EVN worth your time
Katawa Shoujo screenshot

Teenage boy is diagnosed with a heart condition, is sent to school for the disabled.

Surprisingly long for a freeware VN. Varying quality in both art and writing between routes. Boring if you hate slice of life.

Keywords: slice of life, romance, 18+
Hierofanía screenshot

Crocket, knight of the vanished god Utrecht, goes on her first real quest.

Very cool setting, surprisingly dark and deep. The art style, while interesting, may not be for everyone.

Keywords: fantasy, female protagonist
Digital: A Love Story screenshot

Discover a vast conspiracy while browsing a BBS in the late 80's.

Very immersive user interface, alright story. A few clunky game mechanics become grating by the second half.

Keywords: cyber thriller, hacking
Cinders screenshot

Cinderella with modern day views on gender roles and personality-based branching.

Great looking animated backgrounds. Writing hits many fairy tale clichés and is often hamfisted. Good soundtrack.

Keywords: fairy tale, animated backgrounds
The Dandelion Girl screenshot

Middle-aged man meets a strange young girl who claims to be from the future.

Adaptation of a short story of the same name. Presentation isn't bad, but also nothing special. Most of its merit comes from the source material.

Keywords: time travel, literary adaptation, linear
Nanolife screenshot

MMORPG character becomes sentient, cuteness ensues.

Begins as complete fluff, touches on unexpectedly deep themes by the final route. Good use of special effects, cool functional MMO-style user interface. Backgrounds look rushed, some effects misplaced.

Keywords: cute fluff, AI protagonist
The Knife of the Traitor screenshot

Monster princess wakes up with amnesia after surviving assassination.

Otome title in a light-hearted horror setting. Nice character art, very polished. Some date-sim-alike problems: male characters stay within one room, good endings too hard to get.

Keywords: otome, monster girl
Juniper's Knot screenshot

Boy gets lost, stumbles upon a female demon in some ruins.

Very cinematic presentation, good use of sprite movement to enhance expression changes. Essentially a dialogue between two characters in one location, overuses archaic expressions.

Keywords: demon girl, linear
Other notable titles
Adrift screenshot

The human controller of an undersea utopia wakes, unable to control his systems. Find out what's wrong by controlling decrepit robots.

Adventure gameplay beginning is clunky, some endings very difficult to get. Decent tech-focused sci-fi otherwise. Rather long: 100k words.

Keywords: sci-fi, adventure gameplay
Jisei screenshot

Psychic boy investigates a murder in a coffee shop.

Structured like an adventure game, but without the gameplay. Pretty art, but short and limited in scope; could pass for a NaNoRenO title despite being commercial if not for full voice acting.

Keywords: murder mystery, psychic investigator, voiced
Homeward screenshot

High school kid moves back to Japan, meets estranged sister and childhood friend.

The closest thing you'll get to a sterotypical Japanese VN: ecchi rom-com beginning, melodramatic second act. Humor is pretty cheesy, drama feels forced.

Keywords: high school, drama, 18+
Analogue: A Hate Story screenshot

Future Man finds multi-generational spacecraft, inhabitants transformed into historic Koreans.

Great VN if you're interested in gender-roles of Joseon-era Korea, pretty bland otherwise. Story told through diary entries, makes it tiresome to read.

Keywords: feminism, hacking minigame