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A jam submission

The Naughty Test (Jam Edition)View game page

A piece of interactive fiction about kids and a serial killer's ghost.
Submitted by naver, Jen โ€” 1 hour, 15 minutes before the deadline
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The Naughty Test (Jam Edition)'s itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
BEST GAME (HOST'S CHOICE)#53.4123.412
SCARIEST GAME#173.1183.118
BEST GAME (GENERAL)#183.5293.529

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

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Comments

Submitted (2 edits)

A great job!

Good narrative and very suggestive backgrounds.

Very good narrative! Backgrounds are pretty nice and you achieve the spooky vibes all the time. Good job! :D

Hey, check our last submission of Scream jam 2019! - Noah's nightmare

Submitted

So I'm not done with this, currently playing through. I died once already, but I have some things to say about it.

First of all, for context, VNs aren't my go-to genre. I've played and enjoyed some classics with VN elements (Snatcher, anyone?) but I have a hard time getting into them and have to be in the right mood.

Right off the bat, the atmosphere you keep here is perfect. The backgrounds combined with the music set up a perfect 80's slasher atmosphere that works very well. The writing isn't half bad either, if you're going for the 80's/90's slasher film style. It's pretty reminiscent of those.

I'm still going through as I'm enjoying it quite a bit. If you get around to add character portraits and maybe graphic representations of death scenes, I don't see why you couldn't monetize this.

Developer(+1)

That is the exact style the writing is going for. I'm glad you're enjoying it, despite not being a big VN person! 

Submitted

Nice work naver.
It's honestly impressive how jam packed this game is with content.
Good stuff :)

Submitted

There was so much more content than I expected. The story is great and the art is awesome.

Was this made with renpy? It looks really polished.

FYI I found a typo:

"Fine Brian on the ground" instead of find.

Developer(+1)

Thanks for the typo alert! It's a Renpy game, yeah.

Host (1 edit)

Hey, I'm super glad to see your story got a lot of good reception and feedback for this game! I think for a VN this is a really focused and consistent effort that is impressive in its scope for a jam. The story was long enough to allow for some character development and narrative progression and, if cliche, it told a fleshed-out story that had its own lore and depth that made it quite a polished effort. Congrats!

The backgrounds are visually consistent and have a fantastic pixel-art design that reminds me of those grainy but highly-detailed artstyles of late-80s computers (like the PC-98). I think some character portraits might have been helpful to clarify some interactions, but of course for action sequences the dark text-focused UI was effective in focusing on the writing. I think it was well done!

The writing is pretty good! The character interactions are handled well and it really does feel like the banter shared between a school friend group. I would say that it seemed more like a teenage cohort than pre-teens. I don't know how normal people respond to disappearing friends and monsters but there could have been a little impact from that - also being torn on whether to return to face the monster! On the upside, fleshing out the setting, the local urban legend, and the historical background to the story, added a lot of flavour and uniqueness to the game.

The choices could have been improved too. Given some of the antics that transpire the choices offered in the VN did feel a bit railroaded, such as being pressured into choosing whether to steal a car or commit arson to incite a distraction. Also, assigning the characters tasks is a cool idea, but other than getting a reaction from them it was hard to tell if this meaningfully altered the narrative branch.

I really like how many VNs jammers often make and think that this was a good one! I encourage you to keep writing and exploring the horror genre in your games because it's working really well for you!

Thanks for submitting this game to the SCREAM JAM!

- SCREAM CATALOGUE

Developer(+1)

Thanks for the detailed response!

About assignments: There was initially going to be a final fight after burning George's body. The idea was the graveyard introduces you to their abilities (if you assign someone weak to push the statue, for example, they'll fail, and someone stronger will do it instead. Likewise, the crypt is a test of courage.)  in a harmless way. Then, in the final fight, if someone fails a task you assign to them, they die. The final fight got scrapped, though, so it defeated the purpose of that setup. With the exception of Brian. If you stress him out too much, he will leave the group before the farm, and wind up dead. That is assuming he survives the cemetery in the first place. It's a tough life for Brian.

There are a few things at the farm where who you have matters, but it's executed automatically. For example, one route involves shooting a window with a slingshot. Brian and Claire can do this, Satoshi and Andy will fail. But Tommy knows how good/bad of a shot his friends are, so it would be out of character to allow the player to potentially hand it to the worst shot. Another example is who helps with the fire, which is all done behind the scenes. In order for it to get done quickly enough for the fire team to be hidden before Scarlett arrives, you need to either give them the hatchet, or have Satoshi's fire expertise. If Scarlett arrives first, Link's companion will need to be fast enough to get some distance, meaning it must be Andy. Brian and Claire are too slow. Andy then additionally needs the walkman or slingshot to create a distraction to fully escape and hide. 

Submitted

The game is cool, I like the aesthetics and the story, great work! ๐Ÿ‘

Developer(+1)

Thanks!

Submitted

Cool game! Really like the style of the graphics,music und storytelling. One suggestion though: I think it would be cool if there were pictures of the persons talking right next to their name. Each person could have a set of pictures with different facial expressions. But that's just an idea. Liked it!

Developer

Well, that was the plan for the game. But ultimately I didn't have time to draw seven characters in addition to writing the story. I am hoping to do a post jam version that includes character art, though.

Submitted (1 edit)

Warning : Some spoilers. Play before reading

Gameplay
+ Constantly asks for player choice, and the player has a impact on story.
+ Branching  narrative done well
- While the reload features are nice, the game lacks a sense of permanence because of it which detracts from immersion
+ wow, good length!

Writing
+ Plays well into all the teenage gang tropes
+ Get to know each character well, especially in second half
+ descriptions of fear and anxiety on point
- Not entirely sure why the gang thought they wouldn't be safe outside of the graveyard/farmhouse
- Begins a bit slow.
- Early characterization of the character was a bit to cliche for me, though this improved in the second half.

Art
+ Environments are greatly detailed in a very strong aesthetic. Very good work here

Sound
+ 3 Tracks in total, used in the story to convey different emotions, all good
+ SFX used at important parts in story, increasing the narrative impact
     - I didn't like the scream SFX used (it sounded canned compared to what I would have imagined), but otherwise all of them were great and appropriate

Bugs
- Some weirdness in the story concerning choices. For example, I always seemed to have a hatchet in the final part regardless of what I choose to bring
- I experience a crash at one point in the final part, not sure what caused it

Misc Note
= the game implies there is a true ending but I wasn't able to find it

Impressive work here guys, it was a pleasure playing it

Developer(+1)

That's quite an intensive review! So I'll provide an appropriate response.

Writing: It was supposed to be pretty cliche, the whole game was inspired by 80s/90s slasher flicks. Though it being my intention doesn't prevent it from being a negative. They actually aren't safe outside of the farm/graveyard, but you have to play pretty poorly to have proof of that. If you stress Brian out enough at the cemetery, he'll leave and go home. When someone checks on him later, he's been killed in his room. As far as what they think in-game, I wouldn't have assumed I was safe, either, so I didn't really think about them thinking otherwise. I'll take your note, I'm planning on doing a post-jam version. I'll add a bit to the end of the graveyard segment where she chases them down the street until they lose her, to show she doesn't have boundaries.

Art: I agree! While there was supposed to be character art included, I really don't mind that I didn't get it done, because Jen did a lovely job with the backgrounds.

SFX: I actually didn't love the scream SFX either, which is why I only included it once. Well, twice, including the splashscreen. Knowing someone else feels the same, I may just take it out entirely for the full version. But I love what he did for the songs, and I'm happy I got a sound guy on board. Testing it felt much better with things like the footsteps and breaking glass included.

Bugs: Thanks for the bug report! Apparently I had the hatchet flags assigned to the crowbar. I am hoping you picked the crowbar for the search team. I'm not sure about the crash. It doesn't happen for me, and I don't see any problems looking over the script at the end. Do you remember where it happened more specifically?

Misc Note: There was initially more planned after Link's death. The idea was she becomes corporeal after burning George, and so Tommy (and the remaining living members of the gang, if any) have a final fight with her. The aftermath of that would be the actual ends, but there just wasn't time. Though I didn't entirely mind losing that, because drawing attention to her being non-corporeal immediately after the basement scene would beg the question, why did the door stop her? I think I'll steal Remnant's idea to avoid confusing people. Its game page says something like "branching choices, but only one ending."

Submitted

Unfortunately I don't know where the bug happened. I was playing around with options in the final scene. If I remember correctly, it had to do with using the window after a certain set of choices, but I don't remember exactly what I picked.

As for me calling early characterization "cliche" that wasn't the great choice of words. It's obvious this game plays into the slasher flick tropes to be almost intentionally campy, and this is something it does very well. Using tropes and cliches exist for a reason, and you can use them well, which you did. I guess my problem with the early characterization is the characters feel too... stereotyped. It's like -- here's the smart kid, here's the tomboy, here's the goof, etc. I understand these archetypes are very helpful for letting audience get to know the basis of a character from the get go, but for me it drew me out in this instance. I had trouble relating the characters in the beginning, they felt more like story structures rather than people.

Notably this changed. Even though you maintained the archetypes, seeing their responses to the various situations that came up made them feel more real. In fairness, establishing their archetype early on did positively color their personality later in the story. It gave context to their words and actions I wouldn't otherwise had. However, some characters never felt more than their archetype, namely Brian.

Let me repeat that ya'll did very well with this. I'm just giving detailed criticism because I think it might be helpful. 

Developer(+1)

I'm really on the same page as you with Brian. I think one of my biggest faults as a writer is it's pretty easy to see my bias. He was my least favourite character, and it shows in the writing. 

Submitted

I replied to your comment. Go to my submission to see reply.

Submitted

The game's not bad at all, the beginning a bit long though, I really think it needs to be shortened