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A jam submission

Blazing PassionView game page

Submitted by NeveN (@NevenVn) — 19 days, 17 hours before the deadline
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Blazing Passion's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Creativity#114.0004.000
Story#123.7653.765
Implementation of Theme#202.9412.941
Presentation#322.8632.863

Ranked from 51 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Name of Wolf/Wolves
Arthur

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Comments

Submitted(+1)

34th VN. Liked how chats felt. The ending was lit!

Submitted(+1)

Pretty dang good all things considered.

I'm not sure if I have too much to say other than this being a very solid, well-done entry. Sure it doesn't have any fancy tricks, but it makes do with what it has and creates something thoroughly enjoyable. The writing is good. The characters are good. The plot is interesting, despite the relatively dull settings.

The ending is... abrupt.

Despite having to rush this out to keep to your all's NeveN release schedule, this was a job well done.

Submitted(+1)

I didn't expect to enjoy it sooooo much. I love how you give subtle hints from the beginning of the story all the way up to the reveal. It's super fun to pick up the small details, and it's even more fun to see other people lose their minds lol.

My only gripe is... that one CG was really sick, I expected the story to wrap up there (*cue title card drop: Blazing Passion). Instead, we got one more scene that was supposed to juxtapose MC's failure with the wolf's and dig a bit deeper into MC's big regret. But, for some reason, I found the ending less satisfying.

Despite everything, Blazing Passion is an unhinged fun read that puts me on the edge of my seat, a very recommended game! 

Submitted (2 edits) (+1)

An interesting read to say the least, Blazing Passion definitely succeeded in making an unexpectedly dark story.

I think, at least in my opinion, this story could have benefitted from a bit more time in the oven. The entire first half doesn't serve any purpose other than introducing us to Arthur, and some characters narratively can be completely taken out of the story and it doesn't affect it at all. The presentation could have also used a little bit of polish, it does kind of give off the vibe of "choosing the first picture that shows up when I google 'outside park'". 

Despite this, it's a very engaging read, and I was definitely on the edge of my seat the whole time! Props to the team for this one :]

Submitted(+1)

The presentation is functional but somewhat barebones on the whole; the backgrounds and music choices are inoffensive, and all the other stuff is mostly just the Ren'py defaults. While the engine does deserve some of the blame, not having the option to choose the language at startup is a pretty painful UX papercut – I really recommend looking into a better way to do it, since you're in the business of releasing dual-language VNs. Some more nitpicks: transitioning instantly back to the titlescreen from the last line is somewhat of a mood-killer, and the title is cut off in the Itch thumbnail.

As for the writing, it's sharp and comes with a clear voice. After having playing that VN, it's fun to spot the NeveN-isms – all the short, witty comments with exclamation marks remind me of Erik's narrative voice. There's a lot of fun character writing in the beginning, and I also like how the game is patient enough to revel in the mundanity for so long that the genre shift really lands. I wonder, though, if having stronger foreshadowing would have made the juxtaposition feel stronger (at the cost of some surprise, I guess).

Overall, I do get the sense that the game could have been slightly more formally adventurous and stronger with its imagery; how the backstory is ultimately revealed, for instance, is not particularly interesting or effective. Just would have been nice to get the chaos and the excitement of the finale get reflected in the form and the prose as well, you know? The poem is well-written and a really nice touch, though, especially as such a stark tonal break. I'd probably call that the best moment of the game, even if I maybe feel like there could have been something in the visuals or the audio to really underscore it.

Anyway, all in all, Blazing Passion is an enjoyable read; my congratulations to the NeveN team for delivering yet another solid MAY WOLF entry.

Submitted(+3)

I've got to admit, I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I was expecting at first! After having read Blossoming Love from last year (which was ok, but not very memorable) and knowing the dev was throwing this entry out as quickly as possible in order to get back to work on their main project, my expectations weren't very high.

My initial impressions weren't very high either, mainly because of the presentation: pretty much every background in this game screams "generic stock photo". The pictures of Pierre's house, in particular, felt very out of place: the vibe was more "interior design website" than "white collar worker's house".

Minor spoilers to follow.

However, I think the story and the writing definitely salvaged this entry! The first-person narration has a nice snarky personality to it, and the story competently builds up to the big twist. I am even hesitant to call it a twist, because past a certain point, we're given so many hints of what is coming. That leaves the reader with a strong sense of suspence as we anticipate what will happen, which is much better than the cheap shock we'd have if the twist had come out of nowhere. Hitchcock would approve!

I do have to say that the story suffers a lot structurally though. The initial set up feels too long considering the length and small scope of the story: the scenes with the protagonist's colleagues are kind of wasteful, considering that the only thing that comes out of them is Pierre and Arthur meeting for the first time. Conversely, after all the excellent build-up, the ending feels so rushed that the game basically cuts to the main menu mid conversation.

My final gripe (but this is not something against the story, just my personal grievance) is that, as a BDSM enjoyer, it saddens me a bit when BDSM is used as a shortcut for horror or danger. At least Arthur is a saint!

Submitted (2 edits) (+2)

What a fun read. The writing just in general is very enjoyable and amusing, especially during the office meeting. I like the way everyone is characterized, including the MC. I feel like the ending could have explored the serious themes a little deeper. It was a big shift in tone, but definetly an interesting one. All in all, this was a great VN >w<

(+1)

It's an interesting read, and I like just how different it is from what you'd expect from a typical FVN project, short or not. The ending bits are foreshadowed well, even if you might not be expecting what exactly might unfold. It's certainly the kind of story that I think would work best in this kind of short format, although I do think the pacing could've been slower in some pivotal moments to allow the intended emotions to sink in. I personally didn't mind that the "relationship" developed quickly, because it wasn't much of a relationship, it read more like a casual hookup to me, and for that kind of thing, it felt about as developed as it needed to be.

But in the end, what matters the most to me is that it is a very bold kind of story to tell, especially in this niche, and I can appreciate that. Some edits here and there and general polish would resolve most of the issues I saw in the project.

(+2)

A very impactful story, that left me waiting for the end with apprehension from the very start.
Reading through it again with full knowledge allows to catch all the little clues left behind leading to a red-hot finale. 

It suffers from some pacing issues, and the presentation is acceptable, but it's easily forgiven for a jam project squeezed in between releases of a bigger VN.

Overall, a very positive impression!

Submitted(+1)

Not very keen on this one. It was doing pretty well presentation issues aside, but things take a turn and its mostly to the detriment of the project. The prose is very… NeveN, which means it absolutely won’t be to everyone’s tastes. I guess the most disappointing thing is that the story doesn’t quite draw to a close but instead just ends.

Submitted(+1)

I will have to say, I noticed all the signs for the twist, but it still surprised me! I would have liked for the main character to spend more time getting to know the wolf, but I can understand the pacing given the short amount of time to write the VN for the jam. Well done!

Submitted(+1)

You really surprised us all with that story! I was still getting the odd hints during the read, but damn that ending was so cool. Awesome vn 🥳

Submitted(+1)

First of all, I want to say I was recently recommended to play NeveN, and greatly enjoy it!

I have tremendous respect for writers who are multilingual, and understand when things don't translate quite as smoothly, but you do an excellent job regardless.

I did have a hard time at the beginning of the story figuring out who was who.  I wasn't sure if the MC was on screen or not during the office scene, and had to depend on textual clues as to which character matched up with which name.  I think it was due to having so many on the screen at once at the beginning. 

Matching up the name color with a prominent color of the sprite would help tremendously with that.  For instance, the dragon having green text for his name.  Even when characters only appear after speaking their first lines, I personally have trouble keeping them all seperate.

This may be a 'me' problem, though; I have always had difficulty keeping track of the plot of short stories, but having no issues at all with longer ones.

Also, I understand the office scene as the place where the characters meet, but since it doesn't play a crucial role, it could have probably been left out.  It would be vitally important for a longer story for world building, but not necessary here.  I'm sure that comes from where you are already familiar with working with a much larger narrative, and normally would be good practice.

The relationship did seem a bit sudden to me, but I did the exact same thing myself in my stories. I understand it's due to the brevity of the format.  I would have liked to have seen just a little more character development.  

It felt like whiplash going from "Hey dude, I lied to you.  I really like you!  Wanna bang?  Are you into kinky shit?  Let me show you my entire collection, stranger!"  It felt like a Round Robin date where you get 30 seconds to get to know someone and decide to date or move on to the next person in line.  (That may be a fun story concept, though!)

I do like the twist and the foreshadowing.  It's hard to do very much in such a short format, and much better than what I did with my second project.  I just wrote something and left a bunch of plot threads and then came back a couple weeks later and tried to tie them all up quickly to get it done in time.

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing what else you have in store!  (Also, Maelbjorn is my fave!  And not just because my name and profile pic.)

Submitted(+1)

Spoilers will follow. Read first before reading my comment.

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Theme: It didn't feel present, to me. I believe you were one of the people asking about using the theme by like the absence of theme/inverse of the theme (e.g. shrinking), but even with the ending in mind I don't think that's really present based on how the narrative took that path.

I could perhaps point to "expanded sharing one's interests" but that seems more of a side conceit of the narrative, rather than a purposeful choice, especially as our two main characters spoke towards having experience in the scene.

Story: The focus was in the wrong place for me. It was trying to build up the relationship to feel meaningful, but I don't think it did so for me. I did see rumblings of the "twist" coming, but even then I think what's being hinted at in some capacity is pretty overt if we're waking up to Gasoline, although I do think it would have been proper to put a CW on your game page. You were already narratively implicit from the get-go about fire. Putting it on the game page wouldn't change that. You already had the tag "Horror" on the work for the meta data, ergo, put a nod to what's coming up on the game page as a CW too, is my suggestion.

I didn't need the eating scene. I didn't need the office scene, even if that's how they met. You introduced two characters there that never returned, and one that only followed from the immediate scene. If the intent was accuracy to real life, sure, but I think those would have been better suited to not have sprites and just have throwaway quick lines instead. The sprites inflates their importance, whereas the protag doesn't get a sprite.

In terms of your twist, I thought we were going to have Pierre set Arthur on fire, but it was a pleasant surprise for it to be a sacrificial offering of sorts. I enjoyed how he was texting himself as Luc (at least, that's how I read those scenes based on himself wanting to be called Luc), as a sort of manifestation of the guilt he was carrying the whole time, but I think your desire to implement the twist put the narrative focus in the wrong place.

The relationship isn't extensive enough for the self-immolation to have the same weight as whatever would theoretically have gone on before with Pierre and Luc. Instead of texting about some of these elements, they could have met in person to talk. Instead of the work friend being present to obstruct some of the convo, they could have had a one-on-one for more overt bonding. If they met directly at a BDSM club, at least the relationship would have felt sexually transactional, instead of like feeling insufficiently formed to reflect the mirror of the poor relationship with the first lover.

It also could have stood to examine the guilt more overtly, and the continued horniness over the fire IN SPITE of it taking out his lover's life, which we only briefly touch upon with his survival in the hospital at the end before the rushing closure of the game.

---

The vacuum industry was... curious. I don't know what else to say about that, other than wonder if it was supposed to invite an element of mundane and boring. 

Story Asides: Why telegram? They're working adults.

It feels very on the nose for the immolation to be done to metal. I think it would have been more subversive if it was indeed like country or a love song, something to point back to Luc's likes.

Is the home a good place to invite this fire experience? Did it first happen at Luc's place? Was Arthur intended to be able to survive given the whole house was set aflame?

Not the start with wakeup :(

That poem for the workspace? Really? Even if not read aloud? I guess Pierre really did have no survival instinct.

Presentation: There were a good chunk of moments with just a background on screen. Those were elements that could have had characters talking in person instead of in text.

I did like your CG for the fire, and how you tinted the room red especially at the edges.

I think you may have been better suited using another character as one of the sprite, instead of one we can't see, given the narrative talks about how disheveled they looked/being cute/etc. It's a lot of informed information, which fair, except you did have sprites to use which you used for throwaway characters/jokes instead.

Creativity: Props to ya for going more "spicy" this time around. I was invested in seeing how the pyromania turned out, and you did get me with it being a self-immolation sacrifice instead of the true lover (okay he was the true lover, but in a different sense) of Luc and Pierre both being like ritual killers who got off on finding people to lead along and then burn. That was a nice pivot, because people don't casually have gasoline in their bedrooms when waking up.

Overall thoughts: 
I like how you experimented this year with a more twisted narrative, and appreciate that you had a more completed arc, but I think your narrative focus was misplaced. Nonetheless, I do think that people who weren't aware of some fire-twist coming up weren't paying attention to the explicit word droppings of "Fuse" and "Gasoline"... and getting horny at roasted chicken.

I also think your visual focus was misplaced, in that you gave time to characters that we would never see again, but we didn't see the protag ever barring(?) the cg(?) which I liked! Good job for whoever made that.

Still, an interesting companion to the pool of May Wolves, given that it feels like May Wolf 2023 again in how much romance is present in what I've read so far. I appreciate you going off the beaten path for a little lighter action.