Actually on time VNs I’ve liked in 2018

Most liked:

Little Busters:

I wasn’t going to put this as one of the most liked. It was always close to it, but there’s just things I didn’t really like about it. I feel like it should’ve been one route shorter while spreading out Rin’s development between the routes instead of before and after Rin 1. I just don’t like her much to be honest, and I think that’s the largest crux of it all.
The boys/refrain route is the best part of the novel. I enjoyed Haruka’s route the most out of the bunch, but Kud was my favorite female lead. Misato is the best though, which is recurring thing in Key’s novels.
The addition of an alternative path for Kud and an epilogue for Yui after you finish Refrain was more than I expected.
In the end, I like it a lot when it’s about the group, not so much when it focuses on Rin.

Konosora:

This isn’t the steam version by Moenovel, it’s the retranslation. I think they moved the links to reddit.
Parts of Ageha’s route irked me but Kotori and Amane’s routes can hit you hard.
The whole cast outside of a tiny few are all kind of retarded but it’s nothing to fret about.
It’s something I’d recommend for others(but also just telling them to read the two routes I’ve mentioned and then finish the rest if they want to finish the experience).

Tsujidou-san no Jun’ai Road:

Technically speaking, this could’ve been part of “Surprisingly good” section, but it was actually one of my favorites this year.
Maki pulls it down, its good parts aren’t even about or benefit Maki, but the main character Ai(You could technically just press ctrl and skip all of Maki’s porn to get to the good part).
I actually made a review on this one.
It’s dumb, it’s impactful, it’s emotional and it’s especially dumb.
Hana forever

The House in Fata Morgana: A Requiem for Innonence:

It’s well written, and it’s brilliant, the music especially so. There’s parts that felt overwritten(sometimes there’s a full payback once you go through the hurdle, but I felt nothing in another time).
But the first substory was amazing and bonus after finishing it all hits you hard. Maybe it’s just it’s because I’ve felt that before so it hits close to home.
The original was better though. I tried a few times to write a review on it, but I don’t know how to elaborate on why it’s so amazing. It’s a great answer to those that say visual novels are merely porn with an elaborate scenario.

Dissapointment:

Sorcery Joker:

The only reason why this is a disappointment is solely due to Haruto, which contains half the cast and screentime. Senri’s half was great, Haruto should’ve been written off(outside of one twist, none of them were surprising. And the surprising one probably couldn’t be seen coming and it’s not amazing either).

Koikuma:

This one is my fault. I never saw nukige in the tags so I thought it was a moege. And they just fucked a lot and I was in a pissy mood when I got even less story than I expected. Somehow the step-sister route has the most story. The protag was pretty much a dick too during my 2nd favorite, Miyabe. I don’t know, it just feels bad when something like Imouto Paradise has more story

Surprisingly good:

Dal Segno:

It’s not something I’d put in my favorites, not by a long shot. But considering that it’s a moege, Ame’s route actually got me tearing up. I could feel that the routes at least tried to make the reader emotional, so it can be considered something more of a moege that is reaching a nakige novel.
Actually made a post about this one

Fatal Twelve:

This is surprising in the sense that it’s from the same people that made “Sound of Drop -fall into poison-“, and it’s a huge step up. I actually quite liked this one. Odette and Frederico stole the show.

Re;Lord 1:

I had fun with it. The story feels like something I’d read from Disgaea. While the combat looks dumb, the just guards are pretty fun to do. The story itself leads well to the sequel, but it helps itself that it’s short otherwise I’d feel it was overstaying its welcome.

The weird one out:

The Eden of Grisaia:

It’s more for personal reasons. Since they had to merged all of the routes without putting them in a relationship for the 2nd one, a lot of stuff was changed. But the important one to me was how they handled Michiru’s problem. Which is basically removing the most impactful scene in the first one. Outside of that, the actual novel is pretty fun. There’s a lot going on so Makina and Amane aren’t at their max irritation. But they just fuck it up in the end, where it’s around .5~1 hour of straight up porn where it could’ve been implied, the last couple of scenes were pretty cute though.
It’s more of a literary issue, where I’d rather it not end with a “and then they banged”. Another one where I had this issue was in Tomoyo After, where the first hour was nothing outside of sex.

The rest:

In order by what I think was either objectively better or more fun to read

Hapymaher
This was close to being one of my most liked of the year. The mc has lucid dreams pretty much all the time, and part of his mind keeps grasping to his dead sister. The sister brings others into the dream and they have to get out every time. There’s more to it, and it almost feels like a Key novel. But there’s a lot of overlap which can get frustrating(they all hit the same scenes with a different girl. While I like Keiko, there’s no point for her outside of having a character that doesn’t have dream powers(she actually has a connection to the overall plot, but that’s basically shown in the true route and could be done much better). The true route was lackluster, outside of a few scenes like the one with the protagonist and his sister(which I thought was really well done for improving his character)).
Honestly, you can read Yayoi(best character)’s route and just be ignorant of the rest and it’d be fine.
Muvluv Alternative
I always heard it was one of the best, and it is quite good but I see it as kind of overhyped. Part of it is just that the MC really feels mentally challenged, he never gets or understands anything. There’s huge info dumps where it could’ve been split in half and it’d actually make more sense that way. There’s really strong scenes, but one of the most impactful scenes was about a navy officer you were introduced to maybe 20 minutes ago, and that’s good and sad at the same time that it beats out characters you’ve known for hours.
Evenicle
It’s basically Rance if he was a goodie goober. The last few lines stuck out to me, it reminded me a lot of Baroque’s ending(they’re very different endings mind you)
Sanoba Witch
It’s one of those where it’s a moege but actually tries to have a story. Some routes felt tacked on. And the true route went a few hours longer than it should’ve. Think of Clannad’s true ending, except it somehow added 4 extra hours instead of leaving it as a strong moment to finale.
Newton and the Apple Tree
It’s a moege, Lavi was its saving grace.
Bishoujo Mangekyou
It’s basically a vampire porn VN. The art is amazing though.
Magical Marriage Lunatics
A moege that’d kind of like Shuffle from way back. The vampire one was the most interesting since it revolved more on how the MC was able to meet everyone.
Nekopara 3
I thought maybe it would get the magic from the 1st one instead of being more of a nukige, it stayed a nukige. Good news is the sequel could only be the sister, and she was the cute one.
Miniature Garden
It’s kind of like corpse party, where you’re in a different dimension of the same school trying to get back to the original one.
Crimson Gray
Just a short Yandere vn, it’s pretty alright. I had fun at least
Mary Skelter
It’s a dungeon crawler, there’s some vn elements in it but I feel like it’s just an addition to the crawler.
A light in the dark
A vn where you get kidnapped, honestly the characters were kind of annoying, sounds like something you’d write during your edgy years.
Oppai Sensou Kyonyuu VS Hinnyuu
It’s a dumb porn game

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