Serve up coffee to the dead in an upcoming anime-inspired visual novel

A long, long, long, long, long time ago (summer of last year), I was a barista. I was a barista for nearly three years, workin’ away at the same ol’ shop. Brewing tea, chatting with customers, and befriending regulars. When I played VA-11 Hall-A last year, a game that marketed itself as a “cyberpunk bartending action,” I felt the familiarity of working in the beverage-serving industry wash over me. In the upcoming Necrobarista, I imagine it might evoke a similar feeling. Announced this month at Visual;Conference, the Route 59 Games-developed Necrobarista is a visual novel about a cafe in Melbourne, Australia and…


Arabic visual novel aims to celebrate the language’s beauty

Based in the small town of Qatif, Saudi Arabia—”on the shores of the Arabian Gulf”—Light Studio is a team of five women who are currently making their first videogame. Leading the team as director, writer, and programmer is Fatimah Aldubaisi. The rest of the team all works on the game’s art and animations, comprising character designers Hameedah Hamadah and Zainab Aljishi, and background artists Lalyla Aldubaisi and Zainab Abu Abdullah. Their game is called Wojdan (Arabic for the soul or inner strength) and it’s pitched as an “Arabic visual novel” on account of its text and dialogue all being in Arabic—an English and French…

One Night Stand

Dating sims don’t get much more awkward than One Night Stand

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. One Night Stand (Windows, Mac, Linux) BY KINMOKU What did you do last night? This is the big question that visual novel One Night Standopens up with. And for your first couple playthroughs you’ll probably pursue the answer to it. You know that you slept with the girl you woke up next to, that you abandoned your friend Gary after the first drink, and that you have a terrible hangover. The rest you have to uncover by investigating the debris around the bedroom: a used…


Solve a murder mystery designed by middle school girls

You know that uncomfortable feeling of being outdone by someone much younger than you? If you’re not familiar, prepare to get acquainted with it: meet Interfectorem, a visual novel made by a team of four girls aged 11-15 years old.  Interfectorem tells the story of 16-year-old Alis, whose seven-year-old sister, Sali, is brutally murdered after the mysterious disappearance of their parents the year before. Sheriff-in-training Alis swears to track down her sister’s killer and wreak well-deserved vengeance. Helping the girls out on the project was director and programmer Andrew Dang, artist Reimena Yee, and musician Jon Peros. A smart blend of horror and humor…


Code Romantic, a visual novel about love and programming

If you like the sound of a visual novel with both computer science puzzle and romance elements then Code Romantic is for you. So far, creator Pretty Smart Games has released two of the game’s chapters, with more to come a little further down the line. Unlike Zachtronics-style programming games—where players learn fictional systems—Code Romantic is teaching players using C#, a coding language folks use a whole bunch. A game like Zachtronics’s Shenzhen I/O teaches more logic-based theories, while Code Romantic is starting more traditionally with the basics of code semantics. No prior programming experience is necessary, as the game starts off with very simple commands—stuff you’d learn in an intro…


Kinky visual novel Ladykiller in a Bind is out right now

This is exciting: Ladykiller in a Bind is out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You’ll find the visual novel—by Analogue: A Hate Story (2012) creator Love Conquers All Games—on the Humble Bundle store. For now, Valve deemed the game too sexy for Steam, but writer Christine Love hopes to get it on there one day. Love and her team have been working on Ladykiller in a Bind since 2012—full-time for three of those years. Its story is in stark contrast to the “brutally oppressive societal misogyny” in Analogue, of which Love has said her team was pretty burnt out on writing about. Ladykiller in a Bind celebrates consensual,…

Honey Rose

Honey Rose is the most relatable schoolgirl luchador out there

I relate a lot to Honey Rose. Or, at least I did back when I was a scrappy university student. While Honey moonlights as a masked luchador fighter in addition to being a college student by day, I juggled school, a job to pay the bills, and a far more time-consuming job that paid zero bills (campus publication editor gigs will do that to you). Like Honey, not everything went right. Sometimes I did poorly on tests because a deadline was approaching for the magazine I was art director for. Other times I’d slack off in one of those two,…


Anthrotari explores growing up as a queer furry in the ‘90s

Dial-up modems, Windows 95 floppies, IRC channels, and free American Online disks. Ask anyone who lived through the internet boom of the ‘90s and these are guaranteed to be some of the first things that come to mind. But for New York-based game developer J.C. Holder, who uses they/them pronouns, there was another aspect of their identity that marked growing up online: the anthropomorphic furry community. Holder’s upcoming game, Anthrotari, is a visual novel that casts the player in the role of a furry roleplayer named Alex. Through IRC channels, Alex hangs out with a group of anthros across the…


Honey Rose puts another kick-ass woman into videogames

Honey Rose: Underdog Fighter Extraordinaire is what happens when you combine a traditional animation style and with genre-bending game challenges inspired by wrestling/lucha libre. Developed by Pierre Sylvain, Honey Rose: UFE is a life management simulation, presented as a visual novel with beat’em up segments. The protagonist is a student trying to balance studies with becoming a wrestling champion. Most of the game takes place in the visual novel/life management format and is driven by choices over balancing activities, and responses to situations. The beat’em up segments, split between tournament matches and street brawls, are less about combos or timing, and more about proper stat management and…