oh my god, i love this game!!!
first of all, beautiful art. the characters are wonderfully designed and drawn, from their physicalities to their clothes to their facial expressions. the design of the buttons, the text, etc is also gorgeous. i love it so much, it's so nice to look at and really fits in with the rest of the game.
secondly, brilliant functionality. really thorough explanation at the beginning of the works of the game which was super handy. and i love how there's quicksave functions as well as regular save, how you can click the mouse or press the spacebar or the return button (my favourite is spacebar and i dislike clicking the mouse to continue - but everyone has different preferences so i really appreciate that you made sure there were options!). i love how there's a screenshot function.
thirdly, amazing job with historical accuracy. i love the glossary! it's so useful for comprehension while maintaining historically accurate vocabulary, and your definitions alongside your witty comments make me laugh!
fourthly, excellent music! it really added to the feel of the game and imo, perfectly matched the different scenes and situations. and it felt very 20s so that helped add to the historical setting. i don't really know what else to say about it other than AAAA I REALLY LIKED IT bc i have no idea what i;m doing when it comes to music, but oh my god, amazing job.
and last but certainly not least (probably actually most!), is the fantastic characterisation and gameplay. i believe i've played all the alexei as mentor routes now (and am in love with him), and have yet to explore the other routes, but i have been having an absolute blast!! this is so fun, the concept is very original, the plot is super engaging, the dialogue is brilliantly written and incredibly entertaining. i love all the characters and they all feel really real and multi-dimensional! and i love hearing their backstories, which again, are really well written.
tagging on from that, great representation! thanks for making a chinese protag! i haven't come across many games with chinese characters let alone a chinese protag, and as a chinese diaspora this means a lot to me. plus i love the inclusion of a trans character despite it not being core to the game!! only thing i might critique about the writing of marie was the language aroun "being born in the wrong body", but then that is the experience of many trans people, just not all, and you didn't imply that it was all. perhaps you could make it clearer that it is not the experience of all trans people? (speaking as a trans person) although i realise it might be harder to weave that into the game now, but just suggesting this for future reference.
anyway, thank you so much for creating this amazing gem of a game!! i can't believe you've offered it initially for free with pay-what-you-want, it's very generous of you to do so when the game has clearly had a whole lot of heart, soul, time, effort, and energy into it! i will definitely be tipping, and hopefully tipping more once i have more money because i genuinely believe this game is worth it and would like to thank you for this amazing, wonderful gaming experience!!