Alright, this is a review that has been PM'd to me by Ras Alaghe. After asking him if I could post it here and removing the elements that made it a personal message, here's the first review that finished a few endings of my game:
Hi there, Mammmon. I'm Ras Alaghe, and I'm also an amateur VN creator wandering the whereabouts of lemma. I just finished playing a couple of routes of your game, and I simply had to write this to you. Man, you have a GIFT for this, trust me. I'm a writer myself, as well as a VN designer. And I think I can tell that your work falls into the awesome category without a doubt, more so when you used pretty basic resources to produce it.
First of all, the concept of your story is undoubtedly original, and you manage it with utmost brilliance as the events unfold themselves. As you state in your "writing" section of the bonus, you have the talent to develop simple ideas into great stories, and I think I definitely could learn one thing or two from your display. Just by exploring the idea of "what would happen if the paths of a pervert and a yandere crossed", you put together an awesome story. Your writing style is downright top-notch, and shows along the whole plot. Not just in terms of narration, but also in planning and placing events in an interesting and hooking fashion. Maybe sometimes there are too much words to digest at once, but while others could find this a bit too much heavy, I definitely sat down to enjoy a great story; and in my opinion, that only goes to show how careful you are when you're narrating a story in detail. In that respect, I think I can tell I'm the same. Also, the touch, the feel you give off at the right moments, the twists... all of them show off. Your quality is way above most others I've seen out there, and I saw a whole bunch this far, trust me.
I'm not exactly into the yandere thing, but hell, your story was good enough to almost make me fall for Vanessa. I think that speaks by itself. (In fact, I ended in her route). I sure love how you know the ways of otaku and anime world. I found myself smiling in delight when I saw your reference to "School Days"... and man, I sure laughed hard with the "Chibi field" and its nature! I didn't play your whole game yet, but I'm guessing there's even more revealing content to discover.
And all of this WITHOUT taking into account the other resources a VN has that plain narrations don't have: music and illustrations. Contrary to what others mentioned, I don't feel there are too much background music tracks, just the right amount and well chosen to back the appropriate scenes. Sure, the final size of your file could be lighter, but I don't think the music tracks are the problem. Probably you could do the trick by compressing most of the images, CGs and background mostly, which I see are in .png format. They could be put in .jpg, and with the amount of images you use, the result would be clearly apparent in the final size of the archive. Even the sprites could be compressed with tools that are accessible via the Ren'Py cookbook page.
And as if your skills as a writer weren't enough, your artist side is also undoubtedly great (something I can't say about myself in the least). Sure, with more sophisticated tools the art could be improved, but taking into account that you did it with little more than your mouse, it's simply AWESOME. And totally worth of being in a quality game. Don't let anyone else say less to you.
In summary, dude, your work is GREAT. In a simple word. I really enjoyed it so far, even when I didn't unlock all the routes yet. A few more tricks with transitions and Ren'Py coding would make a piece of art out of this, but bit by bit you'll learn about those, just as I'm doing.
Seeing how you're kindly willing to share your art (which I sure like), I'll browse through it, and maybe I'll ask for something in the future. And I also feel like giving something in return, mind you. Just as you, I'm not a native English speaker (I'm Spanish, and Catalan at that), and one of the tasks I'm devoting to, aside from making (or trying to make) visual novels, is translating them into other languages. I'm already doing so with a few ones, more "official" so to speak, but after watching your work, I tell you, I felt a sudden urge to translate it into Spanish or even Catalan to make it accessible for more people. If I had your permission to do that, I think I wouldn't hesitate. Of course, the final say in the matter is yours, as the author. (~scrapped personal information)
Keep up the good work, and I hope to see you around!
Hi Ras Alaghe, thank you so much for your review! As far as I know, you're the first person to complete any of the routes of this game and I'm so glad you liked it!
Important things first:
-If you would be willing to translate the game into Spanish, I wouldn't decline you. The opposite even, I would be delighted and eternally grateful! If you would be willing to take up such a massive task of translating >120.000 words (and I translated Dutch to English before, I know it's not as easy as copying notes), I'd gladly help and support you with things like adding the translation to the VN or anything else you'd might need help with.
About that, I was actually browsing through the Lemmasoft Forum looking for anything like what I was thinking of, to make my entire game Creative Commons: not only the art would be CC but also the game itself, the premise, the story universe etc. I'm not sure how I would phrase something like that in the thread, but essentially that anyone would be allowed to do anything with my game from translating it to making their own stories with my characters or even copying scenes for their own story. (added to opening post now)
-And about this PM, would it be okay for me to post it in the Pervert&Yandere thread? If the Lemmasoft community is anything like me, there are probably quite a few people hesitant to play this game until they see some positive reviews from pioneers like you.
-So .jpg is a lot lighter than .png? This goes to show that I know little to nothing about encoding... I'll keep that in mind and add it to my to-do list for when there's enough feed-back to improve upon the game. I'll look up how to compress files properly next time.
I'm very glad you liked my story and writing, I wasn't too sure if people would like it. I'm incapable of objectively judging my own work, after all. And I already expected the 'too much to digest at times' comment, probably refering to Richard's inner monologues when he's planning something. I have a habit of overthinking things from all angles, and Richard inherited this trait.
Combining this with how you need to explain everything carefully enough for everyone to get it, I too thought it to be a bit too much but preferred it over the audience not following the story. I know how annoying yet apparently neccesary something like that can be from animes that overexplain everything that just happened. (And, as you can probably tell from the length of my message here, my writing can be rather long-winded as well.) Now imagine that problem in the first draft, before I cropped the dialogue twice.
P.S., if you haven't played all the routes yet, you most likely haven't seen the Saviour route yet. Once you do, could you tell me if it was any good? It's the only route I wasn't quite satisfied with and it's a real hit-or-miss situation that hopefully ends the game on a positive campy note, but which could also ruin one's opinion of it instead. But after four massive rewrites, I had to accept it lest this game would never see the light of day.