Falrika the Alchemist [Official release date: 2024.2.1] [Official demo available!]

I posted early :woman_facepalming: mobile is hard to edit on. Give me a moment.

Initial thoughts: interesting concept, I can definitely tell there’s a visual novel angle here but that’s not negative. Prologue started off on a bit of an underwhelming note, but the writing style is enticing and it fits the slice of life vibe. Sometimes it’s very noticeable when you’re not looking at someone’s first draft, it feels polished.
I have some gripes with writing choices, but I’ve had that with some of my all-time favourite books too, and you’re clearly an experienced writer with your own style.

Some of the earlier feedback you got is what we in my language call “speaking straight from the liver”. After having had a look myself, I know where some of it is coming from, and I thought I’d put into words how I see things. Feel free to regard or disregard this as you wish, it is your story after all and ultimately many of the best authors write the story they themselves would want to read.

I had one question, though, @MoonlightBomber:
Have you read any Choicescript stories yourself? I think most of the criticism you’ve gotten regarding the interactive aspects are about a clash in your expectations, and the expectations of readers on this forum. You write well, and I know there’s absolutely an audience here for light-hearted stories, slice of life and visual novel inspirations. There’s also an audience for gender-locked characters and most of what you’ve written. You’re a talented author and I really appreciate the passion that shines through in your work.

That being said, below the line I’ve got some thoughts on why people haven’t responded the way your story otherwise deserves:


First some writing feedback.

“In terms of equality and human rights, the kingdom also highly upholds it, especially in the light of the bigotry the now-disgraced clan perpetuated.
Humans, elves, half-elves, and feralkins — they are all afforded equal protection under the law.
And no matter their status in life or their preferred gender — the law also protects them all.”

I feel like this would be better if it was written into the story more naturally. This is coming from a queer person, but maybe instead of outright telling the reader that equal rights are a thing, it could be presented more as a natural way of life; introducing a genderqueer character early on, or describing the populace using language that isn’t cisnormative.

Some people are very into the detailed world building aspect that’s introduced in books such as LotR, but for your average reader those things rarely make for a very compelling start of a story.

I like the way Choice of Rebels does this; allowing the reader at the beginning to choose whether they want all the deep worldbuilding lore or if they want a lighter read. It gives the reader the ability to reread with further context if they find out they’re intrigued enough at the end of the book. Otherwise, I feel bite-sized drops of world building embedded piece by piece into the story is more of the norm for contemporary storytelling, and what Imo works best.

“A 30-something woman with long, dark-green hair, tied up in a huge and complicated bun with a stick, and sporting red-framed glasses as well as a tight-fitting alchemist’s outfit consisting of a blazer and a long penciled skirt, then waves at me.”

Personal gripe here, and this is something I see a lot as a reader (and I do it myself as a writer): most people don’t notice every aspect of someone’s outfit all at once. When I’m meeting someone, I often notice one or two aspects immediately, typically their hairstyle and maybe one piece of outfit that sticks out from the rest. Sometimes I’ll be in a convo and it takes me 10-30 minutes to notice that they have a nice dress on, or that I like their shoes. This goes back to the first point about not giving every piece of information to the reader at once.

Other people might not care or mind, though, or this might be your preferred way of writing, which is none of my business either. So take that with a grain of salt and chuck any of my advice in the fire if it’s not how you want to do things.

The few other things I wanted to mention here have already been brought up (such as to put the alchemy information within the choice buttons rather than describing them ahead of time).

Moving on to my main feedback now. Let me know if you don’t want writing feedback like the ones above, though. I saw you said something along the lines of accepting all feedback as long as it doesn’t go against your vision, which is fair, but I’d like to know exactly what that vision is as well. If anything I write is out of bounds I’ll apologise and delete it.

I think the first thing I want to say here is that the biggest way to avoid feedback that isn’t useful to you (such as reactions on the interactivity, if you want this to be more like a text-based visual novel), is to set that expectation at the start. When the game comes out, if it’s not as interactive as people expect on here, that should be in the foreword before people buy/download the game. Not to ward people off, but to avoid having someone who might be exactly your target audience complain because their expectations weren’t met. I’ve seen this happen a few times on this forum; people say they feel “tricked” because the description claims that e.g. the MC can be any sexuality, but the story is lacking romance for the orientation they choose for their character. Or that it says you have agency over the story, but the story is linear with a set ending and only flavour text to choose from.

All of that can be okay if expectations are managed, preferably before someone with a specific deal-breaker (such as gender locked MCs) buys the game.

And that’s I think the crust of some of the feedback you’ve gotten: when you write a choicescript game for HG/CoG/HC, there’s an expectation that some of the unwritten guidelines are followed.

An author that breaks these guidelines can still succeed - there’s many Choicescript games that are within my top 10 favourites despite doing so, and I think for some of them that is because I read them when I was new enough to Choicescript that I had yet to expect anything specific. Chances are if those same books/games were published now, and marketed the way newer games are, I would’ve liked them less for disrupting the norm without a warning. If you can break these norms well without surprising an unsuspecting reader, I think you’ll be more able to hit the audience that will truly enjoy it.

The most important part of breaking a rule in writing is Imo that it is intentional. And to do it intentionally in this medium, you should be familiar with what expectations the readers have. I don’t know if you are, because the feedback did seem to surprise you (other than it being put a bit harshly). That’s why I asked (without assumptions) if you have read many Choicescript IFs. This medium and the expectations have undergone a big change in just a few years, and what would’ve gotten a good review here in 2013 probably would fall flat today if not done intentionally and carefully. That doesn’t mean the writing was bad before, some of my favourite Choicescript games are the early linear ones with nowhere near the depth (in choices) of games/books like Fallen Hero.

Sorry for the ramble.

Here’s what I think the main current expectations are:

  • even in a gender-locked MC with certain predetermined characteristics, like being a clumsy young woman, most people here expect to have control over other aspects of the character. Is she charming? Sarcastic? Stoic? What are her ideals, can the player choose whether she cares about a character, or not? Does studying make her nervous, or is she impatient to learn more?

  • the above characteristics also need to be more than just flavour text. It should bleed into the narrative or affect choices in some ways, because otherwise it feels like it’s only there to paint a visage of the player having agency. I’ve said this before on other threads, but in my personal opinion the MC should be one of the (narratively) strongest characters. If we can’t empathise with the MC on a personal level, or imagine their personality, it often weakens the punch of an IF. This leads to my next point.

  • readers on here can be, for lack of better words (and I’m including myself in this description, I mean this in good faith and not as a dig) petty. If we feel that the story is forcing or nudging us in a certain direction, or judging a player narratively for their choices to try and make them change tactics and play according to a vision the author has, then I’ve seen many people report that they want to do the opposite. An example from reading this WIP: the first time I met the cat, I was delighted. After a few more chapters though, when I realised I could not play as a character that did not want to pet the cat, even if I otherwise wouldn’t have picked that option, then I wanted less and less to interact with it. It’s a delightful mechanic otherwise, and a bit childish on my side, but it’s largely because Choicescript is typically equal parts a game and a book. The author can choose what they do and don’t want to implement, but if there’s no room for playing and one didn’t expect that, then it skews the set expectations. It’s like when you’re playing a video game and there’s a level made for the player to accidentally stumble upon; it was developed, coded and animated on purpose and with forethought, but the players that explore and can find them still feel like they’ve accomplished something the game devs didn’t intend.

Since I didn’t see it coming from the description (and maybe I was hasty and didn’t read properly; I’m sorry if that’s the case), it felt a bit like preparing to go for a ride only to find out it’s a self-driving car and the wheel is just for show. If I knew that first, then I would’ve brought a cup of tea, sat back and enjoyed the scenery. I’ll give that a go in the future.

This is by NO means how everyone or necessarily even most play, there’s definitely an audience for your story & I might pick it up myself once it’s out, but the crowd you might expect to get negative reactions from if they’re not aware ahead of time that this IF isn’t like the others on here, are mostly people who will move on without saying anything if it’s not their cup of tea - as long as they know it first. If you don’t want to implement the amount of choices described here or in other feedback, and want your character to be predetermined, I would make sure that that’s made clear enough so you don’t have to deal with people asking you to change something that’s a deal-breaker for you.

Personally, I play Choicescript for 2 main things: role-playing, and replayability. I want to experience the stories on here anew with new characters and different stats & personalities in a deep way. I can often stay up a whole night rereading a book I’ve gotten hooked on, because every time I get to the end I need to return and change my choices to see what else can happen. I don’t do it with every game by far, though, and if I know what to expect then the linear or gender-locked or whatever else kinds of stories can still be just as beautiful and impactful. But that’s mostly as long as I find out early enough what to expect.


Defying expectations and breaking rules or norms is one of the most beautiful parts of being a writer. I think many of the best stories in any medium out there are made by writers who thought outside the box and who choose to not follow all that their literature teachers told them or what readers think they should do. But I’d make sure you know to market that as it is and make a bold statement about it, so it doesn’t surprise anyone who presses the “more games like this” button at the end of a Choicescript game and might then be more inclined to criticise your story for being gender-locked, or not having as many choices as they’re otherwise used to.

Regardless I wish you much luck and no pesky writer’s block on your work going forward. It’s impressive how much you’ve written in what looks to be a regularly updated way, and your grace in accepting feedback. I hope you feel welcome to use Choicescript however you see fit, and that the target audience of all who love slice of life visual novels manage to find this. I’ll definitely be checking out how the development continues and I’m excited to see what you end up creating. :heart: You have your own style of writing that I’d love to see more of, and if you have any published visual novels I’d absolutely love to check them out as well, even if it isn’t something I pick up often.


As I’ve said before, I’ve never made a CS game before, or even played one, but I did make an IF game before, using BASIC.
Regarding your main feedback, which talks about expectations, I’m gonna go with your recommendation and put out a simple author’s note before the prologue, which should tell potential players what to expect in my game (more narrative-driven, with a gender-locked MC and all).

As for the rest of your feedback (the first two pieces of writing feedback you gave will turn into some tweaks to the text)…

She simply aims to become a master alchemist with a specialization, and her klutziness never dampens her resolve ever. As for her little aspects of her character, I’m gonna go with some variations of the personalities you recommended, without overtly changing what she really is. After all, nobody loves a cardboard cut-out character, right?

I admit I didn’t give her much of a backstory other than the fact that she comes from a loving family, with no personal tragedies to speak of. Most likely, I’m gonna drop some bits and pieces of her own backstory throughout some relevant parts.

Hmm… I admit the petting mechanic was kind of tacked-on, with only two results (additional/alternate scenes) borne from patting a certain number of pets. Maybe, I can mitigate that effect you’ve mentioned by having Falrika state that she feels kinda bad not doing more for that specific animal, but not to the point where she can get too emotional about it.

Well, I didn’t emphasize (in bold/italic letters, even) that Falrika the Alchemist is mostly a narrative-driven adventure. I’m gonna highlight that in the final product.

To @Kirschtein, thanks for giving a long yet well thought-out feedback. And yes, I’m onto the finish line, as I’ll definitely roll out the final chapter before the middle of this month.


It’s not too late to familiarise yourself with the medium you’ve chosen to write in. Plenty of free CoG and HG games out there. Taking the time to read even a couple of them would give you a broad sense of what your readership expects from their IF experience – notably, the level of actual interactivity.

No, though on the evidence a lot of people love games with a cardboard cut-out MC – not for the character, but for the experience of putting themselves into the protagonist’s shoes with as few incongruities as possible.


I appreciate the response, and once again kudos for the way you accept feedback.

I agree with Joel here. Even if you don’t end up incorporating everything to a T, I think it’d be helpful.

All choicescript games are different in their own right, though the ones that I notice are talked about most positively years after release are the ones that incorporate more personalisation and choices of where the story goes.

It’s more important to have meaningful choices that still allow for variation than it is to have too many if they’re not developed properly, though. Choice of Broadsides (free) is one of my original favourites, because it’s written well and although the story by current standards is pretty linear, I always felt that the writing held up and that there was enough choice in the character to play around.

For a lot of people linearity will still be a deal-breaker though, which I’d keep in mind. Many people also play IF to be able to imagine themselves in the shoes of the main character, which is why gender-locking the protagonist means that there are people who might like the premise but won’t play it. I’m not saying that to change your mind about any variable you deem integral to the story, it’s more that it’s a good thing to know.

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands for reading complete games, I’d say my biggest recommendation is to check out multiple. Most have 3 or so free chapters, which allows for you to get a feel for the genre and the variety of choice in different stories. That would probably be more helpful than finishing 1 or 2 that might vary wildly from the next one.

I’d also have a look at discussion threads on this forum to get a feel for what sort of thing readers here tend to like or dislike.

A good, older thread that doesn’t have too many comments is:

There’s also the release threads of different choice games, or the different author/development/choicescript threads to get a feel for what kind of advice and critique people usually get and give. I’ve noticed that many of the more forum-active choicescript authors are open to cheering each other on.

Overall I find it very cool that you’ve decided to set out on trying a new medium like this. I’m excited to see the next updates.


Just a question, why did you decide to write a 156K+ words game for a medium you are very unfamiliar?

Sounds a lot like jumping into a pool without knowing how to swim.


The discussion was getting a bit off topic previously when people brought up this point. I’m not a mod but maybe we should try to limit the WiP discussion to constructive criticism that the author can use? I understand where you’re coming from, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. Just my two cents. I’m mostly hoping we can avoid the hurtful language that was used earlier in the thread, as it doesn’t really accomplish anything other than discourage the author if it isn’t more specific or offers something beyond a critique we’ve been over already. No offense to you specifically :sweat_smile: I don’t mean to step out of bounds.

That’s fair. I think the way you wrote it here made it more clear where you’re coming from. Thanks clarifying (and sorry if I sound suspicious, I figured you were speaking in good faith but I wanted to make sure just in case).


Absolutely, but most people starting somewhere dont tend to write a entirely new game before ever reading a game of that medium before. I was curious to know what led to that decision.

Not looking to provide feedback at the moment, havent played the open demo, I only wanted to ask a question based on what I’ve read so far here.


@MoonlightBomber can answer for himself, but as the person who’d started using the word “medium” in my post above, I should concede that VNs and CSGs are works in the same medium, just different high-level genres within that medium. It’s not obvious to someone coming from one genre that the other has different conventions, or even that they should be considered different genres (they’re all IF after all).


Yes, I do come from a VN-based background, and thus one shouldn’t wonder why I write and code this way. But the critiques I receive will go a long way in getting comfy with the IF genre overall.
And yes, before the private beta starts, I’ll take time to sample other CS-made games to get a better feel.

And to answer @KV1_DESEMPREGADO’s question, I created this entire thing for two reasons: To flex my game writing and narrative design skills in the hopes of formally landing a position for a future commercial project, and to earn some sweet money in the process.


Thanks for the answer, Im not going to argue about your decisions, since this looks like its been done already, and since I havent played it yet, I wouldnt have much to talk about anyway.

I will probably check out the current demo soon, if only to satisfy my curiosity. Again, thanks for answering my question.


And now, this is the final update for the public beta.
Chapter 20. Falrika will face her final challenge before she can consider herself a full-fledged alchemist.

With that, I will tell three important things.

  1. This public beta will last until the end of this month, as I will gather the critiques and use them to improve my WIP before it formally ends.
  2. The private beta will begin in September, as soon as I’m finished with the revisions related to the public one.
  3. The two polls will also close alongside the public beta.

Whew. It’s been five months writing this, and I’m equally anxious and confident to see how it will be received once it’s out in the wild.
To those who have read and will read the entire tale from start to finish, thank you.


It’s now less than a week before the end of this public beta and the two polls.
I’m currently working on the suggested revisions, especially for the first half, since they’re easily doable.


And now, since it’s now September in the Western Hemisphere, the public beta is now officially closed, and so are the two polls.

Regarding the RO poll, it was easy to see why Reycard and Neroko are the first and second placers. I’ve made them endearing, simply put.
Joverlyn may not be everyone’s cup of tea (i.e. not everyone loves chatterboxes), but via your suggestions, I’ve also inserted a backstory, which hopefully will make her a more endearing RO.
Niko… since I introduced them last, there was not much backstory and traits to make them a viable RO. Then again, thanks to your suggestions, I’ve added a few more traits and some bits and pieces of their backstory.

Regarding the non-RO poll, Kimpoy’s the winner, though he has several things in common with Joverlyn. I wonder why.

Now that the public beta’s over, I’m almost done working on the revisions based on your suggestions; and after that, I’ll hopefully submit the revised version to CoG staff for the private beta to kick off this month. If all goes well, Falrika the Alchemist will be released before 2023 ends.

PS: And since the current cover artwork is AI-generated, it will not be used for the final product. As I’m currently broke, I need the help of an artist who will volunteer to do the artwork for that version.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. If you want to reopen your WiP, contact the moderators.

This game will be released this Thursday, February 1st!
The demo is now available to play here: Falrika the Alchemist