Game pass

The best visual novels on Xbox Game Pass

While there’s a lot of praise for Microsoft’s video game subscription service, one of the biggest strengths of Xbox Game Pass is how there truly is something for everyone, no matter what genres they may be in. While some of the biggest Xbox Game Pass titles are shooters, multiplayer titles, and action games, more niche experiences have been able to carve out a niche.

One of the most underrated genres on Xbox Game Pass is visual novels. While Xbox hasn’t had a long history with the genre, plenty of developers and publishers have had success bringing titles to Xbox Game Pass, and right now it has a solid lineup of visual novels for you to try.

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AI: Somnium files

One of the strongest visual novels and detective games of recent years, AI: Somnium files is almost everything fans of both genres could want. AI: Somnium files centers around Kaname Date, a detective whose right eye has been replaced by an AI known as Aiba. Together, the two are tasked with solving a series of murders where each of the victims’ eyes have been removed. Date uses a machine called Somnium to travel through the minds of witnesses and gather evidence from their memories.

AI: Somnium files comes from the mind of Kotaro Uchikoshi, creator of the zero escape series, and features all the strengths of his previous works and those of developer Spike Chunsoft. It presents a complex, non-linear approach to storytelling with many branching narrative threads. The game also has strong characters, many of whom are lovable and have very interesting relationships. Xbox Game Pass subscribers interested in playing AI: Somnium files still some time to catch up before the rest of the game, AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvanna Initiative will launch on Xbox consoles on June 24.

Boyfriend’s Dungeon


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Although not entirely focused on the visual novel, Boyfriend’s Dungeon mixes dating sim mechanics and visual novel gameplay with dungeon crawlers as the player builds relationships with multiple weapons that can transform into humans. Unlike many games to play with the dating sim genre in recent years, Boyfriend’s Dungeon is as dedicated to being an enjoyable dating sim as it is a challenging dungeon crawler.

Boyfriend’s Dungeon isn’t for everyone, as there are plenty of accessibility options to make players’ experience as comfortable as possible, but the game is centered around a narrative of abuse with themes such as harassment. That said, the game includes a variety of pronoun options and allows players to date any character, regardless of gender. If the darkest subjects are not too much, Boyfriend’s Dungeon is an easy recommendation for Game Pass subscribers who enjoy visual novels, dating sims, and RPGs.


RELATED: What’s new in the Boyfriend Dungeon DLC

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc


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Now considered a classic among visual novel fans, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc remains a game changer for the genre. First released in Japan for PlayStation Portable in 2010, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc continues to explode in popularity.

Danganronpa follows a group of fifteen “Ultimate” students as they are trapped in their high school, Hope’s Peak Academy, and forced into a murder game by an evil animatronic bear called Monokuma. To escape, one student must kill another and get away with it. The player follows Makoto Naegi, nicknamed “the ultimate lucky student”, who entered school by sheer luck while his classmates excel in a certain talent.


Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc stand out from other detective visual novels such as ace lawyer by including intense, dark themes and imagery in its anime-style storytelling. The game still holds up well as a strong visual novel with memorable characters and a tense storyline, and is an easy recommendation for Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

paradise killer


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paradise killer is one of the most ambitious visual novels released in recent years, and one of the few standalone visual novels to join Xbox Game Pass. Set in a universe where a council known as the Syndicate attempts to create a perfect world, the game follows exiled detective Lady Love Dies, who is allowed to return to Paradise Island 24 after the council is murdered by one of its inhabitants.


paradise killer is a rare example of an open-world visual novel where players are tasked with exploring the secrets of Paradise Island 24. The game features a memorable and diverse cast of characters around a strong visual presentation drawing inspiration from games such as Flower, sun and rain.

The most refreshing element of paradise killer is his open-ended approach to detective play in a visual novel. The game is completely open in how it lets players solve its mystery. Any character can be accused at any time, and players can plead whoever is the culprit to receive different endings. paradise killer has some of the broadest ideas for a visual novel to date and has only just joined the Xbox Game Pass library.

RELATED: Xbox Game Pass Adds 4 New Games, Including 3 Day One Releases

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games


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Zero Escape: The Nonary Games is a compilation of the first two games in the Spike Chunsoft franchise – 999: 9 hours, 9 people, 9 doorsreleased for Nintendo DS in 2009, and The Last Reward of Virtuereleased for Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita in 2012. It’s an easy recommendation for fans of games like Danganronpa, although it is heavier on exposition and complexity. It’s coming to Xbox Game Pass on March 22 and hopefully the final entry in the series, Zero time dilemmawill arrive on Game Pass shortly after.


From the spirit of Kotaro Uchikoshi, zero escape follows a group of strangers who are assigned numbers as they awaken to find themselves in a game of death, solving puzzles to avoid execution. It was one of the main sources of inspiration for Danganronpabut at the same time Danganronpa is more focused on the murder mystery element and detective stories, zero escape focuses more on puzzles. Each game features an incredibly deep flowchart where player actions and decisions can drastically change the direction of the story, making it perfect for repeated attempts through Xbox Game Pass.

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