Home to tens of thousands of titles, Steam boasts more than a few hidden gems worth discovering. From cozy farming sims to action-heavy RPGs, the platform’s library spans a wide array of genres. Yet, one category often gets overshadowed by flashier titles. If you’re into rich narrative tapestries filled with suspenseful twists and endearing characters, however, the adventure-gaming genre has much to offer in the story department. So, let’s check out some compelling visual novels available on Steam.
Doki Doki Literature Club!
At first glance, Doki Doki Literature Club! seems to tick every box of your average dating sim. This visual novel puts you in the shoes of a high-schooler joining his school’s literature club, whose cute members you may either flirt with or push to the friendzone. If romance wrapped up in anime visuals is not exactly your style, you might give this game a pass. You would be missing out on one of the most fascinating games in the Steam catalog, though.
Beneath the surface of this seemingly ordinary visual novel lies a much more complex, if not unsettling narrative. The storyline quickly takes a dark turn, departing from its initial light-hearted atmosphere and innocent flirtatious conversations to plunge straight into psychological horror. Subverting expectations on every front, this mature visual novel is sure to haunt you long after you’ve turned off your computer.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Over two decades have passed since rookie attorney Phoenix Wright took his first trials on the Game Boy Advance. However, the courtroom adventures of the most beloved attorney in gaming history haven’t aged a day. Neither have the antics of the eccentric prosecutors and witnesses that make solving cases and clearing your defendant client’s name that much harder.
A port of the original Ace Attorney trilogy landed on Steam in 2019, allowing new players to experience the first three games in the series with revamped visuals and new quality-of-life features. If you’re craving more legal drama, the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is dropping on January 25. Switching to full-on 3D, this upcoming port looks to be even more of a glow-up than its predecessor. Additionally, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles offers a fresh spin on the formula by transporting you to 19th-century Tokyo and London.
The Wolf Among Us
Adapted from the comic book series written by Bill Willingham, The Wolf Among Us immerses players in an alternate version of 1980s New York City, where parts of Manhattan are sheltering fairytale characters who fled their magical realms to escape a ruthless tyrant. This small community is thrown in disarray when brutal murders strike at the very heart of Fabletown. Sheriff Bigby Wolf must get to the bottom of these grim incidents, crossing paths with familiar faces like Snow White or Bluebeard during his investigation.
This neo-noir point-and-click mystery is a gritty take on the classic fairy story, one that has arguably inspired quite a few subversive reimagining like the action-adventure platformer Alice: Madness Returns and the steampunk souls-like Lies of P. The gaming industry has put its own touches on such timeless fairytale characters as well, developing free games like Cinderella’s Palace or Snow White’s Magic Quest. Online slots for real money also play out that whimsical theme. Hence, fans of The Wolf Among Us can wait for the release of its highly-anticipated sequel playing fun online games with the Big Bad Wolf.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa is a visual novel that plays its anime tropes to the max. However, you don’t need to be much of an anime fan to enjoy the wild ride of this gripping, at times gory addition to the battle royale genre. The game traps a series of larger-than-life characters in an elite school mysteriously shut down to the outside, where a psychopathic robot bear forces them to kill each other to have a chance at freedom.
Any time a murder occurs, class trials are held to expose the criminal. These trial phases are where the truth is laid bare, but the Hope’s Peak Academy hides many more dark secrets to unearth. Also available on Steam, the Goodbye Despair sequel adds yet more layers to that fascinating story, while the killing game takes on new directions in the Danganronpa V3 chapter.