First of all, I like the premise of the game. The kids were amazing and lovely, Ayaan was a wonderfully supportive friend and probably the best adult character of the story. The writing did flow nicely for the most part and I appreciate the subtle humour and the portrayed difficulties and feelings of a mother of six werewolf kids.
I had my problems though, which are naturally mostly of subjective nature. I put most of them under cuts because they are full of spoilers, and it’s quite lengthy. If you don’t want to read my thoughts, then you don’t have to this way and it doesn’t clutter the thread unnecessarily.
For one, I agree with @DreamingGames that the description of “be gay, straight, bi or asexual” does not fit. Almost by nature of the story, the MC is bisexual as she will always be physically attracted to Chafiq and has been in a relationship with the kids’ father years earlier, so you can’t quite play her as strictly gay. You can go for the straight approach by avoiding flirting with Ayaan and making Alix male, that is true. The other way around doesn’t quite work.
The "asexual" tag
I am aware that there are different types of asexuals, the range is wide. However, for me it was incredibly awkward just how horny the MC is when she first meets Chafiq and Alix and on their second scenes (bandaging Alix’ arm, Chafiq doing the dishes). When MC first meets Chafiq, one of her kids just fell down the stairs and is crying. MC still has room in her thoughts to check out and physically admire Chafiq in great detail, which seemed incredibly odd to me. Couldn’t have this waited until things have calmed down and they were outside? Just relocating that to when they stand in front of the house would have made that less awkward for me. The way MC is overly attracted to Alix on their first meeting was also odd to me, it felt as if MC wanted to eat them up right there on the spot cause they are ‘so cute’.
Again, there are different types of asexuals, some would perhaps react like this. To me though, “asexual” doesn’t simply mean you don’t want to have sex right of the bat with a person you basically just met. To me, it has also to do with sexual attraction not being the first thing coming to mind when meeting a person, definitely not in the great detail that MC displayed. My personal understanding and experience as being asexual doesn’t quite work with this type of fast paced short-stories. Sure, I will read a character’s physical description to see who I am drawn to more, but never on this level of horniness as the MC does. And I usually want to see more of the character’s personality, getting to know them before I decide, which is naturally at odds with this type of story and thus on me.
In summary, what DreamingGames said. The sexuality descriptors don’t seem to fit which can lead to reactions like “the description says MC can be lesbian. MC is clearly not lesbian as she is automatically attracted to men without giving me the choice to examine him neutrally or sexually.”
An idea for similar future titles might be to give the player an option like “what do you see?” and then let them choose whether they see an incredibly attractive person or use more neutral descriptons. I don’t think that this would make the story any more wordy
The pacing overall also felt too quick. You meet Chafiq and Alix twice in a day, and the next day they invite you to a date and confess their utmost emotional secrets to you. I know that other stories take place over a short span of time as well (Evertree Inn for example) but they felt less awkward to me in terms of getting to know the characters.
As I said, that’s a subjective thing. I understand what Eiwynn means with the story being restricted as it is a short story. Still, personally I would have appreciated a slightly slower pace, not just a few days span of time to actually get to know these characters in a more natural way.
Ayaan is in my opinion the single best romance and character in this game simply because she’s supported MC for years already, is a wonderful friend and also there for the kids. She stays great throughout the entire story.
Chafiq for me starts out relatively strong (saves your kid, checks up on you when he fears you’re attacked), but gets weaker as soon as the date takes place. He does have a reason to be mistrustful of werewolves, and it’s nice to have the option to storm off right there when he says that. However in the end, too little happens to have him experience that werewolves are good people as well or that humans can be just as much a monster as werewolves to make his “Now I see what you mean” at the end in the romance understandable for me. I would’ve liked more moments between him and the kids or Ayaan so he can have positive wolf examples.
Alix is the other way around for me. They start out weak – I don’t understand why you lose points with them when you display being a caring and loving mother in front of them instead of being solely interested in them when your kids are around. I would have thought that a werewolf teacher who is at odds with their own nature would be somewhat appreciating of a human mother of six pups who gives them all the love and attention they need. I like them more in the latter half of the story however.
Aside of the pace of the romance, there was one other thing that put me off. On Chafiq’s route at least, you can play an incredibly anti werewolf MC. Saying in front of your very kids that you “can’t stand werewolves who can’t control themselves.” Agreeing that a werewolf who has never displayed any sort of violence or aggression against you or your kids in the slightest has to stay away from you no matter the cost, you haven’t seen them lose control, you only heard that they have. How can the kids be trusted to a mother who starts doubting a so far friendly wolf, speaks ill of werewolves in front of her kids?
It felt like an option/path added in because you have to give the player options how to play the MC. But to me at least there seemed to be no reason for MC to behave like that. Yeah, sure, Ulric and Larry both have difficulties with their emotions, but they are kids and are still learning. MC can be supportive and help them learn. But all the adult wolves you meet are friendly, understanding, scared of society. You only ever hear about real werewolf violence instead of actually seeing it, experiencing it firsthand. There was too much tell and too little show in that regard.
This is why to me, being able to be so anti-werewolf was incredibly out of place and groundless and I wanted to take the kids away from that type of MC.
I am probably too critical of this story, expecting it to be something it is not and that it can’t portray as it is a short story. It was still a nice read at times, but for me it ultimately jumped from nice moments to awkward “why” moments too often.