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iOS Visual Novels for the Otaku On the Go


It's Games Week at Japanator so I thought I'd chip in with a few iOS visual novels that have somehow made it to our digital shores. Much like Steam, it seems the low-risk allure of the App Store has attracted quite a few gems we would have never seen otherwise. Some are really fun and well made, others... not so much. Here's three I found to be quite entertaining, for better or worse:

Twilight Cherry (iOS)
Developer: m-kz
MSRP $0.99

Twilight Cherry is possibly the worst game I've ever played. It is a visual novel marred by an inconsistent translation, ear-grating soundtrack, and glaring technical bugs. I might be willing to overlook those flaws if the story was compelling but the plot is virtually non-existent. The girls are the most flat clichés possible and what little does happen is almost identical for each route. I only continued playing for the "Train Wreck" factor, laughing and facepalming while amassing a collection of memorable misquotes that I couldn't make up if I tried.

But you know what? After wrapping up the second route my regret at soldiering on faded away. As the credits rolled I couldn't help but notice the mere handful of names involved in the project. Just a few brave souls with the courage to put their work out there to be judged as well as the forward thinking to get their game in app stores abroad. Sure they made a terrible game, but I can't help admire that. Is that worth your 99 cents and the approximately 3 hours it will take you to play through both routes? I think so.

Kira☆Kira (iOS)
Developer: Overdrive
MSRP $9.99

I'm a complete sucker for music stories and Kira☆Kira (not to be confused with Kira*Kira) delivers. Being a port of the PC original, this is a real deal no corners cut visual novel, and a really good one at that. The presentation is fantastic with gorgeous art, solid voice acting and a great soundtrack. The story itself is an emotional roller coaster, following a group of kids half-heartedly starting a band that ends up changing their lives.

You may be thinking "WAIT I don't want an eroge on my iPhone!" but if you're worried about Cartoon Sexy Time artwork, you're covered. The iOS port is of the All Ages version of the game, although I still wouldn't recommend playing it around polite company. There's even a lite version if you're still not sure you wanna spring the $10 for it. Does that cover all your excuses? Good, now go give it a try!

Moe Cure Net (iOS)(Android)
Developer: Winlight
MSRP $0.99 iOS, $4.99 Android

There are games that are so bad they're good and then there are games that are so bad they're AMAZING. Moe Cure Net is AMAZING. It is a visual novel so basic I'm not sure you can even call it one. It looks and feels like a Kairosoft (makers of addicting sims like Game Dev Story) game, a simulation of a dating simulation to the point where it starts to border on parody. But just when you think you've reached the depths of despair and can't carry on any further, that's when the MAGIC happens.

You see, not all is as it seems in the world of Moe Cure Net, and before you know it a game that was already ridiculous reaches new heights of sheer absurdity. I don't want to give away any more than that but I'd recommend finishing the tsundere route first and going from there for the maximum effect.

In addition to the general madness of the story, the game is helped by a few bright points. The most obvious is all the dialogue is fully voiced by impressive talent like Chiwa Saito and Saki Fujita. They even toss in one or two seiyuu jokes for good measure. The other positive is the translation. The game's Engrish description in the App Store is misleading. Moe Cure Net is wonderfully localized and whatever poor soul took on the task clearly had as much fun as they could with it. Don't let his or her work go to waste, go and check this one out!

That's all the suggestions I've got for now but there are quite a few other VNs or similar types of games available in the app store. Anyone else play these or have any other recommendations?
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About jel xone of us since 11:38 PM on 08.09.2011

People may still remember me as "That Saimoe Guy", I can now be found wrangling the troops over at The Glorio Blog.