Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller] NOW ON STEAM!

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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#31 Post by juniperandlamplight » Mon May 04, 2015 4:48 pm

Oh... That makes sense. I got the rest of the endings! Now to answer the questions you set.

1. Did you enjoy the story and characters?
Yes, very much. I thought it was an interesting twist that
whether or not you were Mike changed.
And I liked Sarah a lot. I also kind of liked Fake Mike, in a weird way. It's definitely creepy, but also oddly sympathetic? Like,
in ending 7 it's willing to leave, and it warns Mike about others in 1.
It's hard to hate it. It's also exciting to see a mystery/thriller in a visual novel - most people don't stray too far from the usual genres. The thing about Mike is that in most of the routes he's kind of just normal? The little bit (I can't remember which path it was on, sorry) where the creature implied that
Mike was sadistic was... Interesting :shock:. And it seemed like it might be true in that path. Yet he's also supposed to be pure of heart? Not that, say, liking BDSM means that somebody isn't pure of heart... It was just that most of time Mike didn't really seem to have any hidden depths. But we have two routes saying that he's uncommon in one way or another. I don't know, it would have been cool to see more of that in different routes, maybe sprinkled about as clues that only have significance when a certain piece of info is revealed?
2. How was the pacing of the story?
I think that it was well paced for the most part. The trivia section could maybe have been a little more... Exciting? I don't know if that's the right word. I think it might have been interesting to see Mike and Sarah's relationship more fleshed out through that. Or delve more into Mike's character. Overall the story is pretty suspenseful though.

3. Which ending did you like the most?
The Catalyst or The Stranger. I'd like to think that those are the closest to 'true' endings, and I think that the hint that
they'll have more interaction with these creatures
is fun to think about. Though, The Sly does have a certain creepy appeal. The last CG in that one... *shiver*

4. Did the story flow naturally to the ending?
I think I did, overall. I'm not totally sure how Sarah came to the conclusion she did in some of the endings though. It seemed almost random in some cases, as if it was decided that 'there has to be a different ending here because there was a different combination of variables'. And I don't really believe that that is the case, I think (or very much hope, at least, based on the overall quality of the game) that you made it that way because of carefully thought out reasons. However, those reasons aren't really transparent to the player. Therefore, I wish that there was a little more explanation for some of them,
like there was in the paths where she mentions 'you thought you could lie through the whole questioning' (or something like that) and the one where she mentions that Fake Mike doesn't have the right body language.
I think that giving the player more explanation for how the choices you made affected Sarah's judgement would have benefitted the game.

5. Any general comments?
I really enjoyed the art direction of this. I thought that the lighting was done well, and the sprites were nice. I liked the range of expressions. The music is also very well chosen, and really helps to create a suspenseful, creepy atmosphere. I also thought that the contrast between Mike and Fake Mike was done well.
The choice of who looks bedraggled sort of represents the power? When you're really Mike and you see your reflection, you look terrible because you're weaker; you've lost. When a Mike is revealed as a fake (regardless of whether they are), they get the ragged sprite. When Mike is 'real' (whether or not they are) they get the healthy-looking sprite. It's a really smart way to show who is the more powerful one.

Okay, geez, so I may have sounded a little... Intense with some of that. But I criticize only when I love! Seriously, please don't be offended by any of this. Honestly, a lot is nitpicking, especially relative to my enjoyment of the same, and the only time I do that is when I'm affected enough by something, and like it enough to think about it and analyze it. I think that this is a very good game, and shows (and delivers on) a lot of promise. So, I think that you can do even better and develop even more!

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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#32 Post by Norbez » Tue May 05, 2015 6:35 pm

Played this through with Haze; we took turns voice-acting! (She did Sarah, I did the "Mike"s. Maybe we'll post a video! :D)
1. Did you enjoy the story and characters?
2. How was the pacing of the story?
3. Which ending did you like the most?
4. Did the story flow naturally to the ending?
5. Any general comments?
1. Overall, I enjoyed the personalities of each characters, and how they were displayed, except for Mike's perverted comments (bit to much swearing on Sarah's part, but that's just my personal opinion. Btw, they've been together since 2009, and he hasn't told her in six years that he dislikes her cooking?!). However, the story, while well-told, was lacking in some glaring ways. (I'll get to that later in the list.)
2. The pacing was quite good. I enjoyed the way the dialogue flowed, and the ways that the "reveals" were unveiled. However, the fact that Mike offered his writing skills to Fake Mike, and that wasn't mentioned at all earlier, really disappointed me. Just dropped that in for what, honestly, seems like no reason. I see he's a freelancer on this post, but not everyone who played the game read this post, so I had no idea.
Also, I think it would have been interesting if you, as fake Mike, could attack Sarah and have the same process as Endings 1-3, except in reverse. The hesitation by Doppelganger Mike in attacking is also not sufficiently explained.
3. The ending I liked the most was . . . eh . . . Ending 1. I actually found the real Sarah because of how she described her injuries, and thought that knowing about the injuries in so much detail revealed her, because she's a cop and knows that stuff. When the doppelganger said the "I know what she wants for her birthday" stuff, I squealed in delight! 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 . . . :(
4. 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.
5. Okay, "general comments":
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). It was an interesting path to take, and was enjoyable to read as well, but it was different from what Haze and I were expecting. Since the paths for being real and fake were interesting (for the most part), I can forgive that, and like how it was based on those 4 factors. (But Haze predicted an awesome twist! I was really disappointed that it didn't come true! Check out her post; she's putting down her thoughts later!)
Who's Fake Mike I can forgive, but not who is Fake Sarah. That's just too crucial, too important. I feel like a good story was flung aside for a "good twist" that ended up being more infuriating that interesting.
For the most part, the art was great, but some CGs looked pixelated. There were some points when the art looked dis-balanced as well (like the shot of Sarah with her bleeding arm; her eyes looked a bit off). I wish we'd seen Mike's old glasses earlier, to see their age and compare then to Fake Mike's. Maybe they were described earlier! Ah, well. Overall, I really liked the art, though!
Nice word choice in the dialogue. Sometimes I was like "what?", but I liked it. Also, simple and clean UI. Don't know how I feel about the gun in the pref screen . . .
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.

So, this was enjoyable to voice-act, but the story itself could have been a lot better. I'll be honest: it wasn't as good as I expected, mainly because the writing didn't adequately cover its own tracks. I look forward to your next release!

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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#33 Post by Haze » Tue May 05, 2015 6:36 pm

Hey! Just wanted to give my own opinions! :D
1. Did you enjoy the story and characters?
2. How was the pacing of the story?
3. Which ending did you like the most?
4. Did the story flow naturally to the ending?
5. Any general comments?
1. The characters were all fine, but the story was not. Why does the fake Mike change?! Why does the fake Sarah change?! Both of these things, who's real and who's fake, are crucial to the story, but they change at will, which makes the story much weaker. I'll talk about this more in response to question 5.

2. The pacing was fine; I thought it was just right. Nice work there!

3. 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.

4. The story flowed naturally, except the ever-changing real/fake Mike.

5. 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.

In some places, "Tell the truth" or "Tell a lie" just wasn't appropriate. Other options would've made it more clear what Mike was trying to say.

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.

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...

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.

So, I found the ideas of the game to be good, but, in my opinion, the story did not deliver. Norbez and I had fun playing this together, though!

If you make a sequel, it should be called "Who is They?". After all, that's what Mike asked fake Mike in ending 1! :lol:
PM coming your way after I update my NaNo game, bond, later tonight, or perhaps tomorrow. Just giving you a heads up! :D
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#34 Post by Seni » Fri May 08, 2015 3:14 pm

Thank you for this game!

First I got Ending 5, then 2, then 1. I tried to follow the walkthrough from the beginning, but there were several bad attempts to make it to the Ending 1.
First of all, I didn't know which choice had to be the "Tell the truth" one and the "Disagree with Mike" one. Later I realized that these choices had to be made in all cases. (I thought just one specific answer was important for both statements.)
The second one was the walkthrough's bad: it said I had to shoot Sarah when the 3rd timed choice came. So I shot her and I got the Ending 2 for killing the real one. Then I replayed (glad I saved before making this choice) and chose "Think" and then shot the Fake Sarah.

One more thing: in Ending 2 I shot the Sarah who was in front of me - the real one - because the door creaked after I shot (so the impostor was in the room). Then, in Ending 1, I, again, shot the Sarah in front of me, then I helped the real one out of the room. So, it means, this time the real one was hiding in there.
Was it on purpose or did you just forget which Sarah was the real in the ending that was made first?
Despite these little problems I liked your idea and the way you served us the story with all the chosen backgrounds, musics and sprites.
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?

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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#35 Post by ameliori » Sat May 09, 2015 3:30 am

@juniperandstreetlights

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

@ Norbez
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 ^^;;


@ Haze
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
! :lol:
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!
@Seni:

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!
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#36 Post by qirien » Tue May 12, 2015 11:51 pm

Thought I'd let you know I posted a recommendation for Who is Mike on my gaming blog in an article about serious indie games! Thanks for the fun VN!
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#37 Post by Haze » Wed May 13, 2015 9:23 pm

Norbez and I recorded ourselves doing a commentary and just-for-fun voice acting for the game. We responded to a couple of ame's replies to what we thought of the game, and made some other comments. This is mainly for Fervent Studios, but we hope all of you enjoy, and please comment! If you have something to say but don't have a youtube account, feel free to tweet or PM me or Norbez. ^^
Last edited by Haze on Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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You might ask yourself: If I could only save one paragraph of the work I'm writing, which one would I save?
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#38 Post by ameliori » Fri May 15, 2015 1:16 pm

@ qirien: Oh wow... To be put alongside Aloners (one of my favorites!) is such a friggin honor! Thank you so much qirien!

@ Haze: I enjoyed this more than I thought I would! I seriously did not expect this much deep thought/nitpicking for "Who is Mike" lol. I was basically "I have no idea what I'm doing" Dog throughout the whole creation of it. I hope you guys at least enjoyed the game despite the plot holes! ^^;

Also, please just call us "FERVENT". I still can't decide whether to use "studios" or "studio" at the end, to be honest!
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#39 Post by Haze » Tue May 19, 2015 7:32 pm

ameliori wrote: @ Haze: I enjoyed this more than I thought I would! I seriously did not expect this much deep thought/nitpicking for "Who is Mike" lol. I was basically "I have no idea what I'm doing" Dog throughout the whole creation of it. I hope you guys at least enjoyed the game despite the plot holes! ^^;

Also, please just call us "FERVENT". I still can't decide whether to use "studios" or "studio" at the end, to be honest!
And I'm glad you enjoyed the video! :D

Also, I'll keep the "Fervent" thing in mind for the future.
My first completed visual novel, which is at 1.3, it's final version(woo hoo!): Monster Uses CPU 2
Finally at version 1.0: White Fog
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I make one song every week, all for free download! This weeks song: Synthis- The Mirror(Eliana Remix)[Preview]

You might ask yourself: If I could only save one paragraph of the work I'm writing, which one would I save?
Which one would I let go first?

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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller,Supernatural, Comedy]

#40 Post by ameliori » Sun May 24, 2015 3:14 am

Well, just throwing it out there! We're running a Greenlight Campaign!
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/f ... =448157808

The game will still be free but it's our goal to reach a wider audience ^^. Please support us! More support, more future games from Fervent!
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ameliori
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller] NOW ON STEAM!

#41 Post by ameliori » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:47 pm

Hi guys! I've got great news for Who is Mike! It's now on Steam! Please visit to check it out there! Thank you so much for everyone's support!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/377430?beta=0
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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller] NOW ON STEAM!

#42 Post by Damlight » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:12 pm

Looks good, Gonna test :D

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Re: Who is Mike? [Mystery/Thriller] NOW ON STEAM!

#43 Post by Akitsuki » Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:44 am

Played it! Wow, that was pretty... intense LOL. I got really nervous in my first playthrough because I totally had no idea what was going on and what was I supposed to do. I guess I got ending 5, The Innocent first. I tried playing it several times to get the other endings before I gave up and looked at the walkthrough hahaha

I see that other members have mentioned some holes in the plotline and stuff, but it's pretty much enjoyable I think. Perhaps I was too eager to find out what would happen in the end to notice such things LOL Overall, it was a nice experience! Keep it up!!

Oh, and one more thing! I already got all the endings, but somehow I still haven't seen one of the CGs. In the gallery, it's on the 2nd page and top right. A little help maybe?

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