Don't worry about it, I played the demo like 2 years ago and to this day I still have the tab of this game bookmarked for the day it's released. A lot of games go through pitfalls and rough patches, that's just how it is, I'm sure you'll do a great job. Just saying you released the game is enough of an achievement on its own!
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I agree with so much of what you said, I especially agree that Teal and Phoenix make a better pair but I also got more attached to Joyce. It's probably because we get the choices early on to choose to be a part of the testing program and therefore have Joyce in our story and it feels more mandatory to do so. Whereas, Phoenix feels more like an optional part of the story, even though regardless of if you choose to hang out with Phoenix all the time or not at all, Phoenix is still always in some way a part of the story. I actually really liked that part since I never felt like I was excluding a character from the story if I wasn't interacting with them as much.
I was thinking of writing a long winded comment like I often do for VNs I absolutely love but I want to make this one shorter since it's late at night and I just finished the VN (got most of the achievements and assumed what the other three I didn't get would be about, but just didn't have the heart to lose the competition when Teal really wanted to win or to not save Joyce), and I loved it.
The concept itself caught my eye immediately and I thought it was well explored without going into details that might be too odd for the player. I liked how well thought out the art and programming sections were because they felt like they were written by professionals in that field not just a random writer (I'm sure the developers have both a large amount of art experience and experience with tech or programming considering how professional and technical it all sounded, though I'm neither in art nor programming).
I also think it was a great choice that we got to pick pronouns, sexuality and Teal's look. While I find any kind of story interesting regardless of sexuality or gender of the characters if it's a good story, I still have a strong preference for wlw stories and I was happy with the ability to choose. I loved the minor changes that came with picking different pronouns and sexuality preferences, it felt seamlessly cut into the story. Also, and this isn't anything specifically related to the story but the designs for female Phoenix and Joyce are really pretty and I enjoyed spending time with them, they were just really nice to look at! I saw a comment that said that the male version of Phoenix looks like a K-Pop idol and I cannot unsee it now lmao
I absolutely loved Teal's backstory, problems with motivation, isolation, procrastination and so on were very interesting to tackle and I liked the way Joyce's advice and support, as well as Teal's other choices played into that. I liked that there was something deeper to all the characters, which I can't always say for VNs like this (especially VNs with romantic options).
I wish the writing were a bit more polished in terms of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. It's not a horrible mistake but it's one that gets me to skim over the text so I don't have to read through the somewhat basic sounding text (punctuation was especially bad). Noticing these grammatical errors is probably more of a me thing since I'm a text editor but still.
Anyway great VN overall! I'm excited to see what else this studio has to offer!
Immaculate game, I can't get into all the thoughts I've been having after this game but I highly recommend it to people who like story good writing in a game and interesting questions posed by games. The graphics are nice, the music is good. There's nothing bad I could say about Deconstructeam with this game, or any of their games for that matter.
These are some of THE BEST games I have ever played on itch.io and I'm not exaggerating. They left such a large mark on me when I played them one by one. The storytelling's miraculous, the graphics are lovely, the way the story and message is portrayed with such subtle emotion, it really tugged all the right heart strings for me. Recommend this immensely!