This troper is not in Katawa Shoujo's target demographic. I am not male, nor do I frequent 4chan. As a result, I only learned about Katawa Shoujo shortly after Act 1 came out. I was... intrigued and decided that if the full version ever came out, I would play it. I didn't think of myself as an enthusiastic fan, but when I woke on the morning of January 4th, I remembered that "Today's the day!", at which point I threw myself out of bed and rushed to the computer.
It really is amazing how much love and effort was put into this, especially considering the place it got started. Our protagonist is likable and identifiable, and even the side characters all have certain depth to them. And let's not get started on our heroines, who break free from not only their disabilities, but also from the stereotypes surrounding their personality types.
Sadly, this game is not for everyone. Some people just don't like visual novels that involve a lot of reading, especially when it involves reading something that isn't directly related to the plot. Then again, the writers tried to make the story as realistic as possible, and real life isn't always exciting. The people who complain about how long it took to get to the sex scenes, I have less sympathy for. Katawa Shoujo was promoted as an eroge, but at its core, it's more than that. It's a love story. Your hero isn't some White Knight, coming in to save the poor crippled girls with his penis, nor is he a monster raping the innocent girls for his own sick amusement. He's a boy who had a heart attack and is still trying to find his place in the world. He helps the girls, yes, but he also makes mistakes. The only thing you decide is if the mistakes are ones that will ruin his relationship with the girl.
Overall, it's definitely a must play for any visual novel fan. Even if you're not, I think it's definitely worth a play, if you don't mind some reading. Who knows? It might give you a new perspective not just on visual novels, but on life as well.