Downloading now! I'll post another reply once I've given it a playthrough.
I really like Trash's design...and name. Congratulations to you and your entire team on the release!
Here's a list of my various impressions (typed up as I play!):
NOTE: This is spoiler tagged for a reason! You have been warned.
NOTE 2: This list contains a combination of my thoughts as I was going along and actual commentary on how I feel about the way the game was presented.
• This is really well written. I can already tell that I'm going to like this!
• The music was well chosen. The tunes are enjoyable, and they fit the scenes they're fitted into quite well.
• I'm liking Trash just as much as I assumed I would. His open-mouthed sprite is always kind of distracting to me, though, because his mouth is perfectly round and doesn't have any features. I can't help feeling like it's missing some details.
• I don't know why, but for some reason it strikes me as kind of funny that trash knows to add "P.S." to a letter despite it appearing as though he's never actually been taught to write.
• Found a small error: "All around the shack, in every direction,
and an endless waste stretches across the horizon."
• I really like Trash's way of speaking. Also, I appreciate the attention to detail in having his sprite be covered in dirt after he returns home from work.
• Speaking of open-mouthed sprites, the one that shows his teeth is amazing. xDD I just cracked up when I saw that grin.
• They're pretty simplistic, but I like the chapter indicator screens.
• I'm only in the second chapter, but the progression of everything seems so natural thus far. Have you written any other visual novels? I feel a great urge to track down each and every one of them. UPDATE: There is indeed at least one! I will definitely be downloading it after this.
• This is a small thing, but I feel that Trash's sprite should have been darkened to fit with the scene that takes place at night. It just looks out of place. Probably just a personal preference, though it would have been a nice touch.
• I'm rather curious how all of these choices actually effect the story progression. I've been mostly going by how I would actually respond in the presented situations for this playthrough. I actually have to commend you for providing such realistic choices. I've encountered so many visual novels that present me with choices I would never even consider choosing, which I suppose is fine depending on the character I'm playing as. In this case, though, I could easily imagine myself in the character's place. The dialogue between Trash and "I" is spot on as well!
•I found a small continuity error. Near the beginning, right after the player character reads the note Trash left, she looks around the room and realizes that there are no cupboards. Later on, after the two of them return from the bunker with the "grapes", it says that Trash stores them in a cupboard. UPDATE: These mystery cupboards are actually mentioned again during the CD player scene. If you decide to edit, I'd probably just go back and take out the part about there not being any cupboards, since they seem kind of important.
• Another small error in the script: "You [end/wind] up eating dinner in silence, just waiting out the sunlight, until it finally fades."
• I imagine that you were probably working with limited resources, but the bar background looks a bit too new and electricity-filled to fit in with the rest of the post apocalyptic environment. I haven't mentioned this before, but all of the rest of the backgrounds were good picks!
• Right in the middle of the scene where they're in the mine shaft and Trash asks if "I" hear something, there's this constant knocking noise that I was thoroughly convinced was part of the game. I was all tensed up and ready for some in-game action...and then I realized it was just my dog. xD
• My cat stepped on the keyboard and magically made the game full-screen and voiced. O_o
It was a computerized voice, but still. Were these intentionally included features, or is my computer just more capable than I gave it credit for? Are they just generally packaged with Ren'py?? More so the voice than the full-screen, which I'm pretty sure actually is. I just hadn't thought to try it out since the option wasn't specifically offered.
• Finally hit upon a part where the PC and I are in complete disagreement. It suppose it had to happen eventually! I trusted those military guys for about half a second after they were introduced. I kept trying to side with Trash in my choices, but Miss PC just refused to cooperate. xD
They did succeed in making me slightly more suspicious about Trash's past, though. Well, that and Trash's particularly vehement distrust and avoidance. Plus, he's been alternating between trying to tell "me" something and avoiding telling "me" about it for what seems like two or three chapters. That's never a good sign.
• I understand why PC is mad that Trash lied, but she never agreed to be a part of this experiment anyway. Screw those military guys! Trash was doing her a favor.
• I sincerely hope that that cell room background isn't representative of the actual beds provided.
• It seems kind of convenient that PC overheard that particular conversation. You'd think they'd be a bit more careful knowing that there is an outsider around...Seems kind of pointless to prioritize weapons in an empty world, anyhow. Never trusted that guy.
• I'm kind of wondering where the bandits got all the army supplies. Were the supplies already at the base (or somewhere they'd encountered along the way) and the soldiers had previously succumbed to the red cloud or muties?
• I really like the various changes that Trash's sprite goes through. It helps pull me into the story even more!
• I'm seriously beginning to feel just as hopeless about this situation as they are. Good job!
• HAH! I love that switch to Not-Soldier.
• I was wondering for a while whether there was more than one ending. Now I know for sure that there are at least two. If there are more than that, the fast-forward option would have been a good inclusion. Also, while it didn't really detract from my overall enjoyment, I feel that the game would have benefited from a few sound effects here and there.
Since I'm heading into Chapter 3, I suppose now is as good a time as any to halt the play by play. I'll return with my final thoughts once I've finished! I might append a few notes here an there to the original spoiler tag, though.
I LOVED this game! The relationship between Trash and "Feral" (my chosen name, heh) developed so naturally; it never felt rushed or unrealistic or shoehorned in, as fictional romance often does. There was not a moment during which I felt the story dragged on. In fact, I finished the whole thing in one straight shot. There was just the right amount of action and mystery, and indeed the story was written so engagingly that I actually felt my heart rate spike on more than one occasion. Sometimes the story developed in ways that I expected, but the ways were logical enough in context that they weren't distracting. And, I wouldn't say that this was prevalent enough to call the story predictable. There were plenty of surprises and unexpected developments as well. The dialogue was a delight to read! I actually found myself laughing out loud more than once. Trash and "Feral"'s interactions were actually a focally enjoyable point for me. I did feel that some scenes were a bit short and ended kind of abruptly, but that's at least preferable to dragging on for too long. There are a couple of things I would have liked answered, but I'm satisfied with the way everything played out. Overall, Aloners was a very enjoyable game and I would recommend it to anyone.