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this was awesome, im glad i took a chance on it! i didn't expect such a detailed, highly realised game or setting. the little portraits of random customers were so cool and not something most games bother with.

the writing was great, and the characters all endearing in v different ways which i wasn't really expecting; i was anticipating that id have a hard time liking or connecting to nyargh since he looks so inhuman but i immediately was charmed by him! the characters and their problems felt very human(ha) and realistic despite the outlandish setting, but despite that both them and the setting also didn't feel like just typical humans or your average setting; the otherworldly monstrosity stuff felt well integrated into the story and the characters and like an asset, not an afterthought. i kinda got some magical realism vibes from the whole thing!

a really small thing i noticed but was impressed by, you handled having a gender neutral protag really well! most of the time i find in dating sims or the like, a gender neutral protag (as in where the mc's gender/sex isnt referred to, not cases where u have the option to pick ungendered pronouns or wev) is used for the sake of ease or laziness and is executed awkwardly and sticks out, and (though this prob only is smth that bothers or is felt by me lol) instead of making the game inclusive/queer/lgbt/etc, basically eliminates the possibility of a portrayal of same sex/gay relationships. here i felt no awkwardness, it was very unobtrusive - perhaps because Vil already knows the characters that we meet, there were no awkward moments of 'if they aren't assuming the MCs gender from their appearance/gendering me why am i gendering them from it?' etc, or references that only make sense when you assume Vil is a specific gender.

even though we're introduced to the characters midway through their relationship with Vil vs meeting and getting to know them as the MC does, the writing is great at getting across the characters individual personality and relationship with Vil quickly without hitting you over the head with exposition. by the time i got to the honey shop i felt settled into the rhythms of Vil's life, and felt a warm sense of familiarity towards their job and the characters.

really great game, it was enjoyable and interesting! better than many paid ones.

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Gosh, I'm so sorry for how long it took us to reply to this, but this is such a wonderful, in-depth and kind review, and we're both so grateful and flattered by your kind thoughts! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about the things that worked for you, especially because these are the sorts of details that really help us both as we proceed into new projects!

It's really wonderful to hear that the writing for the world and characters worked for you and was easy to relate to. Although they live in a society with very different rules, to a certain extent we hoped the monsters would also be living quite quiet, everyday lives with fairly everyday and understandable worries.

We're really glad to hear that the writing for Vil worked, too! You're probably right that that has to do with the characters already knowing them. Since the game is also written entirely in first person and all the characters address Vil on a one-on-one basis, it was possible to avoid third person pronouns entirely without making it stick out too much. In some ways the decision was easier than trying to assign a gender to Vil, since it wouldn't have had too much bearing on any of the writing in the end. Given the sort of game we wanted to make, we're really glad if it makes the story feel inviting to any reader and their own approach to who Vil is.

Thank you so much for taking the time and giving our game a go, we're really thankful for your comments and your time!