Visual Novel Recommendations:

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GMH: I'm personally of the opinion that Katahane is godawful. As for why, the romance is pretty shallow, one of the main characters is kind of a dick that people bend over backwards for but doesn't get called on it, inappropriately timed sex scenes, a weak story that is only good during the part that takes place in the past and finally, damn is Coco creepy.

Anyway, as for your other points, you're kinda going to find it difficult to find something that meets all those criteria. For clean VNs, there's Katawa Shoujo, Kanon and Tsukihime optionally, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Umineko no Naku Koro ni, CLANNAD and Ever17 off the top of my head. Art quality probably disqualifies Tsukihime, Kanon, Clannad and Umineko. Higurashi has an art patch to fix up the horrible crap. Ever 17 is a couple GB in size though and that's pretty standard. Higurashi is a bunch of separate, small VNs that are actually fairly small.

I wouldn't say any of those are horribly depressing but then I'm not really depressed by anything short of CROSS†CHANNEL, which is one downer of a story at times. Anyway, I'd probably recommend Higurashi or Ever17 if we're sticking strictly to your criteria, probably favoring Ever17. I'll also throw G-Senjou no Maou out there. It does have sex scenes and it's larger than you'd like, but it's got good art, good music, isn't depressing and is really good. There aren't many VNs out there less than 1GB.
In honor of my 50lb pup
I don't have recommendations off the top of my head *, but I'll point you to a good starting point for doing your own research.

Unfortunately, you can only search/select one tag at a time, so it is hard to see what falls under the categories you are thinking of. But feel free to mess around with what is there.

I noticed that Ever17 is at the top of a couple of those lists, so that is probably a good place to start.

edited 8th Jul '12 11:34:09 PM by Belian

Yu hav nat sein bod speeling unntil know. (cacke four undersandig tis)the cake is a lie!
^^ What about skippable sex scenes? I know the VN medium is littered with gratuitous sex scenes, but if I can at least skip over them that would be nice.

^ Thanks! I'll check these out in a bit.
It Just Bugs Me! - a place to discuss media, real life, and other topics.
Skippable sex scenes aren't actually very common. I believe Tsukihime had them and I know Katawa Shoujo did but I can't really remember any others offhand. Well, the Kanon patch gave you the option of removing them I suppose. You can simple hold down the control button and the scene will be done in about a minute. Ever 17 and Higurashi don't really have any. Those can both be pretty sad at points though but I wouldn't call them really depressing. Lots of VNs get rather sad at points, after all, but it's not outright depressing most of the time. I can only think of a few like that.

edited 9th Jul '12 8:57:49 AM by Arha

205 Anarchy11th Jul 2012 07:48:38 AM from Perak, Malaysia
just a medicine seller
This forum is inundated with visual novel Let's Plays. Checking them out to see what interests you might be a good way to start.

Also I'd like to plug a VN that I edited, called The Knife of the Traitor. It's super short and fits all the criteria you've given.

edited 11th Jul '12 7:53:55 AM by Anarchy

206 Monta29th Jul 2012 12:22:48 AM from the network
The Preceptor
I'd like to second Katawa Shoujo. Just finished a play through myself and..it was pretty deep on emotional levels.

On that note, I'm not even a big fan of VN, but KS really impressed me. On that note, any knowledge of one similar to it? I may be willing to give another ago.
"The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy."
What was it that you liked about Katawa Shoujo? I'm not sure what you mean by something like it.
208 Anarchy29th Jul 2012 10:14:04 AM from Perak, Malaysia
just a medicine seller
Probably generic bishoujo VN? Cause that's what KS is.

The best thing about KS was probably the UI, IMO, but eh. To each their own.
209 Monta29th Jul 2012 11:20:50 AM from the network
The Preceptor
I think I just enjoyed the characterization, personally. Say what you will about it, but the story was fairly well written. If you can find a VN with likeable characters, okay art, and music that won't make me tear my ears off, then hey, I'd appreciate it.
"The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy."
Hm. My personal favorite along those lines would probably be G-Senjou no Maou. CLANNAD is also excellent minus the kinda crappy art. I might recommend Fate/stay night except while it has good characters and whatnot it's not really that similar to a romantic VN like Katawa Shoujo.
211 Monta29th Jul 2012 11:37:36 AM from the network
The Preceptor
Thank you, it's very much appreciated — I'll be sure to look into all of them.
"The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy."
212 Anarchy30th Jul 2012 10:44:17 AM from Perak, Malaysia
just a medicine seller
Going back to my default here: Saya no Uta. High emotional impact, a great romance, and interesting characterization all around.
213 ozaniel31st Aug 2012 11:44:04 AM from Yeşilköy, İstanbul
why?
Key's visual novels(especially Kanon and Clannad) are similar to Katawa Shoujo but they have much more emphasis on drama. Snow Sakura is also very similar to KS and have a good story and art.
My hatoful Monster Girlfriend is the President Ecstasy: Higurashi After in Summer (All ages memorial edition)
Not Actually Indie
I think I just enjoyed the characterization, personally. Say what you will about it, but the story was fairly well written. If you can find a VN with likeable characters, okay art, and music that won't make me tear my ears off, then hey, I'd appreciate it.

Kind of a late response here, but I'd recommend Kira-Kira. Like Katawa Shoujo, there's no high-stakes plot, but I found it the most consistently fun and engaging out of the slice-of-life/romance V Ns I've played.
...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.
Moko-moko
Hmm, nice to see so many people liking Katawa Shoujo, but that's not working for people I recommended it to. Almost all the members of anime club that weren't already visual novel fans severely disliked it and stopped after an hour-even though they were fans of pretty much the same thing in anime form!

I guess maybe it's the lack of voice acting or production values for them, so Tsukihime is out of the bag.

What do you think is something very anime-ish that can wow and grab anime fans with short attention spans and possibly biases against the medium?
Take it easy~!
216 Anarchy22nd Oct 2012 12:01:21 AM from Perak, Malaysia
just a medicine seller
This... isn't quite orthodox anime art, or even made in Japan, but definitely check out Moa Cube's visual novel Cinders. The art is gorgeous and will definitely wow anybody, anime fan or not. It's a pretty amazing introduction to the medium, I think.

For something more orthodox, you can't go wrong with Saya no Uta. Gripping plot, intriguing premise, great art, story by Urobuchi Gen. Doesn't get any better than that.

If you want something humorous instead, go for Hatoful Boyfriend. It's just five USD or something, I think.

If you like Shinsengumi, try Hakuoki.

If you don't mind V Ns developed in the English-speaking community, give Re:Alistair a try.
217 Rapier30th Dec 2012 04:28:45 PM from where my mind is.
So, after finishing G-Senjou no Maou, my list of V Ns is finished. I'm not sure which VN I should read next, and I'm kind of picky about choosing one just from "looking cool" because I've only read great V Ns so far (F/SN, Tsukihime, 999, Higurashi, Umineko (though I haven't finished yet, I lost the file) and Sharin no Kuni) and... well, I expect yet another good VN.

I think I'd like a VN with the same Dark and Edginess of Tsukihime. I don't mind Slices of Life as long as they aren't boring and the characters are actually interesting, like Higurashi. Some drama would be highly welcome. Well, I'm terrible at describing, so I'll let my tastes tell the whole story and ask for V Ns similar to the ones I read.
Hmmm... There's Cross Channel and Muv Luv, but you'd have to do a lot of reading to get to the parts of Muv Luv that are actually good. You also might like Sekien no Inganock or Shikkoku no Sharnoth.
219 Rapier30th Dec 2012 05:38:55 PM from where my mind is.
Shikoku no Sharnoth and Sekien no Inganock interest me, but Muv-Luv doesn't. Also, it'd be great if I got recommendations of V Ns that are not for the PSP because I don't have one (or, at least, one with both PSP and PC versions). I've been thinking about Saya no Uta, since it's dark, dramatic and psychologic.
I haven't read any visual novels on the PSP so anything I recommend wouldn't be on it.

I felt Muv Luv was dark in its own way what with the whole apocalypse and warfare thing but I guess that's downplayed for most of the time.
221 Rapier30th Dec 2012 05:50:34 PM from where my mind is.
I wonder if there's an english version for PC!Corpse Party. That game seems awesome, I think I'd like to read something like that.
excellent
Corpse Party: Blood Covered is pretty mundane. There were some parts that genuinely felt disturbing like when I failed that infuriatingly sudden and luck-based puzzle at the school pool, causing Shinozaki to get shredded into the drain machinery, but otherwise it's a very average horror story with some decidedly corny bits. It would have been better with more focus IMO (i.e. less characters).

Hmm... come to think of it, it's been some time since I've played a non-mundane VN. What would be a good one? No, Keymagic doesn't count.

edited 1st Jan '13 9:41:45 AM by Thrombin

223 Rapier5th Jan 2013 12:06:24 PM from where my mind is.
Uh, I have to agree. I've read a Corpse Party LP, and it seems too ordinary for me. The characters weren't that much likable, and the plot could've been better.

Duel Savior has been attracting my attention for some time. I think I want a SRPG VN with good plot , with gameplay like Eiyuu*Senki (well, the setting sure is interesting at least), instead of a Slice of Life about ordinary students living aesops on mundane settings. I'm trying to decide between Duel Savior, Shikoku no Sharnoth and Sekien no Inganock.
Duel Savior is a fighting game, actually. It's okay, but I think the other two options are both better.

edited 5th Jan '13 12:17:32 PM by Arha

Big Not Good
Anyone got any suggestions for some good VN clicking action?tongue

I like the Nasuverse very much. That's all I know so far and I don't particularly like only romance visual novels.
I want to kill people

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