Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#16 Post by AzuremiaSkye » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:27 am

Seeing as there are a lot of reviews where people have not finished the game, here is a review by someone who has actually finished the game!

Story: 7.8/10

I really enjoyed the story, though it wasn’t anything ground-breaking in my opinion - BUT! I assure you that people old or new to the genre of visual novel otome games will enjoy this very much. I liked the slight “horror” aspect of this game, Sachiro’s route depicted this very well, and set the stage for me since I started with him first. Though because of that, other routes were more disappointing in that aspect.

The main plot line is different for each route, and other love interests will only make a very minor appearance at the start, when you are on a love interest’s route, it will focus on them entirely, which I really like because it gives each character a more in depth development than just having the plot change slightly. So if you didn’t like one route, chances are you will like another better. Depending on your play order, some details will be revealed on another route, which I like.

Romance was set at a perfect pace in my opinion, it wasn’t too fast nor too slow and you definitely will not feel like a creepy pedo in Sachiro’s route *wink*.

Characters: 8/10

Most of the characters are very likeable in my opinion, all of the love interests are understandable and they don’t fall into -dere stereotypes very much, which I love since by the end of each route you are wondering how to describe their personalities, but can’t come up with something stereotypical. Though, I wish some characters had some more development, such as Chain and Rasumi, as it is not clear what their motives are. As of this review Rasumi is like a character that is bad for the sake of being bad.

The main character is NOT a lamp! Yay! The main character actually takes the initiative in events and is rarely in a damsel in distress situation. I also personally find the main character to be relatable, I can definitely understand her actions and behaviour even if it isn’t a decision I would normally take.

Art: 9.6/10

The art is a pleasure to look at with beautiful colours and abstract inspired backgrounds, characters are drawn beautifully and there is plenty of CG to look and admire at, 12 per love interest! The 0.4 off is because sometimes there are places where characters look inconsistent, but maybe it is because of Pin’s change in art style over the years. Pin has depicted unsettling imagery very well, very fitting for a Halloween release. ;)

GUI is easy to understand and is done in a standard Ren’Py layout, and suits the game, I love the minimalist style. In my opinion, it is easy to navigate.

Music: 10/10

What can I say? It’s just my taste in music, I love pianos and many of the music resemble lullabies which made me stop and appreciate them, I also love the action music and would definitely listen to on a daily basis. If a DLC comes out for music, I will buy in a heartbeat!

Though in-game wise, it is set very loud so I had to go to settings to lower the volume a little.

Gameplay: N/A

It’s a visual novel, so there is not really much gameplay to talk about other than reading, though Dark Nights has done some interesting things with their choices, and some over arch to show an extra scene. There are some quick time events, which adds to the tension of the moment.

Conclusion 8.85/10

Overall, Dark Nights is now one of my favourite Otome games, you can’t go wrong with beautiful art, music and writing (with some fun easter eggs *looks at dev team* and moments scattered around) The scrapbook was also very enjoyable to look at after finishing the game, with the achievement screen being satisfying to look at as well, depicting each achievement as a book which is very creative. The extra scenes were also a joy to experience. I think that whether you are old or new to the genre of otome games, this game is a must play!

I have been following the development of Dark Nights since Pinlin has announced the development of the game on their social media, it was a joy to see Pin work on the game and get more things done, I am proud of what they have achieved. I am also looking forward to the future Steam release!

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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#17 Post by Pinlin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:06 am

chiharuchi wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:51 am
Alright.. I haven't played it fully but I can comment on some things. I'm playing Kurato's route.

I don't like it. The writing, the main character..

Main Character:
I feel like you're forcing the whole "I'm so different, everything bores me, I'm nOt lIkE oThEr gIrLs, I'm so cool, I'm so differeeent" thing too much. It just come off as insincere, forced, cringy, unrealistic. Like she's think she's sooo deep and cool and different but there's about a thousand other 15 year olds like her. Idk. Why force the whole "I'm so different and dark and edgy and unique" shtick? To me, she's just hollow. There's no warmth to her, she's just trying so hard to be different. Being a normal girl is okay too. No need to push these traits on her to try to be interesting. It does the opposite to me.

Your story does not have a smooth transition from one scene to the next. The
kidnapping
scenes and some other scenes did not have a good enough reason for them to happen. It was simply "for the plot" instead the scenes being crafted carefully to sync with the characters, their behaviors, etc. Imo, the characters weren't good in the first place at least the ones I saw anyway.

I think I can summarize everything with "The writer had writer's block and didn't know what to write so they just wrote whatever just to complete the game without passion, without a deeper thought about the story."

With that said, the graphics were really good for an indie game I think. Have potential to look like big company otome games if the skills are developed further. I saw your progress, you kept getting better each year. I really like the graphics and the character designs. Although the clothes are bland and boring.

I think the idea of what you tried to do is interesting to me and the idea of characters you tried to bring to life. They did not translate well into writing but I think the idea of it could be interesting and good.

If I finish the game, I will update my thoughts. For now, these are my impression. Why did I not wait until the end? Because I think I might not finish it.

I apologize that I am harsh but I keep having to criticize the same points again and again to other otome games also. It is getting a bit frustrating. Do not quit however. There's a lot more room to improve. The story, the plot where you're going with this game, can be interesting. However the execution, characters and writing of the game failed to do so. Again, this is just the words of a stranger on the internet. You may take it into consideration or you may not.
There is no single line that implies the MC thinks to be different. She's drown into her own world to even think of comparing herself. What is "realistic"? You have cynicism and pessimism. Are people like that insincere, forced, cringy and unrealistic to you? Your second line is contradicting the first. If there are thousands of other 15 year-olds out there, how is this unrealistic? Your impression is the opposite of the given situation; she gave up on being unique and standing in the spotlights.

Depending on your choice,
MC saves herself more than getting saved.
If you find the story boring, tell me what you've liked to happen instead.
Since this route bores you, you could've chosen a different one instead of sitting through. You're jumping into conclusions before reaching the ending. The story structure isn't designed in a way to give you fast explanations. Perhaps that might be your cup of tea.
You didn't give much reason to your petpeeves, neither tried to discover more about the characters, so I can only assume.

What about the clothing designs were bland and boring? What is an example of good? In my opinion, their designs fit the world I created.

"I think I can summarize everything with "The writer had writer's block and didn't know what to write so they just wrote whatever just to complete the game without passion, without a deeper thought about the story."

I don't think you can summarize "everything" after only playing one chapter. I thought you kept track of my project in the WIP thread, because I spammed this is a PASSION project almost everywhere. And no, I did not have a writer's block.
Aside bringing the character to life, some concepts are based off real events. Each route is surrounding certain morals or philosophy and I did my research for it.

Honestly, you mostly listed what you dislike. Without much advice/explanation, it gave me confusion. Words are powerful. Regardless from a stranger or friend, they can make a difference in someone's mood. I consider every feedback I receive so far, however I can't say much to things that are already explained in game.
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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#18 Post by Pinlin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:28 am

Aquane wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:31 am
I've played this game for only about 20 minutes now and I've entirely lost interest. I don't want the following to come off as mean, but I think where you can improve the most is the writing. The MC is just so... edgy Mary-Sue like already. Beating up Seniors? The no care attitude? Doesn't miss her parents at all? Too bored for a hobby? Not freaked out by the thing in the window? She's got no personality. This kind of person simply doesn't exist without it being a terrible act and there doesn't seem to even be any reason behind it.

I also don't quite understand the setting. It's a village, yet looks so modern inside the buildings, while the clothing looks fantasy-esque. I haven't figured it out just yet.

The premise seems decent, and the art is beautiful. Though the writing is something I can't typically overlook and probably won't finish any routes here. The MC is so far the worst offender, but none of the characters have stood out in any good way.

If you haven't played Cinderella Phenomenon, I would recommend checking that out to see how an MC is written with pre-existing history for behaving in such a negative way, and the character growth being very well written in that game for her. I think there is a lot of promise here in many ways, but you've got to build a better foundation in the writing. People need to be hooked early on to get invested, as with any written material.
Have you played Doki Doki Literature Club? Or familiar with movies like Memento? There are multiple possibilities to plot structure than chronological order story telling.
What is your definition for "no personality"?

There is no present year mentioned in game, but it plays around 1990's or earlier. I don't know which characters you encounter have a fantasy outfit design in the first 20 minutes. Maybe I'm missing your definition of fantasy-esque.

It's only after chapter 2 in all routes where the story shows its true colors. Too bad you'll miss out the point.
So far of what you played is covered in the demo. Truth to be told; nothing much interesting happens in the beginning. I even made fun of it:
In the prologue, when MC goes to the park she reads book about a "slice of life romance and nothing much is happening".
which is referencing to the game's prologue.
I admit writing the start was difficult, it's my first work and it went through countless edits. As I progressed, things became easier and I got a better overview of the whole plot structure. Yes, I played Cinderella Phenomenon and I understood what they wanted to achieve. I don't know how else to convince you other than directing at reviews from people who did complete the whole game.

The game was in development for nearly 6 years. The community has changed a lot since then. From my observations, nowadays shorter stories and impact right off the bat seems to be more in people's taste. Knowing this, I feel discouraged to continue working on big projects or long stories.
Anyway, I can proudly say I tried. Since it's a free game, people's view on the value might be low, but I have put all my blood, sweat and tears into those past 6 years.
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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#19 Post by Pinlin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:54 am

Meyismyname wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:04 am
I've had the wip in my bookmarks for so long and the game is finally out! So excited to play it!
I hope it's worth the wait. Have fun!
Lire wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:01 am
This is great...
I'm proud of you guys to be able to finish this projects.
Here's my two cents on this.. https://scan-vn.blogspot.com/2019/11/dark-nights.html
Hopefully one day i can follow in your steps as well. :D
Congrats on finishing this and sharing with the community!
Thank you for sharing this on your blog! I had a fun time reading. It always surprises me, even though I hoped for, that you played all endings. Even more that you got all achievements. I'm glad you enjoyed the game and all the extra features I added. I experimented with variety in art, writing and programming so that playing another route/ending doesn't feel boring.
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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#20 Post by Dao_thao » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:37 am

OMG your work inpired me a lot!!!! I have my own project which I have to do almost everything, it's fun but it also takes like forever to complete (I haven't finished yet!). So this is your achievement after 5 years, so wonderful, and you gave it for free!!!

Thanks a lot for your hard-working!!

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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#21 Post by AsHLeX » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:40 pm

Five Years! I am really, really impressed.
I haven't played it yet (not sure if I can spare 10 hours right now), but I have to say, I was blown away by the quality from what I could see here.
Just really wanted to drop by and congratulate you on your commitment, it's really, really inspiring for my own visual novel making. I could really relate to when you said how you had to rework things multiple times over the years.

Anyways, that's enough rambling on my part! I'll answer the questions later when I get around to playing it, going to download it now! :D
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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#22 Post by AsHLeX » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:29 am

Heya! I'm back! I ended up playing it right after I downloaded it because I got hooked.

To answer your questions...

Which route was did you and play and which did you enjoy the most?
I played all of them and finished the game with 100% completion! The order that I played it in was Junoru -> Sachiro -> Zeikun -> Kurato.
I enjoyed all the routes, they all gave different perspectives of the different characters and I liked how the same side characters were viewed in different lights in the different character paths.
The route order that I chose ended up having Chain become a nicer and nicer person.
Rasumi borderlined on being nice in Zeikun's good end, but she was pretty evil in all the other routes.
I really liked Blace's CG in the "bad" end of Kurato's route.
If I have to pick a favourite route, I'd have to say Zeikun or Kurato, mostly because I really liked the side characters in those routes.
I especially loved the scene between Kaichi and Kurato.
It was pretty ironic because my first impression of Zeikun was pretty much the least favourite out of all the characters, while Junoru was my favourite. But after playing all the routes, I'd have to say that my favourite characters are: Zeikun > Kurato > Junoru > Sachiro, from most to least. I didn't hate Sachiro's route, I enjoyed it, but I'm not really into the whole shota thing, personally.

Writing/story 10/10
While there were a few typos/errors here and there (writing "Miyoko" instead of "[player_name]" and "Kaichi" instead of "Tenshi" in the flashbacks), they weren't enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story. I especially liked how the routes branched really early on so it didn't get repetitive when playing through all the different characters.

Visuals 10/10
Great art, great CGs.

Music/sound 7.5/10
I don't normally pay much attention to sound and music in games unless they really stand out.
The music and sound in the game was fitting and pretty nice, but they just didn't really stand out to me.

Game mechanics 9/10
Getting the different endings and achievements were simple enough once you know how they worked.
Nothing much to comment here?

Characters/overall experience 9.5/10
Character development was great and I enjoyed the whole game throughout. It took me about 4 days to finish all the routes and achievements and I didn't feel like anything was repetitive, which was good. I'm glad you kept to it throughout the five years to make this gem. It's amazing how it was mostly a solo project.

Thanks again for releasing this for free! I had a great playthrough and I'm sure others felt the same way :)
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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#23 Post by chiharuchi » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:29 am

Maybe I'll give the game another try if I can stomach it and perhaps reconsider my opinions.. Or not.

I saw your reply to someone else;
"I don't know how else to convince you other than directing at reviews from people who did complete the whole game."

I don't think you have to convince other people to like your game? Change their mind or opinion? (idk what you're trying to convince). If people find the beginning boring then it is up to you as a writer to keep players interested, to keep them wanting to try and keep them playing the game. Why are you trying to convince people something when they give you negative review / criticism?

I really agree with what they said "The MC is just so... edgy Mary-Sue like already. Beating up Seniors? The no care attitude? Doesn't miss her parents at all? Too bored for a hobby? Not freaked out by the thing in the window? She's got no personality. This kind of person simply doesn't exist without it being a terrible act and there doesn't seem to even be any reason behind it."

They gave clear reasons for her dislikes and yet you still didn't accept it. Or just wouldn't take it.

I guess you don't have to consider what we say and find out what we're talking about but don't dismiss it so easily. There are ridiculous games that I like because of the writing, they tone they use, how they set their story and stage, it works really well. Games I thought I wouldn't like but it kept me wanting for more, surprising even myself. I gave similar negative review to someone and they responded well, explained things to me and I agree with their explanations. They gained respect from me.

I guess I'll see if I can stomach through the beginning of your game and see "where the story shows its true colors."

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Re: Dark Nights[Otome,Fantasy,Romance,Mystery][Free]

#24 Post by Kokoro Hane » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:40 pm

Found some time to pick up the game again! I've been so busy, it was nice to relax. So last time, I was on Junoru's route and just finished it. I got his romantic ending 1. I just have 2 more CGs to unlock, although I may go try the remaining routes before I complete. Anyway, I am going to say that as of currently, I think I like Junoru the most. His polite way of speech and kindness, and his backstory intrigued me the most!
Honestly, when he lost both his parents, it really crushed me. His entire story had moments that nearly made me shed tears. When he had to set Yoshiki on fire really got to me. She was really kind and the only ally he and his brother had at the time. I really find the immortality potion concept interesting, especially since it's made from a chemical found in zombies, very unique. I am more accustomed to stories of finding a cure to illness and causing zombie disease, so this reversal is quite fascinating. Also, despite how bloodthirsty Roya was and what we learn about him on Kurato's route, I came to like his character more than I thought I would on Ju's route simply because despite, he really loved his brother.
EDIT: Went back for the other 3 endings and wow---
The "Normal" ending for Ju actually brought me to tears. Especially with that sad music that played (which is probably my favorite song from the OST so far). That version of the route felt so bittersweet. Even though I liked the romantic end best, I still appreciated this "Normal" ending because how it really tugged at the heartstrings, and I felt really fleshed out just how much Miyoko cared about him. The scene where she went to lay flowers down you could really feel the MC's genuine sorrow.
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