Steins;Gate is, of course, a very famous and highly rated anime, but did you know it’s also a popular video game? In game form, Steins;Gate is a visual novel, following the same group of friends as they experiment with controlling and changing time. The main characters live in Akihabara, an area of Tokyo that is known for its wide availability of electronic parts, and they are able to make a time machine of sorts right in their home. The main theme of Steins;Gate is cause and effect; for every small thing, they change in the past, the effect it has on the future is more than they could have ever anticipated. The gameplay is nonlinear and has multiple endings depending on the choices the player makes, so it may or may not follow the exact story of the anime (which only the True Ending does more or less).
Visual novel games have been popular in Japan for a long time, including those based on anime like Steins;Gate. But they are not as well-known and followed in English speaking countries. However, that has been slowly changing, and more visual novel games are being developed and translated into English. That means if you were a fan of Steins;Gate, you’re in luck - there are more games to play! We have chosen six of the best visual novels that are closest to Steins;Gate in story or gameplay to create 6 Games like Steins;Gate. It can be a little hard to find visual novel games in English speaking countries, so we hope this will make it a bit easier for fans of Steins;Gate to find more games to play!
Please note that while many visual novels have fan translations at the moment, for the purpose of our article, we have only selected games that have an official English version available.
Similar Games to Steins;Gate
1. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
- System: PlayStation Portable, iOS, Android, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Spike (JP), NIS America (Worldwide)
- Developer: Spike
- Release Dates: Nov. 25th, 2010 (JP), Feb. 11th, 2014 (NA)
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is set in the elite Hope’s Peak Academy, a high school advertised as accepting only the best of the best “ultimate” students each year. Makoto Naegi, whom you play as, is lucky enough to be selected to attend the school by winning a lottery, despite being an otherwise average person. But he turns out to be a lot less lucky than he thought when he gets knocked unconscious only to wake up a room with 14 other new students and a strange, sadistic bear named Monokuma. Monokuma tells all the new students that they are going to be stuck in the academy for life, and violating any school rules is punishable by death! But there is one way to graduate; they have to find a way to murder one of their fellow classmates without getting caught. Thus Makoto’s life at Hope’s Peak Academy becomes less about being a high school student, and more about being caught up in a death game.
Danganronpa is an adventure visual novel, just like Steins;Gate. They both involve mostly clicking through a story with anime-style artwork, experiencing conversations with the various other characters in the game. Both Danganronpa and Steins;Gate keep players as active participants in the story rather than just passive audience members to a book. You are able to control the conversation by choosing who to talk to and what to say, and your choices will affect how the story progresses and how you are able to solve problems. Both games are fast-paced and exciting stories with intriguing puzzles to solve and deep plots to unveil, keeping things interesting and fun to play.
Steins;Gate is of course based on a famous anime, and Danganronpa also inspired an anime! So if you like having an anime counterpart to your adventure visual novel, Danganronpa has you covered. Plus it’s just the first game in a series, so if you like it, you can find yourself busy for quite a while.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Trailer:
2. Life is Strange
- System: Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
- Release Dates: Jan. 30th, 2015 (Episode 1)
Life is Strange revolves around an 18-year old girl named Max, whom you play as. She’s mostly interested in photography, but she has another much more unique talent. Max can turn back time and is able to change things both small and large with her ability. When she foresees a massive storm that destroys her hometown and everyone in her life, she knows she has to change the fate of the town and save everyone. But of course, a task that big is easier said than done. And there’s a lot more going on in her life than just an apocalyptic storm; she has to deal with the struggles of being a high school senior, how to deal with her friends, and prepare for an upcoming photography contest. It’s a lot for one teenager to handle, so it’s a good thing she can redo some of her choices now and again.
Life is Strange and Steins;Gate both have a few things in common, but the biggest similarity is they both deal with time. In both games, the main part of the story is going back in time to change events and manipulate your fate and those around you. And both games make heavy use of the butterfly effect, where each small decision has a wide-reaching effect in the future. Life is Strange has a lot of opportunity for exploration and walking around, but both it and Steins;Gate also have conversations and dialogue choices has a huge part of their gameplay. And these conversations will change the outcome of the story, so you have to choose wisely in both! If you like time travel and enjoy dialogue-heavy narratives like Steins;Gate, you’ll likely enjoy Life is Strange too.
Life is Strange – Trailer:
3. Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors
- System: Nintendo DS, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Spike (JP), Aksys Games (NA/EU)
- Developer: Chunsoft
- Release Dates: Dec. 10th, 2009
Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors (typically abbreviated to 999) is a visual novel adventure game and part of the Zero Escape series as well. You play as Junpei, one of 9 people abducted by a figure simply called “Zero,” and forced to play a survival game called the Nonary Game. The goal is to escape from a sinking cruise liner by finding a door marked with a “9” within the nine-hour time limit before the ship sinks. Each of the 9 people takes on a code name, and they have to work in small groups to solve the puzzles and search for the door. The stakes are high, as they only have 9 hours to find their way out. And added on top of that, each person has an explosive in their stomach that will be activated if they try to override the game in any way or try to cheat!
999 is partially a visual novel, and partially a puzzle game. As you play through the rooms, each is an escape puzzle that you need to solve. The other half of the game is text-based reading, where you make choices that affect the story’s outcome. Just like Steins;Gate, the choices you make in these dialogue sections will determine what ending of the game you will see. And in both Steins;Gate and 999, you can only see the full plot revealed by discovering the “true ending,” and this might well take more than one playthrough to do. Both games have high-stakes stories that keep you on the edge of your seat and involve life-or-death situations for both you and your friends. If you like the visual novel aspect of Steins;Gate and want to try some puzzles as well, 999 is what you’re looking for.
Any Game Like Steins;Gate?
4. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
- System: Nintendo DS, iOS
- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom
- Release Dates: Jun. 19th, 2010 (JP), Jan. 11th, 2011 (NA)
In Ghost Trick, you play as the recently deceased ghost, Sissel. He can remember nothing other than his name, and the goal of the game is to figure out whom he was when he was alive - and of course, how he died too! He only has until dawn though, when his spirit will dissipate. Luckily, he can use special abilities called “ghost tricks” to solve puzzles and get through situations. He does this usually by possessing objects and manipulating them. He can also use ghost tricks to possess a corpse to go back in time four minutes before that person dies and attempt to save their life. As Sissel slowly answers questions about who he was in life and finds the next pieces of the puzzle, he learns just how big of a conspiracy he was involved in - and about a dark plot involving assassination!
Ghost Trick isn’t a visual novel like Steins;Gate, but it has other similar elements. The gameplay may be all about solving puzzles, but the stories of the two games have a very strong theme in common - changing fate. In Steins;Gate, you are able to travel back in time to change people's’ decisions, and even small changes in their timelines can have a huge impact on the future. As the game progresses, you usually use that power to try to save people's’ lives. Ghost Trick has a similar story point, where you can rewind time by four minutes to also try to save people's’ lives. Even small changes that you make in those four minutes can alter their fate a lot! Ghost Trick and Steins;Gate both make gameplay out of the butterfly effect, where every small action can have a big ripple of effect in someone’s life. If you like that kind of story, Ghost Trick is another fun game to check out.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Trailer:
5. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
- System: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Chunsoft (JP), Aksys Games (NA)
- Developer: Chunsoft
- Release Dates: Feb. 16th, 2012 (JP), Oct. 23rd, 2012 (NA)
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, is another Nonary Game title in the Zero Escape series. Yet again you play as a character who is abducted by the mysterious figure known as “Zero” alongside eight other people, and everyone is put into a life-or-death game against their will. In Virtue’s Last Reward, you play as Sigma, and this time you are trapped in a warehouse. All of the players have a bracelet with a number on it and are put into situations where they must decide if they want to “ally” with or “betray” another player. Depending on their answers, the number on their bracelet changes. If it goes to zero, they are executed, and if it goes to nine, they win and can escape. And of course, there’s a lot more to the characters and story than just the death game they have to play!
Virtue’s Last Reward is another mostly text-based adventure like Steins;Gate. Both have various timelines that you can experience based on the choices you make and how you play the game. Most of the novel sections of Virtue’s Last Reward and very similar to Steins;Gate, where you simply read through dialogue like you’re reading a book. Sometimes, you are able to make a dialogue decision as well, usually about whether to ally with or betray another player. This is the same as how a lot of gameplay in Steins;Gate operates as well. Not to mention both games deal with life-or-death situations, so they’re like reading a very exciting book full of twists and turns that you help to control and manipulate. If you like the visual novel feel of Steins;Gate and love exciting stories, try out Virtue’s Last Reward. It has really fun escape room puzzles, too!
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Trailer:
6. Hotel Dusk: Room 215
- System: Nintendo DS
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Cing (former), Nintendo
- Release Dates: Jan. 22nd, 2007
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is set at Hotel Dusk, a fictional hotel in Nevada. You play as former New York City detective Kyle Hyde. The year is 1979, and Hyde has come to the hotel to find his old partner Brian Bradley. He checks into Room 225,a special room that is rumoured to have the ability to grant people's’ wishes. Indeed, and Hyde investigates further, he finds that Hotel Dusk has many connections to his past, as well as mysteries of its own. And it is connected to his missing partner! Only by discovering each piece of the puzzle and putting them together in the right order can Hyde see the full story, and be able to find Bradley again.
Hotel Dusk is a point-and-click puzzle adventure game where your goal is to solve a mystery. You progress through the story by interacting with other characters and asking them the right questions, and by solving various puzzles by performing actions on the touch-screen of the DS. You have some freedom about how you go through the story and what choices you make, though be warned they will have lasting consequences on other characters and your ability to solve the mystery. The intriguing story that plays more like a book with choices and some side games is similar in feeling to playing Steins;Gate. Both have a lot of reading that is broken apart by choosing how to interact with NPCs and both involve critical thinking to progress through the game. If you liked the gameplay in Steins;Gate and want to try something with a bit more mystery, Hotel Dusk is a great choice.
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 Trailer:
All of the visual novels or similar games here have very different stories, but they are all similar to Steins;Gate! Despite being able to play Steins;Gate multiple times (and you really should see the different endings), it can still leave you wanting more. We hope that you are able to find at least one more game to play next. Of course, it’s always hard to compare a new game to a favourite one, especially one as well-made as Steins;Gate. But trust us when we say you might be pleasantly surprised by some of these titles! Many have gone under the radar in the Western gaming world, but they might surprise you. If you enjoyed the gameplay in Steins;Gate, you’re likely to enjoy these games too!
Did we miss your favourite game that is like Steins;Gate? Have you played any of these games before? Is there one that you’re excited to try now? What was your favourite part of playing Steins;Gate? What do you wish we could see more of in English games? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!