VR developer focused on creating immersive storytelling experiences. Follow me on Twitter: @VRHeavenNews
May 1st, 2023
Social Links Mechanic

Premise: Dive into the heart of the idol entertainment industry and uncover the dark secrets lying beneath this vibrant, fantasy world.

Details: Whispers of the Luminaries is a detective mystery visual novel with “social links” mechanic similar to Persona 5. Socialize, make friends, and unwind over coffee, or focus on solving the case in your free-time.

Social Links Gameplay Mechanics

In Whispers of the Luminaries you have the option to hang out at various locations such as a park, bar, or gym. Here you will meet various characters and can become friends with them.

Whispers of the Luminaries uses the same social links mechanics as Persona 5 with a few twists:

The first is random events. Although character side stories are fixed, random events occur in between their side stories, making each playthrough unique.

Secondly, you improve your relationship with characters through dialogue choices. In this game, you have to really understand what each character is like in order to make the right choices. For example:

  • complimenting character A can brighten their day
  • but complimenting character B can make them suspect you’re just seeking their affection

In this game you have to choose your words wisely.

Lastly, instead of spending time with characters, you can spend your free-time in your detective’s office to track down the culprit and keep the town safe. Here you will find important clues that’ll help you track the culprit.

There’s no right or wrong way to play this game, but every choice matters, and the story will be branch differently for each person who plays it.

Steam Store

2. Blue Reflection

Blue Reflection

Premise: Blue reflection is basically Persona, but with magical girls.

Details: Navigate the challenges of high school life while battling supernatural forces as a magical girl. Blue Reflection combines elements of social simulation and turn-based combat in a coming-of-age story set in a Japanese high school. Players assume the role of a ballet dancer-turned-magical girl who must forge friendships, navigate teenage drama, and save the world from mysterious, otherworldly threats.

This is one of the closest game to Persona 5 Royal that I’ve seen and fans of Persona 5 will surely love this game.

Steam Store

3. Danganronpa

Premise: Danganronpa is a killing game where a group of high school are trapped in a confined location and must kill one of their peers without getting caught in order to “graduate” their confinement.

Details: Similar to Persona, Danganronpa is a mixture of “life sim” and killing game. There are free-time events in the game where you can hang out with characters and improve your relationship level with them.

You can offer them various gifts in order to raise your relationship level even further.

Apart from the free-time events, the game mostly revolves around investigating for clues and finding out who the culprit is. One of the best parts of the game are the “class trials” which is similar to Ace Attorney where you gather clues and find contradictions in other’s statements.

Steam Store

4. Volcano Princess

Premise: The successor to Princess Maker 2 – Volcano Princess is a wholesome, parenting-simulator-RPG where you must raise the next monarch and prepare her for battle.

Details: As the sole guardian of your daughter after the death of your late wife, you must prepare her for her future role as monarch by discovering her hobbies, training her for battle, and fostering connections with the citizens she’ll one day protect. Your decisions will not only shape her future but also the destiny of the entire empire.

In this engaging adventure, you will help your daughter explore new hobbies, interests, and jobs. Interact with a curious cast of characters, and ensure she attends one of the four major colleges in the Volcano Kingdom to learn music, painting, or martial arts. When she comes of age, she can pledge allegiance to one of the three lords, growing her standing and fame. The culmination of her journey is the Birdie Festival, where she’ll showcase her skills in a competition that highlights everything she’s learned.

For those looking for a game like Persona 5, but want a more wholesome experience, Volcano Princess perfectly fits the bill.

Steam Store

5. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Series

Premise: Experience an epic story of political intrigue and supernatural threats in a prestigious military academy setting.

Details: The Trails of Cold Steel series offers a rich, character-driven narrative with gameplay elements reminiscent of Persona 5 Royal, such as turn-based combat, social link building, and an emphasis on character development. Players will navigate a complex political landscape and uncover the secrets of a world teetering on the brink of war.

Steam Store

6. The Caligula Effect: Overdose

Premise: Escape a virtual reality world governed by a rogue AI and confront the darker aspects of human nature.

Details: The Caligula Effect: Overdose is an enhanced version of the original game, featuring a new storyline, updated graphics, and additional gameplay elements. Much like Persona 5 Royal, players must navigate a world filled with supernatural phenomena and forge relationships with a cast of intriguing characters. Turn-based combat and dungeon exploration are key components of the game, providing a familiar experience for fans of the Persona series.

Steam Store

7. Utawarerumono: Series

Premise: Explore the mysteries of a lost civilization while navigating a world filled with political intrigue and supernatural threats.

Details: Utawarerumono combines elements of visual novel storytelling, turn-based strategy, and character-driven narrative in a richly detailed world. Fans of Persona 5 Royal will appreciate the game’s engaging story, memorable characters, and blend of strategic gameplay and social simulation elements.

Do keep in mind even though it’s advertised as a strategy game, most of the game revolves around the visual novel component and the game takes 80+ hours to complete. This might seem overwhelming, but it’s done in such a way that the story and characters build up over time, making the time investment totally worth it!

Steam Store

8. Digimon Survive

Premise: A blend of Strategy RPG (SRPG) with visual novel storytelling.

Details: Digimon Survive is a game like Persona where the story’s themes are based around friendship, drama and bonding with NPCs through dialogue choices.

90% of Digimon Survive revolves around the visual novel section and 10% on the SRPG battles. If you love Persona and Digimon, and don’t mind reading visual novels, this one is a match made in heaven for you.

Steam Store

9. Persona 4 Golden

Premise: Solve the mystery behind a series of bizarre murders in a small town while balancing school life and supernatural adventures.

Details: Persona 4 Golden is the enhanced version of the original Persona 4, offering additional story content, updated visuals, and new gameplay elements. Much like Persona 5 Royal, the game combines turn-based combat, social simulation, and dungeon-crawling elements. Players will forge relationships with a diverse cast of characters while uncovering a dark, supernatural mystery.

Also be sure to check out Persona 3 if you haven’t done so already.

Steam Store

10. Catherine Classic

Premise: Explore the themes of of relationships, commitment, and morality in a surreal puzzle-platformer with a mature, thought-provoking narrative.

Details: Catherine Classic, made by the Persona team, combines puzzle-platforming gameplay, social simulation elements, and a mature, character-driven narrative that explores themes of love, infidelity, and morality. Fans of Persona 5 Royal will appreciate the game’s thrilling and dramatic storyline, memorable characters, and unique gameplay mechanics.

Steam Store

11. Hogwarts Legacy

Premise: An immersive, open world RPG for you Harry Potter fans out there.

Details: Engage in the various activities at Hogwarts including: Summoner’s Court, wand dueling, side quests, talking with other characters, broom trials and more.

Steam Store

Games Like Persona, but Without Combat

Looking for a game with a good story? Or a game with social links mechanics like in Persona 5?

If you enjoy the life simulation elements of Persona 5, but wish there was no dungeon crawling, lucky you – there are plenty of games that fit the bill:

1. Needy Streamer Overload

Premise: You are the manager of “OMGkawaiiAngel,” a girl with an extreme need for approval who wants to be the #1 internet angel and your job is to help her achieve stardom whilst maintaining her sanity and a good relationship with her.


  • Help OMGkawaiiAngel come up with ideas for streaming
  • Manage her stress and sanity levels
  • Go on dates and improve your relationship with her
  • Sleep together
  • Browse the internet and social media

This is a fun game with a dark twist and has multiple endings which you can unlock through your choices. If you like games like this, make sure to also check out these other games like Needy Streamer Overload.

Steam Store

2. Stardew Valley

Premise: Relaxing farming simulator, mixed with life simulator elements and character relationship mechanics. Also has multiplayer.

Details: Raise a farm – by yourself or with some friends.

Players will cultivate their farm, raise animals, mine for resources, and interact with the residents of the charming Pelican Town.

The game features a variety of activities, including fishing, cooking, and crafting, as well as relationship-building with the townsfolk, which can even lead to marriage and having kids.

While Stardew Valley’s art style differs from the anime aesthetic found in Persona 5, fans of the social simulation aspects of Persona 5 will appreciate the game’s focus on character development, relationship-building, and the freedom to shape your own story.

Stardew Valley offers a relaxing, immersive experience that combines life simulation elements with engaging gameplay, making it a fantastic choice for fans seeking a non-combat title with depth and charm.

Actually, I lied. There is a bit of combat, but I think you’d still appreciate this game so I’m leaving it here.

Steam Store

3. Zero Escape: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

Premise: In this thrilling visual novel, nine people find themselves trapped on a sinking ship and must solve puzzles, make decisions, and uncover the truth to survive.

Details: 999 (also known as Zero Escape series) is a visual novel and puzzle game with a gripping narrative and a unique, non-linear storytelling structure. Players will navigate through the game’s branching storylines and multiple endings by solving challenging puzzles and making crucial decisions that will determine the fate of each character.

If you want a great story with suspenseful atmosphere, you will enjoy the complex plot that 999 has to offer.

I played this game shortly after playing Persona 3 and loved it.

Steam Store

4. Coffee Talk

Premise: A game where you can just chill and talk to other characters and make coffee. That’s it!

Details: Listen to the stories and dilemmas of a diverse cast of customers while serving them warm beverages in a cozy, late-night coffee shop. There’s no fancy gameplay in Coffee Talk.

In Coffee Talk, players will not only mix and serve a variety of beverages, but they will also have the opportunity to shape the story and the lives of their customers through their interactions. The game’s soothing atmosphere, captivating narrative, and memorable characters make it an excellent experience for those seeking a non-combat title with a focus on storytelling and character development.

Another game similar to Coffee Talk is also VA-11 Hall-A.

Steam Store

5. Gaokao.Love.100Days

Premise: Experience the trials and tribulations of preparing for China’s most important college entrance exam while managing friendships and romance.

Details: Gaokao Love 100 Days is a visual novel and simulation game that centers around the life of a high school student preparing for the Gaokao, China’s notoriously challenging college entrance exam. Players must balance studying, socializing, and romance as they navigate the pressures of academic life and forge meaningful relationships with classmates. Fans of Persona 5 Royal will love the game’s focus on social simulation elements, engaging narrative, and the opportunity to shape the protagonist’s relationships and future through their choices.

Steam Store

6. Tokyo School Life

Premise: Immerse yourself in Japanese culture as an exchange student and forge friendships and romances with your fellow classmates in this charming visual novel.

Details: Tokyo School Life is a visual novel that features life simulation elements, allowing players to experience Japanese culture, make choices that impact relationships, and uncover multiple story routes. The game’s vibrant anime aesthetic and engaging narrative make it a good choice for fans of Persona 5’s social simulation gameplay and art style.

Steam Store

7. Life is Strange Remastered

Premise: Life is Strange tells the story of a high school girl with the power to manipulate time as she uncovers the secrets of her town and the consequences of her choices.

Details: Life is Strange is an episodic graphic adventure game that focuses on story, character development, and the impact of player choices. Fans of Persona 5 Royal will love the game’s engaging, character-driven story and the ability to shape the protagonist’s relationships and outcomes through their decisions.

If you’re looking for a deep engaging story with loveable characters, Life is Strange is a fantastic choice.

Steam Store

JPRGs Like Persona

Can’t get enough of the JRPG elements of Persona? Here are some more games that fit the bill:

1. Tokyo Xanadu eX+

Premise: Battle demonic forces and uncover a hidden world beneath Tokyo’s streets in an action-packed adventure.

Details: Tokyo Xanadu eX+ shares similarities with the Persona series, offering a blend of dungeon-crawling, action combat, and social simulation. Players assume the role of a high school student who discovers a hidden world beneath Tokyo, inhabited by dangerous creatures.

Like Persona 5, you have to focus on balancing school life and supernatural battles, exploring dungeons and forging relationships with a diverse cast of characters.

Steam Store

2. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster

Premise: Survive in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo as a half-human, half-demon protagonist while determining the fate of the world.

Details: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster is an updated version of the classic PS2 title, featuring enhanced visuals and updated gameplay elements. As a part of the larger Megami Tensei series, which includes the Persona games, Nocturne shares many gameplay similarities, such as turn-based combat, demon fusion, and exploration. Fans of Persona 5 Royal will appreciate the game’s darker atmosphere and more mature themes.

As you explore these 21 games, you’ll find a wide range of experiences that capture various aspects of Persona 5 Royal’s unique blend of gameplay, narrative, and character development. Whether you’re drawn to the social simulation elements, engaging storylines, or deep gameplay mechanics, these titles are sure to offer countless hours of enjoyment and immersion.

Steam Store

3. Octopath Traveler

Premise: Experience eight unique storylines in a beautifully crafted, retro-inspired JRPG world.

Details: Octopath Traveler offers a unique blend of turn-based combat, rich character development, and immersive storytelling that will appeal to Persona 5 Royal fans. Players can choose from eight distinct storylines, each featuring its own unique protagonist and narrative arc.

Steam Store

4. Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Premise: Rise through the ranks of the Yakuza in a thrilling, action-packed RPG with a unique turn-based combat system and engaging narrative.

Details: Yakuza: Like a Dragon is like Persona, but you’re playing as a bunch of old dudes. It offers an exciting blend of crime drama, turn-based combat, and character-driven storytelling. While the game’s setting and tone differ from Persona 5 Royal, fans will appreciate its engaging narrative, memorable characters, and deep gameplay mechanics.

When I was playing this game, I was surprised how similar it was to Persona 5. It felt like they took some ideas of inspiration from the Persona series.

Steam Store

5. Tales of Berseria

Premise: Embark on an epic journey of vengeance and self-discovery in a world torn apart by dark forces.

Details: Tales of Berseria features an action-packed combat system and as players explore the game’s vast world, they will forge relationships with a diverse cast of characters and uncover the truth behind a world in turmoil.

Steam Store

6. Mary Skelter: Nightmares

Premise: Escape a living, breathing dungeon filled with nightmarish creatures in a dark, twisted fairy tale-inspired dungeon-crawling RPG.

Details: Mary Skelter combines dungeon-crawling gameplay, turn-based combat, and a character-driven narrative set in a twisted, fairy tale-inspired world. Players will lead a group of “Blood Maidens,” each with unique abilities, as they navigate treacherous dungeons and battle monstrous foes. As players delve deeper into the living dungeon, they will uncover dark secrets, forge bonds with their allies, and face their own inner demons.

Steam Store

7. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Premise: Reclaim a lost kingdom and unite the world in a visually stunning adventure with a captivating story.

Details: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom combines real-time combat, exploration, and kingdom-building elements in a vibrant, Studio Ghibli-inspired world. While not as thematically dark as Persona 5 Royal, the game shares a focus on character development, engaging narrative, and deep JRPG gameplay.

Steam Store

8. Final Fantasy X

Premise: Join Tidus, Yuna, and their companions on a journey to save the world of Spira from a relentless, monstrous threat.

Details: Final Fantasy X features an engaging story, loveable characters, and a strategic, turn-based combat system called the Conditional Turn-Based Battle (CTB) system. This system allows players to carefully plan their actions and exploit enemy weaknesses.

Steam Store

9. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Premise: Shape the future of a war-torn continent as a professor at a prestigious military academy, forging alliances and leading students into battle.

Details: Fire Emblem: Three Houses offers a blend of turn-based strategy, character development, and social simulation elements that will resonate with Persona 5 Royal fans. Players must navigate complex political intrigue and develop relationships with a diverse cast of characters, shaping the course of the game’s narrative through their decisions and actions.

Nintendo Store (this game isn’t available on PC)

Bonus: Tokyo Chronos (if you have VR)

A VR game where the characters come to life in front of you. If you own a VR headset and are a fan of Persona, you must get this game.

It tells a deeply touching story, with very intriguing mystery elements. Unlike playing on flatscreen, this story becomes a lot more personal as you get to see the characters in front of you.

It also has multiple character routes and endings. If you need help getting the true ending, I wrote a guide about it.

Steam Store

Oculus Store

And that’s it! Hope you find many compelling games to play!