Visual Novel or Visual Romance are games that do not consist solely of actions or movements, they are basically games where you have to make choices that can have consequences for the characters, through stories, music and among others. It is worth remembering that there are many exceptions on the topic!
The Visual Novels market has grown a lot in recent times, bringing from a simple game to a complex one. Visual Novels are distinguished from other types of games for their minimal and peculiar gameplay, which is just a matter of having to click to advance in the text, accompanied by graphics referring to the situations that occur and a soundtrack.
Most of them have a multiple story follow-up and consequently multiple endings that depend on the option selected by the player, and in some cases, choosing a “wrong” option results in a Game Over or Bad ending. Some exceptions don't even have these options, being centered on just a single story, as in Planetarian.
Although some Visual Novels try to integrate other elements that require more interactivity from the player, such as, for example, in Symphonic Rain, requiring the player to play musical instruments and only being able to advance when having a good graduation, but as in the above example, they are always related to the game history.
In general, Visual Novels are narrated by the protagonist (in the first person) and divided into days or chapters that accompany him from the moment he wakes up until the end of the day. Although there are exceptions, such as Saya no Uta, in which there are no notable divisions of time and also changes of narrator.
In terms of graphic features, they are usually composed of a generic background, referring to the scenario where a certain event occurs, along with the sprite of the characters that are in the narrator's point of view and, in certain special moments, CGs: more detailed images that were specially designed for define the elements of the scene in question, are usually stored and even some are unlockable, which motivates you to replay it and try to make different decisions.
Genres and Content
Many Visual Novels are centered around romantic themes, although other themes such as science fiction, fantasy, and horror are not very rare.
Traditionally in PC games, especially those created by amateur groups, they tend to have erotic scenes and other fanservice. Although those on other consoles are usually made for all ages. In some cases, as in Little Busters!, they have an initial production without adult content and only then another one is released with this one. And some never get to have it, as in Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
Anime inspired by Visual Novels
Steins;Gate: Steins;Gate is set in the summer of 2010, approximately one year after the events that took place in Chaos; Head in Akihabara. Steins;Gate is about a group of friends who have customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they carry out different experiments, an organization called SERN, which has been doing its own research on time travel, tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them.
School Days: Makoto Itou is a high school student who has been admiring a girl named Katsura Kotonoha who he sees on the subway on his way to school. Makoto managed to take a picture with his cell phone, but due to an unexpected change of places in his class, he ends up sitting next to Sekai Saionji, who discovers Makoto's crush on Kotonoha after looking at her photo in Makoto's cell phone menu. . Sekai promises to help him out with Kotonoha.
When he finally gets the two together, Sekai begins to show his own feelings after discovering that the boy Kotonoha liked was, coincidentally, Makoto. While waiting for the next subway with Makoto, who is waiting for Kotonoha, Sekai keeps talking about how Makoto could repay her for all her help. Before entering the subway, Sekai kisses Makoto and cries on the way home. Kotonoha happily goes on a date with Makoto a little while later. With the three main characters showing different expressions on their faces, the story begins...
Grisaia no Kaijitsu: The story revolves around Mihama Academy, a school/prison made to preserve “the fruits that fell far from the tree”. It's the home of five girls who all have their reasons for being in that gym and living the normal life right inside Mihama's walls.
One day, Kazami Yuuji, the school's first male student, arrives and messes with the school's swing and rhythm. Does Yuuji end up having what the girls need to hold on to their lives once again, or does the wall formed from their pasts prove to be too tall to cross? Or will his past be even heavier than everyone else's?