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A member registered May 10, 2021

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It's important to take breaks, especially as a solo creator. Think it's wonderful that you're allowing yourself a sense of creative play again through this exploration of a side game. Heck, anybody who loves your cast of characters certainly aren't complaining! (It's nice to see other 'sides' to your characters' lives and personalities, and not just...their suffering, lol xD). 

As for burnout, it's definitely an experience I can relate to (experienced it twice actually--with one resulting in a hospital stay--but sometimes you gotta repeat a lesson to truly remember it, aha~ |-D ).
Expanding beyond (often self-imposed) tunnel vision is important. While commitment, plans, and structure is important... life still requires a balance of exploration, play, and experimentation as well! 

Anyhow, thanks for telling us how you're doing. Truly. Please continue to take care of yourself in whatever that best means for you. ^_^

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AUGUST 18th?! "Thank god, it's Friday" INDEED~!!! TIME TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS, FOLKS!!!  
Woah, it feels like my birthday even tho' I'm not even an August-born child (but hey, October is KINDA close to August, riiight?).  

Honestly, I don't mind you're releasing another update as "Arc 5 - Part 1 & 1/2" or whatever-you-wanna-call it. OW is your passion project after all, and I think it's wonderful (heh) that you're putting in the time and effort that's needed to convey your inner vision! The fact that you continue to experiment with new techniques, like animation, is admirable. That curious and adventurous spirit of yours will definitely lead to more interesting knowledge & skills for your creative toolbox, for sure! 

Heck, with the news of "Arc 5 - Part 1 & 1/2"'s like you gave me two cakes for my so-called "August" birthday. Now, I got "Arc 5 - Part 2" to someday look forward to as well! That just gives me more time with the characters and their shenanigans, so I'm certainly not complaining~ 
Best of luck to you, Carrot!

PS: Hope your drawing hand is resting well! You're such a hard-working and earnest storyteller, Carrot. Your game's totaled CG count thus far (about ~412 total) is honestly jaw-dropping AMAZE.BALLS!!! Heck, that total doesn't even consider the individual frame counts that'll go into the future animation (and Christ on a cracker, I sweat bullets over the thought)!
Thank goodness Past!Carrot wisely added a Gallery function, cause I'll be damned if I don't get myself 100% Completion!!! Can't wait to see the castle sequence~  

WOAH. Clever catch on the Ending titles having waltz references and having them each reflect the ending's story contents! O_O Lacking a formal dance background myself, I learnt something new today by reading your insightful commentary! 

You pointed out things that I also appreciated but didn't think to mention (eg. the "ticket-stub" warnings page), or missed out on entirely. Your observations definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the game, so thank you so much for that! :D

We'll both keep our fingers-crossed that all of the friends manage to reach their own happy endings! And it's true, how rare is it to have a period of companionship that actually lasts 10+ years... wow. Thank god somebody here (aka. You) keeps good track of details cause I forgotten how much time actually gets covered throughout OW, given all the flashbacks and timeline-skips. 

Thank you so much for showing me that screencap of Carrot's tumblr! Honestly didn't even know it existed, and now I can enjoy some Behind The Scenes commentary possibly! Hooray! 
Yanno, a lot of what the screenshot said aligns with my own headcanon behind Cecil's origins and role in the story. (God, I miss him already... *sniffle*). Speaking only from my experience as somebody non-binary, it's real easy to develop an image in one's head of how you'd ideally like to become/look like, gender-wise--and try to work closer and closer on getting there. #GenderGoals and all that. The fact that Cecil emerged almost as a sort of guardian/conscience to Gidget is real sweet, even as Gidget tried to ignore his guidance--to the point of even locking Cecil (their true selves) away in the darkest corner of the mansion-subconscious. I'm so glad that Gidget's friends helped them remember and come to terms with their true self, again. 

NGL, part of me initially hoped Cecil could serve as a possible love-interest for Gidget since Iggy certainly has eyes for Genzou. BUT, I would say Self-Love is ultimately the most important for Gidget's story-arc cause for most of their life, they tried to contort themselves into an fake/rigid identity for others' approval, whether it was for their mother or for Iggy. And I must admit, Gidget's "perfectionist" streak was something I struggled with too while growing up. 
If Gidget does make it alive and back into the real-world (please let them survive), at least they have supportive friends (and possibly their cool-sounding father) to support them REGARDLESS of what the mother or bigots possibly think.

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Yo, fellow fan! Nice to see ya again~! Love how we keep meeting up like this, lmao. (Side-note: I totally LOVE your icon of Iggy and Genzou kissing... YES, A FELLOW COMRADE IN OTPs!!! 🤝)  

Ah, to clarify what I meant by "only aware of what's important to you"... I think we actually are agreeing upon the same thing?  When I wrote that, it does imply that Genzou IS the occasional asshole because he's too focused on his emotional priorities to imagine things from Orlam's POV. (Or if he ever does, it's likely done in bad faith to end as the butt of some joke.). Genzou probably wrote Orlam off as just a one-dimensional "loser", and forgot that Orlam is just a messy human being like Genzou is, with his own share of very real, very valid feelings. It's so human to assign people as the Other and feel very self-justified for it--and yes, Orlam is no "angel" (cannibalism, anyone?) but Genzou's reactions to this can real disproportionate, real fast... oof.   
The fact you brought up how Iggy sheepishly went along Genzou's antics also brings up a good point. Since none of Genzou's friends ever really went against his bullying in the past, he likely experienced hard whiplash: it's only after all these years that his bullying is now seen as a "problem".  [Cue his likely internal eye-rolling, at first]. And like you said earlier, "it's complicated, and the "what ifs" are hard to realize" given all of the underlying in-fighting and insecurities within all of the characters. Combined altogether, they friendship is like a chemical reaction that can synergize well...or explode when shaken too hard.  
But hey, the fact that Genzou somehow still keeps his temper when Iggy calls him out at least hints at something. Hopefully Genzou, like Iggy, can take his knowledge of multiple timelines and use them for Character Development. They're probably both kicking themselves over all of the "mistakes" they made in all their timelines. Oof, normal humans already struggle with self-loathing/trauma in the one known timeline they already have (makes me rethink about wanting to be conscious of my multiverses, LOL).
Regardless, what's done is done. Although some past actions cannot be made up for or easily forgiven (as "Save the Last Dance" illustrates when Genzou asks Orlam if there's anything he can do to fix things now) ... Genzou can at least do the Right Thing for it's own sake. Not to impress others. Not to earn forgiveness, or to clean his conscience.
Just doing the Right Thing, just because.   
The fact that Genzou is capable of feeling guilt, shock, and tenderness (esp. in not expecting Iggy to do anything he's uncomfortable with) at least gives Genzou some foundation of finding a fresh direction. Orlam and Genzou don't have to be BFFs understandably, but I imagine it'd be healthier for both of them if they could find other things & people to focus on instead of...each other. Intense hatred is just the twin to intense love. 😅

If my memory is not utter shite,  the "prom night scene" I mentioned had Gidget "redirect" Orlam with a follow-up scene showing Gidget sitting with Iggy on the gym bleachers to talk. It's when Iggy's careless words about Gidget's beauty that leads into their perfectionist streak of becoming the "perfect angel" starts, even if it means suppressing their genuine self (oof). 

Now that I think of it... 
Outside of the surreal/gore elements that make "Our Wonderland" a horror game, I feel like it's a horror game in the sense that the world of relationships can be horrifying. Ah yeah, the horrifying of ordeal Being Known and knowing others... 
For instance, you have no real idea if what you just said--even with the best of intentions--ends up seriously f*cking somebody years down the road (eg. Gidget, Bucks); or, if a certain action you chose will truly be good for you or the person you're doing it for (eg. Genzou, Orlam). The fact that you can also be doing something wrong for years and not realize it yourself (like Genzou's bullying or Iggy's habit of closing himself off from others) is also mortifying.
I like how all of the characters' backgrounds indirectly helps the story highlight that theme, cause being part of any social minority (eg. being LGBTQIA+, disabled, mental health, eetc.) adds another layer to relationships feeling "scary."  
It's real easy to get suck into a muck of constant ruminating over one's mistakes, or to feel like giving up after every "mistake" follows your every attempt to make things better (ah, Iggy... how you try).
But, I'm glad The Wonderland isn't giving Iggy the option to give up--cause you can only improve at relationships by throwing yourself back into them. Feel your feels, feel other people's feelings, and just keep doing your best from there.  
...Relationships. Are. Messy. 'Nuff said. They're messy, but they're one of the few things in the world that'll pull you out of the dark pit that comes with being human + yourself, sometimes. Humans are social creatures, and we all just have to muddle our way through the dark together the best that we can. 

At least, that's the kind of message I get from playing this game thus far. I imagine other people's interpretations will be different, and that's okay too! I'd be curious to see what others take away from the storyline~ :3 Any thoughts you have thus far, or are you waiting for the whole game to finish before you let yourself loose? :D
I like discussing these sort of ideas with you!!! Thank you for giving me this chance by sending me your awesome comment! (^o^)/ <3

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[Sees new game] *VIBRATES INTENSELY* 0w0 What perfect timing!  

Yanno, I can easily see this spin-off being part of the "Our Wonderland" canon, especially for the timeline where Iggy passes by Orlam's open bedroom door, showing his now dead-corpse (courtesy of Genzou). I always did wonder about the details behind that CG scene, and this spin-off helps with that!   
I appreciate the detail of how the spin-off has Orlam bleed out on the floor (and Genzou crying over him... *Bawls*), to the main game revealing Orlam's body being on the cozier bed. *I* would like to imagine that Genzou moved Orlam to the bed, out of a mixture of guilt and respect for what he's gone through. Given "Save the Last Dance's" menu image for Ending 2... yeah, Genzou be... 😢   

love reading about messy relationships like Orlam's and Genzou's--especially when there's mutual damage from both parties being just so emotionally immature -- especially damage done from naive childhood up to self-absorbed adolescence. At those ages, you especially can't help prevent it as much due to still lacking a lot of knowledge on yourself and how the world works. 
NGL, I see traces of myself in both Orlam and Genzou. Orlam reflects a slow realization of what healthy boundaries are (ie. when it's time to stop pining or trying to force a relationship to "work") and the over-consuming resentment and self-loathing that can follow such epiphanies. Genzou reflects not fully realizing the impact you have on others, because you're still only aware of what's important to you (eg. quality time with your favorite person, even if means pushing others out of your way--sometimes quite literally, lol. Poor Orlam...).
Although Gidget/Ghent didn't appear in this game, I get the feeling they're the most perceptive of the group's hidden dynamics (Iggy is about to surpass them though--HUE HUE HUE--given how much he's grown in the main game~).
But yeah, the prom night scene where Gidget suggests that Orlam should check-on Genzou sticks with me. While I know Gidget only did it for quality time with Iggy (fair enough), part of me still read Gidget's suggestion as clever, if slightly manipulative? 🤔 To be fair, Gidget probably hoped the two boys would lick each other's wounds & happily pair-off eventually (cue sunset and fireworks)...and not for them to experience the WORST PROM NIGHT EVER. Oof. 😅

ANYWAY...for a game with many game jam constrictions, "Save the Last Dance" was a delightful read! 
For a 1000 word limit, the plot still feels tight and complete, with just enough detail for newbie players to infer the kind of mess between Orlam, Genzou, and the off-screen  "white rabbit" Iggy (lol). The characters also  still sounded like themselves in this spin-off (Orlam, my over-read arse loves how you speak... and the f*cking banter between these two!!! MMPH.). Overall, I felt you showcased your resourcefulness in conveying many different kinds of information within the word-limit you had.   
The kind of plot you chose fits well with the number of artwork you had; I never felt more artwork was needed. (The menu interface changing for each Ending Route was also a lovely touch! Poor Genzou...). I felt the choice of music was also fitting and never intruded upon the game's overall mood and important dialogue, IMO.
For me, the experimental text effects weren't overdone or too intrusive to the reading experience. In fact, I was delighted to see effects I didn't even know were possible! 🤣Besides 1st/2nd-Person POV, I can see the text effects being good for epistolary elements eg. letter exchanges, mysterious journal entries, "possessed" text messages, etc. I'll be curious to see what more you do with it! 
 I personally liked the dancing effect of this game (and of COURSE, fancy King!Orlam would know how to waltz his partner around... I freaking love that). I'll be curious to see if you do anymore movement animation the future especially if used for the more surprising, hard-hitting, purposefully-disorienting scenes if strategically placed...? Dunno the amount of work you'd have to put in tho. 🤔

All in all, I'm so glad you made another game!
[It's happy screams, not angry ones like Orlam's, I swear LOL]

It's sweet of you to care about making enough time for every comment you get! I will try to not textwall-dump on you too much, lmao. 🤣
Just wanted to shoot you a quick THANK YOU SO FREAKING  MUCH for linking me to the ending credit's song! Definitely made it a lot easier for me to find!!! 🥰

And NGL, the song's lyrics resonate with me--especially where I'm currently at in life. It's such pleasant serendipity that I stumbled upon such a song that describes liminal headspace with with such upbeat energy and hope!!! Even as I fumble my way into moving into a new career (after recently being let-go from my old job/company, that I held + liked for 6 years), it's nice to find a song that reminds me to just take it one day, one moment at a time and while just keeping myself open-minded to new information that can redirect me into new ways of living/being that's more aligned to who I am now as a person. ^_^ 

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Yay, I'm glad my comment was uplifting to you (text-dump wall that it was). Thank you for liking my ESSAY of a comment, lmaoooo~
I know you're working hard on the game, but I also just hope you're having fun with your characters as well!!! From what I've played, it sure feels like you're allowing yourself to have fun (SUPER IMPORTANT TO KEEP SIGHT OF!!!)--and that same passion/devotion shines through in the gameplay. Players easily catch onto that; it's just infectious passion, yanno? 

And yeah, I can see how creators understandably feel nervous on how their audiences might perceive the ending(s) of their story. That extra mental energy is definite gasoline for the creativity tank, ya?  
This is just my two cents SO TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, but since you're the one who knows your characters best, I'm sure you'll discover the conclusions for each character that feels the most "truest"/"right" for their personal journey.
If you just continue on with your knack for good & consistent characterization, the majority of readers will come out ultimately satisfied.
Sometimes worrying about people's negative feelings about an ending is besides the point, anyway; especially if a character's series of (ahem, BAD) choices & cause-effect development logically foreshadows/lead them up to their tragic ending (eg. famous Greek/Shakspearian plays like "Oedipus Rex" and "Hamlet").
While I know there's RL people's feelings about the ending to consider, focusing more on the characters' feelings on how far they come + where they end up is the higher priority, IMO. 

Given what I played from your games thus far, you've given me a lot of material to where I can say that, I trust you as a storyteller. I trust that you care enough about each of these characters' unique journeys and honoring who they were, who they are, and who they may become. Unlike some TV shows, where they pull a total ass-pull of an ending just to "shock" against audience's predictions, despite zero prior characterization or plot-foreshadow leading up to it. 🙄 
To me, you possess good balance between knowing when to keep consistent characterization VS. show psychological/circumstantial nuances that go against a character's usual behavior patterns. The fact that you drew parts of it from your own personal experience,  just shows your alchemic ability to transmute your raw unique experience into material that illuminates the humanity within all of us.
It's definitely vulnerable and difficult to find ways to organize all of those rampant emotions & thoughts into something as concrete as a game, but hell--you managed to!! And you even invited others (us, players) along for the fun, wild brain ride!!! Thanks for giving players like me, such a rewarding emotional experience (and lovely memories) revolving around such an awesome cast of characters.   

Lmao, we both be ZOOMIN when it comes to good games, ey?!
And yeah, "Our Fantastic Wonderland" is a nice break in tone from the main game (although, the main game does a good balance of funny/touching and dark/scary moments IMO). And yeah... all the arcs be painful, RIP.

I seen the texting one! I plan on playing it soon, and can't wait to see what you meant about the spoiler interface... 👀

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Wah, I came to playing this game straight after playing through all of Our Wonderland's available arcs! I initially played this spin-off to comfort my heart (just a little) from the main game's hijinks, but I forgot what "Spooktober" sometimes entails... (;w;)
That said, NO REGRETS!!! Colorful and engaging dialogue as always, and the cast remains recognizably their lovable diaster selves. Hell, I'm just mighty glad to finally get a legit outlet to painlessly (?) woo all of the LIs this time around!!! While Genzou & Iggy remains endgame for me, it's undeniable that Iggy just got that Good Chemistry (TM) with the other characters too~
All in all: a good game that feels well-made and complete, especially for something that's gotta get churned out quick under limitations like a Spooktober Jam! 

Other Points I Enjoyed:   
1.) NGL, it's just real gratifying to see Gidget get to express themselves through Ghent. Arc 5 1/2 felt cathartic, but it's also just nice to see trans/non-binary themes explored in lighter-hearted contexts too--like a D&D session with understanding friends. <3

2.) I admit to gunning for Genzou's ending first-time around, but I'm weak for character-types like Prince Ghent in terms of how he interacted with Ignatius: the friction, the rivalry, the small moments of shy embarrassment and vulnerability!!! UGH, my creaky, withered heart...!  

3.) Even though there's no CG Gallery this time around, it was still a delight clicking back and picking alternative choices; just for the amusing dialogue alone!!!

4.) The ending song you chose for the credits is now stuck in my head (it's just such a damn good jam!!! Good energy!!!). Now I just gotta do my research on what/who produced it using that handy list you give to players, in-game...  

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For reals -- I hope all the characters come out (relatively) unscathed and happy too. Some probably will need further therapy after this whole experience, but hopefully they'll have each other as support too. T__T  

And yea, Genzou exemplifies the true Ride and Die.
NGL, I can appreciate from a writer's standpoint the amount of creativity/irony that went into some of Genzou's Death/Pain CGs (ahahaha, OF COURSE YOU WOULD REMOVE HIS EYES, ORLAM, BUT OF COURSE) but damn... I feel you, cut this poor man a break!!! ;__;

I guess it does balances out in that Genzou gets a LOT of comforting/deep interactions with Iggy (<3), if that's any good karma meant for him...lmao. (Poor guy needs it.)    

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Only recently heard of "Our Wonderland" about about 2 days ago, but MAN--I feel spoiled being able to binge all of Arc 1 to Arc 5 1/2 within those 2 same days. Cause, that's how f*cking engrossing the whole storyline and cast of characters is!!!
And the fact that there's newer features like a helpful CG Gallery and title-detailed save files makes me feel extra spoiled-rotten, compared to the fans who played this game since its early beginnings (lmao). 100% COMPLETION GET!!!

That said, this whole story portrays and explores upon a lot of LGBTQIA+ and mental/emotional health themes that I WISH a lot more stories did with such sensitivity and nuance. Just feels so nice to be "seen", you know? Personally, a mixture of Gidget's + Iggy's + Genzou's issues hit me really hard--but also, felt damn cathartic watching some other character articulate these similar experiences for me, on-screen.  
I also enjoy the depth and details that go into characters that you seemingly dismiss as purely dislikable or treat as "purely heroic" on the surface. (In my case, I like getting my expectations subverted when getting to learn more about Orlam--who I initially wrote-off as some jerk-ass incel, but have grown to like; and Genzou, whom I still like, but still hold accountable for going overboard sometimes). 
Everybody in this cast got their share of personal traits, strengths, and flaws; all of which feels real, well-developed, and not just "tacked on" to earn Social Cool points or whatever. Instead, whatever traits they possess--to me, they just feel organic, natural to the circumstances they found themselves born in and just really nails home the complexity of human beings and human relationships. (Iggy...I feel you HARD on making senses of human relationships and How to Socialize 101).   
Hell, I like the fact that all of these people hold backgrounds and lifestyles that feels delightfully down-to-earth? Like, nobody here has flashy "romanticized" jobs that you'd find in some mainstream dramas--but rather, jobs and emotional preoccupations of the unglamorous day-to-day. How most humans (read: us, peasants) got to cope and live amongst the daily grind, yanno? Everybody here got their own issues, all of which are too real and relatable, esp. depending on who your parents are (ugh... Gidget and Orlam, I've seen that sort sh*t in my life and with other friends' parents. SMDH.).  
These characters--despite their silly names (lmao... IGNATIUS, I'M SORRY BRO)--all feel like somebody I'd meet from just off the street, yanno? 

All of the arcs tore out my heart in some way...all of the deaths were delightfully mortifying and delightfully creative...all of the wonderful irony, double-meanings, and eyebrow-raising implications (Orlam's Arc was chock full of those--ugh, his poor rabbit T_T)...all of Genzou's creativity in swears and metaphors also win a gold star in my book... and NGL, I just love the interactions (especially all of Genzou & Iggy's, but eyyyy what can I sayyyyyy~).
Don't mind me, I'll just be here in my corner, with a swooning-dopey expression like Gidget does in some of their scenes (I see what shout-out reference you did there~ lmao). 

Man, I wish I can be more concise & articulate on why I love this game--rabid, almost mouth-frothing so--and what makes it's so unique and immersive for me, especially having spent so long with the characters (across multiple timelines in fact, lmao). But yeah, I'll be rocking back-and-forth happily in my chair--awaiting the Part II whenever it comes out--cause no matter the length of the wait, Our Wonderland has just that kind of storyline and cast that sticks with you. Of just being too memorable to forget.
(Definitely can see myself replaying this whole game, just to spend time revisiting/"hanging out" with the characters--almost as if they were my own friends or something, lmao.) 

Your effort really shows!!! Just keep doing you!!! Whatever the heck you're doing writing-wise, me likey!!! (*A*)

[P.S: And thank freaking god there's spin-off games to "Our Wonderland", such as "Our Fantastic Wonderland", cause all of these characters deserve a freakin' comfort break from their main storyline (lmao). Me too honestly...I just want them all to be happy if possible. ;____; ]

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You can get more timely writing-updates by checking out the author's Patreon page (13Leagues) if you're worried; or, just need to tide yourself over with other Superstition extra content as you wait (like Yours Truly).

Their other games/stories are worth a read too, imo!  

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Don't know what beeg brain went into making Florence's character & interesting backstory, but I am in love with the light & dark sides of this man. Halp. 

Hope Florence someday shows up in future games you make...

PS: I enjoyed the variety of mini-games that went into this (never thought I'd play a fishing rhythm-game in this lifetime, lol). I imagine it took a lot of coding ingenuity, artwork, & testing to get all of that done; but, y'all's hard work pays off! Such mini-games are pretty refreshing to see when dating sim games are mostly click n' read.

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Not sure if this directly lets you meet The Bastard, but I remember purposefully "throwing away" my knife that the game starts you out with (just to see if I could, lol) + revisiting the forest creek repeatedly during the early days of staying in the town. Hope that helps!

[Possible Spoiler Alert: After meeting either Jak or Will, there's a chance of them intervening when you encounter The Bastard. Not sure if the other LIs come in to help, but that's what happened on my playthrough.]

Thank you for replying back! 

Looking forward to whenever the export gets fixed; I can't wait to play your game and getting to know the characters! Until then, I'll see if there's other games you've made that I can play until then. ^^ 

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I recently bought your game. I got the same error message as the user above, and waited a day or two before redownloading/extracting the Windows .zip version on Tuesday 3/15. 

I see that you deleted whatever was affecting the export. Am I just doing something wrong to still get this error message upon trying to begin the game? Thanks! 

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First off, DMR is an overall awesome game and I personally enjoyed all of the characters. 

Disclaimer: In my playthrough, my unique route order was: (Tazo -> Hollis -> Cartwright -> Jed -> ???) which inevitably affected my perception of how I saw the overall routes, plot timeline, & characters.  Your experience/perception may be different depending on whose route you go for first. 

There's no recommended playing order for DMR that I know of; but, it's more fun anyway to play it naturally without obsessively referring to a guide! :) Plus, the game is designed enough to easily infer/guess how to get at all of the other CGs/routes without too much trouble (100% completionism, woo!). 

This isn't so much of a game review, but more of an...essay (whoops)! Playing DMR's writing direction made me think/feel a lot of things. For those who also love to write or analyze writing craft, I wanted to share my (over)analysis on 3 things I loved about DMR's writing. Maybe other aspiring game/non-game writers may find this useful? But anyway... ONWARDS!  


[Warning: Many spoilers & Long, long text ahead.]


It's not easy to include or portray sensitive topics like religious belief, racism, non-consent, & homophobia (external/internalized). I felt like DMR's writer handled or portrayed them very well! To me, it never felt too gratuitous, preachy,  insensitive, nor overly-sanitized. 

A rookie writer could just over-rely on slurs to show that prejudice exist. Yet, real-life bigotry also exists in more subtle/internal ways eg. character's dialogue revealing their underlying assumptions about given group even if no slur is used; or, their own jaded self-image for being seen/identifying as part of that group.  

DMR strikes a good middle ground on these sensitive issues: portraying these societal issues in a way that still feels very personal to the character(s) affected by them, but also not milking/dismissing the characters' emotions to these issues.  

I also like how there's a mixture of religious/non-religious characters, with no judgment on either stance. While not religious myself, I like the accurate reflection of the historic time/society that DMR is based on instead of politely pretending religion, bigotry, repression etc. doesn't exist. 


Another thing I liked is how DMR didn't force NSFW scenes for every single route/relationship - especially, if it didn't make sense for that given dynamic based on their current progress in the timeline (eg. Taza). If a route's given set-up isn't plausible enough for the characters' to immediately jump each others' bones, DMR doesn't cram in sex scenes at the cost of the personalities/relationship feeling disingenuous. While this surely displeases some folks, I like how the writer doesn't pander to that.

Even when DMR's sex scenes do happen, they all feel unique/fitting for the two individuals having it. Unlike most visual novels I've played, it's not just a sportscaster play-by-play description of thrusting bodies. For DMR, each NSFW scene carries an emotional tone/dialogue (+ underlying issues/doubts) that makes sense given the particular personalities, worldviews, and emotional/power-dynamics involved. 

For example: Hollis's scenes - I can totally see why it progressed the way it did, given the set-up in Hollis' early behavior & dialogue. I also liked the doubt Lee had on whether said-sex meant they were official or just a one-night stand; and Hollis' own slowness on realizing his feelings (he didn't strike me as the emotionally-aware type, lmao). Compared to Hollis' sex scenes, the emotional atmosphere in Bill's is WAY different in tone, motives for wanting it, and what the scene told players about his psychology/outlook. 

Even better, the DMR's NSFW scenes actually progresses the storyline or the characters' development! (SAY WHAT?!) DMR doesn't suffer from frequent scenes of "Tab A into Slot B" that just feel tedious and repetitive, because it no longer shows anything significant or new about the relationship or characters. Even when games throws kinkier stuff in, it's usually just superficially new, and not new/significant in a more character-revealing way. 

For instance: each of Bill's NSFW scenes shows his worldview getting more challenged. He goes from: violent/cocky --> erratic/shaken --> broken --> to  sobering epiphany, depending on what choices Lee makes.

DMR is just damn good example of NSFW scenes showing a variety of motives & emotional contexts, used in service of the characters' growth. Sure, sex can just be sex without emotions, and we know how sex mechanically works - but for character-driven storylines like DMRs, sex scenes should reveal or signify something for a given relationship/character's development. Man, I wish more novel/game writers treat character routes like DMR's writer did...the sex scenes would feel a lot less repetitive/boring, that's for sure [although I could just be in the minority, lmao]. 

[And heck, if one did wish for NSFW scenes with all the DMR characters - there's nothing that a lil' "Time Skip" or "Epilogue" scene can't fix if that ever became a priority somehow.]


Taza was the ultimate Good Boi (TM) in all of the routes--which, GOOD FOR HIM! (It's freakin' hard to stay good in a world like DMR's, man!). Not ever being a culprit felt logically consistent given all the character background & interactions that Lee had with him in the other routes as well.   

Hollis was the culprit in one route, but it still felt believable/immersive since I felt the earlier exposition set up his motives well-enough + didn't conflict with Hollis' route-centric interactions with Lee. If Lee hadn't chosen to help/pursue Hollis, the current timeline (ie. my understanding of it, colored by Taza's route) would've inevitably caused Hollis to be the (tragic) culprit.

Cartwright. Hoo boy. I enjoyed his route & personality, but I also played it before Jed's route which messed up my perception of time & his character-consistency just a little.  Not going to lie, but it somewhat broke my heart when the epiphany/character growth Cartwright undergoes in his main route (<3) vanished when I played Jed's route next.

For Jed's Route, I naively assumed that it'd follow the linear logic of Cartwright's timeline where Jed was the true culprit in that case. Even in that situation, Jed's accidental circumstances for being the culprit still felt reasonable/consistent with his kind personality in all his other routes.  

While playing Jed's route, I was waiting for Jed to apologize to Lee & fess up about being the true culprit. Now, I was shocked to see Cartwright being the culprit instead, and to proclaim motives that contradicted what I knew of him from his main route. (Me: "CARTWRIGHT, HOW COULD YOU BETRAY ME AND YOURSELF LIKE THIS?! WHERE'S  THAT INTEGRITY THAT YOU ONCE SPOKE OF?!" T__T ). 

It's also my bad though. I forgot that Visual Novels tend to operate from an omnipresent perspective (aka. able to perceive multiple dimensions/timelines) VS. how Real Life humans experiencing time in a linear fashion. Even though I wanted to believe in Cartwright's goodness so bad, I could've treated his discrepancy as an "alternate timeline?" 

Amongst the 5 potential bachelors after Lee's heart (haha), Cartwright was the only one with a consistency issue in 1 route (Jed's). That said, CW's character felt consistent in all the other routes.

[One possible fix may be just to add a few dialogue lines from Cartwright in the general/non-specific route, that preestablishes his ambivalence on whether to stay loyal to whom he's supposed to protect. Most of the suspicion of Cartwright is brought up by other characters, not Cartwright himself. By having Cartwright himself hint at his own potential for corruption, it'll plant the seed for plausibility no matter what route order the player plays. Heck, having that element of "moral temptation" in the general route AND in CW's route could've further heightened the emotions of the scene where he he redefines what morality and integrity means to him.  

Another possible fix could be to keep Jed as the culprit in Jed's main route. Thus, on top of what he reveals to Lee about his past, it's also an extra sign of trust/intimacy if Jed is also able to trust Lee to help him get through this mess too? 

A third possible fix is also to just set up the murder to happen sometime after Lee arrives to town--instead of before his arrival--to give more logical plausibility to why certain characters aren't the culprit in their given/other routes (Cartwright, Hollis). Jed's accidental involvement could remain, since its still stays in his character. 

There's pros/cons to the aforementioned approaches, so who knows; another better possibility can also exist that I don't know of?] 

As for Bill's route? I LOVE HIM (even if he's a headshaking-inducing S.O.B!). The varying level of his involvement behind the crime in all of the other characters' routes felt logically consistent, given the unique factors going on for each route. I felt the pacing & development of his character growth/revelation through his interactions with Lee were believable and still consistent with the other routes' portrayal. 

As for Lee? Total badass in all his routes (especially Bill's). For me at least, I felt like he had good chemistry with all of the cast; and, can see how he could plausibly fall for every single one of them (given the unique events/conversations that happen for each route). Most visual novels I've played has a bland protagonist that's just meant to be a stand-in for the player. But not Lee: he's got plenty of backstory/personality and is a sympathetic narrator with an enjoyable, unique voice. The other guys are freaking lucky to have a guy like Lee!  


I give MAJOR PROPS to the writer (Theo Southgate) for even attempting to write a romance-based visual novel story in the first place. 

After all, unlike other storytelling mediums & visual-novel genres, romantic visual novels face the challenge of keeping track of all the various "romantic route/choice branches" no matter what route order a reader plays through first [unless there's already a game mechanic that forces the layer to play romantic routes in a fixed order]. 

There's the second writing challenge of keeping each route varied enough to keep players' interest; but, to also keep the right details/events consistent to not break the player's immersion & the story's own world-building/character logic. 

There's also the third challenge of trying to make every route feel worthwhile/fun to play through (even as most players inevitably find a route/love interest they like above all the others). 

Overall, I'd say DMR's writing managed to satisfy me on all three challenges above. It's definitely a game that gave me memorable, emotional experiences (esp. the last route...bruh, saving the most "narrator-backstory-related" & emotionally-heavy route for last: definitely, a praiseworthy design-choice!).

 Definitely can see myself replaying DMR - just to revisit being inside the characters' heads and emotions again. Thanks for the ride, Gallium & Argent Games! <3 

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Oh man, this game gave me flashbacks to my own past...  

Although I'm not the same ethnicity as the protagonist, it's surreal to relive some of the exact same dialogue--in the exact same tone--that I've said to my own immigrant parents when it came to school, mental health, & sexuality/gender identity.    

Dealing with a language barrier and a cultural/education-level gap is a pain when trying to explain/defend things that matter a lot to you.

It's both a blessing and a curse that somebody can love you so much, but still not completely understand/accept you. But in turn, you still love them anyway even though you can't completely understand them at times.

Now, I've learnt respect my parents' limits/circumstances (eg. lack of education) while still standing up for myself as needed; and, to find others who can understand those aspects of me that I cherish.   

But yeah, thanks for making this game - it was pretty cathartic. Hope you make more psychological/thoughtful games like these!