Also, not a criticism, just a suggestion. The puzzle with the reflection is pretty cool but.. the solution kinda loses value because in the cramped space of the section there is no way not to stumble into it. Making this room way more spacious and the sign way more subtle would make solving this one feel like more of an achievement. I realise this is a short game(which is a shame imo) and I'm probably asking for excessive effort.
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I loved the aesthetic, I'm a big fan of monochrome-ish minimalistic designs. And this game takes full advantage of it! I also find the jumpscare-chase very effective, the sound effect kept me scared every single time!
But I must say the chase sequence is extremely unforgiving, there is nothing skillful about beating it, you just have to pray. As much as I want to praise this game, I didn't want to finish it because the chase execution was a big turn off for me.
I have hard time imagining myself buying a comic book for my Dad ever, so I didn't project, just tried to pick a book for the character's dad, the character provided quite some insight that isn't all that general. Ended up picking "My cute neighbour" by method of elimination.
I loved it!
Pixel/horror is a pretty overcrowded genre, but I think the sheer quality you put into the thing and the variety in puzzle solution rather than just the ending is just enough spin for this gem to stand out!
I mean, even the small detail, of how the girls turn their heads towards someone entering, alone enhanced my experience!
I have troubles finding alternative solutions but I guess I'm just silly.
I'd like to use a quote "when the game's biggest problem is the lack of it - that's a good sign". And I believe this is the case with your game! You have everything figured out for keeping the player immersed. If you will pull off a fully fledged product with a full meter journey, worked out plot and enough variety in gameplay based on puzzle solutions, I can't possibly see this not getting huge recognition.
Good luck! Rooting for the project!
Hello, Mr.Keinart. I'd like to thank you for creating this game. I'm in a spot in my life where I'm stuck in my room at night with no internet and only my phone to accompany me and I desperately needed a "visual novel kind of friend". Most visual novels I know of put emphasis on romance and generally are very gimmicky. So when I saw that you openly declare that there is no hentai/choice, that convinced me to give it a shot. "The author has a story to tell it would seem. I am exactly in a mood to listen to one". And oh boy was I in luck with that choice. It was everything I wanted from the experience and then some. It took time to get accustomed to your whole work tbh. The corky introduction of the game on this very page with the main character giving vibes of a jerk, the sophisticated, confusing and rather long intro to the story that I, might as well confess, eventually skipped at first to clarify if I'll even commit to the game.. I think it's safe to say that to an extent you are testing your reader, so that only the right reader would choose you. Take me for one, after skipping that intro, I find myself bamboozled again, getting pranked by everyone including protagonist himself. Not exactly a thing to make me confident about reading the whole thing. But something did stuck with me about the whole thing. Something about it worked. And I think that something is a direct extension of the talent you poured into the game.
Now having completed it, I learned a lot of interesting insights from comment section here and on steam. I myself am a very simple, short sighted person, I never manage to "solve" a story on my own. Heck, I was just like "Please choose Claire!" for the entire second half of the game and then after marriage proposal I was like "Oh wow, that's a bit of an overkill, but damn I'll take it!". Now though.. I find it pleasant how you called Claire "special". Her way of channeling truth into the world in most unusual ways, completely and harmlessly piercing through all of Ciaran's complicated defences.. I guess she really is too good to be truth :d
I am generally pondering some of the details now, it will definitely take me second playthrough at some point to get more things sorted out. You seem to imply that the Baldy guy has a certain role too. Since OTL is altered in many ways by Ciaran's twisted good intent, it's tough to say what is real and what's not at times. His first encounter was an incoming punishment that luckily and unexpectedly was avoided. His later encounters all seem to overcomplicate a routine reality to Ciaran, and arguably all of them have something to do with Luce. Especially his school combat encounter made me think he is, in a way, Ciaran seeking to be punished, needing things to be tough to make sense. The restaurant encounter is probably Ciaran overcoming even that with Luce by his side. Maybe. Idk. As I said, I'm bad at this.
The savefiles having peculiar names is also a very nice touch to which I payed attention too late into the game. For example "Story of the last syzygy". I suppose in the game syzygy implies a line made out of Earth, Moon and Sun. And the last syzygy is perhaps the last time when Ciaran treats Claire and Luce equally, in a sense that they are both in his reach. On that day, Ciaran decides to embrace the moon and give up on the sun, thus it's the last syzygy.
The way OHT presents us Ciaran is interesting too. Now it's a dark, lonely(as it turns out) room with a silhouette on his computer, a way less charming, magical image than a mastermind that everyone subtly adores in OTL. Sets the tone nicely. And the box turning out to be empty, when Luce herself is around, just like the other side of the phone call turning out to be silent.. she was the delivery all along, the perfect image that somehow happened to have a living form, to Ciaran's astonishment.
It is also interesting how we get almost random hints of there being a different story going on behind the one we actually get to see unfold. Diniz appeared kind of out of nowhere. So did last talk to Ziva. It became more and more apparent that it's not your typical story of a guy choosing between three hotties. Ciaran has his own background, not exactly a protagonist of ours after all.
But what I wanted to tell you the most is how the most impact the game made on me wasn't the story, or amazing flow you mixed into it with dynamic pacing, comedy and deception, or the amount of themes and stuff you sneaked in it every here and there. No. Truth be told, I don't know what it was. I just know it was something else. Having played the game, seeing Ciaran endure tons of teasing, something that I'd personally never handle(making it a bit hard for me to strongly fall for Luce), thinking over about his phantom pain connected to his emotions.. The sense of "playing the role" this story gives is something else. It invites me to think differently about things. It invites me to be above things even in a state of misery, which is confusing, daring, absurd... and life affirming. It will take me time to process how I feel. I wonder if this is the impact you intended. Regardless, yet again, thank you for making it.