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(1 edit) (+4)

Hi Pinlin, I just wanted to say that I finished playing all routes and endings of the game today and holy crap, I LOVED IT ALL SO MUCH. Your art is absolutely AMAZING, and the storyline was so engaging. Usually, after getting into a new game or fandom or whatever, I have a lot of things to say, so sorry if this comment drags on forever xD

[SPOILER WARNING to those who are reading this comment who haven’t finished all endings of the game!]

First things… questions I still have regarding some of the deeper lore/plot.

  1. RASUMI: I’m not sure if you deliberately decided not to reveal all of Rasumi’s motives and backstory, but it kind of feels that way because I was left slightly unsatisfied by the things that didn’t get revealed. After finishing Kurato and Junoru’s routes, which I expected to reveal more about Rasumi, I felt as though there was almost nothing new, apart from the impact Rasumi had on the two romance-able characters’ backstories. There’s also the thing about her being oddly kind and helpful in Zeikun’s romance ending, but really horrible in Zeikun’s normal ending (this double faced nature of her is so fitting for her being a Gemini, though that of course is a stereotype for the sign…). I also want to know if Kaichi ever managed to get Rasumi to break the curse on him! This just makes me go crazy on making my own theories on who she is; and for right now, I’m assuming that she is some sort of fallen angel or corrupted angel that now works for herself rather than any higher power. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about her and who she may be, and how you developed her as a semi-villain character!
  2. CHAIN: Okay, I have no idea why on Earth I like him so much. He’s cold and ruthless and clearly doesn’t care a lot for others apart from Kurato (somewhat) and maybe even MC in some routes… but I still feel like there’s something more to him than just a supernatural creature hunter. But besides me hoping dearly for a route for him (whether it be from MC’s perspective or Ikuya’s, since I read in an AMA about how you considered making Ikuya the POV for a sequel… personally, I would really like to see Ikuya x Chain because that is the most ridiculous but weirdly wholesome pairing ever), I have a couple thoughts about him. That part in Junoru’s backstory chapter where this hunter woman(?) shows up, the same CG of Chain’s eyes was used, and in the Extra Scenes part unlocked after all endings are reached, Roya seemed to suggest that he recognized(?) him “even after all these years“ (or something along those lines)… That part really got me thinking about who Chain really is. First of all, is that hunter woman from the past one of his mentors? One of my theories is that there are a generation of supernatural hunters that either are or aren’t related by family relations. It’s possible that the very first hunter held a grudge against supernaturals, and then someone who also had a grudge went to him/her and asked him/her to train them. Another theory is a bit more far-fetched, but it’s that maybe Chain isn’t really human after all? Maybe his soul lives on through the generations, taking the form of different bodies in order to disguise his true identity. Of course you don’t have to tell me his backstory if you’re planning on keeping it a secret for now, but I just wonder about him… ;^)
  3. ROYA: I don’t know if this is a plot hole or something, but in Kurato’s flashback chapter, it’s shown that Roya murders his teacher for sending death threats to the Kenriji family. However, at this point Roya shouldn’t even have his supernatural powers yet, and I really wonder how on Earth a young child like him managed to kill an adult… Maybe there’s an explanation for this? Also, I think it’s implied that Roya is the one who killed the school ghost boy (I forget his name), but I’m not really sure. It makes sense (sort of) that someone like Roya wasn’t the best person even as a child, but I find it a bit odd how no one ever suspected him or called him out for his actions (except Junoru for that one time). And I also wonder why he has extreme bullying tendencies anyway. Does he to some degree have mental or emotional issues? Does he simply look down on others that much? I don’t know, some parts of his backstory just doesn’t really make that much sense to me, and I was hoping that you could clear some things up, if you wanted to share!
  4. JACE/BLACE: I think a lot of their backstory was already revealed, but I just have one question: how do they determine which clients to accept and such? I don’t really understand why they would ever work for sketchy people like the dudes who murdered the Kenrijis. Since the reason why the twins appeared in Kurato and Junoru’s routes is because Kurato and Junoru are the source of the issues going on in the village (except they’re also caused by Roya and Rasumi), and they need to return balance to the human world, it’s odd that they would randomly accept the jobs of random people who are acting out of spite and cold blood. Is there something that I’m forgetting about their backstory that explains this, or did you just never reveal it?

Okay, now that all of my questions are out of the way… I’m going to say a few thoughts about the existing routes!

Routes ranked from 4th to 1st place:

#4: Kurato. Although he’s an awesome character, he’s just the personality type that I feel least interested in. That’s not to say this route was bad in any way! I really enjoyed playing through his route! I only felt like the romance came a little too soon compared to the other routes, and I’m just not super interested in his personality.

#3: Zeikun. I love his personality and character design, and there’s really nothing wrong with his route at all. However, I just prefer other routes a bit more than his.

#2: Junoru. This boy is too precious. I really love soft personalities in otome games, especially in a game with such a complex and dark plot. It complements the story well! I also loved the flower symbolism in his route; even though it was sad, I adore his normal ending CG. He looks so peaceful, resting over the flowers. I feel bad that he had to go to hell rather than heaven, though. Oh, on that note… CAN I JUST SAY THAT SENDING HIS MOTHER AND FATHER TO SEPARATE AFTERLIFE REALMS IS LITERALLY THE MEANEST AND CRUELEST THING EVER.

#1: Sachiro. Okay. I did NOT expect myself to like his route as much as I did. I’m not really into the shota types, so I was very hesitant about playing his route. But once I got into the 2nd-3rd chapter? Wow. I absolutely adore the plot line of his route. It has a somewhat Spirited Away kind of vibe, except it’s a spirit going into the human world. And can I just say that non-cursed/adult Sachiro’s design is my favorite thing ever. The moment I saw him, and got then to know his true personality? I knew he was best boy. Also, I really dig swordfighters in fantasy games. The CG you drew where he is about to kill all the evil spirits in the spirit realm was too amazing. I love the transition of his normal fighting self to the darker version where he looks much more ominous. Also, might I mention that one of my most treasured OCs in a medieval fantasy story I’m making is a swordfighter, is a Cancer, and has a dark/corrupted side that ends up overwhelming him at one point? I guess I just really like that type of character. xD

Lastly, I would like to conclude with this:

Pinlin. You are an amazing person. Your art is so good. Even though I’ve never liked anime art styles completely, your style is so captivating and beautiful on so many levels. The color schemes you use seriously soothe my heart. I’m a hobbyist artist myself (and am currently making a visual novel of my own, but it’s only a personal project for my friends for now), and the kind of stuff you do is what I aspire to be in the future. I loved every aspect of this game, and I really hope to see more games from you in the future, if you’re considering it. I’d be totally down for a sequel of Dark Nights featuring the side characters! Since you said that you would do a route for some side characters if you had enough requests for it: if you want to, I would love to see routes for Chain, Kaichi, Roya, Jace, Blace, Lioji… oh wait… that’s literally all of the male side characters. xD But in all seriousness, I think I would be most interested in seeing (as mentioned above) Ikuya featured as the POV, getting to know the side characters. Ikuya deserves more love and screen time! (That bit about her fighting Rasumi off with Zeikun? Spectacular.) But… you are your own person, and as a creator, you should do whatever you want, and I don’t want to be a demanding fan of any sort. Do what makes you most happy!

Phew! That was a lot of typing. I hope you’ll find the time to read this through and tell me your thoughts. Thank you so much for making this game. It’s been a pleasure playing through it. ^v^

-Nocte

(+3)

Thank you for this thoughtful review. In fact, I love reading long feedback so no need to apologize for it! Usually, I don't get to hear live feedback from players. By the time they finish the game, they've forgotten most of their reactions on events and scenes.

I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed all storylines. Each was created with a distinctive style for different preferences. The stories are obviously focused on the main characters so there is a lot missing about the supporting roles.

1. I regret not revealing not enough of Rasumi because so far she seems to be a black sheep despite her various roles. She is not the main villain in some routes, like she didn't cause the tragedy in Junoru's story. In Sachiro's route, she acts as a supporting character. Without Rasumi's help, Sachiro wouldn't be able to ever meet MC normally. In the bonus scenes there is a small dialogue between Kaichi and Rasumi. I left it as an open end, because these two have a seperate background story. Rasumi double-faced nature started since her traumatic childhood. A short scene is revealed in her diary during Kurato's route chapter 4. Another hint was left when Blace said Jace and Rasumi have a bad relationship. Jace is the guardian of Heaven's gate and Rasumi is an angel- which means they had some encounters before. The first time Rasumi meets MC, she acts very friendly. I had this idea that Rasumi watched MC from the heavens, thus knowing MC for a long time. If I ever get the chance to expand the lore, I'd love to write more about this character! I've created her long before Dark Nights existed so my mind is full of ideas.

2. Chain is also one of my personal favorites- the mysterious one. Just like Rasumi, I didn't reveal much about his background. Although, he is way more popular. The first encounter of Ikuya with Chain is that she walked away , scared. Their chemistry will be a funny or interesting development. His relationship with the MC varies a lot depending on which route you are. To reassure you, Chain is completely human. If he were super natural, he might dislike himself too(?) which sounds edgy. So far there were hints that Chain lives alone. His place has no any hints related to his friends and family. He met Kurato since he was a teen at the investigator department. He might have been working there longer. The woman in Junoru's route was one of Chain's ancestors since she looks like Chain. They practise hunting supernaturals for generations, but now there are none of those specialists left. It was mentioned somewhere Chain killed a cousin who turned into a vampire. Roya recognizes Chain because of his bloodline. Aside that, Roya encountered him a several times before. The "hunters" are known for their skillful and terrific tactics of capturing/killing supernaturals. There is a black market for these kinds, hence Roya is afraid of ending up there. If I would explore more of this world if I were to write Chain's story.

3. Arount the time Roya attacked the teacher, he already drunk one of those potions. His parents didn't know this. The school ghost was killed by other classmates and Roya has nothing to do with that. He tends to mess around with Kurato. Not all characters speak the truth at times. Kurato used to have a very low self-esteem which made him an easy target. Usually bullies aren't aware of the damage they cause. The teasing starts innocently and gradually gets worse. Roya didn't have any friends during his childhood, and still doesn't in present time. He has trust issues because of the events that happened in the past (kidnapping, conflicts with villagers, murder of parents, betrayal of aquaintances etc.) He doesn't look down on other people, like he saw some potention in MC, but prefers to keep emotional distance. The interactions with his parents were shown from Junoru's perspective. Junoru once mentioned that Roya, despite being older, wasn't a suitable heir because of his troublesome personality. He is mischievous in nature and naturally smart but doesn't put much of his talents to use. 
I thought that I covered enough of his backstory, but I realized that it was mostly told from other character's perspectives. Roya is a complex character because he acts as he feels like in the moment. I actually had him in mind as 5th romance-able, but 5 storylines felt way too much. 
The flirty arch-type might be the least likeable so I removed him. Now he is a side character somehow a lot people got their eyes on him lol.

4. There is a time skip from where the twins were forced to kill and present time where they work for themselves. I had a seperate story in mind of how they came to be- and it's pretty dark. The people who wanted to kill the Kenriji captured the twins to work for them. Luckily it didn't last long because the twins managed to escape a short while after the Kenriji were dead. They didn't appear in Sachiro and Zeikun's storylines because they are different creatures. The twin's main focus are humans/undead and those that jump through time by accident (Kurato). Unlike Chain, they completely unaffiliated. They act to what they think is right to keep the world's balance even if it needs sacrifices (Junoru's route). Jace tends to show less empathy as he is used to sending people to the Heaven. Blace has dealt with different tasks and sometimes hesitates to make decisions.

About the main characters, each has a distinctive personality. I had different editors and proof readers working on each route. Because of this, the MC might feel inconsistent. Although, in real life people tend to act differently in each relationship too. I'm glad to know that at least one of the main characters stole your heart<3 It's such a coincidence that we have similar elements in our stories. Sachiro was quite difficult to write, because I had no main goal for him in mind for a while. I re-wrote his story a several times before I came to this point. One of the major changes was adding his adult form. From there the rest became easy to direct his story.

Thank you for the praises on my style! I especially developed it for creating this visual novel. To be honest, I tried stepping away a bit from anime style because it wasn't perceived positively by people around me. I choose to focus on composition and colors as keypoints (I struggled with artblock and identity for a several years. Because of this, Dark Nights got affected by delay in development). After I finished all CG art, I added a lot of cutscenes and small animations. For Zeikun's route, I wanted the scenes in inkwash style. His themes are around oriental cultures, so I thought that was the most fitting. In Junoru's storyline, a lot cutscenes were more like graphic design and  "straight-cut". Sachiro's route should had more sketchy drawn scenes. It reflects his dreams but also uncentainty. For Kurato, it was a combination of all. During the last years of developemt, I wanted to experiment with visuals and it shows there.

All of the side characters have their own lore. I created this visual novel because I love my OCs and wanted to flesh out their stories. Even if I don't create visuals novels for them again, you'll see/read more about them in other forms (illustrations, comic, animation etc). In the bonus scenes I added dialogues that  couldn't find a place in the main story. 
Dark Nights is my very first published writing and I'm happy to receive so many positive feedback (´・ᴗ・ ` ) Anyway, thank you for your time playing and sharing your thoughts!

(+2)

Thank you so much for your detailed response! Ah, so much stuff makes sense to me now.

Again, thank you for this game, Pinlin! I had a blast playing it and I eagerly await more content from you in the future, whether it be Dark Nights related or not! In the meantime, I'll be making more memes and fanart in the Discord. (*w*)