Thank you! Fixed the typo, and I’m so glad that the stat breaking worked for you. Interactive Fiction is such a new genre (compared to formats like poetry or the novel), that I think there’s a lot of untapped potential for what can be used as a literary device. And I won’t spoiler anything, but your theories and direction of thought both make me feel very content.
You have good taste! I love the entire cast, but Gray is probably the RO that most parents would be the happiest to be introduced to. He’s the kind of guy who would insist on helping do the dishes after dinner.
“The most open-minded woman in the world” line killed me
I love how high her Effort stat is, since effort is my way of rewarding players for not restarting even if they fail an assignment or mission It’s basically a measure of stubborn persistence. Get it high enough, and it leads to some truly excellent moments.
All three routes have equally big payoff, I think, even if it’s not immediately evident. Punctuality changes some dialogue in Chapter 2, but who you meet and what you see on your way to school plays a significant role in how the story will play out. (That being said, I think I would personally feel guilty not checking on the dogs )
My favorite was a toss up between K’s route or Gray’s route because I love both of them so much, but K won out just because so many of the responses made me laugh.
The metro was good, and I didn’t actively dislike it, but if I had to choose one, it lost. But only because there wasn’t interaction with main characters. Now if the kid somehow became recurring, I might change my tune. And I did still enjoy the glimpse of Noh a lot, but it just came down to character interactions for me.
That said, I’m still planning multiple play throughs and will be taking the metro on at least one.
Same, I really liked Grey’s route because we could laugh with him and have throwbacks to MC’s past in a fun way, not smth really serious, just… Cookie Monster haha. Then I would say K’s route came second, not first because I found it a bit long ? Not that it wasn’t good, it was just long to my liking I guess. Then Noh comes third. He’s the character I’m most looking forward to get to knowing but we just couldn’t interact with him. We only had a snippet of what was going on in his mind, which is smth that kind of puts me off in games because I base myself off of my character and they can’t know what is going on in Noh’s head so knowing it gets me out of character. But I still liked it ! It just got me out of character. So yeah the main reason he is third is because I couldn’t interact with him :’(
I am inordinately attached to Percy, so his reappearance is a definite possibility. I’m on the same page about loving character interaction, too, which is why Metro route is the outlier.
If I had to recommend a play order for the three routes, I would definitely suggest people save the Metro route for their second playthrough (I’m a re-reader of even regular books, though I know not everyone is). I agree that it can be frustrating to be pulled from the main character’s perspective early in-game, even if (technically) the player is still the one controlling the main character.
Each path choice actually corresponds to a personality type:
K’s is a humorous response (shih tzu hero!), Gray’s is a confident response (I can do it!), and Metro is morbid (dead or late, eh whatev). No personality stats change from the decision, and each path equally allows for each personality. But interacting with Noh alters the feel of several future scenes despite the writing not changing. It lends seemingly innocent interactions a creepy vibe that I figured readers who play Morbid MCs might appreciate, and is especially fun/chilling if you played the first time without realizing what could happen in the station.
Picked the walking route as my favorite—not because of Gray himself, honestly, but more because my main MC has a really bitter and complicated relationship with Nick, and the flashback gave me an opportunity to explore another painful facet of that relationship. (I’m sorry, Nick. I actually do like him well enough, but unfortunately my MC doesn’t!)
Like a lot of people, I picked the Metro route as my least favorite due to the lower amount of character interaction and focus on the MC’s personal life/experiences. It’s definitely interesting, but I didn’t feel like it helped define my character in a meaningful way, which is what I’m more interested in at this point in the game.
Side note, I hope this doesn’t come across as pushy or anything, but I was wondering if options for playing an MC with fear/anxiety/shyness concerning animals were still being considered? I only ask because this miiight influence my answer about which route I prefer between Gray and K.
Personally I feel that the Metro route can be reused at a later point in the story when the characters are more well established.
In the very beginning it is crucial for the readers to be thoroughly invested in the plot and individuals before any sort of deep emotional dive can be made, unless if the emotional dive is the entire premise; which, in this case, it is not.
That being said, I do think the concepts presented in the Metro route can be sprinkled - but not explored as much - into the other routes through some clever writing. That and the more Morbid attitude could be injected into the Walk route through the Cookie Monster dialogue, as well as how briskly the MC decides to go.
I like the driving route the best, purely because my MC gets to have a staring contest with the neighbor. I would choose the metro route though, because my MC would probably take the metro instead of going back to check on the dogs. Maybe if they encountered someone else at the metro and talked to them like in the other routes, it’d add more interest to it? Looking forward to seeing more!
All the routes were awesome so had to rank them from “Most awesome” to “still really awesome”. Ranked walking route the highest because really had fun with it and liked the bit of backstory that got filled in and Gray was really fun to meet.
Next I ranked the driving route still really fun to play and has doggos and K who was fun to banter with. The metro route was really interesting, it made me very curious about what would unfold but had less interaction and character build moments than the other two and no major character to directly interact with.
I still think it was very solid as it was and the lack of two sided interaction worked for the shown plot and I am still very interested in that route and would do a run through of it despite the fact it was more concise and had less character build in it because it made me very curious.
For me, I really loved the metro route. Even though there’s no interaction with Noh. I really enjoyed because we get to see the MC from another person’s pov. And that’s just really refreshing and cool for me. And also we get to see a bit of Noh’s personality and excited to see how MC and Noh will meet.
When I see the poll I actually can’t decide since every route has their different charms - and not in that way school teachers usually say when they want to be diplomatic either. (no offense, diplomatic parents and school teachers)
I love the ‘but the dogs need me more’, the cookie monster flashback and the creepy metro route equally but if I had to choose… The dogs come first, and then the metro route because the mystery after the point of view shift is delicious. Not saying I don’t care about the flashback (and also, the phrase- “If Ments don’t like hearing you, they can switch sidewalks.” is forever etched in my mind. The energy packed in that is just so… sjdmdks)
I agree, no illusions about what the mc can and cannot be or do and rationally the metro would be the most comfortable way for the mc to get around as someone who will never have their own vehicle or license.
While I do not dislike the walking route I agree with you about the mc not wanting to be all gross and sweaty at all the first impressions, which means that as nice as the Gray flashback is I don’t think jogging or power walking would be a rational choice for my mc to make on his first day, he has enough cutting against him at first impressions that he wouldn’t chance looking like a bum right away too.
The only route I don’t like is Kent’s, too painful for my mc, reminds him of all the nice, adult things he can never ever have himself, such as a home and car of his own.
Ah, I see I’m in the minority in both polls haha! My favourite is walking because I think it helped me establish how I feel about both Gray and Nick, while driving would have to be least favourite because I didn’t even get stalked by a shady dark figure lol All in all i feel like i found out least info in K’s route, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I still enjoyed it a lot, thinking back on it, I’m just tooo curious!
I do think the metro route could use some more interaction! Or maybe I just like the idea of a text chat too much…
Finally found time to post a review and I have to say, this is really good! I love the characters and humor in this (especially with how ‘morbid’ it can be sometimes lol). Looking forward to see where this goes!
It was honestly hard voting on the poll because I loved all of the routes haha.
No worries about being pushy! I truly love getting feedback about what people want. I won’t always be able to provide it, but it opens my mind up to great opportunities that I’d otherwise overlook.
I do plan on adding some generically shyer/more anxious options in K’s route (especially the car ride). I may add the potential for MC to be nervous around animals, but the options would take a lot of mental logic for it to work. I thought about it (a lot!) but have several dilemmas with writing it: For example, why would an MC nervous around dogs go into the house where they might be near MC? Is it fair to take away that option from them, and have the only option available to an animal-shy MC being to stay outside? They could be genuinely worried about the animals enough to risk entering. But that means that the way they’d interact within the house would change, since they’d probably be anxious about the dogs coming inside. Also, the inner dialogue throughout the scene would have to change to reflect distress around the shih tzus rather than amusement. Is there an easy way to reconcile that potential dissonance? It’s a lot to figure out, so unless I’m struck by an epiphany, an animal-shy MC’s romance with K will likely have to begin later. Originally I had planned on restricting the romance to animal lovers, but people convinced me it has potential with a nervous MC!
I’ll definitely look at the Morbid options for Cookie Monster route! Probably not their walking pace, just because I don’t think the juice will be worth the squeeze, as the old saying goes. I will definitely give some thought into making Metro elements appear in the other routes. (That sounds like a good job for 2nd Draft Jo, who hates me because I always make her deal with the more extensive edits.)
A smart friend pointed out to me that the sweat at least probably won’t show up, since the suit is black! But yeah, there’s pros and cons to every option.
Did you win? Morbid and Confident MCs can.
It won’t be near as much character interaction as the other 2 routes, but feedback convinced me to implement a text message exchange from Sally in the metro. (Currently trying to figure out if choicescript can handle emojis in the choice options, because I really want one of Button’s replies to Sally to simply be: )
But will you recognize Noh without the mask?
As a school teacher, no offense taken. I have mastered a million and two different ways to tell parents “Your child is Cthulu spawn” and make it sound like a compliment.
Thanks! Dark humor is my jam. Laughter doesn’t trivialize sorrow, it just makes it easier to carry.
. . . Anyhow, thank you everyone for the feedback and voting! It’s given me a lot to digest, and it’s really helpful in showing me spots where things could improve.
For what it’s worth, I actually think restricting that option in this scenario is entirely fair—while providing the option to push through your fear and enter the house anyway would be nice for certain MCs, it’s true that it complicate things in a number of ways. I can’t speak for others, but I’d personally be okay if knocking on the door was the furthest an animal-shy MC was allowed to go.
That being said, these are issues you’d run into at basically every step along the way with an animal-shy K romance, so I don’t know if this compromise would necessarily solve anything in the long run—I assume you’d still need to write different versions of a lot of K-related scenes depending on the MC’s attitude toward animals. Obviously, I’m not trying to talk you out of this—if it’s not apparent by now, this is a route I’d dearly love to see come to fruition—but it is something to consider if you’re thinking about implementing this idea later on as opposed to now.