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A jam submission

1 Press ButtonView game page

Survive the trials. Press the button!
Submitted by Tofu Sheets Visual — 7 hours, 53 minutes before the deadline
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1 Press Button's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Sound#23.9694.412
Modifier#243.1233.471
Overall Bad#263.0703.412
Overall Good#292.5402.824
Overall#332.7793.088
Graphics#402.1172.353
Gameplay#421.8522.059

Ranked from 17 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

If you have implemented the modifier, how have you done so?
I used the modifier as a plot point. The lab coat dude summoned the characters in order to press a button for him. + if you get to the true ending, there's another way I implemented the modifer, you'll see~

Any additional information for voters?
Much chance is needed to advance, as a few sections the outcome is dictated by renpy.random, so I recommend saving at the beginning of each room so you can go back to try and get a different outcome. I also used renpy.random in a few sparse places to decide which take of a particular voiced line will play, so occasionally, a familiar line may be said a little differently during another playthrough.

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Comments

Submitted(+1)

Nice Game!  Dialogue was funny and voice acting was really well done.  I didn't have time to get through to the true ending but will definitely come back to this.

Developer

Thanks for playing! Glad you enjoyed it~

Submitted(+1)

LOVED IT! Inject this 00s Weeb nostalgia right into my veins. Seriously though, a enjoyable little game, and very funny too!

Developer

I'm very pleased you enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun and very experimental, so I am happy it has generally received positive response despite some flaws ^^

Host(+1)

This is great! I think possibly one of the first text-based games in SBIGJam, and with some very creative narrative hooks and voice acting.

I'd personally say that while the game seems short on a first runthrough, it was the perfect length for me to explore all the endings and get to the epilogue.  I'd say that the RNG is quite weird  (I would have never expected the same path to lead to multiple outcomes!) but this is the perfect jam, and the perfect length of game to try something like that out. 

Finally,   I had a great time trying  to reach the epilogue. Loved the references!  Overall I think that this was a really strong entry, and very different to the rest of the jam entries. Well done!

Developer

I'm very pleased you enjoyed it! I wanted to experiment with something different this year, and I had always wanted to make a text-based game. Although 2017 I did remember one text-based game where you had to collect resources, so mine would not be the first, but probably the first in this genre and style. One thing I was testing out was "how can I make an all text game feel more engaging?" and thought if I had it voice acted with a little bit of sound, it could feel more alive despite lack of visuals. I'm happy for the most part, people agree that this works.

The RNG bit was fun. It's a way to make a short game more replayable since no playthrough will be the same, though I will admit it may become frustrating after awhile (hence why I kept the game within a 5k wordcount) and it was a fun experiment in using RNG. I probably would love to use RNG again, but refine it a bit more. 

Glad you liked the references in the Epilogue and that you enjoyed this entry overall!

Submitted(+1)

It took me longer than I was hoping it would take me to get to this one. Even though visual novel games have never been my forte I did enjoy this one.

As always the voice acting was phenomenal, possibly the best in the jam. I especially liked the robots voice, it reminded me of a cyborg Homer Simpson. Plus the way MC stands out as a completely average sounding guy amongst the more theatrical characters is quite nice.

The dialogue was also pretty funny, and I loved how each character reacted to each of the rooms in their own unique way. And the writing in general I found enjoyable, the "A machine-y stomping came stomping" line sounds like a parody of Edgar Allan Poe. I definitely feel like I missed a joke when the siblings spoke what I'm assuming is Japanese, but then of course the joke was that nobody understood what they said. And I don't wanna spoil it here but I liked how the continuity was kept intact with the difference between MC's abilities and the other 3 player characters.

And while I liked the voice acting and writing I did find myself basically skipping a lot on the later runs in an attempt to unlock the epilogue. The skip option made this not too bad, but the random outcome did make it more tedious, though the random outcome I think counts for the "So Bad Its Good" aspect of the game.

The music I think was highly effective in giving a rather mysterious and sinister feel to the game. Like I thought I was gonna be playing Saw as a visual novel. The sound effects sprinkled throughout were nice, and definitely spiced up what's otherwise a barren game effects-wise.

As for playing the game itself there isn't much in the way of actual gameplay, I think maybe 3 or 4 choices throughout the entirety of a run? Understandably a lot less branching can practically be done when implementing so much content in terms of writing and voice acting. Though in my experience, a lack of gameplay comes with the territory of visual novels.

I definitely think its so bad its good, though I don't think its as goodbad as a number of other games in this years jam. Though that being said there are also a number of games I don't think were so bad its good at all, so it still stands a fair a bit above several others. Of course the voice acting adds a lot of production value so that's definitely a bonus, but uh I'm guessing you weren't expecting to score too many points in graphics anyways lol.

Good work once again!

Developer(+1)

Hello, thank you for playing! Yes, the "Skip" button is always great for VNs, be it long or short. Looking back I do think maybe a few more menu options would have been nice, even if they were simply the illusion of choice, but having lost about 3 days at the start of the jam made me a bit pressed for time, so duly noting that for next time if I submit a VN! I'm also really pleased you enjoyed the voice acting. Post-jam update, I do intend to add a few unlockable bonus features (it will correspond to the same persistent.data as Epilogue, and if you already got it, updating the game the persistent.data will remain since it is not stored in the game itself but somewhere else on your computer--so if you delete and put the new version, it will correspond with the new version and already be unlocked). I'll probably add the translations for all of the twins' Japanese dialogue as well as the language barrier bits. But yes, the joke was that you couldn't understand the twins, hence also why I used actual kanji and hiragana instead of romaji.

I'm glad you seemed to enjoy this game overall. I feel like the game is sort of a hit or miss for some. You'll either love it or hate it, but I am glad despite its flaws that many have mostly had a positive experience with it. The frustration of the RNG and need to skip was kind of part of the bad aspect of the game by design, but whether this works for or against the game is very subjective haha. 

Submitted(+1)

The writing, voice acting, and the concept for this game were all pretty darn good.

I did find myself skipping forward quite a bit on the repeat playthroughs (to get past the stuff I had already seen before), however, this did mean that, at the parts of the game where there was a random outcome despite not being presented with any choice, I usually found myself playing through the part after making a choice in which I found out that I succeeded, then skipping forward to what I hoped would be the next choice but instead being presented with the game over screen (due to another random event after that choice but before the next one). So that put a bit of a dampener on the experience.

Besides that, it was pretty good.

Developer(+1)

Thank you for your honest review! For skipping, you could always use the "Skip" button at the bottom of the screen which skips already seen text, that way any new bits it stops at. I probably should put that bit on the front page! Anyway, I am happy despite some of its flaws, you were still able to get some enjoyment from it ^^

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

Yeah, the gameplay concept just doesn't work for me. I think there are some interesting ideas at play, but it just didn't work for me. I didn't realize I could save, so I ended up repeating the entire game again. I wish character selection was after the intro, which I pretty much skipped through the second time around. There might be randomization in it but frankly I'm not inclined to do anything but skip through it as fast as possible. Multiple paths with randomization as well means that it's going to take tons of repetition to get a good ending, and it makes it feel the little choice there is won't have much of a bearing on that.

The game itself is, to be frank, kind of boring. Replaying it repeatedly feels more like a chore than a delight. I was impressed when I heard you made a 5000+ word game, fully voiced, with nine different endings, but it's clear that a lot was left by the wayside to get all that in. There's not much gameplay, only a handful of binary choices, and no graphics past the title screen (and possibly the true ending, I didn't get there). I just didn't find it all that appealing. Voice acting is always a +10 to production value, but it can't carry a game on its own.

The narrative, I could take it or leave it. I've seen this kind of premise before, and I've never been a fan of it, though if done well enough it can work. The dialogue tries to be witty, and sometimes the jokes land, but sometimes they don't. I think the whole thing would have worked better if the visual style, music, and some lines hadn't set such a dark, dreary tone.

I'm probably coming across a bit harsh, so I'll qualify this with a few remarks. First, I was pretty hyped up for this game; your past few SBIG Jam entries have been very solid and that makes them tough acts to follow. I'm definitely judging this one more critically than I would if it had been an entry out of nowhere. Second, I was pretty excited to see what you'd come up with after a few mentions in the Discord and got myself hyped up- probably a little too much. I don't hate this game by any means, and I'm not sure if I even think it's a bad game, but I'm a bit let down.

Finally, that brings us to the important question: is this a "so bad it's good" game? This is actually a tough one. It's got the weirdness down. It's got some jank. But it's also pretty dry, and the best "so bad it's good" games aren't dry. In the end it's subjective and elusive what qualifies a game for that category. The best answer I have is that it is, but not to the same degree of some of the others in this jam.

Developer (1 edit)

As always, thank you for a very thorough and honest review! This project was extremely experimental, so I knew I was running the risk of it not being everyone's cup of tea, especially since I decided against RPG Maker this year. I will admit the modifier made it a little more difficult to work with, and this game didn't end up as interesting as it  could have been. Nevertheless, I am still proud of it, but I definitely see where you're coming from when in comparison to my previous projects. It's my first time really taking advantage of RNG but I probably should've added a bit more choice points to make it more fun and engaging (duly noted next time I try something like this!). No visuals was actually done on purpose (as I'd always wanted to experiment with making a text game but with audio), although I originally wanted to include a few cheesy MS Paint stick figure arts here and there to give it a minimalist visual style (but ran out of time, haha).

Once again, thank you for your honesty, it's very helpful feedback to take away from what I can possibly do better next time! Thanks for giving this game a go and leaving your thoughts~

P.S. I added how to save on the front page now since you pointed out you initially didn't know you could. I probably should have put that heads up earlier, but I thought it was a given the Esc key opens that up, but then again, SBIG games often don't work like normal games so it probably would've been smart to point it out anyway lol.

Submitted(+1)

So I wrote my last review in a bit of a hurry and I'd like to take some time to reply and clarify a few things.

I kind of got the impression that it was a more experimental game, but thanks for confirming that. I think a lot of the ideas were interesting and have potential, they just didn't quite work out or didn't quite work together.

I think adding unpredictability can work- arguably, it's one of the things that make games work to begin with. It can be difficult to do, though, without feeling unfair to the player. It feels unfair here because it's effectively a coin flip whether you continue or get sent back to the beginning- there's no means to recover and no interesting alternate path (at least in most cases- the ending might be randomized when you get there?). I think more choices would help, but more importantly, more complex use of randomization to send players down different paths that all ultimately lead to an ending.

Going back to a previous save is a crutch, though one that I think would be acceptable for an experimental jam game if it were a bit better implemented. I'll admit I was thrown a bit by the interface here; Ren'Py usually has a prominent action bar which wasn't showing, and I was worried hitting ESC to open the menu would break the game (this is pretty common in SBIG games).

A text/audio only game can work, but the narrative just isn't engaging enough to carry it, at least for me. I think that particular point is going to be the most subjective one- for some people it will fall on the other side of the line (and some no doubt will find it even less interesting). I don't think a game without graphics is inherently bad, but I do think it's inherently risky, since there's so much riding on the narrative (and, to a lesser but still significant degree, the voice acting).

I'd argue that the premise and tone of the story don't really fit with the minimalist visual style, but again, that's something that's going to be highly subjective.

The length of the game and its repetitive nature really work against it here; if it doesn't quite hit the mark for the player it quickly becomes a drag rather than ending on a relatively high note. I think in the end this is probably my biggest point of contention; as an experiment it just runs too long. This is also where I can give feedback that's actually actionable: keep highly experimental games short. This means less work for you the dev as well on a concept that might not work out.

On that note there's probably a bit of an audience expectation thing going on. This might actually be considered short for a visual novel, but it's quite long for an SBIG Jam game.

Developer

Once again, thank you for your honest thoughts! Haha well this uses NVL-style instead of the usual ADV-style (where text bar is at the bottom), the buttons are still in the exact same place at the bottom and I never mess with any of the keyboard commands, so rest assured anytime I use Ren'Py the ESC key will not break anything, but I do understand your hesitation at first. Note you can always press the *Skip* button (also accessible from the Settings menu) to skip seen text to speed through stuff so you don't have to go click happy.

I do agree that this game being bad or good will be clearly subjective. Some people who had played it were having fun with the RNG, seeing if their luck would play out to get them to an ending, and some were frustrated like yourself. I had a friend though who's RNG luck was ridiculous and didn't even reach a game over until her third playthrough lol. So yeah, this game is definitely a 50/50 by far, you either love it or you hate it, one or the other. Mm, probably having the RNG lead to other sorts of endings aside from game over screens during the trials would've been a good idea, duly noted for next time!

Haha hilariously enough, this game is actually much shorter than my previous SBIG entries, especially shorter than Crystal Captor which took on average 1 hour to an hour and a half to finish, but yes, perhaps I should've done a more prototype on this particular concept but honestly on my end I felt like it was a bit too short whilst you feel it was a bit too long, so I think the length is also pretty subjective. 

Anyway, thank you for your honest feedback, even if it is more on the very critical side--I'll be taking a few of your suggestions into consideration for next time! I also think it may help i next year I just outline a story ahead of time instead of hinging the last minute on a modifier. CC ended up the way it did because I purely went wild without a modifier stopping me (since it was the pre-modifier age), and RCRV I already had its concept in mind and worked with the modifier into the story. Next time I think I will outline what I really wanna do, and if the modifier works for the story, great, if not I could implement it somehow as a minor side thing or passing mention but not make it a focused plot point. I will admit I had been suffering writer's block the past few weeks, so that may also be why this game ended up the way it did, but it also really helped me to unclog my brain and get the muse flowing again, so if one thing positive came from this, it's that haha.

Submitted(+1)

Needed gameplay. Entertaining. Voice acting great!

Developer

Glad you enjoyed the voice acting! ^^