So, let’s talk bad.

I said before in a review that I try not to focus in on the bad EVNs if I can help myself, but at the same time it’s sometimes unavoidable to avoid the turkeys. So, in preparations to celebrate the Best, let’s take a moment to remember the Worst!

Now, to be clear, this isn’t a second review of these games. Double Jeopardy is attached to all of my reviews so if you’re expecting something along the lines of, ‘I was wrong – this 2 really should be closer to a 7’, you’ve come to the wrong feature. This, in my humble opinion, is just my opinion on the games that have come across my desk that have been awful ranked in such a way to appeal to those who (like me) enjoy descending lists! Also, if there were worse than these in your opinion that is fine. For me, ‘worst’ is having certain expectations for something and not only sliding in under that bar but getting kicked in the balls along the way. Also I have to stick to the list of games I reviewed this year, so if I didn’t review it I have no opinion of it. Fair?

With that said, these are the Top 5 WORST English Visual Novels of 2013!

5. BIONIC HEART 2 (WINTER WOLVES)

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What can I say about this game that I haven’t said already? Programming-wise, this is very strong. As far as the story goes it is the stuff of hammy, summer blockbusters the world over. A killer android born from the brain of a prostitute/serial killer goes on a rampage to stop an evil corporation. In between is soap opera melodrama, love triangles, ridiculous mass murder schemes and an anvil on the wickedness of wealth that keep your ears ringing well after the game finishes. And as the game pulls out one dumb twist after another, you realize there is nothing to salvage from this unnecessary sequel.

And just in case the ‘Summer Blockbuster’ analogy didn’t convince you, that picture above is official artwork that comes with the game’s bonus content. Artwork like this is the majority of said bonus content. Are you starting to see why I called Tanya ‘Sammiches’? This is the visual novel Michael Bay would make if he made visual novels and the only reason it isn’t higher on the list is because there is worse…much worse.

4. DUAEL (MOLEWORKS)

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In the time since I reviewed this game, it has gone from being just a series of bad decision to pissing me off. Buried underneath the broken RPG systems and muddy art is a very good idea: a gamer being transported into his favorite game and developing questionable feelings for his favorite character. The entire relationship between any fan and the work inspired by their fandom could be used to create this very fun web for someone as twisted as me to crawl through.

What we GET is a very long, dry setup to a ridiculously convoluted BL fantasy. Said BL fantasy, in and of itself, is terrible at best and outright pathetic at worse: yes I mean Walter. We could’ve gotten much better from Duael, so here’s hoping the developers try something much less absurd in the near future.

3. ALWAYS THE SAME BLUE SKY (GRANT WILDE)

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If I was making a list of the Most Controversial Moments of 2013 here on the site, this wold be Number One. For the new readers of the site, basically the author and I disagreed on the story’s quality with him seeing it more as a dark fairy tale and I falling closer to pretentious crap. This led to an issue with YouTube that, honestly, didn’t need to happen but it did. But ultimately, even if NONE of the controversies happened this would still be in the top three of this list.

Why?

Because, at the end of the day, this game doesn’t actually has a plot. It is simply a highlight reel of moments between two young idiots. And the bulk of that highlight reel is, ‘This is why mankind sucks’. Even if you want to just play it as a simple romance story with a dark twist, any actual romance between the two is so few and far between you might as well try to pass a camel through the eye of a needle. At game’s end, as it tries to rip your heart out by attempting to justify the worst of human behavior (selfishness, murder, jaywalking, the basics!), all I could do is shake my head and be thankful it was short.

For me, it is and will always be a cold, cynical sermon about mankind’s treatment of nature. If you see it differently, then your $4 was well spent. However, I stand by my review and the placement of the game on this list.

2. TWIST 01 – TIMUN MAS (KAWAMATA HIRUMA)

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What happens when you try too hard? Nothing makes sense.

This game is hilarious from beginning to end. Putting aside the bad English translation, even in it’s native tongue it can’t possibly make sense. It’s just a collection of anime stereotypes and story lines smashed together in a barely coherent package. At the center is Timun Mas who is treated like an idiot throughout despite being the key to either saving the world or damning it…depending on your translation of the translation of course. After that an ogre appears and she has to stop it because…because. And then there’s King Arthur who wants to drop a continent in the sky onto Earth because mankind is screwing everything up but they cannot do that until they reenact the legends that people have forgotten so exactly HOW can they get people to remember them from an island they don’t even know exist and GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

And, to be fair, with all of the shonen anime cliches stuffed into this game it is absurd to try and force logic into this pile of scrambled eggs. However, at the same time, when entire sections of the game are dedicated to the ‘plot’, I have no choice but to try and make sense of it all. But I officially give up here because there is no logic to be found. The next chapter is apparently in production and it has Timun up against a dragon that was once a boy who was picked on, so she’s going to change him back to a boy to get a diamond that can change her Aunt back to normal but how can she do that if the diamond is a part of the dragon’s body and GAAAAAAAAAAAH!

1. NOWHERE SAFE & NOWHERE SAFE 2 (RED PANDA GAMES)

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I present to you a defendant who’s crimes are well know and undisputed. In it’s wake is only destruction and despair. Not seen since Moses unleashed the Ten Plagues on Ancient Egypt, this series combined drive right pass shock, through disgust and rams itself into a territory very few visual novels find themselves: offensively bad.

For those new to this site, here’s a quick list of subjects that this game series either mocks, patronizes or finds some other way to insult:

  • Mental Illness
  • Child Abuse
  • Incest
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Fraud
  • Homosexuality
  • Adultery
  • Suicide

That last one really sticks in my craw on a personal level. After two games of trying to get the audience to sympathize with an absolutely reprehensible character, Nowhere Safe 2’s best ending is where everyone is dead and she commits suicide. This is played with such a saccharine light I nearly broke my laptop in rage.

Outside of that it does it’s best to present the above subjects and many more in the worst light possible over its two entries. Each game begins with the main character, Kimiko, being awarded money because the rest of the world is evil and follows through by further rewarding her for taking a massive dump on anything decent in her life. In Game 1 she gets a perfect boyfriend and when that doesn’t work out in Game 2, she gets a perky gay friend to help her. In between she deals with a stalker and the fact that she cannot raise her own daughter and it turns my stomach to think over.

No matter what anyone, including the entries on this list, have produced I can guarantee you that it doesn’t reach as far into the sewer of awful writing like this does.It exists only to guide sinful souls into Purgatory and has only given it’s creator an infamy I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Avoid this misanthropic bullshit at all cost.

Well that’s all for the bad. Next up the Best! That will occur on the night of the 6th and it will all happen on Twitter. So if you’re not following me now is the time! @vnsnow is the handle so get ready because it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. Until then JP3: OUT!

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About Author

Founder of VNs Now.com. Long-Time Reader, Amateur Writer and Chef and Gundam Enthusiast. Opinions are Steve's, Facts are Mine. 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.' -Samuel Beckett