That is such a great review. You've made some very insightful suggestions here. Little details that I've missed while making things actually impact the players in the big way! Mike is supposed to be pretty normal. The
part where he was supposed to be sadistic was something I put because we all have sadistic thoughts from time to time. In my mind, it's human nature. Mike is naturally a nice person and Fake Mike wanted to get a rise out of him. I admit I didn't give that much thought.. But now that people have been mentioning it, it's a lesson to me to treat every detail with care and respect because people are going to catch on to them lol
Yeah, that's pretty much the biggest flaw of the game, the trivia part was a bit weak. I admit it's mostly a noob mistake because I was trying to stick to the limited choice system I created. Like some of the reviewers said, a lot of the suspense seem to deflate in that part.
In retrospect, I think I was trying to create a lighter, more comedic mood and not go in on the deep end. There's a lot of ways this story could've turn even darker. Like some people suggested, discussing private, emotional details (even sex life details), should've been part of the picture. This thing didn't even occur to me until somebody pointed it out hahaha! Again, I think this is a beginner mistake, probably because I didn't want to risk too much on my first game!
I think that giving the player more explanation for how the choices you made affected Sarah's judgement would have benefitted the game.
That's a good suggestion!
No no! I'm not offended at all! Don't feel the need to apologize. I really appreciate it! I've learned a lot from reading people's reviews so it can only be a good thing! This is the main point why we create stuff. We do it so we can have discussions! Otherwise, why bother? So please, please do tell me what you think, good or bad. I hope you're still around for other future projects! I hope you watch me Senpai! XDD
Also, since the doppelganger got away, does that mean it's eating at Sarah's life, and she'll be dead in a weak because of me? Because that's just really sad . . .
Damn, that's something I didn't think about! Oh knoes!
Yes, it did. But Ending 9 (The Fool) and Ending 5 (The Innocent) were confusing at best and abrupt at worst. Other parts of the game offered no explanation to how Mike died, and it definitely hadn't been a week yet. I think the doppelganger sped up the draining process somehow, but I was disheartened when the game didn't explain.
For this part, I wanted to emphasize replayability. Like in end 9, realistically speaking, Mike wouldn't really know what's happening to him if he did leave. He didnt ask any questions, didn't go deeper. He just accepted his fate and left. The goal of this is to explore other endings so you can piece together bit by bit what's really happening to Mike.
for End 5, nobody said Mike died in that ending. He just felt the effects after he left (such effects were discussed in ending 7), which is a better ending that him going to a hotel and sleeping it off (which was what was supposed to happen)
Both of us were a bit upset that there was no definite "true Mike" and "real Mike", that who was who fluctuated depending on the choices you make (Agree/Disagree, Lying/Honesty).
Some people liked this feature and some didnt! I'll give my thoughts about this in reply to Haze's comment too
Oh yeah, forgot to mention: why is the game in past tense?? It makes it seem like we're telling the story in the future, which makes no sense if we died during the story. It also bogs things down with confusing phrasing.
Sorry about that! Originally, the game was in present tense, but I got really confused with it on some parts. To make things simpler for editing and proofreading, we went for past to make it more straightforward haha ^^;;
I kinda liked the one where you're the fake Mike and you leave peacefully. The ending where you choose to attack instead frustrated me, though. Why can't you succeed as evil Mike? It would've been a nice variation.
I did that to emphasize that Fake Mike is still sympathetic. He hesitated at the last second, which means he didn't want to harm the humans, further showing that he is not fully evil. Though of course, that is still a great possibility! (Another reason is the added workload of an extra CG lol)
First, let me say a side sprite would have helped this game immensely. Because I can't see what I look like in game, I have the inclination to naturally assume my own appearance in the game. Of course, since I'm supposed to be a copy of Mike, looking like how I do irl in the game doesn't make much sense. A side sprite, however, would make me realize "Oh, I really am a copy of Mike!" and help me more easily adopt Mike's appearance in-game. This is especially true when it comes to the part about the glasses. That just came out of left field.
That isn't the only thing in this game that came out of left field. Mike being a writer is another one. You could have mentioned it earlier, but, since you didn't, it feels like a cop-out that is just there so Sarah isn't killed.
Good suggestions! I completely missed that!
There's a guitar in the background. Does Mike play that guitar, or is it there for no real reason? If it's the former, Sarah could've asked the Mikes to play the guitar, and that would've solved it. I mean, I assume shared memories doesn't mean shared muscle memory and skill one can only get from practicing an instrument for years at a time.
Another good catch! Admittedly, I only put the guitar in because I can hahaha. These comments teach me to be careful of the detail you show the players! I need to be more prudent next time!
Mike's death in 2 of the endings was a little weird, mainly because it's mentioned later it'll take Mike a week to deteriorate. I know you said fake Mike sped up the process to kill Mike, but if that's the case, why didn't he do that in the first place? Kill Mike, take his life, go upstairs and tell Sarah everything's fine, end of story. It would've been more convenient, but instead, he goes for the Q&A session for no good reason. This is kind of a big plot hole, you know...
Well, if that's the case then we wouldn't have a game lol! I wouldn't call it a plothole per se, but more of a suspension of belief. I'm sure no supernatural creature would actually agree to play the Q&A game with the humans just because. There's still the fact that you might or might not be Mike too.
About the sped up process: In my mind, speeding up the feeding would probably be a huge risk for the Fake Mike, sort of a last resort. But because the real Mike appeared (and left), he had no choice but to do it. He wouldn't explain that because villains don't usually give out their evil plan to their victims. Only bond villains do that haha.
But it can also be that he can control the feeding rate with ease and just wanted to play with them and have fun. These are the kind of stuff that is left to the players imagination.
Finally, Mike being either real or fake is a huge problem. At first, I came to the conclusion that BOTH Mikes are fakes, and want to be real to be with Sarah or so they can stay or something like that. Since this isn't said in-game, it's probably not true, but it was the only thing I could come up with for why you could be fake or the other Mike could be fake. However, when Sarah being real or fake changed, I was not happy. You can't just change your game's reality on a whim, unless there's an in-game reason for it-- and there doesn't appear to be.
Saying "You can't just change your game's reality on a whim", is a bit limiting though. I approached this game on the basis of parallel dimensions.
If there is only one set reality in the game or multiple ones, is up to the creator/writer. The way I see it, we are watching different versions of the same tale. Each possibility is a stand-alone short story that can exist on its own. It's up to the player to explore the other realities to gain knowledge about situation.
"Who is Mike? Is he the villain? Is he the hero? Is he wrongfully accused?" is really the point of the story. The hook of it is you can be something else every ending. I wasn't able to fully utilize the possibilities, I think. I'm sure there's still a lot of choice systems I could've made so the players are guaranteed that experience... I don't think having two fake Mikes would benefit the story, neither does having variable Mikes make the story weaker, because that's the point of the game.
As for Sarah changing, a lot of people found that confusing as well haha. But it all comes around the point that these stories are parallels of each other. It gives the player an opportunity to see the "what ifs". Whether the story became weaker because of it is an opinion and I welcome it
I'm not sure an in-game reason is needed in this case. The desire to create something different and not be limited by convention is reason enough. I admit this approach could've been a lot more graceful and poignant. Don't let my limitations limit your VN appetite. I won't abandon it just yet!
If you make a sequel, it should be called "Who is They?".
After all, that's what Mike asked fake Mike in ending 1
That's a nice title! If I were to make a sequel,
it would probably left off at End 7 where the Fake Mike failed to reverse the spell. Real Mike dies and Sarah is left with a regretful, guilt-ridden, darker clone of Mike. They team up to hunt all the other monsters around, with Sarah forcing Fake Mike to help her because Real Mike died. Complicated relationship!
Thanks for playing the game, Seni!
Was it on purpose or did you just forget which Sarah was the real in the ending that was made first?
That was on purpose lol. I'm thinking most people got confused at this part, but I approached everyone's identity as a variable while making it. If Mike can be both real and fake, then Sarah too can be both real and fake (which was my train of thought while making it haha)
I saw in the walkthrough that there were options for the player to be the Fake Mike. I didn't play those routes, but I'm interested in your conception: did you make this story/game for the players to be the Fake Mike or the real one?
I wrote the story with the goal of having stand-alone short stories for each ending, like a parallel dimension. Both Fake and Real Mike exist in my head, so there isn't one good or bad ending. If the player wanted to be the Fake Mike, Fake Mike still has a good ending (End 7). Most people who played it said that they still liked the Fake Mike. He was still sympathetic and not a flat-out antagonist. This is one of the goals and I'm quite pleased with this result!