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Alectric

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A member registered Sep 02, 2018

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(2 edits)

I was fairly engrossed with this game, but I have to say I'm left feeling quite unsatisfied.  Spoilers...









After the 2nd trial, Echo suddenly has the power to snap back to the past with memories intact in order to circumvent bad outcomes.  This power comes out of nowhere, is hardly questioned, and is never explored or explained.  You'd think it would be revealed to have something to do with the Ultimate Memory title, but that just ended up being fake and unrelated.

Such a power is something that you base an entire game system around (as in the Zero Escape series, Raging Loop, Life is Strange, etc.), not something you throw haphazardously into a game already based on a wholly different system (of deaths actually happening and moving forward with the story despite that, i.e. Danganronpa).

And even besides that issue, the story ended up not making a lot of sense for me in various ways.  Like, Echo literally witnesses Sei murder everybody in an alternate timeline, and still insists that she wouldn't resort to killing?  How does that make any sense?

The rules for body discovery in this game are never explained, but it requires 3 people in Danganronpa, so it's assumed to still be the case here, yet then it shouldn't be possible for some of body discovery announcements to happen in the later chapters.

I also don't get why Pandora didn't seem to recognize the symbol of her twin sister's school on her note, or what the purpose of the note even was, since it claimed that she was safe, and yet nothing was done to actually protect her.  And was it ever really explained why Echo was made to be involved in the killing game, or why so many of the planned pairings didn't happen?  An organization with the technology and resources shown seems like it should be more than capable of abducting Ashley without Echo witnessing it, for example.  Maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

The roster screen for each character shows up to three other people when hovering over the right side, but it doesn't indicate what this means at all.  And I don't understand why everyone has a designated flower, or how that has to do with anything.

But the main thing that didn't work for me was that the explanation behind the killing game kind of fell flat.  There were minor references to "despair," but not enough to think that it's an active threat to the world in the way it is for the main Danganronpa games.  So it's hard to believe that there would be a whole organization of people so willingly involved in causing so many deaths just in the name of...some rather unclear goal.

Like, what was it all for, really?  All they apparently used the winners for was to run more killing games.  I never got a clear idea of what they were actually trying to accomplish.  There was so much emphasis on ultimate talents benefiting humanity in the early chapters and with the motive questions, but that theme didn't really tie into anything in the end.  There was no indication that I recall of any actual attempt to better humanity in any tangible way despite all the effort of conducting these killing games.

I still appreciate the effort made, and how this game is freely offered, but these issues leave a lot to be desired.

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Woooooow, I don't know how anyone could find that on their own.  That answered a few things, but raised even more questions...






It seemed to indicate a level of technology (regarding body morphing) far beyond the time period, and for no apparent reason.  It explains that Morris targeted Leisa just so he "wouldn't have to deal with her," and yet he included the voodoo scarf to try to keep her protected?  Did he want her gone or not?  And the scarf was just supposed to make the wearer protect the target, so then why does Roen hang himself with it, even in the scenario where Leisa dies and no other death is necessary that day?

I assumed it was the part after the 4th ending, where they all meet 6 months later.  It unlocked the last CG in the gallery, but it still says "#Routes Cleared: 4/4" on the home screen rather than "Full Clear".  I do have a save on the screen that says "True Route Clear" and "Thanks for playing!", but from there I can only return to the title screen.  Am I supposed to start the game from the beginning yet again or something?

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Thanks, I was able to reach the rest.  This was interesting, and I could see a lot of effort put into it.  It still left a lot unexplained, though.

Spoilers Below







Like, how did they all get abducted in broad daylight at around the same time with no one seeming to notice?  How were they kept sedated and cared for for over a month, with no side effects besides a bit of grogginess?  How were Cira's cats taken care of in all that time?  Why was the laundry room behind a wall?  What were the red lights in there actually meant to do?  What was the point of the passage from the bathroom to the kitchen, and of keeping most of the cabinets locked until it was discovered?  Why did the first three endings end the way they did, with the door suddenly being blown up and swarmed by armed guys for no apparent reason, gunning down the first people they saw but then letting others go (or was that part of Jez's game and not meant to make sense)?  Why does the game thumbnail show a gray person with a pink eye and a yellow eye?  Why was Leisa chosen for the game, not fitting the profile of the rest of the original targets?


Other things just didn't make sense to me, like how does it make sense for the minimum one death per day rule to be made hard to discover, and only found by chance, also needing someone familiar enough with TCM to even interpret it?  They called the tenth player a hero, but aren't they the one responsible for going forward with putting everyone's lives in danger, leaving them with a bunch of traps like the armed exit door and the poisoned water?  How can insulated electrical wire be sharp enough to not only cut skin, but actually dismember someone from falling onto it (or did that only happen in Jez's game)?  How was the armed guy supposed to get to and from the monitor room without his own flashlight and with the ladder out of reach?  And wouldn't it have been risky to keep passing through the area?  Did he have full facilities down there that weren't mentioned?  Or was there another exit that they didn't find?  If they researched everyone enough to know where they frequent and that they didn't have anyone who'd report them missing, couldn't they have also prepared the clothes and everything else ahead of time?  Why did they need over a month since the abduction?  And wouldn't that have been enough time for people to notice them missing?  Seira was only supposed to be on a break for 2 weeks, I think.

So many questions...

I managed to get an ending for each of the girls, but I have no idea how to get the fourth ending.  Can I get a hint?

All I get is a blank screen with background music, and then the program stops responding...

Oh, I finally noticed the little triangle arrow indicating the grid orientation.  That's so sneaky.  Just like how the wire configurations don't go in order past the first time.  I'm glad I was able to figure it out, but it's a shame that if you're missing something, there's no real way to get unstuck.

I enjoyed the game, but it is kind of lacking the excitement of collaborating with another person like in "Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes."  This game basically just has you take on both roles of that game, which misses a key part of the appeal.  It's still nice for what it is, though.

I reached what I think was the third day.  There was a connection problem with the tank and three lit green diodes, which I resolved.  Then it says there are two lit red diodes, which means create figure 5 from the grid annex, but I did that and it didn't work.  I tried the response for two flashing red diodes just in case, mixing up terafitunol (misspelled as terafinutol in the manual by the way), which I'm pretty sure I did correctly, but still no response.  I'm stuck and can't figure out how to proceed.

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I'm playing on a PC, actually.

SPOILERS BELOW

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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.

Some feedback:

Under "Features," you call this a "kinetic novel."  My understanding is that this term is for visual novels with no branching paths or interactive elements, which I don't believe applies to this game.  You probably don't want to give people the wrong idea.

You might want to add "Interactive Fiction" as a genre for this game.  All visual novels inherently fall under that category I think, but you probably want this game to show up for people searching by the "interactive fiction" genre specifically.

The text speed setting doesn't seem to work.  It's painfully slow and can't be made faster.  Also, the settings controls are not very responsive.  The game as a whole seems to be rather laggy.

I did encounter issues with the journal.  I didn't see any changes to it after the final update notification for it appeared, and I tried flipping through it to see if the update was on a previous page, but the lag was really bad.  And once I tried using the First and Last buttons, then any of the navigation buttons made the page stick to the mouse in its turning animation, without being able to release it.  Things got more messed up from there.

It's common convention for text history to be triggered by scrolling up.  I would suggest implementing this for your game for ease of use.

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When I try to install, Windows Defender thinks it's a Trojan malware...

Hit false end 4, Revelation, and tried to "rebirth" to before my choice so I could stay on script, but it put me after that choice.  Talking to the guy again went the same way, and didn't even let me escape to the main menu while the dialog was continuing, so I had to force close.  I'm not willing to restart from the beginning, so I guess that's it.  Pretty disappointing, honestly.

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I'm not sure how people would normally come across this game, but I found it in the itch application.  It's not playable when installing it from there, though.  You apparently have to open this page in a browser instead.

Most games I find through the application offer screenshots, which I think is good to give players a better idea of what the game is like.

I noticed a typo in the conversation, when the woman says she's been here since '87.  "Here" is missing a letter.

It seems there's only one person who ever comes.  After he leaves, no one else comes but there's no indication that there's no more content.  Some sort of end screen or message would be preferable.

"Fiancee" with two e's is for females.  "Fiance" with one e is for males.

I did all of that and still no luck.

I'm pretty sure I did everything I'm supposed to for chapter 3, but I can't get the howl cutscene to trigger.  I gave Roman the flask and picked up my phone.   I think I have everything in my inventory that I could have.

I'm on Dean's route.  When I was prompted for a password at the vault, I guessed it on my first try.  This lead to presumably stopping any deaths and going to bed on day 10, where it said "to be continued."

It seemed strange to me, since password hints thus far were all given in the routes where you didn't guess the password, and having it be so easy to guess this time around without failing first was confusing.

I reloaded to the part at the vault and declined to enter a password this time, and got the bad route with deaths.  But not only did this not seem to reveal any additional hint for the password, it also ended in its own, separate "to be continued."

So now I have two separate saves left hanging and no idea what's going on...

Tried to load my last save, and it just gives an error:

[code]
I'm sorry, but an uncaught exception occurred.

While running game code:
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 396, in script
    python hide:
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 411, in <module>
    renpy.save("_reload-1", "reload save game")
PicklingError: Can't pickle <type 'function'>: attribute lookup __builtin__.function failed

-- Full Traceback ------------------------------------------------------------

Full traceback:
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 396, in script
    python hide:
  File "C:\Users\Alec\AppData\Roaming\itch\apps\adastra\Adastra-13-win\renpy\ast.py", line 814, in execute
    renpy.python.py_exec_bytecode(self.code.bytecode, self.hide, store=self.store)
  File "C:\Users\Alec\AppData\Roaming\itch\apps\adastra\Adastra-13-win\renpy\python.py", line 1715, in py_exec_bytecode
    exec bytecode in globals, locals
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 411, in <module>
    renpy.save("_reload-1", "reload save game")
  File "C:\Users\Alec\AppData\Roaming\itch\apps\adastra\Adastra-13-win\renpy\loadsave.py", line 286, in save
    dump((roots, renpy.game.log), logf)
  File "C:\Users\Alec\AppData\Roaming\itch\apps\adastra\Adastra-13-win\renpy\loadsave.py", line 45, in dump
    cPickle.dump(o, f, cPickle.HIGHEST_PROTOCOL)
PicklingError: Can't pickle <type 'function'>: attribute lookup __builtin__.function failed

Windows-8-6.2.9200
Ren'Py 6.99.12.3.2123
Adastra 13
[/code]

Just finished the game.  Is there a place to discuss it, or ask questions?

If you're still stuck, the synonym you're looking for is a number.

"Some people may see not doing anything bad a good thing! Hence some people may not align with that game choice"

What do you mean by this?  And what game choice are you referring to?  Are you saying I'm one of those players, or are you presenting a counterpoint to something I said?

I was aware of the narrator.  He immediately tells me to kill the dog, which I'm not willing to do, and then he never comes up again until the ending.  I doubt most players would want to kill a dog, and the ones that do are probably just doing it to see more game content.

If you want to strengthen this aspect of the game, I would suggest establishing more of a motivation to reach Eden.  Make surviving without it extremely difficult.  Have the narrator start with more mundane instructions first, even some that are benevolent and produce great outcomes.  Then let them start to get shadier, until finally you've reached a point where you're less likely to refuse, both because you've already come so far, and because your faith in the narrator has been sufficiently built up.  As is, his outrageous instruction right out of the gate was too easy to disregard.

I had assumed the moral score of the ending was objective rather than based around following the narrator.  Is this not the case?  Is a morally good ending only achieved by doing everything the narrator says?  But then I would expect ignoring the narrator to be designated as morally bad.  Or is there no morally good ending at all?

Maybe the game just wasn't for me, but I can't figure out what the intention behind it is.  If the way to "beat" the game is really to just do what I did and ignore the narrator, then the game amounts to a pretty easy decision in my opinion that results in a lackluster game experience and rather unsatisying conclusion.  Shouldn't achieving the intended goal of the game be more encouraged and satisfying?

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My first playthrough I didn't give away money or food, but I didn't steal or harm anyone either.  I walked to the end and got the Moral Neutral and Truth endings.

Then I figured I'd try for a Moral Good ending by doing the same but giving food to the dog and money to the homeless guy.  I didn't see any other ways to be morally good.  But when I got to the end, it was the same as before.  And both times the post-ending scene claimed that I believed Eden existed but stuck to my morals anyway.  But I didn't believe Eden existed, and I don't know what actions I could have taken to indicate that.

The only things I imagine I could have done to get different endings is to steal or kill, which I didn't care to do.  So I guess that ends my experience with the game, a resounding "meh".

For anyone still stuck (SPOILERS):

That metal fragment is in the cave after all.  It has nothing to do with light in-game as far as I can tell.  The guide text file says it's hanging from the ceiling there, but I still had trouble finding it.  It turns out it's at the end of one of the hanging chains.  Because it's metal and rounded, it looks like part of the chain, so it's really easy to miss.  You have to look closely to see it.  If you hover the mouse over it, it will change to a yellow hand cursor.

Paradigm community · Created a new topic Interesting Game!

I was getting frustrated with it, until I discovered that you have to reach HumanBot's ending first before Annie's ending opens up, and then eventually the rest of the game.  I also thought that the "Wrong End" might have been a bug or something, since it was abrupt with no real lead-up, but I guess the choice that triggers it ties into the actual ending of the game.

Anyway, great work.  Quite impressive for such a relatively small project.

The story is pretty interesting.  I look forward to the final chapter. 

I was a little lost in trying to play this, though.  I wasn't sure what the interface represented or how my choices affected things.  I figured I'd pretty much just pick whichever option had the highest percentage, and that seemed to work out.  But if doing that does end up being correct, it kind of trivializes all the decisions.

Oh, wait, I played with Helper Mode enabled, so maybe that's what that was.  That's another thing I would critique, though, that I had to choose whether to enable it before starting, with nothing to explain what it was, and no way to guage whether I'd want it.  I went back to see what happens without it, and it seems to just omit the percentages.  But the "receptiveness" ratings still pretty much give away which answer to choose.  And do the percentages mean there's an element of random chance regarding success?

None of that makes sense to me.  Shouldn't I have to be figuring something out in order to get a success?  But the way it is, either success comes from following what the receptiveness ratings show, which is trivial, or from getting lucky on random chances, which I don't have control over.   Is there something else I'm supposed to base the decisions on?  Otherwise, it seems like the gameplay element was included more for being plain interactive than for being actually interesting or fun.

The failure responses do kind of hint at why a choice fails, so maybe some strategy could actually be involved if the receptiveness ratings weren't shown.  But then partially correct choices shouldn't just randomly succeed or fail.  It would make more sense for you to simply gain a proportional amount of insight.

I don't really understand how the mechanics all fit together.  What does "insight" represent?  Any choice, even "failures," seem to move the narrative along regardless, providing the same information.  The difference between a success and failure seems to be whether your future self becomes more receptive to you.  But then labelling accumulative successes "insight" wouldn't really fit.  And since insight is needed to unlock more of the narrative, I would expect it to be acquired by "questioning and doubting," like the game keeps saying.  But picking the choices your future self is most receptive to doesn't really have anything to do with that...

On another note, I also found it hard to tell which text belonged to which character.  It seemed like your spoken voice was yellow, your future self's voice was red, and then what looked like your thoughts appeared in green.  But later the rebel voice was also green.  And text also changes color during transitions, making things even more confusing.

One last thing I'll suggest is to allow us to refer back to what the last statement was when making a choice, so that we don't have to risk forgetting the context of it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.  I hope they can be of some help, and thank you for the game.  The presentation is very impressive.

The game only gives me one option for dimentions, 1920 x 1080.  I played in full screen mode.  There were a couple times where the text reached four lines, with the fourth line not being visible.

Any time there was a fourth line of text, it was not visible.