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Thanks for the quick response! I was looking forward to see the other ghosts and you really delivered. Tammy's ending especially hits superhard. It has that nice what-if bittersweet feeling if Jo did not reunite with Marta in this evening, but somehow still feeling very 'right' or 'canonical': that he takes a longer journey to find his wife, and in the meantime helps a different ghost through giving her a lift, which is very fulfilling thematically (with his role as a truck driver).
The VN got such a great hook that I had no choice to keep continuing onward! Cheers to the entire team and it's great to see so many amazing artisans collaborating (anyone involved is a master at their craft!) at bringing this work to life with seamless cohesion. I realise I forgot to comment on the writing element as I was a bit hasty to get a review done, so here it is: with the lyrical quality of the VN's writing style, even without visuals, the prose already reads as an acclaimed fantasy novel you can find in bookstores, so the foundation already is very strong. This story however needs to be told in visual format and truly shines as such, as otherwise it wouldn't allow the immersive interactive experience (time loop style exploration) and audiovisual enhancements.
Yes, please, it would be nice to see the art prototypes, and I love reading DevLogs in general too. Music room would be a totally sweet addition for an update.
Oh wow, that's some high honour, thank you! I don't consider such credits as necessary, so please don't apologise or worry about it, but it's much appreciated regardless.
Gorgeous VN that is a delight to play. The mystery is so gripping that I had to finish it in one sitting of about an hour without any breaks.
The art is beautiful throughout for the CGs, BGs and sprites. The witches are enchantingly fashionable with unique designs. As many have praised before: the GUI is very pretty and the endings unlock screen is very nicely done with how a pendant is incorporated in the design.
The moody audio is befitting: musical tracks perfect for the setting (such as the feminine opera soundbit) and characters are emphasised by their partial voice acting for pivotal moments.
It's really fun to explore the rooms and objects in the house (good use of camera panning for a sense of first-person movement), which gives this VN pleasant adventure game vibes. That it truly feels as if you're sneaking around makes for great suspense. You can read diary snippets to find more about the character relationships and intriguing world lore, such that you piece information together alongside the amnesiac MC.
I enjoyed this SpooktoberVN jam entry immensely, because it fully captures the Halloween spirit with a heartfelt emotional tale on top of it! Personally I find a jam game more special when a dev goes for extra miles to stick to the theme.
It's an extremely well-executed package with every single part working perfectly with each other: the aesthetics (cute character sprites, great colour palettes with the orange&purple twilight themes, and night themes to show the passing of time), lovely guitar music and sound design, and a well-written story with fitting character events that it truly feels like a road trip (you can miss out encountering the kids for example, and there's stuff like the pumpkin decoration bonus interaction, depending on your choices).
It's fun to try to unlock all achievements, but I wish there's also a description on the candies on whether they are considered more sweet/salted, because I always get Marta's ending and I haven't seen Philip's or Tammy's yet.
Very exciting spin-off for "Our Wonderland"! I loved seeing the characters roleplay in a more relaxed fantasy adventure setting and with humorous story script. It's nice to see Hunar and Bucks too who get less screentime in the main VN, and here we can see them being the lovey-dovey couple. Ghent is really interesting to me, since he has a colder personality than the bubbly Gidget persona.
A lot of work is put into the Ren'Py programming for the visual flair, which pays off immensely. The sprite art combined with the animation is extremely charming and reminds me of "Paper Mario". There's a great amount of detail for dynamic multiple sprite variants: Iggy being held up-side down and having its own sprite for that made me laugh. Super cool to see the chopped up enemies flying. And I quite like the scene with the two layers of bunny guards lined up in the back and front row.
The choice options are great and can lead to funny situations if you pick the 'mean' option. Depending on character you favour, you get a special scene with them and cute CG in the end.
As for story developments, I won't say spoil too much, but the palace segment is the absolute highlight for me. The sudden dark mysterious atmosphere had me on my seat wondering what the final resolution will be.
I know of the LOTR movies but not super into it, but for the first time I can see the Frodo-Samwise link in Iggy-Genzou, hmmm.
Since I played your previous game "Amalgama" before this one, I can't help but compare them. What I can definitely say is that you present a very interesting universe that is full of mystery and lore: it's a welcoming return to the post-apocalyptic snow setting!
It's good to see the many improvements that gives this VN a much more polished feel. I really like the custom GUI for this as it brings the pixelart look together and the limited palette BGs also give it more cohesion. In the previous game, there was an ambience track that looped a bit abrupt (during that scene when you're found and brought inside) but I don't notice any sound effect that I found distracting here, so this in general is a more enjoyable experience from the technical viewpoint.
The overall story is more cozy in "Your Time", and I can't really compare the two because they're enjoyed in different ways (as I mentioned before, I do absolutely love the horror undertones in "Amalgama", and I have a slight bias for that). Either way, this instalment makes place for familial and fun chitchat between the human characters, but it strikes a good balance too as it's still far from a happy atmosphere. This is due to the nature of the strange village and Elise's grandfather feeling threatened by her leaving.
Letting the player pick the order of chores gives it some pleasant extra interaction, and I like the final decision that leads to the two different endings.
The mystery aspect of this VN is top-notch with some great - bordering on horror - tense moments! I love how you immediately throw us in the middle of the story and character action with little explanation. This constantly keeps the player on the edge of wanting to know more about Vicke, the world, and what Gruel actually is. I like how you approach the winter theme with a harsh post-apocalyptic setting, as these two complement each other very well and enhance story beats like the direness for survival.
The expressive pixelart character portraits and music choice are nice as these give a vibe that reminds me of old JRPGs. It's surprisingly meaty in length as for some reason I was expecting a short story, but despite the cliffhanger, it is a full experience already. It took me a bit less of an hour of slow reading, not sure.
I had no idea you're a fellow Winter Jam participant too and it's cool to encounter fellow devs in a different jam.
I enjoy your take on the sci-fi trope with clones who have maintenance tasks. The life of the caretaker is reflected well by the way you implemented the story structure where you present the same routine tasks each day and let the player spot where the variances lie. I was looking forward to see what the character will do by the end and how/if they come in terms with their fate.
Currently some actions lead to dead ends with no link to the main hub and there are some spelling mistakes in the script, but with these fixed and the extra polish you already mentioned like visuals and sounds, it can shape up to a pretty neat short sci-fi interactive fiction!
I will drop by again in the future and and edit this comment to reflect the situation of the newer build.
I really enjoyed the story you've presented in your VN. The dream world mythos is super fascinating. This seems like an introductory chapter for characters from a bigger universe and in that case I also look forward to that if you ever expand on this!
The banter between Blythe and Piotr feels very naturally written, where you perfectly capture the 'first' meeting of not-so-strangers. The premise of them meeting in a dream before the physical world instantly hooked me in too: friends, lovers, or professionals due to them sharing supernatural powers, what exactly is the nature of their (future) relationship? It's not the necessarily an overly warm welcoming meeting despite the cosy setting of a cafe, them happily chatting about their family (aunt and grandfather), and Piotr seeming to be a friendly enough guy. I like how they both got things that tick them off. Such as they both got their aloof moments to each other, and understandably some reticence from Blythe for not wanting to be questioned in certain ways. That it ends with the drink getting cold is a nice symbolism.
As always, when there are choice options and the VN is short enough, I always test what they do. It has only one ending, but it's still entertaining enough to see how conversations divert when you pick a different option as you learn some new details about the characters.
It must have been hard to put down such a personal story. Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope it has been both cathartic for you and that it provides recognition for those with similar dysphoria struggles.
Thank you for writing your thoughts over the various snippets (rating, collection add, and the comment section here). I'm glad you enjoyed the VN despite it being of different structure, and that it posed a challenge for you! Sometimes I'm not sure if it even counts as a VN, but the O2A2 jam with its very specific rulesets did allow for more experimental short narrative works. There's no room for playtesting to gauge the perceived difficulty when the dev process took up the entire jam duration. So my plan was just... to draw as many details I could on the canvas to hopefully misdirect the player sufficiently. This led a totally different art style than what I'm used to, somewhat of a hurried freestyling, and as you could guess: loads of fun while drawing.
It's a bit open-ended what the future holds for the Novelist character and it's up to what the player fills in. Personally I'd like to imagine that they will do fine, although nothing suggests a happy ending.
Can you merge the variants of the 'Hidden Object' genre? And if it qualifies for the criteria, add it as a suggested tag as well in the dropdown list?
It helps specify what type of puzzle game it is when some of them are built entirely on this mechanic. From experience, when I play Fresh/Featured/Popular puzzle games I do encounter them by chance (larger number than the tag use frequency would suggest), but they are difficult to find by search since the generic puzzle tag is used instead which is saturated.
- hidden-object (124)
- hidden (37)
- hidden-objects (35)
- hiddenobject (10)
- hiddenobjects (3)
I think that hidden-object is the correct tag, since the genre is normally known as 'Hidden Object Game' and there's also a 'Hidden Object' tag on Steam.
Thanks in advance!
Interesting interpretation of the O2A2 rules that makes for a unique love story that is told in moment snippets! The entire package is full-filling. For me, there's also that excitement of encountering another jam participant who went for the one CG rule.
I enjoyed the puzzle mini-game immensely. You skilfully highlight a particular region of interest, where it's framed nicely through seeing the cropped photograph first and then you get to know more about that particular memory in text form (sometimes even with voice acting!). The puzzle aspect is also a very poignant way to emphasize the theme of 'fixing' that is felt throughout the work, and which is answered in the finale.
The animation you've added to the art makes it even more gorgeous, as if you can feel the summer breeze with the moving hair and flying leaves.
Thank you for the kind comment! Yes, since I'm using that one illustration repeatedly I want to keep the experience fresh, therefore I blended the level gameplay and story with each other for the extra narrative oomph. Hehe, I'm happy that the dog made your day.
Although I was firm about needing a timer in the level, I wasn't sure how that would be received when normally these hidden object games are relaxing experiences. I believe it has been actually quite positively received too by most players.
If I ever make a similar game - or expand on the universe - it will be a pickle on how to come up with new level challenges without them getting stale. Such as it's easier to go wild trying out features for a small VN like this than for a larger project that is meant to include far more levels. Because if there's a level mechanism that players hate but it returns repeatedly, there will be complaints. Nevertheless there are no actual plans to make a larger version, just speaking in hypothetical terms.
That's an honour! I hope you find many fun hidden object games along your way if you want to get more of the genre! I've discovered that there are quite a lot of unique ones on Itch, but unfortunately the 'hidden-object' or 'hidden-objects' tags are rarely used, so it's really hard to find them through search. Such as they are commonly listed under 'puzzle' but that can mean anything.
Thank you very much for this detailed review that goes into what you liked about the different parts in my game!
I've always enjoyed playing these hidden object games but was initially put off to create one myself due to the many detailed illustrations I need to draw. I found Through the Cracks super neat how this is all achieved in Ren'Py VN format. As a coding challenge I want to implement a draggable view to give the illusion that the world is quite big (as it does not fit on a single screen), which I believe is quite tricky to do in Ren'Py. So this is also the main reason why it's made in Unity as I already got familiarity with it.
I'm glad you can 'feel' the setting! It was easier to pinpoint after I picked the genre to focus on. At least I can use the excuse that you can't see the characters to be all part of the plan of not being allowed to draw more assets for the O2A2 jam. Truth is, they're kind of faceless abstractions, so besides not having to draw the character designs, I'm happy I don't need to draw a BG either.
You're the first person to comment on the drabbles, and I'm overjoyed about it. I know they are super niche and there's that risk about allotting half of the word count limit to them when I assume that most people care more for the main narrative. At the same time, thanks to the minimalistic nature of this jam, I felt more free to be self-indulgent. When I'm already making a one-off short narrative game, might as well go full on experimental.
Really cool short VN! It's very impressive code-wise, and this on top of a very interesting sci-fi story. There's a nice suspenseful build-up to what you are going to find out within the automaton, for someone like me who avoided the description and screenshots.
The special effects in this game are amazing, love the different usage of the particles.
The GUI is great, it looks like a computer OS interface.
I'm also happy to have finally found the game with the maze mini-game I saw in DevTalk. Really enjoyed the whole sequence where it's the only part of the game with music playing and you really got the cyberspace feeling down.
There's a nice pop art comic quality to your character art (maybe because of Josef's teary eyes?) and it's very stylish when you do the eyes zoom-up as a second layer behind the character sprite: it intensifies the character's gaze.
Really enjoyed this VN for depicting its subject material in a humorous format! It made my day to be taken back to the college academic setting (ugh, in the love/hate way). I love the silliness of how you can side-track in so many creative ways (of course you're going to play more video games right before an important deadline) and to end up with the wildest endings. It's an absolute joy trying to solve the mystery how to get these 7.
Fun O2A2 game! Love the comedy and the multiple endings. It really shows your savviness with the romance VN genre: clumsy LI... to the extreme, and every player wanting to romance the side-character (Death in this case)! The transformations you apply to Adriel's sprite are really cute, like when he falls and gets upside down.
Gorgeous game! Mysterious and suspenseful, with the dark atmosphere being an instant allure! Great use of blacks and the eerie colour changes in the art to show the passing of time. I had a lot of fun trying to get the different endings.
Great entry for O2A2! I really enjoy the art direction of this VN. The character design instantly caught my attention for being unique and having the old-school sci-fi vibe; like something you would find on the cover on a classic novel. It's nice how she strikes a good balance between humanoid and alien.
I'm amazed with how cinematic the game looks which leads to a VN that is very beautiful to look at. You use that one character sprite in so many creative ways including plot twists I did not see coming.
The actual story with the writing style and plot events are pleasant and on-point to the sci-fi genre. The speech patterns of the characters are extremely effective with the short sentences, because it allows so many events to fit in the game. It hardly feels like it is made up from a less than 1000 words script. There are many branches and endings, so it's also a bit of like solving a puzzle to see the results from your choices. Just clicking on options to see special flavour text is fun. The fried dough answer in particular is welcoming humour I did not expect.
The pixel art is very charming and in a style that is not often seen in VNs. The story is tense too and pulls your attention immediately in wanting to know if Propus and Castor will make it out alive (sorry Fomal... I think you're totally dead though).
Sweet short story! I really enjoyed their ending dialogue.
I haven't played "Quaint" so I'm reviewing this purely as a standalone work. This is a great introduction that makes me interested to play the main game as well.
Love triangles in romance have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, although sometimes they can feel a bit silly when the choices are unbalanced: when one pairing has far more chemistry than another. It's a fascinating short thought-piece to see it explored in the multiverse scenario when you have to pick between the 'same' guy. Especially where the other version of Q might be in danger, or not, so it feels like a dilemma that truly matters. I enjoy Q for feeling human as well, that he voices displeasure for T leaving him and tries to convince you to pick the stay option, even if it possibly dooms the Other Q.
Very eye-catching to have the title screen change depending on which ending you picked to receive some continuum and make your choice feel heavier.
What's not told gives room for mystery too, like what's up with the previous T that got replaced by the T in this timeline?
I happen to squeeze in a complete playthrough of "Pitstop in Purgatory" just before O2A2 started (when I played VNs from the otome jam), so I know the context. But even then, I feel like you don't need it to understand the universal emotion of family love and the loss of a loved one. This is a great emotional piece that shines through with beautiful art (nicely framed through pans over family photos on the wall that show Astrid growing up), fitting piano music, and sincere writing fully capturing the feelings of a father who lost his child, and all the same it's a celebration of Astrid's shortcut life. Very profound of bringing up his time-related regrets since worklife balance is a relevant topic for many.
This VN is extremely well-written. Highly recommended for any Sci-Fi fan! The prose is reminiscent of the joys of binging on science fiction novels and it made me happy to find such quality in a VN.
The clean futuristic aesthetics and VA greatly enhance the experience. The character sprite is interesting: at some point she has a greenish tint to her skin, and I sincerely questioned if I did not pay attention at the start. Nice way to subtly introduce unsettling elements.
The story has that nice melancholy of looking at our current world as a relic from future's POV. The comedic parts with the misinterpretations made me laugh, and it's beautiful how you manage to capture the entire eery vibe of remembering happy moments of a past you can't go back to.
This is a really interesting polished VN that pushes the constraints of O2A2! It's a standalone package with narrative that supports the strong theming: the futility of the education system.
The web build actually works pretty good for me without lags. Just want to add that here, given that some players hesitate whether they want to download a short game or not.
The art is great and I like the stuff you do with the GUI: the dialogue balloons and the choices expressed as thought bubbles. The greyscale dreariness fits the school life well.
As for the VN structure itself, I enjoy the grade stat as it feels like a throwback to management sims. Despite there are 3 endings, there are multiple ways to reach them, and it's engrossing to see what new flavour texts you get by trying out each branch (say you do test faithfully, then cheat or other way round, etc. The morse code is a fun addition!).
I also spotted Myx cameo! That's her, right?
Thank you for your review! Ah, I'm feeling super giddy when you call it an EXPERIENCE (such a powerful word!). Your comparison is a huge honour for me. My work become accidental creepy, as I somehow can't resist it (probably has to do that I love horror movies including the ones from the 80s). Like when I brainstormed for the title screen I had to set the identity and genre of the main story, which helps to steer the project direction. Went for cyberpunk because I like the synthwave/retrowave colour palette and it looks so stylish in the art I see, except when I attempt it... the TV gives me shivers! XD
This really touches me because it means a lot to me that the work has a lingering effect, but I hope it's the positive kind of questioning, and not the depressing variant.
Thanks again for the compliment on the assets use!
Thank you for playing and leaving a comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the hidden object section, and that you even managed it while doing it late at night! That's amazing! :)
I was a little bit worried about game balancing, since I hadn't had the chance to let playtesters try it out. My gut feeling is that level 2 is the hardest while level 3 should be easier with the good field overview. Ah, that's super interesting about the medal. I almost want to make it even more hidden! :D (EDIT: Since another player brought up the same issue, I will change up the medal graphic in the next build which I want to target for next week)
All the objects are quite literal, because cryptical wording or riddles might make it inaccessible. Although the 'Dog' is drawn silly on purpose. Perhaps I will add a DevLog guide soon with spoilerless hints.
Actually I also want the player to see the fail-state once. Otherwise you won't hear the different stages of music speed-up... too bad I messed up the implementation which I want to fix in a future build. The timer is only for narrative reasons, that you can feel the same stress as the story characters, not so much to hinder the player from never completing. Story-wise, I don't think that the Mindreader achieves everything in one session. I figured that despite the story is short, it can be a little bit heavy to finish the game in one sitting, so I strongly encourage the breaks.
Find My Mind is specifically made for O2A2 VN Jam 2022 which has the following limitations: "Only One of Any Asset" and 1000 words limit. In my case I chose the 'one CG' rule over 'one sprite & one BG'.
Format: Hidden Object Game, Interactive Fiction, Visual Novel, semi-kinetic story with one ending.
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Horror (creepy atmosphere)
Themes: Mental Health Commentary, Creative Struggle (this game is NOT meant to be read as an accurate depiction of therapy and medical/scientific knowledge)
Content warnings: Medical procedure, display of unhealthy behaviour, little bit dark (poverty references)
Story & Mini-game format:
Overarching narrative about a back-alley therapist and their patient. With 3 mini-game levels:
> Point & Click section: find object(s) within the illustration. There is a timer and unique 'stage obstacle'.
> Microfiction: each object tells its own 100-word story.
I found it really cool how you used the title screen / itch cover as one of the endings. Very good use of the jam limitations. You either get a cute fulfilling follow-up to the letter, or the gut-wrenching 'oh no!' moment that brings that image into context, which is strangely beautiful in a bittersweet way.
I love how you could totally feel the one-assetness throughout this work too (pretty unique for picking a non-person as sprite). It's well-executed minimalism.
Does this jam allow the use of code that is written before the jam duration?
In particular I'm talking within the context of Unity, which is bare-bones when you start up an empty project compared to Ren'Py. I have some coding practice projects that contain the skeleton for components such as menu UI, C# scripts for basic features like dialog box or what could be used in a mini-game, et cetera. I'm not sure if these count as assets or not.
(Thank you for hosting the O2A2 VN Jam again in 2022!)
I love this game and I feel like I could not just leave it without writing a review. The hidden-object gameplay is very fun and surprisingly challenging while I initially expected it to be easy because everything fits on one screen. The art so cute and pleasant and the writing beautiful, so you can really feel the story. For a 3-day effort there is quite a large amount of different locations too (more than what is shown in this page screenshots). All of the elements simply tie together nicely for a wonderful experience.
It's very inspirational to me since I've always enjoyed these hidden-object games, and I've thought of wanting to make them myself, but have never orientated on where to start. Such as I didn't expect this to be made in Ren'Py which I tend to associate with standard visual novels. I've played VNs with point and click segments, and found it really clever that you use that feature for this type of game.
Don't worry about it, it's fine, I probably didn't pay attention at the start. For me it was briefly skimming through summary to see names where one sounds feminine and the other masculine, so I then incorrectly assumed their gender through superficial identifiers like gender expression, clothing and eyelash length. The comment is not meant as a critique/feedback, just a personal anecdote that felt oddly fitting to the story told. (Halfway I also remembered that the History log shows it with character names.)
Thank you for sharing where the character inspirations came from. It's really fun to look them up.
Yes, I only found out that Ceferino is non-binary when they explained that to Rubina. That felt very real to me, that older (queer) people still learn so much more about themselves and the world. I guess I'm low-key an old person too, haha, as I came with certain biases, and I enjoyed the subtle reminder not to judge a book by its cover!
That sounds cool about your new VN. Good luck with that!
I enjoyed this feel-good VN! It's a nice surprise to read about Christmas celebration in an unconventional setting (normally the winter stories are about being in a warm home, snow outside, you name it). The usage of technical term is cool too for the sci-fi fans among us.
It's also very clever to pick a space shuttle as the location, since you utilise the VN style sprites in such a refreshing way where their movement (spinning around or moving in/out the screen) looks realistic to the zero-gravity environment.
Slowly going through some of the (possibly overlooked) Winter Jam 2021 entries, I encountered this gem of a VN. The art is cute and lively and the characters are written as authentic old-timers. The story has the right mix of nostalgia and regrets, which makes it a thoughtful little story for the winter moods.
I love the diversity in character representation and how they're drawn within the cartoony anthropomorphic animal art style. At first I mixed up the two characters until I realised which of the two is Rubina - when she brought up that she's a lesbian. Then it clicked to me how there are a lot of subtle hints that make the character designs stand out uniquely when I took a better look so I gained a new appreciation for them.