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September 2021 Lounge

A topic by cue5c created 36 days ago Views: 720 Replies: 66
Viewing posts 1 to 17
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I've been spending more time in the community here and thought a place to just hang out could be fun. Somewhere to talk about other games we're playing, things we're watching and reading, or just a place to chat with other members. Since itch.io doesn't have spoiler tags, I recommend using rot13.com to hide them if you want to discuss something that could be considered too revealing for whatever piece of media you're talking about. I think a simple spoiler warning for most things is fine, but it's great for if you're on the fence. Simply copy/paste the comment and then copy/paste the code to get something that looks like this:

V unir abguvat gb fnl naq gbb znal jbeqf jvgu juvpu gb fnl vg.

I've titled this the September Lounge because of how itch.io posts are threaded. I think it might be a good idea to update the thread every so often and once a month seems like a safe bet given the current activity around here. If it's fairly active we could move it to something weekly or bi-monthly, if it's less we can just do seasons. Also:

Please read the very reasonable community guidelines before posting and don't use this as a place to ask about updates. 

This should be a place for everyone to relax, including those working on Minotaur Hotel.

I think it could be fun to have an optional question in each thread. Since this is the first one, we can start with the basics: What have you been doing outside of Minotaur Hotel? 

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Please let me know if this is too broad a topic or if any of the wording should be changed. I couldn't find contact information to double check if this was okay, so hopefully it is going by the tags available and community guideline. ANYWAY.

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To answer my own question: I'm hopefully finishing up The Great Ace Attorney and then moving on to Psychonauts 2 or starting Pervader. I will get to both, I just haven't decided the order. I've also recently been informed that I need to finally watch JoJo's Bizarre Adventure before the new season begins. I have somehow avoided most spoilers, although I do know some things by cultural osmosis. Mostly "That's bullshit, but I believe it."

Also still waiting on any news regarding Aggretsuko Season 4. They've gotta announce it soon, right? Right?

My god I can't wait for a new Aggretsuko season!

tomorrow or maybe later Im planning to go shopping for doujin on digiket or booth and trade with fellow peeps for what they have. Im still trying to see if i have to buy from traders if all else fails//// only thing that makes me worried is if its a leak content and need to check on different sites which is taxing UwU. hoping everything checks out...

Developer(+2)

Just as a little notice, I really appreciate the idea for this thread. Thank you, cue5c, for taking the initiative!

Deleted 34 days ago

Thanks for this thread! I guess I'll throw in a little introduction since I'm new here and it's been nice to start to get to know you all.

I'm a queer actor-turned-front-end-dev from Toronto Canada. I wouldn't say I identify as furry, but friends have dragged me to enough furry events with them that I might as well :)  Lost my job last month unfortunately, but build 0.5 came out just at the right moment to help occupy myself through it. Aside from MH though, I've been really absorbed in Disco Elysium and trying to go through a massive backlog of horror fics. On the top is House of Leaves which I'm ashamed I haven't read until now.

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Disco Elysium is one of my favorite games of all time! The art reminded me of old Sandman covers so I wanted to check it out from that alone. What I got was unbelievably more. One of my favorite fictional worlds and with one of the best queer characters in any piece of media. Where are you at right now? I know that's a very tenuous question considering how the story is so personalized.

I'm sorry about your job, though. Hope you fall back on your feet soon enough or have some form of fallback. Covid has helped here in the states, which is awful to think about, but it really forced peoples hands to actually support people in need for once.

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Thanks friend!

To clarify, it was an annual contract as a college teacher for web development. The industry itself is doing fine, but covid has resulted in dwindling student application so when it came time to renew my contract, they just... didn't. I'm in a better spot than most people, so mostly it's just given me time this month to stretch and breathe out (and make gifs for shitposts, it turns out).

And yes! Disco Elysium rules. The writing is nothing short of astonishing. I would die for Kim without a second thought.

I've beaten it and somehow stumbled onto what I guess would be the best ending. I've just started a second playthrough, though, knowing me, I'll just make all the same decisions so long as Kim is happy.

I've never been able to do a full playthrough of bad options because of Kim, especially now that there's full VA. All of the VA is good, but his is just... Piercing. I tried it recently, and the venom in his voice was too much. Even on things that would get a good reaction on a previous playthrough would lead to something dismissive. I couldn't do it.

I need to get around to doing the moralist vision quest as I've heard it's a massive lore dump and fairly connected to what happens at the church. 

Tried other stuff around the site.  Min Hot is still the only one I feel like I'd want to give money to.

Finally got my hands on Neo TWEWY and now I'm not sure if I like Unpainted or Foolish Child more.

Unpainted is such a jam. I have some issues with Neo TWEWY, Unpainted actually highlights a big thing for me that's probably legitimately nothing for others. But like, it was overall more than I was ever expecting from the sequel to one of my favorite games.

A thread to talk with cool people? Don't mind if i do

I been trying my best to finish up my masks for Halloween. I just been getting distracted. I got my paper mache and such but haven't really started. I'm trying to be the masqeraider from wakfu since I played that when I was young. And it was my favorite class. 

that's awesome. I don't think I've done anything paper mache related since elementary school, where I made a Bunnicula mask. Do you usually work with it for Halloween or is it just for this particular costume?

I make costumes every year for the love of it and for others too. I was a clown then a skeleton. But i made grander stuff like a dragon with working wings. So for my paper mache i am putting lots of maintenance on it. Sanding painting etc. if it comes out on time id love to show all you guys.

I'd imagine considering the head start you're getting. I'd definitely love to see the final result.

I was wondering what if the community made some group for everyone to chat and hang out like a discord or something. I think a lot of yalls are pretty neat. 

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I keep saying I'm going to finish The Great Ace Attorney and putting it off. Watched all of Beastars yesterday for the first time since Team Four Star did a thing about it and wanted to go in knowing what they were riffing on.

But now that Deltarune Chapter 2 is out Friday I really need to finish it. I am so excited for more Toby Fox.

Oh, and Beastars was entertaining even if it was kind of a mess, especially the almost comical Season 2 finale. Considering the main romance is supposed to be Haru and Legoshi, it's wild how little they're on screen together and how much Legoshi fawns over Louis along with the animation team clearly loving those moments. The wagging tail rooftop scene showed significantly more chemistry with those two than any with Haru, but that's why I get annoyed with most media. Coded friendships get exhausting after a while.

oh man, I been seeing all different kinds of posts on twitter about delterune 2 and im excited to see someone play it on youtube. Now, I seen the first bit of beastars on netflixs. was the second seasons good to? More of something to put on or enjoyed every moment kind or ordeal? 

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I liked it for the most part. Especially Legoshi's alternate look for part of the season lol. Its message, while making sense, is just kind of nonsensical by the end, and Haru's role is seriously downgraded. There's honestly a lot of weird character stuff, but if you just want something moody and fun, it'll do the job.

Of course Dirk is finally streaming the 0.5 update tonight. That can wait, cue, finish ace attorney, cue. Goddamnit, Dirk.

Fuck it, I've been watching the stream. In the immortal words of Bj枚rk: 

Sue me, sue me, sue me all you want. It's so unfair. The sins of the fathers. They just fucked it all up.

Developer

Is Deltarune chapter 2 the last one?
I started the demo and kinda lost interest halfway through, I might give it another chance when the full game is released. I enjoyed undertale a lot but probably not to the degree that a lot of people online did so I don't mind the wait.

I didn't care much for season 1 of Beastars, but I heard it gets batshit crazy the more it goes on so that might be interesting. I did see the opening for season 2 and it's really fucking catchy, so it has that going for it at least

It hasn't been stated if it's the end or not. I think it'll depend on if it's paid and then if it's only Chapter 2. Toby Fox had to hire a small team due to issues with his wrist so it's all very unclear how far along it is. Honestly, I'd probably wait too if I didn't have friends who I know are going to be talking about it. Same thing happened with Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Gotta jump on that while I can avoid spoilers. 

As for Beastars, well, it's no Odd Taxi, that's for sure. It really only gets batshit for the season 2 finale and that's because the actions of characters feel so extremely stupid and the visuals triple that feeling, like Dragon Ball Z levels of visual transformation which is... a choice lmao. The opening and closing tracks are indeed really fucking good, but if you weren't a fan of Season 1, I don't know if it's worth sitting through Season 2 and its melodrama. It's very much more of the same except they finally remember their classmate was murdered back in episode 1.

the beastars season 2 ending felt very much rushed, along with some jumps in logic that are hard to keep pace with such as "Haru: I hate that you are ignoring me -> Legoshi: Then the only solution is to get married". the manga has still 2 more story arcs, i suppose season 2 is an akward interlude, but it has some good moments like Legoshi's first pick for a disguise. Of course it's no OddTaxi, but we can't ask that kind of quality for every work, we will run out of stories.

So...  you guys browse some reddit content? i mean it is kinda like my daily newspaper/tabloids rather than twitter UwU. im especially interested in  the ones that shows good progress and growth like r/neckbeardnests where a dirty dorm or household is being cleaned by the owner due to motivations^^ and r/fightporn to not pick on big ppl since its a quick KO also r/abruptchaos keeps us aware on things that may happen anytime on any given situations.

The drama in Animal Crossing on DS is something else.




damn these clever comebacks of the old animal crossing sure packs alot of drama rather than the new animal crossingnew horizons. The convos became way too friendly to promote the game to be family and child friendly but still fun tho

There's very little to do in the game, but yeah, it definitely makes up for it by having all of the villagers being ridiculously catty. They're always gossiping, asking me if I think so and so are in a relationship. It's a very different experience, but I love it.

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Most of the VNs I follow are either taking breaks for November or on housecleaning chapters bringing routes up to the same page. I really want something meaty (yeah, yeah, phrasing) so I think I'm going to jump into Pervader in the next couple days and post thoughts here. I am very excited. 

Deltarune Chapter 2 was a considerable leap over Chapter 1. The amount of content was kind of ridiculous for being released for free, something certain developers here may know a bit about. It looks like it's going to be episodic, though, as Chapters 3-5 are releasing at once, but there are 7 chapters total. Still, it should go faster now that there's a team. The amount of spritework in the game was likely the result of having a team, too. It's so damn charming.

deltarune chapter 2 made me laugh SO hard and it raised so many interesting questions that i feel like we have more questions than answers since chapter 1

Oh god, yes. Especially with the alternate route shit. But it also felt like a more complete chapter so I'm fairly happy with what we have right now. I'm so glad the cast is being expanded, too. I imagine we're going to be exploring everyone in that classroom at some point.

ooo what kinds of VNs have you read through? I haven't seen much, but there are a lot of great creators. Any you recommend seeing or some to skip?

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I don't think there will be any surprises, although I can give a basic idea on why I like them. I guess my other question would be how okay are you with sexual content because there's a spectrum from text only and very rarely to like 30% of the content (although that one has over a million words so it's both more and less than you'd think.) None are exactly natural jumping-off points from Minotaur Hotel, although I have a feeling I could connect the dots since they eventually led me here. :P

I'm pretty open with sexual explicit stuff. Let's just say I didn't skip the luke scene. But in any case, content and story are both important. 

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I don't think any of these are going to be too surprising, but:

I think you didn't read through the Ruthless route, so I don't know how much Echo will appeal to you, but it's what started me reading furry VNs in the first place. Despite being fairly popular, it's a bit of a hard sell in general. The main cast are all fairly unlikeable at times, including (especially) the main character of Chase. However, I do think it's fairly special. It reminds me a lot of Twin Peaks: The Return. If you haven't seen any of that, I will just say that it is slow, but filled with moments of electricity that stick with you. It's haunting and it's haunted. You need to play through each route to fully grasp the story as each route is completely unique content. Rereading it after finishing all routes was a very different experience as sometimes emotional climaxes to one route are hidden in another but without context it's easy to miss. 

I think TJ->Leo->Route 65->Carl->Flynn->Jenna->Leo (2nd read with the full context gained from the other routes) is the way to get the most out of it. 

This game has the least amount of sexual content, too. It is hyper focused on the central tragedies and how that has changed and still affects this group of friends who are only friends because they were the only kids in their dying town. It has at least two happy endings, but they are not going to be what you expect. This can disappoint some people but it's the most mature decision in both cases. Flynn's route in general is amazing, but it was one of the last two routes worked on so there's so much context built in from Leo, TJ, and Carl's route to really get all of what makes it so special. Still, Leo's is my favorite for how wildly different it is if you read it a second time after the other stories. 

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Adastra is what I read next. It's from the same team as Echo (the next couple are) but it is very different tonally. I thought it would be a decent cleanse after how raw Echo got, but while it mostly was, it's also emotionally complex. A lot of Echo Project works really nail a sense of uncertainty and touch on aspects of depression but filtered through scales much larger than the human experience. It's the easiest to recommend and the one most analogous to Minotaur Hotel (although MH touches on so many things I desperately wanted Adastra to touch on but never did. It's my current favorite for a reason.) The artwork is appealing, the setting is great, and the political drama is a lot of fun. It should be mainstream, but nudity and sex are unavoidable and I think that limited some of its audience. I'm being very vague because the less you know going in the better it is, but I will just say: political Space Wolf romance.

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Arches is the sequel to Echo, although you could hop in and read that without reading Echo since it has a different cast. The main characters have by far the healthiest relationship in any Echo Project game lol. It'd communicative and mature, but it will eventually be tested. Still, it's very early on. So far it's retaining Echo's focus on character over sexuality, which I can't say for:

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The Smoke Room. It's the prequel to Echo, but again you don't need to read Echo to enjoy it. It's set 100 years in the past and is actually written by a different team of people. It's very sexual. The main character is a prostitute after all. However, the cast is considerably more likeable than Echo's with just as much depth and mystery. It's good and I am basically in love with Murdoch because he made me cry lmao.

Okay, we're done with Echo Project works.

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Password by Grizz is currently my number 3 after Minotaur Hotel and Echo. It hits all of my sweet spots with a mystery house, light sci-fi used in a more fantastical sense, basically Scooby doo exploration of a single setting, and very sweet main character and interesting cast. There's one path that's been sexual, but its a major plot of that characters route and the main character coming to terms with it. It's does some very clever things with the format of a VN and also has one of my favorite soundtracks. A lot of the music is by Civ Valian, who did some of the original music for Minotaur Hotel! It's very chill and makes the story fairly cozy despite everything that's going on. It always feels like coming home.

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Finally there's Extracurricular Activities by Dynewulf. This is a weird one. It's ostensibly a tennis VN, but like Echo, each route takes on its own story and events, although unlike Echo there's not a greater narrative to weave in the background. It's by far the most sexual game, but it also earns that sexuality. Each route is 35 days long and it usually takes almost half that to get into the romance of whatever route you're on. It's one of the most consuming VNs I've read and I've yet to fully catch up. Like each route takes multiple full days of playing to get through, but they're often worth it. I've been so-so with Chester's route, but every other one has had something that's made it special. Whether it's exploring the considerably more intimate relationship with your best friend or the absurd addition of a full on D&D simulation in the relationship with the coach, this is a game bursting with creativity and joy of life. Because of how long each route is, they can be incredibly emotional. There's cliches and tropes, but there's so much more than that to balance it out. It's kind of separate from my rankings because of how attached I am to it despite it not being as easily recommendable as the others.

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I am going to bed now. I'll proofread whatever mess I wrote later lmao

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also posting this from extracurricular activities for no reason in particular

And yes, I named my D&D character Zidane after I saw Spencer name himself Dagger. How could I not add some Final Fantasy IX love? It backfired later, but that's because the story went place I didn't expect. Good night for real. :P

Edit 10 seconds later: Fine it's because Chester is a cute ass bull. 

omg i remember this part! I loved druids so much so i was excited they added that!

It was such a fun surprise. Druid is what I picked, too, even though it resulted in like half of my party dying the first time at the first boss.

oh man I have to thank you a bunch for giving me some of your time and displaying a lot of great detail on the different VNs, you have been a great help and awesome to talk to! I haven't heard from Extracurricular activities in forever XD.  To be fair its my first VN and I was obsessed with it to a point. I was swayed to even check out his husbands work Friends From Paradise. Its been a long time so i cant remember what was appealing but I believe I was invested in the two. Though I had no idea Echo and Adastra was made by the same people or similar. I was hesitant knowing that its themes that I knew would mess me up when I was younger. Seeing that I would sit at the edge of my seat over what happened next chapter of EA xD. What makes MH really drawing is the balance between harsh themes and lightheartedness. SO with that being said, I think i might take a trip down memory lane and redownload EA. And try out Adastra. I wonder is Darius finally does it. 

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Oh man, I love Darius's route. It's not finished but it's like Day 33 of 35 at this point. I won't say if he gets it, but it's EA sooooo

I think you'll enjoy Adastra. It's a fairly quick read, too. It has two endings and I find the second one considerably more interesting just for all the worldbuilding implications.

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just dont play the untranslated jp vn ones, its not worth reading it in the translator if ur there for the story...  i can recomm morenatsu( if it still exist...) and knights college for the decent ones

oh I think I remember morenatsu. The creators stopped but someone picked it up as a passion project right? I can't remember

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all routes complete except the tiger guy i recall gamma-g (or some other person) complete his route but no sex scene i think its for appeasing the sudden closure of the work??? you have to ask the *** dscrd peeps if they know a thing or two of it

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Thinking about how much this song reminds me of Storm while worrying about not being able to find my debit card with most of my money is a mood. 馃檭

Edit, many hours later: I'm the biggest idiot lmfao

I didn't lose my card, I misrembered the last 4 digits and thought the card was my old one all because I put it as the first card in my wallet instead of the last.

i felt a sudden nostalgia when i return to this peice of vid: :3

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Pervader Thought Thread

(Spoilers!)

I'm going to use this space to post my thoughts on Pervader, so just avoid this comment chain and you should be fine.

I will have more detailed thoughts later, but I need to just say christ, GigaSaddle. These backgrounds are breathtaking and constantly changing.  I am about to get to the Sanctuary and it's just putting me in a similar state to Reamus. 

I like the characters so far. I was a little worried at first since Alen seemed to be a major character but he had the same sprite for hours, while Jymsar had multiple unique expressions. However, the day after we got past the small village with the husky spy, suddenly Alen got all those unique expressions. 

So far the story is fairly laid back, but I really enjoy the vibe. There's not too much music it seems, but the tracks have ended up being perfect for the mood of this story. I can't wait to read more. GigaSaddle's doing an excellent job at making me feel like I'm performing the magic and that's not an easy task.

And yeah, Alen is hot. Jymsar is growing on me. He put on his shiny green jacket and I may have swooned a bit. Matte black and reflective jewel green is a good combo, what can I say? Alen is hiding nothing from the world with those pants, but I mean... I can't blame him. Jonah was the hottest, though. I hope he comes back at some point, but I can move on now that Alen is moving around inside of us. Magically. With his light. Look, it's not weird, okay

ANYWAY. 

I do really hope we can get Jymsar to use magic and stop drinking his vervain so we can go inside him too. "I luminously entered da boy" lmao. Also, I know it's not the vampire diaries anti-magic flower and is etheline or something, but magic sapping flowers will always be vervain for me.

Alen is staring at me on my TV while writing this. It's very intense.

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Ooookay, finished Jymsar's route. He's grown on me quite a bit and is currently my favorite character. I don't think we've hugged yet and I really want us to simply hug. Really liked Everwind, too. I'm always 50/50 on the player character, but I love Reamus. He has an interesting story and god I want to learn more about the dream spirit. The lore in the whole story is really interesting. I suppose more may happen in Elysium since that was apparently the last 3 updates of content, but we'll see. Build 12 seems like it'll be super spicy if that's the convergence line. 


Again, can't get over how many damn backgrounds there are. The way things are written don't stick with me too much. Like there aren't sentences that just knock the air out of me. However, this has managed to really feel like an adventure and is utterly transportive. The imagery in the writing paired with the many different backgrounds between each destination really sell the scope of the world. Everything feels lived in and tangible. It's just an astonishingly polished presentation and absolutely unique in the world of VNs. It deserves way more success than it currently has, but it's not as far along as I originally thought so I have no doubt the audience will come as relationships start happening and the stakes keep rising. 

On to Alen's route and then the simulacrum.


ETA: Of course giving Jymsar a hug is the first thing that fucking happens if you choose to join Alen lmao. But also fuck yeah! About time.

Also I keep calling Jymsar "Ysamar." I should really just call him Jyms.

No dreaming, but god, Alen's route was amazing. Love a cool white and blue mountaintop atmosphere. The architecture was great. Severin was hot and taught Reamus how to go green. Plus we got to lean on Alen. (Who I keep mistyping as Anel, thanks Giga.) 

Was totally on board with Drobeta until the memory thing and now I am very suspicious of her. Like, honestly, I think it would be kind of cool if someone could read my mind and I knew. We could have secret conversations and if they seemed upset I could ask them directly with no one noticing to see if I should help. Like that person has probably heard it all so I don't thing I would mind. Just... Man, I'm scared Drobeta is going to use his memories to find Jyms. Also we have the conversation with Alen after she does the memory trade and I don't like the timing, even if it's ultimately nothing.

(Also the capitol city lake looks suspiciously like a heart with blue veins coming out of it. I'm just saying.)

Glad to be caught up. Happy to understand what that horrifying nanoff star trek cats picture was about months later. Very excited for the continuing adventures of Anel and Ysamar.

Time for simulacrum. Which apparently stars my boy Jonah finally getting some time with Reamus. Very, very up for that.

The simulacrums were great. We have, of course, new background art not counting CG's. A little bit more of the dreamer. Elden Ring? Eldon Brooch.  A wonderful send off to Jonah.

Final verdict: amazing VN. Wondering why no one recommended this to me on their itch page. 

But for real, my only suggestions: I think updating the Alen scenes with multiple sprite expressions in the beginning of the game would be beneficial. It takes until Jymsar shows up to get a character with more than one sprite. Alen has a lot of sprites to choose from, and you could limit it to a few basic ones like with Jyms, who takes forever to get his first smiling sprite. It just doesn't show off what 90% of the experience is actually like, instead seeming overly static despite the damn strong artwork. It also would probably be good to replace the one or two photo backgrounds that are right outside at the start of the game since that never happens again. But since I started with Version 11, that could be happening and I have no point of reference!


But yeah, seriously amazing with what's there with so much promise. The foreshadowing is strong. (The off-hand witch comment suddenly being referenced) I'm so glad I got to experience this. It really is unique in the genre.


Okay, sleep time.

Developer

Pervader is criminally underrated. It's got some of the best art among furry VNs, for both sprites and backgrounds (though I'll admit the amount of expressions per character is a little limited), great writing, and it's doing something different, which is always a plus.

One thing I really appreciate about is that it truly feels like a game written for adults, it doesn't really ask you to self insert into a barely above 18 character that has his life ahead of him and hasn't figured himself out yet. Which is a somewhat of a rarity, unfortunately.

I don't even think it necessarily feels like it's written for adults. It's just set in a fantasy world and commits to fully exploring what that means instead of using it as window dressing to pander. It's the exact reason I ended up loving Minotaur Hotel so much. Like I adore Adastra. I think its world-building is extremely interesting and everything to do with The Parents is cosmic horror in the best way. But it also has scenes where Amicus has sex with an ambassador to save the MC's life and you walk in thinking it's cheating but not before watching the whole scene play out. It's written for a specific audience, rather than written for the story it's trying to tell. (It does mostly work in context, so it's better than a lot in blending the pandering.) We haven't even started a relationship in Pervader and it's so much better for it. 

I also think the more subtle expressions aren't a bad thing for this story. Especially with Jymsar needing to warm up to you. It works and helps make his arc feel special. It's more that it took multiple hours for Alen to get a second expression despite him having a plethora of them already done. If you're just starting it may give a false impression about how much work has been put into it. It stands out in scenes like the jail cell where it's talking about Alen being worried about your wounds and it's that static image of him smiling. Admittedly the side characters mostly only having a single expression is noticeable, but it's also a case of being understandable because the effort that would normally go into that has been spent on backgrounds instead, which is where Pervader truly stands out. Echo didn't add a lot of side character expressions until multiple years into its development, so that could always be done later as a finishing touch. 

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Yo I appreciate your thoughts! I definitely want to go back and add in Alen's new expressions to the earlier scenes. I've wanted to do that for a while, but I kept putting it off. I'll try to do it for the next update.

Oh hi!

I don't think it needs to be a priority if you've got other things you're working on, but it just stands out as the "easiest" barrier of entry to fix. I use quotes because it's a lot of work to go back in and coordinate what the expressions should be, even if they already exist. I do think it'll work wonders for someone just starting. Like there's so much that makes the work special and it's one of the few areas that reads "still in development" when the rest absolutely does not.

Anyway, thanks for a wonderful weekend experience. It captured the spirit of traveling extremely well and was something I've needed for a while. I guess I should hit up the discord at some point. I'm Feign on there. (I somehow went from everything cue5c to like 5 different usernames over a year lol.)

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Excuse the terrible and jittery gif, but I just need to explain how pleasantly jarring it was to play a game that normally looks like this:

Only for some environmental artist to decide to show off some characters in the foreground on this 256x192 pixel screen so we could fully soak in all the details of this:


God bless you, unsung hero of CyberConnect2, and god bless Pickaxe Street.

Developer(+1)

Solatorobo, right?

Man, what a weird fucking game it is, I have so many conflicting opinions about it.

On one hand, the art direction for the backgrounds is amazing, it pulls off really impressive stuff for a DS title, the gameplay is pretty fun and innovative (if a little repetitive towards the end), and Tetris upgrade systems are always a plus.

On the other, the plot and some of the character designs feel very 2005 deviantart to me. It's like they put 5 weeaboos in a room, gave them a bag of coke and a gamecube with sonic adventure 2, locked them inside for two weeks and asked them to write a story.

Yep. I wanted to play Fuga: Melodies of Steel but found out it was part of a series. I actually had Solatorobo but hadn't really played it so I figured I'd go through that first, even if it's not necessary for understanding the story of Fuga. 

And god, yeah, I dislike about 3/4 of the character designs. So many look like slightly melted humans wearing cat ears. This game has made it very apparent I'm not a huge fan of animal characters with human hair. It can be done well and Toby Fox is fairly good at finding the right balance, but god it looks jarring here. That's part of why I love these two dogs. They're not obnoxiously overdesigned and their hair doesn't clash with their fur.

The story isn't great. I'm maybe 2/3 done and I just got a big revelation that I probably would have appreciated more when the game first came out. It all feels fairly Xenoblade-lite. The dialogue is kind of a mess, too, but it has moments and it's gotten better the more I play the game. Some of the sidequest character interactions feel like Gravity Rush and in that way, it's a very comfortable game. Still, even if the story isn't hitting the notes it wants to, you can tell how inspired the world-building is. As you said, the backgrounds are incredible and tell more story than the writing could. I kind of like that they don't call attention to how weird some of it is. Basset is probably my favorite because of that:



It's an orphanage built on the decay of military weapons and the hermit crabs you fish wear warships instead of shells. Some of the worlds hit Final Fantasy 9 levels of charm, which is a feat few games manage. I wish the characters lived up to that game, but hey, I'll take what I can get. At least Paper Mario: The Origami King hit some of those highs.

Interesting you bring up the tetris-like upgrade system. It's something a lot of DS games use and I'm really fond of it, but I've found most don't feel that way. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is another game that uses it and it would be my favorite Kingdom Hearts game if not for the awful stealth missions it sometimes throws at you. I love how level-ups are tied to it, so you have to choose what to prioritize. It's a similar thing in Solatorobo, but with how simple the gameplay is it doesn't have quite the same impact.

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I been finishing Extracurricular Activities and I'm excited to move on to other VNs. Two hot ones on my radar is Echo and pervader. If i go by length, I think I should start with pervader so I can go back when there is an update since i believe Echo is finished. 


As for my thoughts on EA. I like it a lot! It's a cute romance for sure, and their is a type for everyone. Body wise and personality wise. The MC is adorable and I love the slang like prolly and such. It makes them unique. Each character is very lovable and further in the routes you never have to worry to much about them even if you know what's going on in their route. That's a plus to me. I'm excited to see what the other two VNs take me. I hear lots of good things

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Yay! I'm 50/50 on the prolly, but it does stand out and is often cute.

I'd definitely suggest Pervader next. It's extremely promising and I'm going to assume by your dragon that you like magic. :P It does an amazing job selling you on its magic system and world, as well as just being utterly gorgeous. I adore Echo. It's still my second favorite VN, but it's a lot. Hopefully, it's not too much for you. Luckily both other stories in its universe go down a bit smoother and the finale of Jenna's route is a satisfying palate cleanser.

Oh yeah I love magic a lot. It's going to be fun dissecting the magic system. I'm excited! Echo is on the back burner, and I am trying not to spoil anything, just which character I would like to tackle. The lizard and wolf are cute to me. But looks and personality is two different things. So far, I just need to take the first step!

Starting with TJ is usually a good first choice. Flynn, the lizard, is easily my favorite character, but his story is probably better as one of the last two, just because of how many revelations it has that may not make full sense without context from the others. Without spoiling anything, at the very least I would read Leo's (the wolf) story before Flynn's. Unlike a lot of VNs with multiple character routes, they're all unique stories while also each containing major revelations for the overall mystery.

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Hmm, I disagree about recommending TJ's route first. You appreciate and enjoy that route more by knowing the cast's friendship and dynamics, and about that event. I remember the contrast to other routes to be particularly satisfying in TJ's. I really think you ought to finish at least 2 of the other routes to experience this contrast in full glory.

In general, you tend to find the routes you play later to be richer, mostly because of the ommitted context and details you discover other routes. With that said, I recommend one's first two routes to be Carl's and Leo's. The build-up for their pay-offs are relatively self-contained in their own stories, compared to the others which have their build-ups more connected to history and the interweb of relationships. That is to say, the other routes benefit more from being played later.

I'd personally recommend: Carl, Leo, Jenna, TJ, Flynn

P.S. When they said 'check out the Smoke Room', they meant a separate game (unless they wanted to see the world burn).

EDIT: I've resolved the order after some consideration.

I think Carl and TJ are fairly interchangeable as first plays. The problem I have with saying to do Leo before TJ is that Leo's has major emotional resolutions to TJ's route. And Flynn before Jenna also helps deliver an emotional climax to the characters. Jenna's route has the most closure out of all, although Leo's feels far more realistic. I personally started with Carl's but I've had people bounce off because of how they felt about his story. It's one of the weaker stories despite having some of the most lore in it. 

I've played through a couple times so I've seen the added context, and I find the ideal route to be Carl - TJ - Leo/Route 65 (Flynn) - Flynn - Jenna - Route 65 (TJ route) - Leo. But considering how much that is and how people can bounce off Carl, I tend to compromise and say TJ-Leo/65-Carl-Flynn-Jenna. 

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A lot of great options. I am hoping to go over the routes and pick up what i might of missed so I hopefully grasp the story well. It looks like I should start with Carl. He is pretty cute too. Once I hit echo, I know its going to be a tough but rewarding read. I'll keep yall posted if you want to hear my ramblings. But Pervader is first~

Ramblings always welcome. I'm especially curious about what you think about Pervader. The more I've let it sit, the more I really love it.

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[SPOILER FOR ECHO]

Eh? TJ's route does something for Leo's? As far as I know, the reasons as to why you should enjoy Leo's ending are just about covered in his own route; it's relatively self-contained in that way. I'd treated it as the one with the least support from other routes in delivering its climax. I'm kind of surprised that TJ's, one of the more removed from the others that does this. Can you attach a spoiler to remind me of that plot point? 

Besides that, the reason why I placed the latter 2 (TJ, Flynn) in their places is their definitive reveal of a meta issue in the narrative-- the fallibility of the protagonist Chase. The other three barely touch this on their own; at best, Leo's and Jenna's left hints. The magnitude of this reveal is dependent on how much you've established beforehand. The double-take it leads you to do is a precious thing branching mystery VN's can induce. This is Echo's design, seeing how it sprinkles exclusive interconnected lore in each route. You'd miss this experience were you to stumble upon it early.

Funnily enough, my reason for doing the Carl route first is a bit similar to yours. As it is generally deemed the least impactful, one would want to deal with it first as to avoid a valley in your escalating playthroughs. As you've also mentioned, the fact that it had a lot of lore details made it even more appealing for that.

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[Major Echo Spoilers] 

|Don't even skim Tazogor lmao|


I think this is going to come down to a difference in what you want to prioritize. The way I listed is based on having a full understanding of the story at the expense of learning some twists early, which I think the writing is more than strong enough to withstand. Most of Flynn and Jenna's routes were written post-TJ's ending so I feel even more comfortable about that.

The thing I mention with TJ is everything post car crash. TJ can't undo his seatbelt and almost drowns. Chase eventually saves him, but he immediately asks Chase about Sydney. Chase ignores him. From that point on he can't bring himself to talk to Chase. He just stares at him like he's not even human. Sam brings it up while they're in Kudzu's trailer, talking about how water was different from that point on. How he understood the fear others felt. However, all of this is written so that you can misconstrue it as this group mourning a friend and the trauma from it rather than the direct action that Chase took. Also, you miss out on what is objectively the funniest joke in Echo.

https://twitter.com/burner_flynn/status/1400941006363631616?t=YOWaw_rV-1tIC1RWf1...

Leo's route shifts the most depending on what knowledge you have. There's everything with TJ. This even shows up before the car crash, as Chase will have throwaway lines about how cute TJ is and in general has a weird protectiveness about him. (The shift in Flynn's route only happens when TJ is directly confronted.) There's the knowledge that Chase has secretly been flirting with Leo over texts that he deletes out of guilt. There's the tulpa Leo created, who is constantly threatening Chase and likely appears in front of Duke to get Chase killed. There's everything to do with Sam, which has a very different feeling if you've read The Smoke Room. And this is more of a personal theory, but I think that the Flynn that saves Chase is the cursed one. Sam at first sees red eyes and thinks it's a creature of the mines. Only after Sam recognizes him as Flynn does the scene shift and Flynn starts existing, with no red eyes to be seen. When Chase asks him how he knew about the mines he gives a very basic non-answer. With how many timeline shenanigans that exist within Echo, I really feel like Leo's is the true ending to this specific cast. That's why I suggest reading it a second time after finishing it once. There are so many small details that come together.

The reason I say Flynn and then Jenna is because of the reveal of the wendigo at the end of Flynn's route. That way when it shows up in Jenna's, you have a lot more context for it. There's a lot of emotion behind moments like it starting at Flynn when Jenna is trying to save Heather from herself and the town, or when Chase calls it Jenna's guardian angel after it saves them from Brian. Instead of being just a freaky moment, it's incredibly cathartic. Flynn has always been one of the most caring characters so his control of the town to instead save people is a moment of triumph after an ending that is very cruel.

Chase is complicated. He's a liar and he has no problem withholding things from even himself, like the texting. However, that texting confrontation is one of the most revealing moments. Far more so than that he killed Sydney. At that moment, he feels guilt, which shocks Sam into saying something along the lines of, "this is what you feel guilty about?" As he says when he's free of Sam in Flynn's route, he's glad he killed Sydney. That means he is not the one causing everything that's happening in Echo. It's actually mostly Flynn and (to a lesser extent) Leo. It's why killing Flynn delays the madness, as his guilt is cut off. It might have ended because he realized Chase did it and decided he wanted to live more than kill, but we can't know for sure. Either way, with Flynn either killed or changed, things shift. So Chase is more of a catalyst for others. I have to wonder if Chase being affected in TJ's route is because he's confused as to why TJ is doing this, since in his mind, killing Sydney was the right thing to do.

All of this is to say that despite Chase being an unreliable narrator, his motivations for doing so aren't really tied to anything deeper than basic teenage shit. It's not sinister in nature. If you don't go along with Flynn in the club, you find out Chase hasn't slept with anyone since leaving Leo, so Leo is still the only person he's been with. Chase is extremely sheltered and an awkward as fuck person. I think he should feel guilty about what he did and why Jenna's route is a little too easy for me, but it's better for the town if it's seen as a good thing so everyone can accept Sydney's death and move on. That's why I prefer Leo's ending. People move on, but nothing is washed over. TJ finally understands the weight of what happened and Chase is with someone who can help him, but is also someone Chase can protect, fulfilling both of his needs. Leo has finally taken off the damn anchor and rejects giving Chase his new number. (Again, more meaningful knowing what Chase was doing in secret.)

I'll say that Leo's route is also the one that is most directly linked with Adastra. The dream when Chase is hit by Duke has text that is almost word for word used in Adastra when describing The Other. I agree that Leo's feels the most standalone, but I really think it benefits more than any other from being read a second time.

(This was a lot so sorry if some of my thoughts are kind of scattered!)