7) Tomboys Need Love Too! (Zetsubou Games)

You’re not going to have to go very far to see how I feel about the lighter side of fiction. In fact, the Happy Fun Train is about to stop soon. But after some serious missed opportunities, the one called Zetsubou manages to hit one out of the park with Tomboys Need Love Too: a game that plays about as straight as you can with the ‘childhood friend’ dynamic and still manages to come out heads-and-shoulders above its contemporaries.

How? By boasting some of the most natural dialogue I’ve ever read in VNs. Chris and Kai are the heart and soul of this one with well over 80% of the game reliant on their banter and they carry it fantastically well. As their banter evolves and becomes more intimate, it does the near impossible and has you and I rooting for them. No, not for the archetypes they’re supposed to represent. No, not for a relationship built specifically for the audience to insert themselves into and live vicariously through. You are rooting for Chris and Kai. You want them to fall in love with each other. Hell, I wanted them to fall in love with each other.

That…is something else.

That type of investment isn’t a fluke. It’s the result of good, patient writing, properly build up and strong characters. Tomboys Need Love Too may be the best romantic visual novel I’ve played: the one that actually pulled of something others only dream to – a strong romance between the character themselves. I cannot recommend it enough.