Oops, super late response, but dating sims count as VNs. There's some fuzzy area, since VNs are typically classified as 2D text-heavy games, and it's probably possible to make a 3D procedurally generated dating sim with a shooting element or something, but generally speaking, yes, dating sims count.
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It's a pretty nebulous idea, but as long as the game is largely plot-centric rather than mechanic-centric, it's probably okay. The rule is mostly in place to prevent some of the "jam spam" that's popped up in the past few years of people spamming their games across a ton of unrelated jams.
We understand that it's a steep price for some people, so we participate in sales pretty regularly, with some rather big discounts. In fact, if you're reading this within 23 hours of this post date, I think the Steam Summer Sale is still going on. We also participate in all of itch's sales. I'd encourage you to follow us on social media. I always announce sales there, and you'll also find updates on our free projects as well.
That could be an issue with how your browser handles itch.io's code. Try using a different browser to download it if you can. If that doesn't work, we also have a mirror of this file on ModDB: http://www.moddb.com/games/re-alistair/downloads/re-alistair
The file shouldn't be protected. It's automatically generated by Ren'py and doesn't have any password protection. I've added a second upload (Windows only - let me know if you need the Mac version instead). Hopefully that will work.