Visual Novel or Visual Romance are games that do not consist solely of actions or movements, basically they are games where you have to make choices that can bring consequences to the characters, through stories, music and more. Remember that there are many exceptions to the topic!
The Visual Novels market has grown a lot lately, ranging from a simple game to a complex one. Visual Novels are different from other types of games due to their minimal and peculiar gameplay, summing up only in needing to click to advance in the text, accompanied by graphics referring to the situations that have occurred and a soundtrack.
Most of them have a multiple follow-up of the story and consequently several 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 do not 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, as for example, in Symphonic Rain, requiring the playing of musical instruments and only being able to advance when having a good graduation, but as in the example mentioned, they are always related to game history.
Style / Appearance
In general, Visual Novels are narrated by the protagonist (in the first person) and divided into days or chapters that accompany him from the time he wakes up until the end of the day. Although there are exceptions, for example, Saya no Uta, in which there are no notable divisions of time and also changes in the narrator.
In the graphic characteristics, they are usually composed of a generic background, referring to the scenario where a certain event occurs, together 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 designed especially for define the elements of the scene in question, they are usually stored and even some are unlockable, which motivates re-playing it and trying to make different decisions.
Genres and content
Many Visual Novels are centered on romantic themes, although other themes like science fiction, fantasy and horror are not very rare.
Traditionally in PC games, especially those created by amateur groups, they usually 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 after that another one with this one is released. And some never 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 a year after the events that took place in Chaos; Head, in Akihabara. Steins; Gate is about a group of friends who have personalized their microwave on 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, accompanies them 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 exchange of seats in his class, he ends up sitting next to Sekai Saionji, who discovers Makoto's crush on Kotonoha after looking at her photo on Makoto's cell phone menu. . Sekai promises to help you 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, by coincidence, Makoto. While waiting for the next subway along with Makoto, who is waiting for Kotonoha, Sekai keeps talking about how Makoto could reward her for all the help given by her. Before entering the subway, Sekai kisses Makoto and cries on the way home. Kotonoha happily goes on a date with Makoto a little later. With the three main characters showing different expressions on their faces, the story begins ...
Grisaia no Kaijitsu: The story revolves around the Mihama Academy, a school / prison designed to preserve “the fruits that fell too far from the tree”. It is the home of five girls who all have their reasons for being in that gym and living the normal life right within the walls of Mihama.
One day, Kazami Yuuji, the institution's first male student, arrives and interferes with the school's balance and rhythm. Does Yuuji end up having what the girls need to cling to their lives once again, or did the wall formed from their past prove to be too high to bridge? Or will his past be even heavier than everyone else's?