I’m gonna start by saying, love the demo, love the characters. I have a bit to say regarding flow, mood and the contents. Don’t take what I say that seriously though, it’s just an opinion; one from someone that sometimes don’t know what they are talking about. Honestly, don’t even know if what I say here is something you want to hear. if it’s not, feel free to ignore it.
Will put it below and in a orderly manner (I hope) to avoid any kind of spoilers for those who have not read it yet.
I will put in separate tabs to facilitate reading.
[tl;dr]: inconsistent point of views in the first chapters and some of the chapters could be read as a whole unit, although it works fine as it is.
[more elaborated] First, a minor observation. The flow of the first 3 chapters feel kind off to me. Just to be sure we are on the same page, I will separate the chapters as follows, since I could have counted wrong:
1. two pages, first person; one choice.
2. only chapter with another pov.
3. back to nines, first reaction of nines to maria and baby tad.
4. first interaction with maria and baby tad.
5. first introductions to maria and tad.
6. continuation of 5, travel/car scene. first batch of exposition.
7. continuation of 6, shower. second batch of exposition, quite heavy,
8. next day, wake up. arm shenanigans and pass out.
9. time-skip. accommodation. kind of dates.
i. [chapters 1 to 3 — points of views]
Alright. Now, onto the flow. Personal opinion territory, the switch between nines pov to tad’s and maria’s pov kind of flunks a little bit the flow. (chaps 1 to 3). I would suggest put chap 2 first, as it’s the only stance (as of now) of a different kind of chapter where the player is (kinda) not the focus. I don’t know. It’s up to you. I don’t even if what I suggested would help, anyways.
ii.[“chapters too short”]
I… don’t really have any problem with it, really. But I see where they are coming from. Chapters 3 to 7 could be one big chapter, since when changing the chapters the scenes continue without a break. For example, from the first batch of exposition from chapter 6 to 7, it’s just a continuation but nine is still awake, just taking a shower. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it’s the general vibe I am getting with these complaints.
Again, I don’t mind at all the short chapters. :’)
Edit [12/09/19]: only saw after I posted that you plan in condensing the chapters, so… sorry for taking up you time with this.
[tl;dr]: Personal Opinion™ but sometimes, nine acts out against some choices you make. But they are justifiable, I get it.
Look, this will sound stupid no matter how I write, but I don’t know, sometimes I don’t feel much of player agency, but maybe I shouldn’t expect it as much? Probably my fault, but I will elaborate.
One of the first choices would be the dichotomy between: “open your eyes” or “move your arms”.
Probably reading too much into it, but, after this a lot of choices follow in the same vein. It paints a image of either an apathetic nines (“I want to go back”) or an action-driven nines (“I won’t give up this freedom”). So when a conflict arrives at chap 6, the one where nines start to question whether they want to run or stay it feels kind of out of place.
Nine’s outburst is understandable, being kept in the dark and all, and you mitigate after with the choices of nine to react calmly after. But, the fact the they even had the outburst, idk. If playing with a Nines that is apathetic it doesn’t feel good(?).
Also, might I add. “What are you gonna do, shoot me?”. If you choose the apathetic/kind of suicidal, a cool follow up could happen. The angts of, “Why am I even here when I don’t want to be.” or “I wouldn’t care either way.”
This theme, though, it dissipates in the following choices. So maybe I am reading too much into it, oh well.
Onto other instances. Not a lot of room to choose how Nine feels after the beginning (1 to 3), and maybe that’s not your aim at all, and if that’s the case; then forgive me for being dumb and not being able to read what’s written on the wall.
An example of the above, the pacing of Nines when being confront with the information of the Blackout. They feel all panicky about having an piece of metal into their brain, but they (it’s probably your purpose but bear with me I am dumb) never question on the why. Does Nines think that they would have resorted to installing themselves, or did something happen? What vision of nines has of their older self, as in, did they think that they were capable of doing the experiments just for the sake of it?
I know this might come across as useless information, since if you needed it you would have set up for future use. After all, you wouldn’t do extra work to add choices to never use them. It’s just, a point of view. It’s just, my opinion.
Another instance of player agency, Maria’s outing. Kind feel sad that I can’t react to her liking Fantasy, or pick the last book from the two she filters out. Could be a nice place to develop some more of maria’s character ot Nine’s, but maybe that’s just me.
I will be honest though, just played the Maria and Sam’s outing as of yet. Not really interested in the others as RO.
iii. flow of the plot
[tl;dr]: pacing could be an issue, but it’s not really that worrisome. also, some plot connections feel kind of missing sometimes.
Just some observations about the plot, or the flow.
It feels as though Nine is able to overcome their coma quite fast. Noticing that they go from being taken from the pod to all events that happen through chaps 3 to 7 all in one day is kind of wild. I guess they can do that because they are superhuman?
Still, I feel they shouldn’t be able to talk at all, maybe not even understand Tad and Maria in the beginning. But maybe that’s just me projecting, hell it probably is. Cutting their hair, leaving DNA evidence, maybe that’s not relevant at all but it irks me a little bit.
I will say I am never a fan of exposition, but I have seen worse. The way you did was in line with a lot of professional titles such as fallout:new vegas or any of (rip) old bioware games. Maybe interchange some memories along? Or more scenes like the neat reference to the RO in one of the questions.
Oh, yes. The memories. You said that you plan to make this long, so you might start to add snips and bits of the conscious memory only after to be able to build up to them, or the main reveal of Nine’s origin. Completely ok with that, but I would have started already after the second batch of exposition. But that’s just me.
After Nine’s blackout from healing their arm. Greer mentions that nine should tidy up the kitchen but then they forget about it. smh, poor amy.
The healing arm is never brought up again (yet), even after the full meeting where Nine is able to go out ID and all. While I understand that Greee couldn’t give two fricks about a arm healing itself, Maria or Amy would probably feel curious about it.
Regarding the Bath, wouldn’t the other characters be concerned if Nines took too much time with it?
iv. minor things
[tl;dr]: as states, just minor stuff, this can be totally ignored. (as kind of my whole post, but I digress)
As if what I wrote above wasn’t minor as well, but this is just stupid nitpicks/suggestions.
When Messages are presented, I always find cool to write the time they were sent, as it is a form of giving extra information and telling things. But you can do it as well in the way you did, so no harm done.
(romantic) and (flirt), idk feels kind of cheap when it’s the same text. I get when it is spoken it has different tones, but idk. Not a fan.
In choices, when exchanging pages [Next] could probably be used as a way to give out more information, if you wish to do so.
“Haha. No. Unless?” sjhdkajshdkasjdn??? got a chuckle out of me but immersion went out of the window.
In the last chapter, after choosing for the second time the daily activity, the page of the description of the second activity, is like, way too long (for me anyway). I would break it up a bit.
Oof. Sorry. I think I went too long. Oh well. You are probably tired of hearing, but please feel free to take this with a grain of salt. It’s just an opinion, and if in any way I came across as harsh, I apologise.
I don’t know if this is the feedback you deserve (or want), but it’s what I can give.
(Sorry for grammar mistakes and the like, it’s 4 AM and it took longer than I expected to write this. I still feel as if I am forgetting stuff. Oh well.)
Edit [12/09/19]: fixed the typos, but can’t save my grammar. and oh boy there were many of them.