Hey, thanks for the feedback (and thanks for playing)!
Regarding the technical issues (in general), were you playing on Mac or PC? I've been getting some reports from Mac players that the text speed option isn't working, so it'd be nice to isolate that if possible.
And noted regarding the tags; I'll get those fixed up. I always took "kinetic novel" to mean "no major branching" but hey, I'm probably wrong!
I hope you had fun in spite of the issues!
Viewing post in Séance: Spectral Noise comments
I'm playing on a PC, actually.
I did enjoy playing, even if the lag and text speed issues dampened that a bit. I'm interested in seeing the rest of the story, though it'll be hard to retain that interest if there are really long gaps between releases.
The game description says it's broken up into "five huge chapters," and this demo is the entire first chapter, I take it? But it didn't feel "huge" at all, to be honest. It seemed like it barely scratched the surface of the full story. A lot of it was just predictable dialog, and I even anticipated that the death was an accident as soon as "snag" was communicated. It seemed strange that no one even considered the literal meaning until later on. Though I suppose Zarah (intentionally?) steered them away from that conclusion. The tree branch being broken was also immediately obvious, at least to me. Hopefully the future chapters are less predictable.
It does feel like the game is setting up some interesting reveals, at least, with the way Cass seems so unbothered by their friend's death and apparently hadn't spoken to anyone in a while, or the mentions of Elise's bad home situation, or how the DnD party includes an unaccounted-for rogue or paladin (whichever one Ari isn't), or how Zarah was thinking that Tessa doesn't know her friends very well (though no idea what she's basing that off of, or why she was opposed to the suggestion that the death wasn't suicide). If any of these were given explanations, then I guess I missed them.
However, I feel like there's a disconnect with the core game mechanic. We're playing as the spirit being called, but we don't have any of the knowledge the spirit is supposed to have, and we have to guess at the answers based on the options the spell cards give us and the character thoughts. The former makes it seem like Zarah (or some other force) is directly manipulating what the spirit is saying, or at least can say, which doesn't seem intended, and the latter makes it seem like we're not the intended spirit at all, and are simply providing believable answers because of an unanticipated thought-reading ability.
The latter might be an interesting twist, and the possibility of it being the wrong spirit is even mentioned, but you'd think Zarah would be aware that spirits could read thoughts and fake identity that way (or does she in fact know and is misleading everyone?), and we're not presented with any possible motive for a different spirit to do this, especially if they're only supposed to be able to be contacted once. If you really are meant to be playing as the intended spirit (Elise in this case), then it just doesn't feel very much like we are. Giving the spirit (you) some internal dialog would certainly help with this, but I have to assume there's a reason you didn't include this.
Another thing is that it can be frustrating to be given a board of spell cards and not know if you're wasting time trying to find an answer because you're actually locked into giving no valid answer, due to plot-required noise or the question being faulty. Hopefully that doesn't keep happening throughout the game. I also don't understand why some words were underlined even when they didn't seem to relate to any spell card answer options or journal entries. One example that comes to mind is "crack," from Tessa's thought.
Sorry if I'm being too critical. Hopefully you find this feedback helpful.
Nope, this is great! All appreciated. Dang, PC huh? I don't think an itch comment thread is the best for troubleshooting, but I'd be interested in knowing your OS/specs in the Discord.
One thing I might ask you, though, is to maybe move the spoilery bits "below the fold" of your comment (or move it to the Discord, even), just for anyone who hasn't yet played.
Regarding the story/structure/plot devices, I obviously can't say too much about this until the full game is out, but I don't think you have anything to worry about. Think of it like a Phoenix Wright game, if that helps: early chapters are shorter, simpler, and have mysteries that are easier to deduce, but grow in length and complexity over the course of the game.