd 3D models put people off? This title is close to perfect though. Beautiful, powerful storyline, excellent, memorable music that sounds pretty professional, backgrounds are plentiful and interesting to look at 99% of the time. The character models might look a little stiff, sure, but it actually reminds me of some of the old Nintendo DS games which I played all the time, so for me at least it has an extra endearing quality. Regardless, the story is so good you'll not be thinking about the shortcomings of the visuals for long. The models are not bad btw, just unusual for a VN.

Premise here is one I have read in at least a couple of other places but the only other media I can clearly remember starting like this is Dragon Head. You have 3 students from the same highschool during their morning commute. While the subway train is going through a tunnel, a major earthquake breaks out and they all lose consciousness. When they wake up and look throughout the window, they find themselves in a completely unfamiliar place. A bright, red sky covers everything in crimson colors. There are ruined houses everywhere and an old Ferris Wheel at a distance. Doesn't take long for them to suspect they crossed to another world somehow.

These students don't know each other and have completely different personalities and views on life. Suzune is a lonely dreamer who spends her lunchtime alone in the classroom, gazing at the blue sky. Her goal is to make friends but she makes no attempt to even talk to anyone. Emi has a channel on the super popular Hatsunetube website and is right on the way to become a well paid influencer. She's extremely popular in school and everybody likes her. Seems like all she cares about is making videos and getting views though. Last but not least there's Ichiba, a straight A student who doesn't even care about the name of his classmates, memorizing their roll call number instead. Once they wake up, they'll have to figure out what's going on and how to get back to their world.

And that's how METORY begins. From here on I would like to talk a little bit more about the story, so be warned, SPOILERS AHEAD. If you want to experience this for yourself and I can't recommend this game enough, please stop here and check the links. Like with every game itt, it's free and you can play it on your browser. Wonderful game, really worth your time.

https://novelgame.jp/games/show/5217
The author has a Twitter: /philia41
And now to the story.

Minor spoiler ahead.
Like I said I really like the story for this one but it starts in a very weird manner. You begin following Suzune around and it tells her story, her lack of friends, her isolation and then we go through all the subway scenes, the tunnel and the red sky. Then, we rewind and begin to follow Emi around. This time we also go through the same subway and tunnel scene that we just read when following Suzune. If going twice through the same events is not enough, the author decided that the third time's a charm and we get to read about the subway and the earthquake all over again. It's odd the author decided to repeat himself 3 times before deciding to move on.

Major spoilers ahead. Only read this if you're not going to play the game yourself.
There are other funny decisions like giving you a game over for selecting the wrong music for Suzune or not letting me select Ichiba or Emi to go first on the 'memory lane'. Why pretend there's a choice when there's none? I also felt the game could not advance the plot and give exposition about the characters at the same time. We're either exploring these character's past and tragedies or we're talking about this weird world they're in, only at the very end when it's revealed the person behind the monitor choosing who is going to die is Suzune's mother the author finally manages to make both things at once and it gets pretty much perfect from then on.

I will spoil the endings from here on. Only read this if you're not going to play the game yourself.
The ending is beautiful. The story doesn't pull any punches during the memory lane episodes, like Emi's dad suicide and having Ichiba being completely obliterated by his fake girlfriend, so I actually was fearful for the character's safety when it seemed like they would have to die. Fortunately it has a happy ending. I would be very crushed if any of them had to stay on the train. Very redeeming arches for Suzune's mother and Emi's dad, too and of course the way the students ended up building a strong friendship by overcoming their own shortcomings is very, very good storytelling. I loved how well the story managed to give closure to everyone. I'm not sure if any of my decisions mattered though. I have to go back and actively try to screw things up to see if you can actually lose one or more of the students. That would not be nearly as satisfying as the happy ending though. The plot really made me feel those characters had earned their way back to the world of the living.
>> No. 2322 [Edit]
>>2321
Premise sounds interesting. Might check out. Not a fan of in-browser programs though.
>> No. 2323 [Edit]
>>2322
Downloads are also available if you prefer that. All those games work pretty well in a browser though, except maybe Amaototo. There are video clips and music in there that takes forever to load for some reason. Didn't have a problem with the others.
>> No. 2324 [Edit]
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2324
As far as I'm aware Yakusoku no Akai Origami is the very first game by Hitotokinoyume, a team of 3 guys. They also released this mostly same game for mobile with room escape elements. I played the PC, VN version. I'm very impressed with their first attempt. Everything is solid and the story is pretty good. There are also some player friendly choices with the design I would love to see in all VNs, like highlighting the routes I already took so I don't have to reload when making a mistake, and showing me the paths I didn't take to reach a particular ending. Not many free stuff out there that will take the trouble to implement those things, it helps a lot. Everything else other than the plot is average though. Average art, average music. The characters do look a little bit uninspired but the backgrounds held my interest as they look like from an old point and click game but in a Japanese setting, it was interesting.

The plot is the main reason why you would play this. Religion plays a major part in the story. It's interesting to see a more 'religious-centric' view on Japanese spirituality. Usually in games and anime you have a very fantastic, mythological approach where you actually see the Gods and all the mythological creatures roaming around and interacting with humans. In such cases, there's no room for an exploration of religious behavior or religious belief, because there's no room for skepticism or thinking critically about religion. The Gods are right there! The Kappas roam the mountains. If a miku is doing something wrong, she just needs to ask the God she's serving and he or she is right there to respond, problem solved. When Mythology is a given like this, it's almost not a religion as a belief system, it's right in front of you. There are no doubts about it. Here though we have a more realistic view. Lots of conflict about belief and rituals and whatnot. It would be interesting to see more games taking this approach, I think it's a fairly unexplored territory, especially if you compare it with the more fantasy-based approach to Shinto and Japanese mythology that is absolutely everywhere in JP media.

I want to say this takes place at the beginning of the Meiji era based on some objects you can see around, but it might be a little later than that since the entire thing happens in a very tiny, isolated village. You have a very influential family, the Utsumi, having to deal with the task of giving thanks to the God protector of the place. Right away there's all sorts of weird things happening. You follow a girl called Tada, as she's trying to figure out all the weird things that start to happen to her on her 16th birthday. Voices whispering in the night, visions of a little girl inside the temple strangling an old man and little pieces of origami paper she keeps finding in the oddest places. As she goes back and forth asking people around about the past of the village and the upcoming festival, the plot unravels.

There's also point and click elements to find clues and objects that unlock more of the story. I'm not fond of that type of stuff in the middle of a VN but all those sections are simple enough and nicely spaced so it never gets annoying. It's a rather long one for a free title but it's worth a read.

https://novelgame.jp/games/show/6509
You can also watch it, some fairly talkative guy played it in 4 parts. Fair warning though, he's too enthusiastic about his own voice going over nonstop over the game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7mk813n2hg

>>2322
>Might check out
Did you?
>> No. 2325 [Edit]
There are a lot of interesting sounding titles here none of which I can read. I guess I'll try looking at some short english translated ones later on.
>> No. 2326 [Edit]
>>2325
One benefit of web-based games is that you can use them with rikaikun automatically (unless it's rendered via canvas, in which case I guess you're out of luck).
>> No. 2327 [Edit]
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2327
>>2326
How Convenient! And Given how short they are I might even be able to finish one by the end of the week.
>> No. 2328 [Edit]
>>2325
Remember to check out these (and ones from the previous and subsequent events) if you haven't already: https://apothes.is/hosted/at2006/release.html
Old, but still very much worth it.

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