A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Explore the soul labyrinth, develop a friendship or romance, and collect clues in this fantasy adventure visual novel.  Choose your  decisions carefully as the path to enlightenment is filled with mystery and danger. 



Union Soul takes place in a world of elves and magic.  It tells the story of a cynical magic weaver named Ilyon.  After volunteering to undergo an unknown ritual, he awakes to find himself trapped in a manifestation of his own psyche, his soul labyrinth.  Thankfully he is not alone, as his teacher prepared a stranger to serve as his vassal.  Using power, empathy and logic, he must confront the deepest unknown parts of himself if he is to successfully escape. 


* Shape the protagonist's personality by building power, empathy and logic.  Each trait is equally viable and will lead to different resolutions.  

* Use back button to choose different choices and mold the  story progression to your liking.  13 different endings are currently implemented.

* Freely explore and revisit locations to find clues and unlock story using a map screen.  Each of the four chapters have distinctly unique maps and environments. 

*Estimated 6-10 hours of gameplay, 200,000+ words, 600+ choices, and 200+images.

* Characters come to life with 10 animations each, including  expressive close-ups.

*Overcome loneliness and isolation by developing a friendship or romance bond with one of four vassals. 



Current Version is v4. 9(5/9/2022)

Fixed some bugs in chapters 3 in v4.8. Added 2 original music tracks in chapter 3.

Complete Story Routes of the Thief and Bard choices available (See Devlog for details)

Development began in January 2020.

Created (Writing, Art and Programming) by Jen Lee Quick : wulfmune@gmail.com

I am a full-time working mom.  I am also an adoptee.  This is a free passion project.  

Built using Ren'Py :  https://www.renpy.org/

 Placeholder Music is Royalty Free Music from https://www.purple-planet.com

***Special Thanks to My Talented and Generous Friends***:

Sound Designer and Music Composer: Kerry Cobuccio https://www.cobuccio.com

Copy Editor: Amy Kim Kibuishi http://felaxx.blogspot.com/

Install instructions

Windows 10- download and unzip. Run .exe file.

MacOS- download and unzip.  Open from finder and right click .exe file to open.  If it still blocks unknown publisher, go to security and permissions to click "Open Anyway" button.

Linux- I don't have a linux system so I cannot test this build.

Download

Download
SoulUnion_comic2008.zip 6 MB
Download
SoulUnion-4.9-win.zip 788 MB
Download
SoulUnion-4.9-mac.zip 787 MB
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SoulUnion-4.9-linux.tar.bz2

Development log

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Comments

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Deleted 125 days ago
(+1)

Spoiler ahead





Yes. You must part ways with your vassal at the catacomb door to complete chapter 3. At least temporarily. It's possible to reunite on the other side if you have confirmed either a friendship or romance (a special scene in the their room on the top floor of the castle should give you the option if your trust and/or attract is +30 and you have watched the previous 10point milestones) scenes continue to unlock up to 50 after confirming friendship or romance but are not required to complete the game to the good endings/epilogue. Hope that helps!

okay. omg i was thinking way too hard into it! thank you!!!

(+2)

So when I first saw this banner I read Soul Onion and psychological fantasy and I was like, oh that sounds intriguing! I'm almost disappointed I got it wrong, but I'm curious enough to play now anyway. <3

Oh Soul Onion does sound like a very interesting title lol. The font I chose definitely could have been cleaner. Thanks for checking it out anyway 😉

(+1)

How do I open this on linux?

(+1)

I apologize in advance, as I don't use Linux so I'm not sure if this works but doing a google search I found this. https://appuals.com/how-to-play-renpy-visual-novels-on-a-linux-machine/ Hope it's helpful!

tysm!

(+3)

Hello, the game is absolutely wonderful! The art has this unique, dreamy quality, and the writing absolutely tugs at your heartstrings. Both released thus far are incredible.

However, I would like to report a bug in Keska's route. In the thid time you visit her room, when she offers you a massage, clicking in the option "In that case, I'm looking forward to it" shows a Mikail scene.

Anyway, this has been an amazing read!

(+1)

Hi Isawrites,

Thank you so much for trying out my game. I'm sorry that you encounter that bug! Thank you for reporting it.  I'm really happy to read that you enjoyed your time with the story and characters so far. I have a lot of plans for this project in the future~

(+1)

I played your game:

Oh gosh, thank you so much for taking the time to try out my game. Your review was very generous! Best wishes~

(+2)

Hello!! Long time no see :))


So, I have so much to say (and I can't remember what I've said in my earlier comments, I tend to ramble a lot so sorry if i repeat myself), but I'll try to organize my thoughts here. 


!!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!!


1. I love this game. I'm sure I've said that but I'll say it again: It's one of my favourite (if not my favourite) games out here. You put so much thought and effort into it and it shows in the game itself as well as in your devlogs (very excited for the new GUI and interactive elements; I love the old one very much but the new one gives it a more RPG feel). You mentionned in your most recent devlog that some players felt "frustrated" in certain areas but I personally never felt that way. Certain areas were indeed a bit repetitive since we had to go back and forth between rooms and all that, but the banter with the vassal kept it entertaining (besides there's a skip button for a reason don't be afraid to use it yall). I'm not sure where I was going with this particular thought anymore, so moving on.


2. So far I've replayed the game 3 times: Empathy-Romance-Mikail, Logic-Romance-Mikail and Empathy-Romance-Keska. I'm planning on trying every trait and every route with both characters not only because I'm a completionist, but also because of how different each route is. When I went for Logic-Romance-Mikail, I was surprised at how different the epilogue was compared to the Empathy path. Both were so good that I can't really say which one I preferred. I wonder if Ilyon's most prominent trait affects how Mikail reacts upon waking up/meeting Noctisse. Why does he attempt to harm her in one path but not the other (thought I think I remember him hinting at it in the Logic path too, he doesn't act on it though. It's been a while since I finished that route so I'm not sure how reliable my memory is).

Keska was such an interesting character as well; she was so different from Mikail, which is to be expected of course, but I just... I guess I didn't expect ALL characters to be so fleshed out. Usually , I always feel like there was one or two characters that were neglected by the devs in a VN, but not here. I'll wait until I complete another path with Keska before saying more about her but I genuinely love her so much so far! Mikail remains my favourite of course (best boy, so cute, tries his very best, I'm in love TwT).


3. Speaking of Keska, I'm not sure if it was a bug specific to Linux or if windows users also experienced it, but when in Keska's room, she offers a massage to Ilyon, and 3 options are offered to the player, 2 of which I suppose lead to the massage happening, and the middle one is to decline (if I remember correctly). One of them somehow starts the scene with Keska, then transitions into Mikail's romance scene?? The background remains the same (Keska's room), but Mikail appears instead of Keska and the dialogue that follows is the one where he tells Ilyon to rest and that he'll keep watch. Then the underground labyrinth appears and we can no longer progress in Keska's route. As overjoyed as I was to see my favourite character again, it was still a destabilizing xD The other option works fine though, and I was able to continue with Keska.


4. In the underground passages, there is a cave (?) with... bonfires?? I'm sorry I forgot the specific word that was used ;w; but we were supposed to light some fires. The last one made Ilyon so uncomfortable that he refused to light it when that option was chosen (in both the Logic and Empathy paths. I have yet to try it with Power). I'm simply wondering if some specific choices could unlock that option, or if Ilyon himself simply does not want to risk it?


5. The music was absolutely beautiful. All of it. Mikail's theme, however, made me feel a particular way and I can't really describe it. It wasn't quite nostalgic, but not sad either. Maybe cautiously hopeful? I don't know what I'm saying anymore xD I just feel like it fit his character perfectly. Did the composer have a specific story in mind or did they compose it solely based on Mikail's character? Either way it was so beautiful I even went into the game files to listen to it on repeat for hours ;w;


That's all I think! I'm sorry it's so long but you always share your thoughts honestly in your devlogs so I thought I would share mine for a change :) I'm very excited for your projects, thank you so much for sharing them with us!

(+2)

Hello Again! Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. I love reading them.  Please let me respond to your feedback point by point.

 There may be spoilers in some of my answers~




1. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy the game as an experience despite it's many flaws in execution. I plan on leaving this version up even after I remake it, as I think it has it's own "charm" that may be lost in my attempt to refine it. I'm planning some pretty big narrative changes for the remake, so I think it will be interesting for someone like yourself to compare. There was a power imbalance that I am uncomfortable with, and I want to give the vassals more agency. I'm planning more character and relationship development outside of the ritual, before the epilogue so I hope that will help the reader to explore another side to the characters. To make room for this new expansion, relationship paths will be narrowed to two opposed to six.

2. I'm glad that you enjoyed Keska's character. As a creator and I mother, I feel like my characters are kind of like my children, so I can't favor one over the others. As far as the endings go, all of the empathy, power and logic routes share similar resolutions when it comes to Noctisse. In his empathy routes, Ilyon's companions attempt to "rescue" him from his complicated relationship with Noctisse. I suppose Ilyon made himself appear vulnerable enough to them that they felt inspired to "help" him. They probably also felt supported enough to act on their own personal grievances against Noctisse as well, considering she threatened them into the whole ritual thing to begin with. In his power routes, he takes more upon himself to challenge Noctisse directly and his logic routes, he cautiously tolerates Noctisse, deciding ultimately to bide his time. In all versions of the endings, Mikail does not like Noctisse and sees her as a threat to both himself and his cherished person.  He's not the type of person to consider nuance.  I'm sure he would personally rather she disappear forever regardless of Ilyon's chosen approach. I'm pleased you were able to pick up on that XD.

3. Thank you for pointing out the bug! I think there's a couple of those in Keska's path, since I made her path after Mikail's. I reused some of the scripts for an "outline" to follow and I must have accidentally left one of jumps to the wrong script. Sorry about that! Most of my friends are team Mikail, so I feel her path was not as well tested, lol.

4. The hearths in the tunnels are representative of destruction, reverence and preservation. The objects collected and used as fuel are representative of memories. Ilyon can only "destroy" the memories if his power is at a certain level. He can "revere" the memories if his empathy is high enough, and he can "preserve" them if his logic is at a certain level.  Fueling the flame grants Ilyon a large bonus to that corresponding trait.  I don't believe it's possible to have all three stats high enough at the same run through to use all three options, so at that point of the game, the player must commit to one trait of their two highest traits above the others.

5. My friend Kerry has composed all the music specifically for this game. She's played it extensively as I've been creating it, so she's very familiar with the story, themes and characters. We've also been friends for decades so she has a pretty good idea of how my brain works and my general sensibilities, lol. I feel like she always manages to nail the feeling I'm going for, even though I give her little to no direction. I'm really lucky to have her as a friend and composer!

Thank you again for this discussion, I enjoyed it ^^

(+2)

Finished my first playthrough (Mikail, romantic, Empathy + I talked to him to the very end and did exactly what he suggested). Loved it, loved everything about it. The passion and all the thought that went into this, the aesthetics, the fact that the puzzles were easy enough even for me ;-), the fact that everytime I thought "oh, I've got this, I know what this game wants from me" I was soon proven wrong and I had to think about my answers and action. I was invested in the characters (in Mikail the most, of course), and I feel that I wouldn't be able to simply recreate the story that I have just experienced, which makes it unique. It also makes me look forward to the next unique story as I try again. I wonder what happens if I try to ascend through logic with Keska as a friend by my side. I'm not good with elegant complements (which is maybe why I could easily identify with Ilyon ;-) ), but I just wanted to say that you should be really proud of this game.  

(+3)

Hi there,

I'm so glad that you enjoyed your first play through. I spent a lot of time brewing over the characters and themes explored and I really hoped to create an overall introspective experience. I'm planning to go back and refine and focus my themes for clarity and impact. I hope you enjoy your next delve with Keska, and continue to watch this project grow in the future. Thank you again so much for trying out my game and taking the time to share your thoughts. It means a lot to me.

(+4)

Ahhh I just finished my first playthrough (I went for a Mikhail+Romance+Logic route), and I think the best way to describe how I feel about Soul Union is just totally enamoured!! I really really love how you get to explore the map and poke around everywhere for clues, and it's awesome how the music and the art and the animation all come together to make a really immersive, beautiful, and mysterious experience. The characters are honestly the greatest too, and it's super fun to see their personalities shine through with their dialogue as they banter and interact with each other! I can't wait to try out Keska's route and eventually check out all the endings! :DDD

Also, I was wondering if it would be alright if I made fanart of Soul Union? I'll be sure to credit you if I post it, but it's totally cool if you say no too!

(+1)

I'm so glad that you enjoyed what you've played so far and I hope you also enjoy Keska's route. I definitely want to revisit and develop this story and characters some more in the future. I would absolutely looove to see a fanart if you're so inclined! Thank you so much!!

(+2)

I ADORE this game, the graphics are gorgeous and the story is compelling, I love the little hints of romance too! I can't wait for the next update :)

(+1)

Thank you so much for trying out the game.  I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.  I hope you will continue to follow these games as I continue to expand on this world.

(+1)

I love this game so much. I don't even know how to begin, lol.

The art is amazing, and I love the little animations and the characters ( especially their design ). The story is very captivating, well-written and interesting. The music is so cool and good to listen to! It is an amazing work.

To be honest, at first I wasn't really keen of the game. But after I gave it a try... I am totally hooked on it. 

This is an art piece, truly. <3

SPOILERS BELOW -













i just wanted to know; can you give a hint to how finish chapter 3 w/ Mikail? I am revisiting all the places over and over again, but I can't seem to find a option to go thru the gate with him. :( thx for the help !!

(+2)

Thank you so much for your comment and im so glad that you gave my game a chance.  I know theres  endless choices with how you chose to spend your free time so im honored.  As for your question about chapter 3...Spoilers









Because Mikail did not enter the ritual seeking enlightenment, he cannot pass through the door.  If your friendship or romance bond is solid and confirmed, its possible to be reunited on the other side.

ohh, i see!!

spoiler below !!








i got a bit scared that going thru the door would put an end in the relationship ( due to the warning that the relationship would reach an ending ), but if i understood correctly, that means that the relationship will just end in that "world", right?

thank you for replying !! <3

(+1)

I apologize if the warning was unclear.  Allow me to clarify.* Spoilers*











Once you go through the door, your relationship bond is set. There are no more oppertunities past the door to increase bond. I hope that helps clarify. Let me know if you have any more questions or concerns.

(+2)

I know I'm a little late to the party, but... can I just say, this is easily one of the best visual novels I've ever played. I won't lie, the primary reason that I got this game was because I had the opportunity to be gay; few are the opportunities where I can fully express my identity in a way I feel comfortable with - no scenes that were too heated, it just felt lovely! 

But the game itself? Wow. Just astounding. At first I was baffled; why was I being asked questions that would ultimately lead nowhere? Baffled, but honestly a bit pleased as well; while visual novels should have an important aspect that shows that your choices matter, sometimes choices that DON'T matter can be just as refreshing, as reminders that sometimes actions simply end and that is that.

But that's the thing! The choices DID matter! They matter so much, because they subtly shape who Ilyon is; a calculating intellect? A seeker of power and influence? An emotionally-connected, empathetic man? Its honestly just incredible how the choices posed aren't ones that make me scratch my head and look up a walkthrough - they're the kind that leave me staring at the screen for 5 minutes, wondering what I would pick as a person and how I would want to proceed through this delve. 

This game genuinely made me introspective, looking into core traits of both Ilyon and myself and wondering how they came to be; was there any way to change them? If different choices were made in the past, would that have changed things, too? Incredible, simply incredible.

Oh, and the icing on the cake, the soul contract characters. I'll be honest, I can't really speak about anyone but Mikail, but I will die for this thief who stole both mine and Ilyon's heart. He is so wonderfully grounded in reality; while Ilyon would stand there, saying "hmm yes, I do wonder on how something like this shaft might be a representation of my mind!" and Mikail would just be like "...okay, yeah, but lets be careful, the dirt is soft and the supports on this tunnel might not be stable." They just... balance each other out and they understand each other and ugh they're wonderful, I love love love them. The epilogue was fantastic, and I love the way the characters are designed. My run was Empathy with Romantic Bond Mikail, though I may go back and do something different one of these days!

...By different, I mean, like, Intellect Ilyon with Romantic Bond Mikail, there's no way I could ever bring myself to put Ilyon with anyone but Mikail haha

Oh, and if I do that, you know what? I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything! I know I'm not the normal audience for a visual novel with romance elements; if I find a love interest (while there was no such choice in this one, I will admit to being soft for the childhood-friends-to-lovers trope lol), I latch on to them and don't let go. All of the other routes are now sacrilege and I will genuinely, honestly feel horrible and guilty if I play a different romance route - indicative of severe emotional issues? Almost certainly! But I can't help it; I find my fulfillment in visual novels with one character, and often just leave it there. The issue, of course, is that I often feel like I'm... missing out, somehow? Like, I don't WANT to pursue the other routes, but I almost feel like I have to. This game? Didn't even consider it for a second. Mikail and Mikail only, and it amazes me that the creator of this game has even more routes to choose from, Mikail's just felt so fantastic and whole, and when I completed the route I genuinely felt like I did it; I had no feelings of disappointment that I wouldn't know every route, I felt happy and content and would gladly do it again just for fun.

Anyway, yeah, this comment ended up being more of a rambling expression of my love than anything; I am so amazed by this game, it is easily in my top 5 visual novels of all time. And I'm picky! I need things to be at least a little gay, that already removes, like, 90% of all visual novels! I am so glad you made this game, and I often go back just to play over certain scenes again and see Mikail and Ilyon being dorks with each other.



*SPOILERS, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*












Okay, so like, this has been bothering me a bit and I genuinely spent an hour looking for a way to bring Mikail through The Door(tm) with me in the Catacombs because I couldn't bear the thought of leaving him behind. Is there a way to bring him as well? I know, I know, I should be happy with the Epilogue, but a part of me is sad that it seems like Mikail ended up hurt when Ilyon walks through The Door(tm) without him. Unless, of course, The Door(tm) is meant to represent something different from what I thought? I dunno, i'd be glad to hear from anyone!

(+2)

hi there and thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts about the characters, story and game.  Truly this is why I am making these games ^_^.  Im going to jump straight into spoilers so I dont forget to address your questions! Be warned spoilers ahead!










The garden, tunnels and fortess are loose references to persona, ego and shadow.   Ilyons outer mask of a calm and rational person, his understanding of himself as a person who has always desired to escape his sense of helplessness and his shame of being born somewhat a freak of nature.  The door is representative of his minds eye opening to beyond his sense of self.  Mikail in his current reality cannot follow him through the door because he is not seeking enlightenment, but was coerced into the ritual.  Yet somehow their bond transcends the singular reality and another Mikail who was searching for enlightenment and choose to be there was able to help Ilyon beyond the door.   He didnt become a different person, so he has somewhere in himself that same desire to find a higher meaning to his life and existence in the version that didnt pass the door, he just never pursued it.   It becomes a curious question, at what point does decisions and experiences completely change who you are?  In the case of power, empathy or logic, ilyon is still a variation of himself. But when his parents and cousin live, there is a different person "Caylis" whom Mikail does not recognize. Yet somehow both Caylis and Ilyon ended up in the ritual so maybe they are not so different lol.  I'll let you decide ^_~

(+1)

Wow, that is honestly awesome! As I suspected, the areas are significant aspects to his character, I was at least correct with my thoughts on the Garden haha; but everything else is very enlightening, and I'm glad to know that there is so much thought put into this that I am finding myself quite ignorant! You have, perhaps inadvertently, convinced me to play through the game again hahaha - I love this game and the symbolism it provides, I will definitely play through it again and probably obsess over details again. Thank you for the response, you did fantastic!

(+1)

Oh i forgot to mention, if you are only wanting to play mikails story i reccommend giving his friendship routes a chance as well.  I strongly believe that friendships can be just as deep as romantic bonds and I tried very much to make all 6 possible endings with each companion unique, satisifying and reveal different aspects of their character.  I made sure to enable the skip function everywhere i could XD.

Haha, I will certainly consider it without a doubt! Mikail's story is so fascinating to me, i would love to delve into it with a new or altered perspective! When I play Soul Union once more, I will have many playthroughs to consider hahaha

(+1)

Hi, I have a question about the comic.

Is it a prequel of the game or is it a first adaptation of the same story that the game, please?

I haven't played the game yet but I wanted to know if I should read the comic first to better understand the story.

(+2)

Hi there,

The comic is a stand alone short story that I wrote years before making this game.  The game is only loosely influenced by previous iterations (some elements of world building are consistent.)  I would suggest playing the game and reading the comic only if you are curious to see how the idea developed and changed over the years.  Thank you so much for showing interest in my project. 

(+1)

I'll read the comic after I play the game then.

Thank you so much for   responding so quickly and good continuation for the rest! <3

(6 edits) (+1)

I'm having a blast for now. Thanks for making available this kind of quality threat to all !

May I give a few typos ? On Keska's route act2 (i'll quote them as is, so it'd be easier to copy/paste to look for it  ~)

"She didn't understand was how painful her calm, enduring kindness felt"

 "Ilyon...is it possible to buried down here"

Thank you so very much for taking the time to quote the mistakes!!  <3 It is very helpful!  I'm super terrible at being able to catch my own grammar and spelling errors.  I will be sure to add corrections to my next update.  Thanks for tolerating them and I hope you can share with me if you find any more in the future.  Best wishes!! <3<3<3

(54 edits)

I'm more than happy to oblige ! In fact i'm glad there are stuff to get back to in a way, participating even a little is a privilege <3 (I totally don't mind glitches on quality material !)

---

Keska act3 in her room :
* A bug I just encoutered : if I pick the choice "In that case I'm looking forward to it" it get... a hug from Mikail ! That sure wasn't expected !
* there is a "portrait bug" where Ilyon portrait disapear, and Keska's replace him in the right (leaving the left side black).
  * "She tears the scroll into tiny pieces it" (and there is also a typo ~)
  * "Iv'e been thinking about what happened last time"
  * "Will you remember being like this when I wake?"
  * "You're right, Ilyon."
  * "Who knows? Things could get ugly from here on."
  * "Give me some time to prepare my thoughts."
  * "I've already shown you enough of myself I think."
  * "Now I've probably made this whole thing a much bigger deal than it needs to be." 
  * "To his credit, he apologized."

Typo in the chapter3 :
* "I can't make an guarantees."

Chapter 4
* crash "mromance is not defined ch04_star7shadow.rpy line 336"
* "you have alot to learn about the upper echelons." : typo + she disapear and reapear without reason.
* Typo : "I've gotten to used to those who are terribly reserved and easily offended."
* Typo : "In the future I will do my best not to won't any unsolicited advice on that matter."


Also I played all the game under GNU/Linux. Didn't met any bug.

______

My actual critics on the gameplay :
* I entered 4 time Keska's room to get the dialogue unveiling. It was a bit weird to imagine going back 4 time in a row to talk things out. ^^'
* The enigmas containing number were a bit hard to follow, and too easy to break by bruteforce. I think the best thing would have been to show all the hints on the screen while deciding, to encourage people to use their witt.  It was too to cheat on try&error and too hard to go back to re-check the clues. - That's my feeling anyway.
* The fact "you must check twice the same room to make stuff happen" is a bit weird. You get paranoic in the bad sense, developing the urge to double check everything after that in fear of missing optionnal dialogs. ...Not very immersive. :o
* I didn't understood how I opened the "the baby casket" in the cells. I just got back to it and it was suddenly open without explaination ?


My global feel : the design and animations are <3<3, the music nice, the story enticing, the romance <3. The biggest setback I had was the chapter4 where i HAD (i cannot let text unread) to watch all the possibile alternate universe. I was BOREEED senseless doing so. But I couldn't stop myself. And then, the end came and it was good - but I had suffered on the way. Partly my fault, I know - i can't understand how you wrote all theses declinaison without feeling sick at some point - I mean it's not about the text itself but the repetition. Darn ! My head hurts still ^^'


Anyway, thanks for the trip ! I still don't get how you did all this game, in my head you were an army of artists, at least a talented designer, and one dedicaced writer, and a dev. ...And it's not the case apparently. I'm dumbfounded by the feat and I guess you can count me as one of your lowly fans now ~

The game reminded my of Avatar the last airbender (about ascension and one's bond) ; and the overall vibe to Planescape.  Which both I adored.

(+1)

Hello, I don't know if you remember me, but I told you I'd read your visual novel a few weeks ago on reddit.

Today, I finished my playthrough with Keska. It was a mesmerizing journey with beautiful art and atmospheric music that always set the right mood.

Right from the start, I was intrigued. The idea of not knowing who the person whose head I'm inhabiting is and them not having any idea either, instantly piqued my interest.

I loved the general structure of the story. I've mainly read visual novels that tell fairly linear stories with bigger choices that lead to major branches while this one lets you explore your surroundings to piece together Ilyon's past.

The art style fit the story perfectly and you even went as far as animating so much of it - I'm impressed and can't imagine how many hours you spent getting it done.

While there were some spelling errors, it wasn't enough to distract the reader or make the experience any less enjoyable. 

I believe I was at my lowest, motivation-wise, in the caves. The constant rumbling and warnings from the characters served their purpose perfectly in creating an oppressive atmosphere, but when the entire thing collapsed on me after I thought I hadn't even backtracked that much, I started to worry that maybe I can't get all the scenes and have to pick which ones to take along.

Considering the sheer amount of rooms in that cave, that left me with a bit of frustration. In the end, I was wrong and could visit each cavern safely, so all that worrying was for nothing, but I still figured I'd let you know about my initial impression!

Towards the end, I was getting impatient to finally get that conclusion I'd been working towards for so long. The fourth chapter may have been a tad longer than I would have expected, but overall, I still held my interest all the way to the end.

Despite constantly learning more about Ilyon's background and the ritual, that sense of mystery never fully vanished. There were always new mysteries to figure out and you handed out new information at a great pace.

I ended up ascending before going back to get the "friendship" ending with Keska. I'll certainly be returning to this VN once I've had some time to let it all settle and to have it feel fresh again for a second playthrough.

Again, I loved this so much and I'm so glad I stumbled across your visual novel. I wish you all the best in your future projects and I'll definitely be recommending your story to others :)

(+1)

Yes! I remember that comment you gave me on reddit and it was very kind and encouraging of you.  I'm so thankful for all the time you put into playing the game and giving me so much feedback!  I'm glad the exploration based story telling worked for you.  Once I got the coding worked out, I really preferred it over the more linear style of chapter 1.  I think it helps give the player more a sense of agency in the story, as you might have in a roleplaying game or some other genre where you move an avatar from place to place.  I really love text adventure exploration games (old stuff like shadowgate, lol) so I hope that influence comes through.   Chapter 2 was  the first chapter I was trying to make all the dialogue trigger from location from the base up so it was a bit of a struggle from the beginning and though it's been nerfed several times and I added hints  it may not have been very well conceived from the start.  I think chapter 3 has a much better overall 'flow'  as I had learned a lot from mistakes in chapter 2 and I'd hate for people to give up before getting through the tunnels.  I will brainstorm on it and see if I can make some more revisions.  Thank you again so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience with me!  As this is my first full game, I really want to learn a lot from it. <3

(+3)

beautiful... everything's just sooo beautiful 😭 i literally just finished mikail's route and i honestly feel like crying cause!!!! they're so damn cute together!! i really loved their banter and throughout the gameplay i just found myself wishing they'd be able to be happy with each other so bad... you REALLY made me feel a lot of feelings, so many feelings...

firstly, i really like how you handle the way we can shape ilyon's personality and i also appreciate you letting us keep track of which trait we're leaning towards, that's specially helpful in case we want to see a different approach than the one we're walking towards.

i also really appreciate the way you showed that every single character has multiple sides to them, no one is entirely good nor entirely bad (i'm looking at you, krey!). this honestly made me connect even more with the characters cause it genuinely feels live they're real people!

anywayyy i'm really glad i gave this vn a try! the art is painfully pretty, every single song really matched the atmosphere and i definitely enjoyed being able to explore all those places, i'm living for the little chats here and there everytime we'd walk somewhere new cause a lot of them were so funny, but also so interesting to read!

it was truly an awesome experience, definitely exceeded my expectations and after i get over how cute ilyon and mikail are, i sure am playing keska's route and all the others to come!

(minor spoiler i think???)










i was kinda confused when i got into the tunnels cause i killed ilyon after wandering around too much and i was like "..what am supposed to do, then?", but i didn't give up so if curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction really brought it back cause i was PUMPED when i found out what i had to do to get out of there lolol

Hi there!  Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts.  Also for the review!  This was really nice to read when I got home from work.  I'm so happy that you enjoyed the characters. I apologize for chapter 2.  I struggled a bit with designing that area and I guess I might need to revisit it again.  I'm curious which trait did you end up pursuing?  Thank you again so much and I hope you enjoy Keska as well <3!

(+2)

ahh i'm glad my messy thoughts made your day a little bit better <3

but no need to apologize! i think the tunnels being designed that way kinda makes you used to the mechanics of the game, you know? i mean with having to revisit locations and stuff. it's just a matter of understanding how things work, because after that i didn't really have any other problem in the following chapters regarding where should i go or what should i do

and ilyon's most proeminent trait was empathy! i was trying to go for power at first, but i guess i'm too soft hahah i plan on trying to go for different traits, though! just to see how it affects the story and ilyon's personality

(+1)

Ah! If you do have a chance to play through pursuing a different trait, I would love to get your opinion on how it was implemented.  I haven't gotten that level of playthrough feedback yet.  That is one area, I think I can gradually go back and flesh out more.  Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. <3

(+2)

I gave it a try and I didn't expect to be so involved in the story.

The animations were on point and they complimented the narrative very well.

The concept of exploration and the definition of Ilyon's personality affecting the story were the reasons I stayed until the 'end'.

I was having so much fun exploring that I nearly forgot that I could return to my companion's room to chat. I just returned there because I had missed a code and simply was looking everywhere and went to the companion's room by chance.

Overall, I was surprised by the quality of this adventure.

(+1)

Hi there,

Thanks for giving it a try and taking the time to share some feedback.  I was afraid that some people might forget to revisit the companion's room and tried to make  a "warning" before exiting chapter 3, but I'll try to revisit my approach.  Would it be more helpful if the companion tells the protagonist to go to a certain place once the trust/attraction reaches every +10 milestone?  I could create some conditional call statements for that.  Thanks again so much. <3

I don't know if not talking to the companion has consequences later on. However, what you propose I could see it help me remember to visit the companion room.

I like the idea of the companion suggesting or hinting at their need to talk with the protagonist once every milestone reached.

I'm leaving this small suggestion that came to my mind right now:

Each time the protagonist moves between floors, the system could check for the requirements needed to have a chat with the companion and would warn us once, every time they reach a certain milestone.

I hope this helps in getting an idea.

(+2)

beautiful. this game is just wow 😭

(minor spoilers)

i first downloaded this game thinking nothing much of it, but this game truly surprised me with how thorough and atmospheric the plot was. i finished mikail's story all in one go, and i admit i was especially lost during the tunnels. it was embarrassing as i couldn't exactly grasp the concept, but i managed to scrap through it, so im fairly happy with the ending and epilogue i received. ilyon is absolutely wonderful. i've fallen in love with his character and all the decisions that ultimately lead to what he truly believes in. it's nice how the mc of a story is actually logical and able to think for themselves. this isn't something i'm used to, but i certainly welcome it. and dare i say mikail has left an unforgettable impression on me as well? he has a solid character build, and i adore his little remarks from time to time. they tangle with ilyon's and it's cute to see them banter haha. they have become the objects of my affection.

the amount of depth and knowledge i have gained from this experience is phenomenal. i'm not a very bright individual, but i can't help but dwell on the subjects that were touched on during the plot. it's pleasant to read through them and formulate your own opinion whilst also deciphering what ilyon, mikahil, and noctisse felt at times. which was hard since im not exactly skilled at figuring out stuff 😪yeah it just caused me to think over the entirety of my life choices.

don't even get me started on the art style. it's divine. i love it so so much. i don't know what way i could specifically describe it but the artwork truly brings everything to life. everyone is gorgeous my brain can't handle it. !!! btw the little animations that cause them to sway back and forth is appreciated and i really am just in awe with the game over all. there's so much more thoughts i wish to unload i think i might as well write an essay on this game lol 

i only got a glimpse into keska's route so i'll definitely finish hers tomorrow!!

also do you ever plan on making this game not free? honestly i feel a bit spoiled as i just played through this masterpiece with no fee whatsoever. 

(+1)

the music was great too!! there's a lot to unpack but it really fit well with the scheme of the game

(+1)

I am eternally grateful to my long time friend Kerry.  Music and sound is one area that I am completely clueless.  Her contribution really helped with the mood I was going for.  I'll pass on your compliment, thanks!

(1 edit) (+2)

Ah thank you so much for taking the time to write out your thoughts  (and all the generous praise, you're too kind).  And I'd love to read an essay someday lol.  I grew up with more passive kind of literature, so I'm still struggling to be more direct and clear.  I'm afraid that my writing might still come off as convoluted.  If you feel spoiled by this free game, I am happy to be that random grandma figure who spoils XD others.  I'm fortunate enough to be stable at this moment in my life.  My goal in this project was to create a quality experience for that one person who might need a bit of reprieve from their everyday struggles.  If you'd like to support this game, please help me spread the word so that it can reach that person.  I appreciate you. <3

(+2)

Wow, so much effort are put in this game. The art is beautiful and the ambiances are well made too. It's really interesting, and even if I haven't dig about how much choosing a logic/empath/power path changes the game yet, I'm impressed by the energy and the dedication put into it. The game is really interesting, and it's really good to play.

However I am a bit confused about, maybe because I am not familiar enough with english or because the concepts was too hard for me to understand. I'm even more confused by the ending, is it possible to have a good one? If the screen does not turn red, is it still a wrong/bad end?

!SPOILER!





So far, the better ending I had is understanding what the ascension is with Mikail and either I choose I want to go out of here with Mikail or to ascend. I am confront to the pink inner eye who seems to kill me, or maybe It makes me acends and my sense of self is desintegrated I don't really know. I wonder if I miss something that could lead me to another end.

Hi Gregg, 

Thank you so much for playing my game and taking the time to comment.  The end of chapter 4 is very abrupt at the moment as the endings are not finished yet.  I apologize for any confusion on this.

SPOILER!!









 The "good endings" will be if you choose not to ascend and have agreed to either a friendship or romance connection.  These endings are not implemented yet, as there are 6 possible outcomes per companion, depending on your highest attribute (power, logic, empathy) and relationship status.  I hope to including all endings in my next update.  Thank you again very much for your feedback!

(+1)

It's my pleasure. Thanks for the answer, it's clearer for me now. And good luck for the continuation. I have no doubt it will be super interesting and I look forward to play this game again with the new update.

Hi there, I just wanted to update this reply.  The endings are now implemented so I hope the story will be less confusing.  Let me know if you have any issues. Thanks again so much!

(+1)

Hi,

Oh great, thank you. It will be a pleasure to play again, I'll let you know if any issues or feedback I can give. Thanks you for your hard work!

(1 edit) (+1)

Just adding my bit to helping everyone can see this is a great game to try. 

As I said in my comment review (which I intend to update when I get to play a later version.) I found this a very enjoyable experience. The art-style, with the animations, and writing gave it a beautifully eerie atmosphere very dreamlike which, naturally, suits the story. The drawing style reminded me a little off a storytellers puppets, in a good way, stylized and quite beautiful. So I am really looking forward to how this develops. Particularly looking forward to meeting the priestess. (I studied spirituality and have a lot of interest in that). 

I like how the main character can develop more empathy but does not stop being analytical. It meant that there was not that awful swing with choices where a character can feel just warped between extremes. Every choice felt like an authentic development of a single well written personality. 
I am personally a very visual kind of person so I think less about the music, but certainly nothing felt wrong about how it supported the telling of the story.
For the moment I am trying to hold back as I know I will frustrate myself if I hit the content wall. But probably I am going to dip back in soon as it really was unique.

Wish I could do more to support this project, but certainly happy to give it the full thumbs up. Keep doing what you are doing it is highly enjoyable and your effort and art is appreciated.

(1 edit)

I re-read these kinds of encouraging words over and over again, whenever I start to feel lost.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  Thank you so very much for your thoughtful and thorough comment and review. 

(+1)

I really really love the interactions between the characters :D

The conversations really hit the mark for me, whether it was the fun little banter as they explored or the more emotional scenes that really resonated with me.

I can definitely see the effort that went into every part of this, and it paid off!

I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together when it's finished :)

(1 edit)

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the dialogue between the characters.  I was trying to make it seem natural while also giving the player choice.  Also trying to strike a balance between developing characters and avoid too much padding.  It's hard for me to tell how (un)successful I was. I'm so happy to hear you say that there were scenes that resonated with you.  Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts!

(+1)

I love all the musical choices and subtle animations that bring this story to life!

The choices you're given feel very open-ended and there's a consistent feeling of wonder and mystery established from the very start. It makes you want to keep delving deeper into the intriguing world of the game. 

I'll definitely be following this project as it develops <3

Thank you so much for trying my game!  Your feedback means a lot to me.   I have been building things up for awhile, so I am looking forward to drawing the conclusion.  I hope it will be satisfying.

(+1)

I like your presentation, except that all but one of the game’s screenshots have been uploaded in a rather small resolution. While I can still zoom them in my browser I wish I didn’t have to. Furthermore, less experienced surfers and cruisers of the internet, who might be only interested in the games, might not know how to.

(+1)

Hi Wechenbetelly, 

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  It's a bit odd, because I could have sworn I just did a screen capture the same way from the same computer each time.  I just assumed that was the way itch.io displayed the images.  I will try to correct this issue when I have time tomorrow.  Thanks again so much for your input!

(+1)

That was a fast response. :)

I hope you can get that sorted out without much effort, but just in case: There is a well-received guide on itch that describes… I think pretty much everything that there is to know in that regard - I think… I’m not publishing anything on itch myself right now so I’ve only glossed over it so far. Just to make that clear: I’m not suggesting you would need it, but in case you would want to have a look, there is already a link to the guide on my creator page. (I would feel guilty about just plastering the link here.)

(+1)

Hi Again,

Thanks for your advice. I tried to reload images and have tested on two different devices and I believe the issue should be resolved. Let me know if you have any more suggestions or notice any issues.  Thanks!