Katawa Shoujo is a free to play visual novel set in a unique setting that will make players rethink their views of the world and other people. The game takes place in the fictional Yamaku High School which is specifically designed for the disabled where players will meet a diverse range of characters with their own traumas and dreams. With this mature setting and highly sexual themes the visual novel explores situations intended for an older audience compared to some other light-hearted adventures in the genre.
In this combination of visual novel and otome game players will follow the adventures of a boy as he makes friends and potentially romances with the five core female characters and learns more about the reasons that they find themselves at Yamaku High School. Playing as a boy named Hisao Nakai who himself has recently joined the high school due to his own medical problems the journey is one of shared discovery. This story is told through a traditional combination of text and sprite based visual novel mechanics with players making key decisions throughout by responding to specific prompts. As one would expect from the genre this leads down one of the many potential pathways to allow for replays where you make entirely different decisions to alter the ultimate outcome.
The primary location of this story is the high school itself which is located in present day Japan. Designed to capture the full high school experience this location has all of the classroom locations and school grounds you would expect alongside a large amount of medical utility rooms to cater to the broad range of disabilities that the students have. While the players disability is not obvious at first having recently suffered from a heart attack there are many characters that you will encounter with both visual and non visual disabilities.
While originally you are highly depressed about having to move to a new school, the loss of old friends and your new condition the school warms up to you in time as players see how other students have dealt with their disabilities and have been able to thrive in the school environment. The move is particularly eased by five friendly girls that also attend the school and depending on how you approach the game can turn into romantic partners for you. Regardless of where you focus your attention each has an important lesson for players which is driven by the girls each having their own distinct personality and plot lines for players to explore.
This character list of girls includes Emi Ibarazaki who is an energetic girl with light brown hair who has had her legs amputated after a devastating car accident. Hanako Ikezawa who lost her parents in a fire and has been scarred by the event leaving her as a shy girl. Lilly Satou a blind student who is extremely polite and the tallest character in the game with long blonde hair to go with it. Rin Tezuka a girl with a birth defect that means she has no arms but now has amazing dexterity with her feet resulting in a forth coming nature and her distinguished short red hair. Shizune Hakamichi a mute and deaf girl with a powerful will who does not like to show her emotion and is paired with her interpreter Shiina Mikado (Misha).
Told through several game chapter acts the routes you choose to take will end in either a good or bad ending for each route which is primarily driven by your success or lack of success in romancing your selected girl.
- Visual novel and otome style game that explores a Japanese high school designed for the disabled.
- Explores various sexual and mature themes with a setting not often explored by video games.
- 5 different romantic options available with good and bad endings for each based on your choices.
- Make decisions at key story moments as you explore different locations and challenges.
- Free to play game available across Windows, Mac and Linux.
Review Platform: PC