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Gaming Variety Potato

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A member registered Oct 08, 2020 · View creator page →

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So exciting to see that the development is going well for you! Can't wait to see the final conclusion(s). This almost feel like an end of an era, wow, still a bit strange to sink in.

Ahahaha, here comes that person who is only allowed to pick Neutral Epilogue. But I'm not even upset if that's the fate for Iggy in my OW savefile. 😆 There's something authentic about playing VNs with the first run not even targeting a specific ending and just let the flow take you. I think that it gives the extra personal touch for each player that  you have your 'own' unique journey. Don't worry, I'm a completionist and would replay VNs to see everything the dev has to offer, but I still have an extra soft spot for the first run.

Congratulations with the huge achievement! 🥳 I just downloaded the newest update. I caught up with Part Two of "Quaint" last month, and I'm super looking forward to see the Masquerade Ball and all the different conclusions play out. Since I'm not used to tackling VNs of this size, I probably have to pick a nice quiet month to marathon through it all instead of jumping right into it so soon.

Yes, you should first refer to the official Ren'Py documentation for how to customise the GUI: https://www.renpy.org/doc/html/gui.html#colors-fonts-and-font-sizes. I checked again and I haven't overwritten the default fontcolours in the extra styles I've defined so what you see are the default values defined in your project's gui.rpy.

Yes, go ahead. I'm glad it could be useful to you. Have a nice day too!

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Thank you for leaving such a nice comment, TheHolyDyntan! Don't worry about sharing your thoughts, I love reading about theories from other people, especially when they contain so much details.

Not to mention that a few days ago I just told someone how I got a DevLog draft that remains unfinished, but this is the perfect timing to share some of my old thoughts regarding the inspirations. I think that would give better idea about the lore. At the same time I don't want to enforce specific interpretations, when this is a standalone short story that is more reliant on the player to fill in the gaps.

- You weren't completely wrong about 'Ghost'. While it is indeed about ghosting, I also wanted to add some ambiguity to the ending title. Evelyn isn't a literal ghost, but I envisioned her to be a metaphorical spectre for taking on Eva's appearance who is important in Suzanne's memory, so she's haunting her and also vanishes as easily. For that reason the story does allude her to have a ghostly quality (before you posted this comment, I had actually made a Halloween art of Evelyn that can be found on my social media, and that she probably should dress up as a ghost). I took inspiration from "Silent Hill 2" where you have James who receives a letter from his late wife Mary and then he meets Maria in the town Silent Hill who looks like Mary who died from a disease, but she has a different dress style, so who is Maria really? (I won't say much more about that game, because I always end up spoiling too much) However what I can say about my own VN is that I wanted to go for a direction where the actual reveal is surprisingly mundane slice-of-life and the spookier parts are only to mislead.

- I would say that 'Elope' probably is canon that if I made a sequel, which I have no plans for though. I would continue from this point because the other endings don't really lead anywhere. Back then while writing I didn't necessarily saw 'Elope' as the true ending, but that has more to do with my pet peeves and wondering if the romance plotline went too fast. To justify it that it's not that quick, I like to think that they already formed a close bond from previous text conversations, and Evelyn might not trust Suzanne completely yet however she feels obliged to keep her safe. I'm perhaps one of these unusual VN players who don't always see the romantic ending as the best ending. However while playtesting my own game, I had the suspicion that 'Elope'-line would have the highest probability to be the last ending the player encounters, so I caved in to make them get closer to each other because it somehow felt right as a final. I should note that conceptually it wasn't originally labelled as a romance story. Yes, they're lesbians on a date... but they don't have to end up together, so I thought.

- It's not elaborated on what the flower is because there wasn't a lot of space in O2A2 VN Jam so I just kept it vague. I won't lie that I wasn't thinking about battle shounens like "Hunter x Hunter" and "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure", because I'm a sucker for the genre and ESP as power system in general: in particular the videogame "The World Ends With you" (TWEWY) which I also drew inspiration from. So I pictured the lily to be something that physically doesn't exist, but it also isn't visible to other espers, so it's only within Suzanne's mind as a representation of her power.

Since I wanted to write a story in a style that is majorly tailored for a queer female audience (or anyone that enjoys that genre) - I was in the josei mood even though the jam wasn't up - I would feature slightly different story beat than what's appealing in shounen with the life-or-death struggles/stakes where combatants may try to kill each other. To reflect that, the espers in 'Faceless Date' only meet up to get more information out from each other, and leave if it gets too dangerous, no blood drawn. Suzanne doesn't know this, she only wants to impress her date even though she does find Evelyn a bit odd. 😂 Evelyn initially wants to know if Suzanne is the dangerous type of esper and sets up the date, but at the same time she's also quite attached to Suzanne or definitely feels sorry for her, so she's forcing herself to act detached in some of the endings.

I also don't know how Evelyn's powers work exactly, but you are correct that she couldn't show photos of herself because her real appearance doesn't resemble Eva, and with the long distance she can't channel Suzanne's energy. I had a tragic element planned for Evelyn that she can't pick her own appearance (unfortunate characters who get powers that are detrimental have always intrigued me), so it is Suzanne broadcasting on Evelyn when she is close to her.

Evelyn is extra tuned towards perceiving the flow of ESP energy, but she cannot see what information is stored in people's thoughts. When Suzanne is mindreading, unbeknownst to her, some of other espers can tell she's sucking in the thoughts of people around them. I think it makes most sense that Suzanne's lily is not visible to Evelyn, because Evelyn would definitely stop Suzanne from overexerting herself. I totally haven't fleshed out the details of the other espers, so it's a bit difficult to write about it. Evelyn might be from a group with more espers in it? Although I can also see myself change this detail if I redo the lore for a hypothetical sequel. What's true though is that she has her powers for far longer than Suzanne.

The 'broadcasters' are the scary espers who have control over destructive telekinesis, pyrokinesis and the such. Both Suzanne and Evelyn are the typical support type protagonists and would be horribly matched if they ever cross paths with them. Although I rather not think about it, I prefer to let Suzanne and Evelyn have a peaceful life than turn it into some horror story. 😭

- The only little bit of information you get about Eva is if you picked "A bizarro coincidence". Eva was Suzanne's first girlfriend in high school and Eva broke up with Suzanne. They went apart soon after that and right now Eva is living a normal life somewhere else. The car accident should occur later. Suzanne's attachment to Eva is meant to be disproportionate, somewhat petty even. I wanted to write it as an aspect of oneself might find extremely unflattering and do not want to admit to it, yet at the same time it's difficult to let some feelings go that are insignificant if you look at it rationally. I wanted Eva to be a tie in to show what person Suzanne is and why she would develop mindreading abilities, granted it happens magically, but say you're not picking your superpowers by choice but it magically forms based on your personality? It's left up to the player to interpret if the powers are a negative side of said perosn or just a neutral facet of them. Evelyn is not judging Suzanne for this. She also has her own insecurities that are not revealed in the story.

Thank you for making the tools and writing the Ren'Py tutorials! The tutorials contain a lot of useful information that is not easily found when you only read the official Ren'Py documentation. A lot of times you can eventually get code to work but not understanding why it works or whether it is even implemented efficiently.

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This is such a great Spooktober VN entry that got everything you could ask for in the spooky season with the right balances and cohesiveness! It got the cute moments and sweet romance, interspersed with tragedy and heavier serious topics like abuse by parent, and surprisingly suspenseful moments that are straight out of the horror genre.

The sprites and CGs look very good with the face animations and cinematic camera movements. The creepy SFX and panning when traversing the house are very much appreciated as a horror movie fan (staircase scene is so tense).

I absolutely enjoy the theme of how ghosts and regrets are portrayed - I won't say more about this because it's better left for players to experience it on their own - which makes for a touching tearjerker of a ride. 

Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you find it helpful.

Congrats on releasing your first VN! I like the character writing and dynamics, the art of the sprites and especially the many CGs which especially give off the impression of polish and the vibe of a larger project. 

I wonder how the elements of bondage play will be incorporated in their future relationship (can it even be called that when it's mostly blindfold?), because I didn't expect that side for both Owen and Lionel!

It's pretty fun to go back to compare Faun's sprite with Lionel, because I immediately swear they're the same person and it's cute to see what disguise he puts up in his public celebrity persona. 🤭 He must be one heck of a voice actor for Owen to not recognise him.

I wanted to post a long-form comment/review because I had a lot of thoughts on this, but then I would postpone writing that out even more, so here's the summary version of it.

This is a very thought-provoking VN on a difficult subject material and handles it with care. I like to look at how VNs are structured, what choices do and what endings you get from them.

What I appreciate in this VN is the element of inevitability: the format is that it mainly has one consistent flow for the main story, but your choices lead to a different finale and epilogue showing a snippet of Chloe's life as an adult. Regardless of Chloe how feels towards her teacher, whether she as a teenager is 'blind' to the statutory rape or she is fully aware that she is uncomfortable with the inappropriateness, it has the message that both are equally valid reactions to abuse and it avoids any form of victim blaming. Very often I see the former getting lambasted as someone being stupid for not realising, because 'if they acted differently, every bad thing would be avoided', when it's the abuser who should get all blame.

Stylistically I enjoy the art style a lot and the visual effects that make you very uncomfortable when it gets to the dark scenes.

Small note: Lucie's clown nose is my favourite sprite!

Thank you for such a lovely comment, Cerise Makes! I'm glad you enjoyed my game's mechanic and that you found it work well as an O2A2 entry. I loved hearing your thoughts. I'll try to respond to each of your words.

The background art could be more detailed, but at some point my drawing hand was probably crying so I rushed the bookstore design a bit, and it means a lot that the energy still came across. I wasn't sure if Evelyn dressed cottagecore enough because I'm not the most knowledgeable about fashion, but I wanted her to look a little bit 'extra' so that you can tell that she's a main character of a story despite the somewhat plainness. I probably should thank 'Blossom VN Jam' for everything related to the art and setting! Because every time I'm stuck with what idea to pick, I do the 'let's think about flowers' trick and let that guide me. 😆

About the world-building, sadly enough I wrote myself a bit in the corner that I didn't plan far ahead. Therefore it's written as if there would be a sequel, however it's self-contained. A lot of times, players have better ideas of how to fill in what happens next.

Concerning the dialogue boxes, this VN was made before the balloon feature was officially available Ren'Py 8, so two textbox locations were defined depending who is speaking. It's far easier to achieve the effect nowadays, and I really recommend you to play with the balloon feature. Can't wait to see what effects you create with it!

The loading screen is a new addition that is edited from the Thank You art mentioned in one of the devlogs. I'm happy you like the cycling little Evelyn. ☺️

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I played your game and it oozes style in all ways! Graphically with the changing colours and the use of geometric shapes for VFX. I wasn't expecting the car by the end of one ending and my mind was blown trying to decipher how the panelling effect is created. Or how you show rain with primal shapes. You can totally feel the noir throughout the entire prose and Tabetha plays the femme fatale role perfectly. I found the writing quite refreshing because I don't see VNs often in this style. I love the mysterious jazzy piano music that really immerses you as if you're sitting in the bar with Lara (I love her bob cut design and how her sprite depicts her side-profile). Every element together makes it a very fulfilling package!

Thanks for leaving  a comment BakaHentai! This was made for a minimalism VN jam and I wanted a different outcome if you/Suzanne acted differently hence there are multiple endings to reflect that. Due to the 1000-word limit a lot of the endings are written a bit open-ended, but the main purpose is to get to know the characters a bit better by revealing different information about them. 

Thank you for your kind comment! :D

This is a poem with a very important reminder on the treatment of transgender people, and hopefully more see this and reflect on the state of the world and what they can do about it. I like the addition of choice options and the finale is truly impactful. 

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Thank you for your playing my VN and leaving this kind comment, Naarel! I'm glad you enjoyed the Lily Mechanic and overall package. I had brainstormed on the rough concept of the VN in advance, but it was a little bit of a gamble doing jam projects like this as it depends on whether the code I come up in jam period will play out the same as sketched in the game design. I finished the story script first with the expectation that everything goes right, and in the worst case I would have the entire plot unfold with normal choice buttons and redo the story to have that flow nicely, but luckily it's straightforward that everything can be accomplished with default Ren'Py elements like buttons, screen logic, and some variables.

Wishing you the best of luck for meeting the deadline you set out! (And even then, it's fine if not, because you shouldn't overwork yourself) Can't wait to play "Quaint" again when Part 2 is out!

Thanks for the write-up on the influences and how you did the code, as it was super informative and fun to read! Ah, I think it might be because I rushed straight to play the O2A2Q entries that were on my radar when I got back to my own home pc after being tired from travelling, but I didn't notice that there was a random factor for the faces. Only that it was REALLY spooky about how I keep on seeing new faces if I start up the game from the very start (for this reason I never skipped the intro).

Ending 1 is hilarious and definitely took thinking-outside-the-box remembering what choice combos I had not tried before. Fun way to close the game with a little puzzle hunt.

The sci-fi influences are still tangible by how there are android clones in Graey's likeness. It's kind of a unique blend that there's a tackiness and being extra by imitating the baroque style from the past what would befit a billionaire like him.

One day I shall also do a proper comment on the game page.

I like the comedy in this! The 'phone' is my favourite action because it came as a surprise that it actually does something.

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I really enjoyed this VN, it's a heart-warming tale that deserves more attention from romance lovers! What stood out is that there are tense elements so it got an adventure feeling as well (the many locations you visit, the old-school RPG style ost).

From the interesting ocean lifeform lore to the coast/marine setting, you immediately pull in the audience by presenting the world via the POV of a curious mermaid. I found the character sprite to have a very unique artstyle and they're super expressive when it comes to emotions. Cordelia surprised blush face always cracks me up. Halora's sprite spooked me and her fate is so harrowing that instantly set off the tone that there's inherent darkness.

Cordelia is a super sweet fun MC and her choice options are quite suspenseful too, because it feels like danger is lurking at the corner every time she - as a newcomer - interacts with the human world. At the same time, it's humorous to read her interpretations of items in our world, such as how she describes a car.

I got the good ending at once and went back to get the bad ones. I have a soft spot for the overly terrible fate endings, haha. Ending 1 took me the most time to find it although I knew it had to do with the car sequence.

The romance is also interesting as there's a good build-up how Cordelia and Dunia get to learn each other better (and you as a player get to know more about their occupation, interests, et cetera), which makes it very easy to root for them. But you also can't help but wonder when Dunia sees through that Cordelia is a mermaid every time they hang out, and what would happen in that case. 

Spoilers:

It  gave me a shock when Dunia lashes out at Cordelia. I almost thought I landed on my first bad ending and couldn't tell where I made my mistake in choices. Luckily it's not. It made me so happy when Cordelia pretends to be a human and goes to the city to look for Dunia.

That line when Cordelia told Dunia that she forgot her wheelchair gave me a chuckle. 

The finale is a meaningful emotional conclusion to both protagonists, and made me happy to see them reach to this point.

Thank you for the tutorial! ✨

Thank you for your sweet comment, Fablefly Music! I'm glad you continued on and found joy in the different endings. I ought to update the VN with better instructions within the game itself, ah well, after a tiny break (of indefinite time). 🤭

Thank you for playing my game and commenting on it, FUTURE RUINS. I'm happy you had fun with it!

I spent most time on plotting and writing the story. The actual script took me about 5 days (I was worried whether I could even finish it in time since I had a shorter personal deadline at 18 April, and I didn't have any art at the beginning). There are some extra edits over the days when I had to rephrase parts differently when they didn't flow well within the VN code.

Sometimes I wonder if other devs count it differently. 🤔 Either way I used Googledoc and colour markers to tag sentences to a character. I worked with pre-calculated min and max word count targets for each section, and eventually moved parts around to balance out the route lengths.

The 'Separate' ending is a last-minute addition since I originally planned out 4 routes, but I felt that it must be a bummer for the player to see 'Ghost' ending (which kind of is the default fail route ending) once again after reaching so far. Luckily I still had a buffer of open space to fit yet another ending, so that there's a follow-up to your choice. It was this or the final mindread is forced action to finish the story, but it felt strange to me since it has always been optional.

Thank you for leaving such a nice comment (not 1 but 2! 🤩).

I've played INTRUDER and I must also praise how much I love it! I was instantly greeted by dark cyberpunk the moment the game starts and I knew immediately I was in for a ride. That super intense story kept me on the edge from start to end. Gorgeous atmospheric art with all the mechanical details in the lab (great use of VFX with the flashes), I like the character design of the intruder that it's not overt who's the actual bad guy in such story. Small detail but 'that being hit SFX sound' has such a nice impact too that you can feel it. Amazing experience!  

Congratulations for releasing your first VN! 

I found the deities and sybils lore to be very interesting that it immediately grabs my attention to know more about the world you're crafting. Picking a first-person voice for Roan has been a great choice: it creates that certain intimacy that you get to know him very well. 

Since you cannot determine the actual setting from the art, for some reason it has a contemporary modern world feel to me, so it has that pleasant magical realism vibes too. 

The final burn SFX is quite haunting and it was not the sound I was expecting due to the size of the letter, but this enhances the magical aspect of it. That the plea must have reached the love goddess, and yet it leaves on a cliffhanger what the future holds.

All-in-all, a very nicely written emotional short fiction that works as a pleasant standalone, but also leaves you wondering for what comes next! If you ever continue this story, I definitely would want to give that a read.

Thank you for your kind comment, Pothos Studios!

Don't blame yourself, I admit that many things are poorly telegraphed in my VN and it's something I should fix. 😆 Yes, I wasn't sure how readable the facial expressions are because it's among the last tasks in my list for this VN and had to rush the art to deliver within deadline. At least it's a learning experience for me to streamline gameplay better for future games from all the comments I received.

To tell the truth I haven't planned the story beyond this jam. And I also have a tendency to start on completely new VN projects that are not linked with anything else, solely to test out new concepts. Personally I love small scope VN jams like this for experimenting. And I'm delighted that you are so enthusiastic about the gameplay and supernatural elements in "Faceless Date".

Since the game mechanic is inspired from "Ace Attorney", maybe that would scratch that itch for you? I only didn't mention it because a lot of VN players are familiar with that series and then they would start to look for statements that contain contradictions, or expect 1-on-1 identical mechanism. 

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Thank you for playing my game and leaving a feedback, Jordan!

Duly noted, I have added more instructions on the game's page and in a potential future build (depending if I will actually do it) I should update it with better hint system.

There isn't an instruction screen because I thought it would make the prelude 'Reunite' ending easier to miss which would mess up the order of story reveal - as players are inclined to press any buttons they are aware of and forget they can also omit pressing it altogether. Technically the first ending was also to function as the reveal of the mindreading ability, but I should have made it clearer that the lily is a button. Unfortunately the instructions suffered due to the VN being rushed for publishing before the jam deadline.

Thank you for your detailed review, chimeriquement! I'm glad you enjoy the whole experience and the mystery.

It made me laugh when you call Suzanne a cute protagonist, I know that it's just at the beginning, but as the creator I can never rub off her image of  being a total wreck. I'm glad you continued to explore on how to reach all the endings. 

It's very interesting to read your interpretation of Evelyn's face. Because at some point I almost wanted to imply that Evelyn has her own face as she was inspired by a character I hold dear, then I removed this implication. It's a bit of spoiler of that game so I just tell the overall gist of how the character is not liking her own appearance and is jealous of her popular fashionable friend that she wants to be her; in the epilogue you see a bit of character's real face that she looks plain. I find your read really cool and I'm pleased to have kept up the ambiguity, because it also reminds me of a shapeshifter character in a different game who lost his original appearance & identity from impersonating so many different people which I found quite dark. I kind of moved forth and back  how to do it, because I couldn't determine which tone to lean harder on: cute or dark? Thanks for sharing your thought. (I hope that this doesn't read as disclosing what it actually should be, your comment caught my eye which inspired me to unleash this block of text 😅)

Concerning the sketchy art it's also a bit of a happy coincidence, because it's my default art style as I don't really have a steady hand: keeping it sketch-like is more comfortable for me. I probably should have said nothing to keep up the mystique. Although perhaps this is also a good reminder to write the type of stories to match the artstyles I'm capable of doing to maintain a cohesive look.

Thank you for your kind review, HiroRCK! I'm overjoyed you like the mix of romance and suspense.

That's a beautiful metaphor with the flower. 🌸 Don't mind me for noting it down (I'll credit you!), because I felt a bit self-conscious for not implementing enough flower theming for 'Blossom VN Jam', but you made me realise it can take the form of subtle symbolism.  🤭 

Thank you for this detailed review that touch on multiple facets of my VN, Carrot! I had a lot of fun reading it all, including your so-called foibles. I can't get enough of them and they totally made my day! 😂

I'm glad you went for all the endings. And how you're so bold to not be scared off by the depleting petals and went straight to the 'Abandon' ending. Originally I mapped that ending to be even worse but I turned it down a bit because it didn't fit with the general tone of how the story is shaping up. When I say worse, I mean... death. 💀But that is an entirely different type of story that's more thriller and less romance, way before I wrote down the story script.

I'm happy that 'Elope' is satisfactory for you and yes, that's the one I intended as the canon ending if I were to continue this universe because it's a cliffhanger to set off the hypothetical full story instead of this remaining standalone. But I doubt I will, because I didn't actually write this VN with what happens next in mind. It's all a mystery to all of us. 😁

I have so many things to say about the SFX. I wanted to have a cute 'wind woosh' sound for the cozy vibes but the first one I found had a too low volume, plus its format is not compatible with Ren'Py. So I recorded myself... and then realised how embarrassing it is to clearly hear myself saying 'wooooooo' and I'm not savvy enough to salvage it to sound like a real SFX. Eventually I went with a SFX that I saved for a horror game and unintentionally this VN got a little bit more spookier.

Thank you for playing and leaving this lovely comment, Tamafry! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I planned to draw even more flowers in the UI to evoke that effect in shoujo/josei manga whenever the love interest shows up or something romantic happens, but I had other more important priorities like drawing the expressions for Evelyn which I did at last step despite how important these are. Even though I had a guideline with art style, for some reason it was actually difficult for me to decide a face for Evelyn.  I'm more comfortable at drawing plain facial features you normally only see for NPCs, such that I'm a bit out of touch how to suddenly draw an attractive character. So due to this I'm a little bit giddy you call her pretty, because I'm not sure if I managed to achieve it. 🤭

Although I would say the facial expressions apart from default smile are intentionally a bit off-model as I wanted to go for eerie uncanniness instead of cute manga depiction of emotions. At least I could fill my quota on this. 😆

https://gaming-variety-potato.itch.io/faceless-date

Super fun Ren'Py game full of surprises which I've not seen anything like it! I love how the puzzle gameplay is incorporated from everything that's already in the engine, so the VN itself feels very streamlined.

I was at first confused why the Spellbook led to the Preferences screen, but then it clicked that it's really the right screen. I wanted to solve everything without reading the guide and it's intuitive enough to be the case. It kind of reminds me of the vibe of encountering DS games for the first time that requires the 2 screens hardware to solve puzzles and having had no idea it could even do that stuff.

The VN story itself is also nice with plentiful developments in the limited word space, so in its whole it's a great package for an O2A2 VN Jam game!

This is like a canvas that perfectly encapsulates anguish at that stage where you simply want to scream (you do and things get worse, or you silently endure and nothing improves). Nice use of scripting for the visuals: the gradients, particle effects, et cetera. The background music track is ominous and perfect match to the escalating story script. I really like the beep SFX for cursing too; it was cute and then got more mechanical the more often you hear it. And then it always loop back to the start, rinse and repeat, forever trapped.

This is super charming! I've played quite a lot of O2A2 VN Jam games and I haven't seen the character sprite used in the way you did with the dress-up doll vibe, so that was super cool! It makes you keep guessing what is going to happen next, because at first I thought the NPC-like strangers are the same person, but it turns out to be a stylistic choice which reminds me of fairy tales that tend to have repeating events with abstract characters. The MC reveal in one ending was a pleasant surprise.

Thank you for your kind comment! Yes, a lot of times you are repurposing code blocks, so it's cool you found a new use for them. :)

This is super generous of you! Thank you! Will play "Rapscallion on Deck!" this weekend or at least some time in February because I need to find a nice cozy moment to enjoy the ride. 

Fun game! I enjoy the cohesiveness of the  theme (salmon & nature) in combination with the gameplay mechanics. It took me 9:34 minutes to beat it and I'm not good at all at playing platformers with keyboard. It's great how there's a challenge in how there's a good variety of hazards in the entire level run, but it's not punishing when there's always a checkpoint to guide where you need to go.