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A jam submission

KiaraView game page

Unique horror/suspense puzzle game with emphasis on story.
Submitted by Ruskatuli (@Ruskatuli) — 5 hours, 22 minutes before the deadline

Play game

Kiara's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Degica's Choice#4n/an/a
People's Choice Vote#174.1474.147

Ranked from 34 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

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Comments

(+2)

Hello and Happy New Year everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we explore the mysterious world of Kiara, a game by Ruskatuli (the developers of Traum).

This is an amazing adventure that shows the power of a team working outside of the box. This game stretches RPG Maker to its limits and, from the very beginning, sets an atmosphere of friendship, betrayal, and redemption that we have rarely seen in an indie game. With the possibility to hit the level of emotion of games like Child of Light, we could find very little to be critical of this game.

Some minor nitpicks are the audio levels and the puzzles. The audio is amazing but dipped and ebbed a bit too much during our playthrough. It seemed unusual to have the opening cinematic be an FMV when it could easily have been moving pictures. The puzzles are either too hard or too easy, so we highly suggest a heavy degree of testing outside the immediate developer circle when the game is in Beta to maintain a steady degree of challenge.

Our biggest issue with this game so far is the writing, specifically the presentation of the storyline at the very beginning. Kiara is way too obvious as a betrayer character, so unless that's the ultimate red herring, it will need to be redone. The initial conversation as a whole, from Kiara's meandering explanation of the world to Mina's unrealistic acceptance, detracts from the experience. A strong level of content editing is needed to make this the story it needs to be.

Otherwise, though, we have very little critical comments to make. The graphics are breathtaking (whoever made the decision for the game to be black and white deserves a medal), the critical path is impeccable, and the boss fight is intuitive yet challenging. The voice acting was top-notch and needs to be for every line of outwardly spoken dialogue (cut scenes and battles). We can't say enough good things about this demo!

One of the biggest things we would love to see, and feel that the game would benefit greatly from it, is if the protagonist Mina was a Therapist or Psychologist. The game lends itself to that so much it seems like a perfect fit... plus that isn't a common archetype for the main character. We urge the developers to consider it and offer even more insight and possibilities at the end of the LP video.

No matter what, however, we want to both test this game when it's in Beta and live stream it to completion when it goes Gold (much like we did for Traum).

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

The game has a lot of promise and there were a lot of things I quite liked about it, however it also has some pretty big issues that need sorting. The biggest being the bug where  error messages popped up before the game even loaded. I believe this might be a Windows 7 issue. Another issue was the broken New Game feature where there'd just be black screen after scrolling text story. I had to continue in order to play the game. 

One of the other things that really needs work is the puzzle presentation. The puzzles themselves are fine, they just need to be explained a little better/presented so that people can understand them more, especially as these are the initial puzzles presented. I touch on it a bit in the video below, but basically as they are they are frustrating. People shouldn't need to look at comments outside the game to figure out what you need to do for a puzzle.

That said, the graphics are really nicely done. The colour choice is good and the graphics themselves look really nice. I do wish the menu was a bit more interesting/useful, but what it was worked. A save option would be nice (at least before the boss, even if it were as simple as Kiara asking if you'd like to save). The sound fit very well and the music was pretty good.

I really liked the idea of the game - being stuck inside some sort of limbo dimension where you help lost souls by sticking your nose into their business and figuring out the hows/whys/wheres/whens/whats and whos of their entrapment in order to set them free. I liked that a lot.

Overall, it's got issues but it also has a lot of promise.

Developer

Thank you for your feedback, we will watch the video too and add it to our public playlist.
With all the issues you pointed out, we are aware but unfortunately we couldn't find a fix soon enough before the release.  We think the error issue at the beginning has something to do with the cutscene but we aren't sure.

The puzzles need a lot of work, we thought of a hint system so that even if you don't know what to do, the hint system would help. Also many people thought that since there is a inventory, you are supposed to use those items in the puzzles. We want to fix that too with changing inventory into journal system.

The save option will be added too, most of the things that weren't included were because we ran out of time and most of the time we didn't know 100% what to do.
Thank you so much for your time, we value your feedback and will take notes about this and try to improve our game.

Such a good game.

Developer

Thank you so much!

I loved playing this demo. It was amazing to see how much happened in just a short period of time. There was a real sense of unease while playing this.

The first puzzle, while I somehow managed to solve it, was confusing and I can underatand why others have had issues solving it. But I already voiced my thoughts on that during my livestream ;)

Thank you for asking me to be a part of this demo by providing my voice for Mina and the scary old lady!
I'm looking forward to a full release of this game!

Developer

Thank you for playing and sharing your thoughts.

You did amazing job at voice acting! Thank you so much.

Submitted(+1)

Checking the sink before getting the wine bottle results in the wine bottle text popping up but the bottle itself not being picked up. The opening sequence could use editing down. It'd also be good to know if it can be skipped while it's actually playing. The first puzzle should be changed in some way to be less obtuse, especially for the first challenge of the game.  You've got a clue structured in a way that implies filling in the blank, in a section where the player likely will have just heard some names, in an environment where it's usually implied that a lot of people would be there, probably with passwords and notes to each other (an office with cubicles), and instead you're expecting the player to count symbols on a chart that aren't really even letters. The second puzzle is better, but not by much. You used the phrase "show me" right after the player just gathered a bunch of items now stored in an inventory, and then expect the player to know that they're supposed to leave the room and pick something.

I think this would be worth making into a full game, but if that happens I think you should both re-think the context you're putting these puzzle in, as well as not giving only 1 puzzle at a time. Your players will have less motivation to keep trying if they just keep hitting brick walls with nothing else to work on.

Developer (1 edit)

Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate that you played our game and wrote for us.

The way we approached this competition was to create some of the parts we would like to include in the full game,  not maybe as they are right now but just to show the potential. We are going to do major changes in the future for the game. Unfortunately we ran out of time and couldn't do some of the changes we really wanted to for this version.
With the puzzles we took a risk, we didn't have time to gather people to test them out before the release and couldn't decide if they were too hard (for the wrong reasons) or too easy that can be seen as a negative thing too. And that is why we value the feedback so we can see how to improve these puzzles we had the idea for.
The Inventory will be changed for the upcoming versions since we had other idea for it, but again, ran out of time.

Since this is going to be story heavy, it is guaranteed that there is other things to explore on the side.

Thank you so much for your feedback. I couldn't figure these puzzles out without your post. Thanks so much!

Submitted(+1)

Love this, outstanding art, design, and creativity! I would love to see a full version!!!!1!

Developer

Thank you for your feedback! We would love to finish this since we have so many plans for it.

Submitted(+1)

Okay, let me begin by saying that I loved the artstyle, it's really unique and charming.

The plot called my attention, since it's a little similar to my style - your game also manages to create an enteresting atmosphere, thanks to the right choices in artstyle and storytelling - they mix together really well.

Now, a few minor things:
- Okay, maybe it's just my computer, but I couldn't start the game properly. I've watched the voice acted Intro, but then there's just a black Screen. I was able to play the game by clicking "Continue", even though I didn't saved the game.
- The first Puzzle is kiiiinda hard. I had to look for the walkthrough in the game's page to solve it. I knew it was related to the E-board, but the logic behind it is really counter intuitive, at least for me... 

I'll play a little bit more now that I have the puzzle's answer ^^

Developer(+1)

Thank you for your feedback!

We have received few messages about the start not working properly. Unfortunately time was running out and we couldn't figure out the issue fast enough. We decided to use the Continue button, to skip some of the beginning so that if the game crashed you didn't need to look the cutscenes again and again. 

We couldn't decide if the first puzzle was too hard or not, we didn't want to make it too easy either. Good thing we can test what type of puzzles works for bigger audience.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the game, again, thanks for the feedback.

(+1)

Cool game!