Big Brains in Little Jars - open beta - Submitted to Hosted Games :)

Big Brains in Little Jars

UPDATE 8/28/21

  • added more options when facing the Frankenstein Initiative during calibration
  • added a new scene with Mark/Cynthia backstory
  • added more chances to improve stats early on
  • clarified stat checks in some places

Ever wanted to give up your arms, legs, musculoskeletal system, and hopes for the future, all to spend eternity in a glass jar? Well now you can! Welcome to Big Brains in Little Jars, the Sci-Fi adventure game that puts you in the shoes–or, er, jar–of a “brain-for-hire.”

As a valued appendage at a company called Gray Matter, you’ll be hired by clients to do the thinking, speaking, acting, and decision-making for them–when you’re not trying to escape, that is. Befriend your clients, make loyal companions out of your fellow brains, stir up trouble for the company that has imprisoned you, start riots, solve riddles, punch coworkers, drink more punch than humanly possible–and oh yes. If you’re not too busy, you’ll probably want to find your jar before someone can stuff your brain down the garbage disposal.

Good luck, brain-for-hire.

About the game:

“Big Brains in Little Jars” is a 300,000-word (approx. 40,000-word per playthrough) interactive sci-fi novel. It has no gender element (you’re just a brain) and no romance (seriously, you’re just a brain). It does, however, have adventure, exploration, riddle-solving, troublemaking, self-driving cars, and a Sarcasm stat. There is mature language and moderate violence.

I’m hoping to get it published, so I’m opening up this beta test because I’d love any feedback y’all can throw at me. See a typo? Feel like a scene isn’t working? Want to punch a certain character in the face? Did punch a certain character in the face and now feel guilty about it? I want to hear it all!

Here is the link:

Thank you all in advance! :slight_smile:


It’s interesting so far will did the prologue bit didn’t immediately notice anything in first play through of it. Save it seems in the stats section the top two stats didn’t move but the bottom ones do reflect movement. Might have been all choices made but thought to see them be different than 50% will try to play more later but defintly interesting concept and game ya got :smiley:


This is such a fun concept! Almost as fun as the fact that we can play for a non-brainy brain (as per the stats). (Speaking of stats, the sarcasm bar is everything.) :smiley:

I haven’t played through the whole thing yet, mind you, but so far I’ve only noticed 1 continuity error, 1 thing that should’ve been in italics but wasn’t, and ZERO typos. Seriously, that’s impressive.

(Second line to the last is missing italics)

As for the continuity error, upon our 2nd meeting with the intern (after finishing our first job), there’s this line:

“So you’re trying to find Mark,” you go on. “But is he an employee, or is he a valued appendage in Gray Matter’s fleet?”

I think we’ve already established what he is, though? When we first met the intern, she clearly thought WE might be Mark, which I think is indication enough???

(Also, speaking of Mark, in my playthrough I tried and failed to pretend I’m him, and I kid you not, I actually shrieked when I typed that MC’s favorite color was green and the intern was all dismissive and like, no, you have to describe it as two shades shy of pistachio or whatnot or else it doesn’t count. Lady, I’m a floating brain, cut me some slack lol.)

Lastly, on a side note, I thought it was painfully obvious that the ‘zombie test’ that we had to undergo at the start of the game was staged, and yet the MC completely fell for it. Was it because of an unfortunate combination of stats, or is there no way whatsoever to recognize the test for what it is? I think that at least the brainiest brains, or perhaps the most cunning ones, would deserve the chance to realize what’s happening. It’s a minor thing, but it kind of bugged me. :smiley:


This was a really cool concept, I finished wanting more. I like how you could recognise one brain by the accent. Subtle things like the way people hold themselves, their gait, even their body language are all things that I use to recognise people as well since my eyes aren’t great, it’s good to see a little detail like that acknowledged and made use of.

How high are those stat checks towards the end? I think when I checked each of four doors I failed all the stat checks even though it said I wasn’t x enough and x was the dominant side of the opposed stat. Is it just meant to be really difficult to pass them?

Still sad I didn’t manage to save dear sweet second in command and lady’s boyfriend brain. :frowning:


When I first went through this part I suspected immediately that it was a trap🤣… And I still went for it for purely personality reason. Though it would be nice to have a “it might be a set-up so I play along” choice.

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What an incredible premise. I am so keen.


What on earth is this game lol? This is one of the wackiest premises I’ve ever heard, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued.

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Thank you so much! I definitely appreciate the feedback :slight_smile:

Excellent points all around! I’m so glad you enjoyed the sarcasm bar–I was almost ridiculously excited to work that into the narrative :smiley:

I totally missed the continuity thing. Thank you SO much for catching that!

As for the zombie test, you and @RiverReed have a great point–I think I’ll work in another option somehow. Thank you both!

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Thank you so much for the feedback!

The stat checks are meant to be super tricky, but you don’t miss anything mission-critical if you happen to fail them, so I’m hoping that works out :slight_smile:

And ah yes, I’m glad the losses had an impact! I was worried players might not care either way, so that’s good to hear :slight_smile:

Thanks again!!

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Just finished my first playthrough, and I love it, wasn’t expecting to be so caught up in the story, I ended up using the kids so I died in company with the rest of the revolution, also I couldn’t save Mark because I tried using sarcasm but I didn’t have enough heh and I felt slightly emotional for a short moment, I certainly want to go back and play it again, I love the premise, the stat checks were a bit unexpectedly hard but I guess it’s fine cause sometimes I went back and forth with one of the stats.

Pretty good little game here and because apparently this is a beta, I’m keeping an eye out for updates

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First, the ending.

Revolution is a-go, we’re at Gilbert’s, second-in-command died, Mark got a body and I died at the end.

Good: writing, emotional impact, interesting and diverse cast, twists every time I think there will be something I can predict next. From other’s posts - nonlinearity and different endings.

Not so good: zombie checks at the end where I constistently had no luck with any statcheck, despite having 65-70ish. Sue me, I didn’t pick all the choices to minmax, but come on! Checks overall were hit and miss, some made sense, some were just 'whoops and here we will check the stat, despite not checking that in similar choice before, haha, screw you".

don’t have brainpower to add more for now, overall - solid 4 out of 5 stars.


Let me preface this post by saying I really enjoy the unique nature of this game’s content. Sci-Fi is one genre I personally can’t ever get enough of - Sci-Fi done well is simply chef’s kiss.

Formatting Errors

I spotted very few of these during my playthrough!

I think this bit (below) was supposed to be italicised.

Perhaps an indent would be useful here.

Flow of Narrative

I particularly enjoyed seeing different characters’ interactions with the MC - they were very effective at establishing characters’ thought processes and personalities, especially with the harsh difference between Gilbert’s “okay i guess” and Rhonda’s “Shut your trap.” dialogue styles.

I felt that scenes in which MC transitioned from one location to another were a bit jarring, especially between being in a body and being back in my own brain. Going into the body was usually very obvious and clear-cut with the fade-to-black sort of written effect, but leaving and coming back to Gray Matter always felt really sudden and unexpected. Maybe that was intended, though, which in retrospect makes a lot of sense.

Additionally, I’d like to advise that the various “missions” an MC might undertake - for example, I’m not even sure if there were missions other than to revolt against Gray Matter and Free the Brains, which is my case in point - are made more obvious, because I did lose track of what exactly I was trying to accomplish at times. The way choices were labelled when speaking to Cynthia prior to poor Mark’s, well, post-mortem mortem also felt unclear as to which stat was being tested. Sometimes the aftermath of a choice was very explicit as to what stat check was failed - other times, not so much. Was attempting to reason with her a test of Brainy-ness, Charming-ness, or both?

Thoughts on Characters

I felt that some characters were so much better-written (or just appealing) than the rest that I found it impossible to sympathise with others no matter what came about.


I don’t even know what to think of her, and I have no idea why she wanted to prevent a revolution (I think that’s what she wanted, I apologise if I misunderstood) if she was so desperate to free Mark. I think a little more insight into her and Mark’s relationship would have made it far easier to empathise with her, even at the beginning when she was significantly easier to empathise with. She felt kind of like a blank slate without that solid backstory, and when she lost her credibility as an ally near the end, it felt like a waste of potential.

Gilbert and Grace

It is entirely possible that I missed out on a huge portion of their character development for my lack of interest (to be frank) in their cutscene/chapter. Both seemed almost too predictable in their nature and purpose.

Gilbert was the bleeding heart student, fair enough, but he seemed to find courage almost randomly when I chose to stand back and let him take the lead during the fire at the bar. (I will also mention here that some of the flavour text for visiting the bar seemed really off - I struggle to imagine that families with their children would have been around there, same as at a diner!)

Grace, meanwhile, was kind of worse. The only part of our interaction with her when I felt I was talking to a person and not a character trope of the hard-to-get girl was when she showed some form of kindness to Gilbert, through flirtation or otherwise. The rest of the time, she was… a bit boring? Certainly not the talented chef of Gilbert’s dreams…


This guy was nearly as confusing as Cynthia as to his intentions (though way, way more likeable, if only for the fact that he stood on his own two feet to confront my MC about what I did to the kids at the party - it gave him that solid characterisation that the intern lacked, and I understood him a lot better for it).

Although it was frustrating, I liked that he didn’t have a one-way loyalty card to either the brains or the humans involved in the story - he could sympathise with the MC’s poor state of (haha) mind, but treated them like a person and not an object above all, holding them accountable for their actions, and that really made all the difference.


Bless. What a lord. Every stat check I failed was just a chance for him to flex his Brainy stat, which, come on, really couldn’t have been higher than mine, but whatever. I like this guy and will more than gladly call him Chris over any numerical label. Although I didn’t get the chance to talk to any other brains directly, if they were all equally amenable to my cause I think I would’ve liked them too.

Another thing I appreicated was his not being the kind of character to automatically like you if you have, say, one particular stat that you favour over others. Some characters - especially ROs - seem to like MCs that act a certain way all the time, or have the same views as them, and never question their other actions. Chris could help your revolution, work for everyone’s well-being, and simultaneously mention that he thought you were cold-blooded to leave the kids behind like that. Brilliantly three-dimensional.


What can I say? The only word that fits is queen. :crown:

All jokes aside, I really liked Rhonda’s portrayal as a two-faced coward - it was really a shame I wasn’t forceful enough to help her get her hands on a promotion. Her dislikeability as a person was definitely triumphed by how interesting she was as a character.

  • I couldn’t pass, like, any stat checks beyond Gilbert and Grace’s chapter. It would be cool if MCs didn’t have to focus on building single stats, but I definitely, totally understand if you don’t want to write pages and pages of variations.
  • Here’s what I accomplished - nothing too spectacular. I am really curious as to what your favourite line is… and what in the name of J-154 is hiding behind that hidden achievement?
  • My stats (sarcasm was very entertaining, what a great use of a variable):
  • My interest is more than piqued and I am most definitely coming back for a second round at this game. I want some quirky endings!!!

Congratulations on creating such an immersive game world. A little embroidery will see this game a long way, I predict. :white_flower:

EDIT: I swung the hidden achievement. It made me smile.
EDIT 2: Sorry for these edits, but I got the “You’ll Die Alone” achievement even though Grace asked Gilbert on a second date… that seems off!


Thanks so much for your feedback! I love hearing that there was a moment of slight emotion…that’s awesome and I really appreciate it :slight_smile:

Thanks again!!

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Thank you so much for the feedback! I’ll definitely add a statcheck review to my list–that’s a good point.

Again, thank you so much!! :slight_smile:

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Okay, I seriously can’t tell you how much I appreciate this feedback. Thank you SO much for spending time discussing individual characters especially–that’s really helpful and I’m officially adding a characterization review to my to-do list :wink:

Also, I’m so glad you got the hidden achievement! I was debating whether or not to give it away, but you found it before I could get back to reply, so that’s awesome :smiley: And yeah, that achievement definitely shouldn’t be there…must be a coding thing. I’ll review that too!

Again, thank you so much! Literally I appreciate, like, every word :wink:


@ anybody who was waiting for updates: they’re here! New scenes in the first third of the game, more chances to boost stats before getting into the guts of the story, and a little stat clarification work toward the end.

Tagging some folks who were waiting for updates and/or instrumental in suggesting current updates (mostly just to thank you one more time, haha):

Thanks again, everyone!


Congratulations on the update, and hey! I caught some different dialogue from Grace and Gilbert this time around, regarding the diner and so forth, and that was pretty endearing. I can honestly say I have a better idea of their characters now. Unfortunately, I still got “You’ll Die Alone” even when they agreed on a second date…

The added background for Cynthia and Mark was really effective at endearing them to me, so that was great to see too. I think that fills the gap between the MC and the other brains pretty well, by showing us they were once people too, et cetera, and why we should want to save every brain to begin with. Maybe the MC had someone dear to them too.

I’m far from an expert on stat balances so take this last part with a pinch of salt, but at 76% Charming, I still can’t pass the stat check in the fourth room. At 74% I couldn’t pass the Brainy check either… how much higher can these stats get, and what’s the pass number? Perhaps I’ve missed a few raises somewhere.

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Thank you for going through the game again!!

So it looks like I forgot to upload the corrected Gilbert/Grace file, but the achievement coding is fixed there. Thank you for pointing that out!

I’m glad the Mark/Cynthia scene works in terms of narrative/character development - thank you!

And finally, the stats in those four rooms are super, super high, so I wanted most players to be unable to pass without help from a friend. Chris is one of those friends, and each of the other three brings their own ability, basically showing why you’d want to keep them around :wink: That being said, I think I’ll clarify the wording somewhere so it’s obvious that you need a different friend to pass each stat check.

Again, thank you so much! :slight_smile:


Ah, that makes sense. When I went through the game for the first time, from after the party to the end of the game I think I failed every stat check. I managed to get a good ending, but it definitely did bum me out in the moment. Just the classroom mindset of “What am I doing wrong?”