Creator / Voltage Inc

Voltage, Inc. is a Japanese developer of Romance Game Visual Novels for mobile phone. The company originated in 1999, based in Tokyo, and began to expand to English-speaking audiences in 2011, releasing English-language versions of their games through the Apple Store and Google Play. Expanded versions of several of their games were previously released through GREE, a social gaming network which provides the games Free To Play on a limited daily basis with the option of further advancement via Microtransactions. Support for the GREE versions of the games ceased in 2014, replaced by the similar free-to-play/social media "Party" versions of several games.

Voltage's American subsidiary, Voltage Entertainment USA, was formed to market adaptations of existing Voltage, Inc. games which have been heavily localized to appeal to Western audiences, including replacing the anime-style character sprites and CGs with new artwork in a more Western style. Beginning in 2013 with Speakeasy Tonight, however, the subsidiary has begun producing original games marketed directly to their English-speaking audience.

In 2017, both arms of Voltage shifted from releasing titles as individual apps to each division using a single app as an interface through which multiple titles can be accessed. Earlier Voltage Inc and Voltage USA titles are gradually being shifted into these two library apps, respectively titled Love 365 and Lovestruck!, and new titles such as Voltage Inc's Rose in the Embers and Voltage USA's Havenfall is for Lovers are exclusively available through them.

Games developed:

Voltage USA originals:

Tropes common to the games of Voltage, Inc. and Voltage USA:

  • Allegedly Free Game:
    • The GREE/Party versions of the games are free to play, and with effort and patience it's possible to complete everything without resorting to microtransactions. However, the player's ability to progress through the game is limited by day, and progress requires some social networking and a lot of grinding for points if you're not buying your way through.
    • The Lovestruck app in which Voltage USA titles have been curated as of 2016 operates on two currencies: tickets which allow you to progress to the next chapter of a story, and hearts which can be spent to unlock extra scenes or special stories. Again, it's possible to accumulate both without resorting to microtransactions, but at only at a very gradual rate as compared to buying them in quantity.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Expect to hear the "all men are wolves" adage at least once per game.
  • Big Eater: The standard Voltage game protagonist enjoys good food, and is often teased by her love interests about her enthusiasm for meals.
  • Bi the Way: Every Voltage USA original heroine is bisexual.
  • But Thou Must!: A standard feature of Voltage games, which present choices to the player at various points. The choices determine the way the story ends, but any immediate effect is minimal, typically only influencing a few lines of dialogue before events proceed along a single track. The few aversions (in Kiss of Revenge and the original Japanese version of In Your Arms Tonight) thus stand out enough to be noteworthy
  • But Not Too Foreign: Across all their games set in Japan, you can count on one hand the foreign characters who aren't half-Japanese. Including the ones who aren't love interests. Given Japan's demographics, this makes sense.
  • Camp Gay: Whenever a gay man shows up, you can expect him to be one of these. Indeed, "screamingly flamboyant" is pretty much shorthand for "gay" in all of the earlier games, as showcased in a rather cringeworthy declaration from the protagonist in Seduced in the Sleepless City: Fashion designer Trevor Konno cannot possibly be gay — he has masculine interests! Later games adopt a (comparatively) more sensitive and nuanced approach.
  • Central Theme: Each Voltage Romance Game tends to hang on a single trope as a theme for the game's love story.
  • Chocolate of Romance: Most of Voltage Inc's romance games get a Valentine's Day Episode side story sooner or later, and the protagonist's efforts to present her love interest with handmade chocolate for the holiday feature prominently in all of them. Drama caused by lost, stolen, or damaged chocolate is also common, as are various other obstacles ranging from cross-cultural confusion to angst when the guy in question seems to have accepted chocolate from another girl. See the page for some specific examples.
  • Christmas Episode: Most games have a Christmas-themed side story for the holiday season sooner or later.
  • Crossover:
    • Seduced in the Sleepless City and Love Letter from Thief X have two crossover stories, "Thieves vs. Celebrities" and "Ryoichi vs. Takuto/Takuto vs. Ryoichi." In addition, although there has not yet been an official crossover story, My Forged Wedding has referenced characters from Seduced and the clothing brand Infinite, which is the workplace in which Office Secrets is set.
    • The Pirates in Love side story "Pirates vs. Bodyguards" crosses over with My Sweet Bodyguard.
    • The My Forged Wedding side story "My Wedding Knight" crosses over with A Knight's Devotion... sort of.
    • 10 Days With My Devil crosses over with My Sweet Bodyguard in the "My Devilish Bodyguard" side story.
    • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder has three crossover stories, with My Forged Wedding, Thief X, and Dreamy Days in West Tokyo respectively.
    • Sweet Cafe has a few crossover themed stories that are far from anything resembling canon, mostly in that it has to do with several different guys from completely different games living under one roof with the protagonist.
    • Astoria: Fate's Kiss crosses with Gangsters in Love in the stories "Gangsters in Astoria" and "LA: Fate's Kiss".
    • Castaway! Love's Adventure crosses with Gangsters in Love in "Castaways in Love" and "Gangster! Love's Adventure".
    • For Pride month 2017, the Lovestruck app put together a crossover series featuring the queer love interests in each of the stories playable through the app, plus also Queen's Gambit. The story revolves around a magical crown originating in the Love And Legends universe being passed around between the various love interests as they pass by one another and interact with their girlfriends. Weirdly, because Astoria: Fate's Kiss has two queer love interests, the protagonist shows up as the girlfriend to both, as though she's engaging in some very compartmentalised polyamory.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Most Voltage games don't even have bad endings, but even so, it's generally not too difficult to end up with the best ending unless you're actively making an effort to fail.
  • Expansion Pack: New content is released for existing games on a regular basis, including epilogues, sequels, side stories, and new characters.
  • The Faceless: As is common in visual novels, the protagonist's face is never fully shown. CGs in which she appears usually show her with her face hidden or turned away from the camera; failing that, her eyes are obscured by her hair or simply not drawn in. Some of the later games buck the trope by showing the protagonist's face in CGs, and it's averted entirely in the Voltage USA original games, which do not shy away from depicting the player character's face in artwork.
  • First Guy Wins / Last Guy Wins: Played straight whenever the player selects the first or last guy she comes across and averted when she doesn't.
  • Flower Motifs: Many games have at least one guy versed in hanakotoba (Satsuki, Ebihara, Riki, and many more), and the narrative will usually explain to protagonist and player alike what the various flowers mean.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The protagonist of each game is named by the player.
  • Gay Option: The Voltage USA originals each have one, except Kisses & Curses and Love & Legends, which have two. The original Speakeasy Tonight didn't have one, but one was added for the Lovestruck version. Additionally, Astoria: Fate's Kiss and Havenfall Is For Lovers both have non-binary love interest options. To Love & Protect is another title that gained a gay option when it came to Lovestruck.
  • Insecure Love Interest: The protagonist in many a route, sequel, sub-story.... Usually, she has absolutely no reason for feeling so. As an example, multiple male and female characters will gladly announce how beautiful the protagonist in Seduced in the Sleepless City is, but she will always be surprised to hear it and always deny it.
  • Interface Spoiler / The Law of Conservation of Detail: Given the effort that needs to be put into the character pictures, it's obvious when someone is going to be important to the plot, or at the very least a re-occurring character. Not only will they have a name, they'll have character art.
  • Microtransactions: In addition to the GREE model described above, the standard versions of the games involve downloading a free prologue and then purchasing the stories you're interested in playing individually. This is also how Love 365, the app launched in 2017 to curate localized versions of Voltage's Japanese games, functions rather than employing the Allegedly Free Game model used by the Lovestruck app.
  • Multiple Endings: Another standard feature of Voltage games, usually involving a "Good Ending" and a "Happy Ending."
  • Perspective Flip: Beginning with In Your Arms Tonight, many Voltage games include "His POV" side stories which show events of the main routes from the guy's point of view.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Since a mundane version of Curtains Match the Window is in effect for most characters, this comes into play as shorthand for "Westerner, or Western-influenced person". Thus, Noel, Ren, Shota, and virtually all foreign characters with their own sprites are indeed blond with blue or green eyes.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Title screens, menus, and splash screens for almost all Voltage games up to Kiss of Revenge invariably use a pink color scheme. Beginning with KoR, and especially following the change in user interface that began with Our Two Bedroom Story, this has become much less of a rule.
  • Romance Game: Voltage's bread and butter.
  • Stock Footage: Expect recycled backgrounds, not necessarily within the games themselves, but amongst the different Voltage games. For example, the storage room in Pirates in Love is used in Zain's route in Be My Princess, and the nobleman's bedroom from the former game is the guest room in Nobel Michel in the latter. Usually the backgrounds will either be exactly the same, have some minor change, or just have a Palette Swap.
  • Strictly Formula: In any given Voltage romance game, you can expect the cast of potential love interests to be composed of some combination of the following:
  • True Companions: Most of Voltage's games feature most/all of the woo-able boys as a tight-knit group, either from the beginning of the game or becoming so over the course of the main routes. The exceptions are Kiss of Revenge (in which the guys have good professional relationships but don't necessarily consider each other close friends or spend much of their off time together) and In Your Arms Tonight (in which, with a very few exceptions, they are at best colleagues or distant acquaintances if they know one another at all).
  • Unmoving Plaid: How most games handle patterns on the sprites' clothing.
  • Updated Re-release: The games adapted for GREE generally have a good bit of content added, both to expand the storyline to better fit the GREE format and to improve on the weaker elements of the original plots. For just one example, the protagonist of the original version of Be My Princess is an exchange student who becomes involved with the princes through a string of coincidences, while in the GREE version she comes into contact with them after she gets a job working for a famous fashion designer.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: As with Christmas, the Valentine's Day holiday provides a prime side story opportunity, and most of the games have one released for February.
  • The 'Verse: Crossovers and shout-outs confirm that My Forged Wedding, Seduced in the Sleepless City, Love Letter From Thief X, Office Secrets all take place within a single continuity, with Dreamy Days in West Tokyo and Metro PD: Close To You probably also included. Whether or not any of the other games also fall within this continuity is mostly unconfirmed, but Our Two Bedroom Story and Kissed By The Baddest Bidder are excluded.note 
  • Welcome Episode: Voltage games start with a free prologue to introduce you to the Main Character, the situation/world they are in, and often include an Establishing Character Moment for the love interests. The first chapters often have elements of this as well, giving a reader a more in-depth look at the guy whose route is being taken, and usually ending on a cliffhanger.