My brother's name is Phoenix lmao and I put my own name which felt weird but,,,
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This game is beautiful, sweet and sincere - and so much fun! I love the characters, the challenge of making decisions and the inclusivity in terms of gender identity. I identified heavily with the protagonist, art, depression and bullying being topics that play a big role in my life too. I almost felt like Joyce was talking to me, which helped me feel better. I can highly recommend this <3
THIS. IS. A. CUTE. GAME. AAA. I've been playing fantastical, "I will make you have a heart attack" games lately but this one is a refreshing one. I like the conflict that happens between the MC and Joyce, because both of them weren't wrong. But in the end, they needed each other, and it really warmed my heart. I like how you also gave the choice to study art/etc. or go to sleep, because that's a real, relatable conflict right there! I feel like I also have to mention that I like the song on the end credits. It's my fave song from the game, had to hear it again from the extras! Keep up the good work!
This is one of the few games that genuinely made me cry, I love this game.
Aww that was so wholesomee :,) I really loved and enjoyed the game, the storyline was interesting and I liked the charactors alot. SNOW & JOYCE ARE SUCH CINNIMON ROLLSS QWQ
This is probably the first game I've ever put in my money only after playing through the entire thing. I don't tend to buy visual novels up front, since I won't know whether I would actually like the product or not. But this game ended up being not only free, but also quite enjoyable with such a relatable main character, an interesting plot, and also quite the dynamic cast, I especially enjoyed the way Zen was written: he's definitely a chaotic good ahaha. The Special Edition Zine also shows how much thought and care went into the development of the game, and also brings insight upon what it takes to make a game we can love. Kudos.
Really enjoyed this game, pretty much binged played it in one day haha. Love the art style, so pretty and nothing too complicated and overwhelming. Loved the storyline for both love interests and the fact that there is a choice for sexuality preference including asexual and gender. Feels good to play a game that doesnt cater to one specific audience. On a side note a meter for how much money you had would have been a little easier for me to accept or decline shifts at the bookstore because I didn't really want to work all the time but didn't want to be homeless either lol.
I love this game so much! One of the few VNs out there where the characters seem realistic and well-thought out. I was pleasantly surprised by the length, honestly I was expecting something much shorter considering that it's free but it ended up lasting me a lot longer and I really got attached to the characters! Female Joyce is so adorable uwu (and honestly I love suuj) It was really cool that you added the option to choose pronouns, and it's really rare these days for there to be an option to almost fully customize your sexuality. Overall it's a great story that's both gripping and adorable!!!
I love the game! The character designs are gooorgeouuss. The choice to be ace + aro? Choosing your own pronouns?? <333
Can't help but to relate with the MC :( I DO want the best for you but i also wanna finish the game 100% bb i'm sorry :(
I'm not very keen on the conversation pace though. It was too much clicking for too short of a sentence for me. But that's my personal opinion. It kinda help with the pace + mood of MC since they talk to themselves a lot but sometimes it was too many for me.
I had a problem with saving the first time i played it. I pressed save but then there's a tab that pops up and said that i couldn't save and showed me a string of code that saved itself as a note in the folder. It titled itself "traceback.txt". Then all the options at the bottom just dissapeared. I just played again and this time i could save though so *wipes sweat from forehead*
I don't know if it was a fever dream but i vividly remember that Zen's route is a secret route but idk if that's true cuz my fever was pretty high pls confirm
And suuj if you're out there :
wait there's a zen route WHATTTTTTTT (how do you reach it yes I think it is hidden pls tell me)
Very well thought of VN..I just got done with first playthrough...I really enjoyed it. There was many twists and turns that makes this VN stay out from the rest of those VN's across the websites. There was some moments I shared a tear..I give this 1000/10 rating..Great Job..
i LOVE this game with all my heart! its genuinely my favorite game ive played. im currently making fan art :^
I love the References to fire emblem in the Characters room! love the game! absoulutly would reccommend to friends!
So nice! I loved it! Makes me so happy!
You have no idea how in love I am with the male version of Joyce like I want my own Joyce, please. The story is very well-written and the art is the cutest I have ever seen before and just, everything about it feels so real like, I'm actually the female protagonist. Looking forward to your future works! This is the kind of VNs that we should be supporting and funding! Take my money! Great job! <3
PS: Joyce is best boi 4ever
PSS: I was actually curious if there was a chance we could meet Suuj in real life but guest not. I was planning to romance him first since I play a lot of MMORPG and I really can relate with the guild chat thingy and stuff. But is okay!
IM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS GAME-it's so well written and all the characters are so fleshed out that you can't help but love them. The protagonist you play as is also relateable and it really makes you feel immersed in the game. So many path branches you can chose to do, and overall just an amaxing, well drawn, funny game thats super insanely fun to play.
It made me feel so included that i could choose asexual + who im romantically intrested in UwU <3
My god. I marathon-ed this game all night. The character reminds me so much of myself that I really connected with them. I was very happy with the game and honestly this has to be one of my favorite games now, the story and beautiful art spoke to me and even brought me to tears more than once. Thank you so much for the amazing experience. I'll be supporting the game later, as soon as I squeeze past this month on my artist's wage (Or lack thereof) xD not even joking.
It means a lot to us that we could reach a fellow artist like this qwq
We hope you'll find the time to treat yourself kindly to a good night of sleep and a maybe a piece of chocolate. Thank you for playing! :'3
(Pectin: PLS KEEP UR MONEY GOOD PERSON! being poor is hard enough TuT)
Haha, Thank you. :> I also wanted to say... This is the first time I feel represented fully by a game. I got to be completely myself, nonbinary, asexual, and homoromantic. I can't begin to tell you how good that feels. In an industry crowded by games marketed for cis gendered and heterosexual people, it's a breath of fresh air and I think I will hold onto this memory forever. <3 I just wanted to say that, I hope you all continue on and do wonderful things. <3
Joyce is best boy uwu. Also, when Joyce comes home, the moment would have felt more touching if the protagonist said, "welcome home" or "welcome back" (at least in my opinion). Overall, much love for the game (:
Aa. Thank you for playing! :D
Oh well. Our hero was too surprised by Joyce' appearance to remember their manners...(and us probably too :V)
Hi, sorry about that! There currently is no auto advance but we are planning to make it available with the next update.
In the meantime, if it makes it any easier on your wrists, you can also advance dialogue with "space" or "enter". But we understand that there is a lot to click through either way so we'll definitely include the auto option.
Thanks for letting us know and we're glad you like the game otherwise <3
I have a question. If the love interest Phoenix can be male or female depending on what the player prefers, and my character is bisexual, does that mean the game will give me either female Phoenix or male Phoenix, choosing randomly which one it gives, like a lottery or bingo?
Hi! That's correct. It isn't explained in-game but if you choose "either" in the bi options, the gender is randomly chosen. If you want to control this, the romantic preferences set the gender for Joyce and the sexual preferences set Phoenix's gender. We hope that makes it a bit clearer!
This game is something that I can't even express my full love for. There's immediately full acceptance for all gender expressions, sexualities, interests, etc. It has a wonderful story with believable (and at times hilarious) dialogue. It has a really cool atmosphere. The art style is perfect, I am in love with all of the characters. It's an amazing game. I just love this so much and can not wait to see what you do in the future. <3
Aw thank you so much <3
And sorry for the late reply! We really appreciate your comment and are happy you like the game so much! We wanted to tell an inclusive and down to earth story so we're always happy when people appreciate this.
Again, thank you for all the kind words and we hope you'll like our current and future projects as well!
uhh what is the actual gender of Snow
how long does it take before you can save it? or does it just save automatically?
Hi! You can save at any point in the game, just press the right mouse button or use the buttons below the text-box to enter the save menu. Hope that helps!
can someone tell me how to get the "You Own!" achievement?
If you didn't unlock it already, I think you have to do well at the bookstore. I'm not sure if you have to fail in joining the competition, but that's how I got it.
Hi, sorry it took us so long to reply! Ewan already got it right but just to confirm, the competition does get prioritized so if you want the You Own achievement make sure you don't win it.
Thanks for playing and we hope you got that achievement! <3
honestly my current fav game. It's so real, i love how its written, and i really like the vibe & artstyle. The music is also so nice! The customisable preferences and pronouns were rly appreciated <3
First played this game in the 0.92 release, got busy and didn't check back till now. Really interesting story, and am glad to see it was finished. EDIT: Really glad the updates didn't break saves, really nice to start from where I left off.
This game is worthy of every uwu
I absolutely love all of the characters, and the art is adorable! I'm especially appreciative of the option to be ace :')
This is an absolute masterpiece; thank you for making it!
I loved this game a lot!! A lot of lines really hit home for me when it comes to the whole artist struggling with motivation and depression thing. It made me feel really positive though. Like its possible to get where I want to be someday but if I don't then thats okay too because you can have new dreams and new goals. I just really enjoyed playing this and I think its exactly what I needed
I adored playing this! The conflicts are fleshed out but not drawn out, the characters are charming while insecurities and personal conflict(s) are dealt with realistically! Its a world with good depth, and fun story!! The art is also so enjoyable and the backgrounds are well done!! Thank you so much for sharing!!:)
I liked the idea about friendship with AI.
Now what I disliked: not enough save slots. Normally I save a game each time when given choice. But your game presented much more choices than there were save slots avaiable. Please, make more save slots.
Created an account just to comment, but--
THE BREAK IN
THE CHOP OPTION
I don't know what's better, that Phoenix was 10/10 willing to do it, or that it actually worked?! I was laughing so hard that I cried, truly masterful, thank you for making this.
Plus I wish a real version of Joyce existed to help motivate me for my college work lol
Let there be spoilers! Scroll past the second bolded username to skip my comment.
Original Rating Text (Part 1 only)
I really like this game! The characters are written very charmingly, the art is top-notch, and the conflicts are presented in a way that feels very realistic. Also, the way Joyce encourages the player to keep at their art contest submission was actually effective enough that once I'd finished this part of the game, I ended up doing the work for the online course I'm taking that I'd been procrastinating on for about 12 days at that point. So good job on that!
However, there were some things I noticed while playing that could potentially be improved or reworked for a better experience.
- PLEASE let me remap the mouse buttons (if possible within the engine). I keep accidentally right-clicking and opening the game menu and it gets pretty annoying after a while.
- The references to anime and manga kind of alienated me, as I have no interest in either of those. It would have been nice if, in the initial character creation, you got a choice of three sets of interests, possibly with sub-choices that indicate genre or the equivalent detail for each choice. Not extremely important, but it would have been appreciated.
- I kept wanting to go back and interact with the player character's friends in the MMO, but felt it would be wasting time I needed to spend on something else. Disregard this if that's intentional, but personally I didn't really like it. Surely the player character could find time to interact with two friends in a single section of the day?
- On the subject of choosing who to interact with, I actually might prefer ending up romantically with Joyce (presuming that is indeed one of the two romance options), but felt pushed by the game to interact more with Phoenix, sometimes even resulting in options that seemed unnecessarily conflicting to me. For example, when you get the option to call Phoenix and congratulate them for advancing to the next round or not. I played with route markers active and didn't really understand why "Don't call Phoenix" is an option increasing affection towards Joyce. Joyce suggested it, for Pete's sake. I would think they'd be happy I was paying due diligence to being a good friend, and more importantly, agreeing that their suggestion was best. However, this may be intentional as well, and if so, just take my feedback here as a sign that I'm suitably frustrated by the nuances of social interaction, haha.
- I agree with a comment here on the itch page for the game that the cliffhanger doesn't work as well if the player hasn't been emphasizing Joyce in social interactions. However, again, I think the game kind of actively discourages that, based on the player character being a bit of a grouch about this whole situation, and kind of indicating that they don't want to trust Joyce, which honestly is fair to an extent. Since the game encourages the player to fill their days away from Joyce as much as possible, I think a different path for the cliffhanger to take would be appropriate. Maybe have two versions of this argument, the current "I'm becoming part of your problem" version and a new "You don't need me anymore, you're coming out of your shell just fine" version, the game determining which one to show based on the player's actions, and in both versions, keep the player character's response of "You're the only thing keeping me leaving the house more than necessary".
- I've also considered that if this testing-a-domestic-AI situation were happening to me, my main concerns would be the ethical implications (of having what is effectively a person programmed to want to achieve a specific task and to prioritize that task over anything else they might want to do) and privacy (what kind of data does Bell Tech collect about me? What do they do with that data? I don't want my life to turn into another profit-generator for a multimillion-dollar company, so what would be my legal recourse to prevent that? Etc.).
I think that if you ever consider another game in this same world, you may want to make a prequel following the development of Joyce, and have the player character be a person on the project (perhaps the project lead?) who has to grapple with these questions and find/implement answers that let them sleep at night while also not getting the project shut down because it won't be profitable enough. Bonus points from me if you insert an anticapitalist message!
Anyway, that's my full report. Don't worry, I'm not expecting $100 for it. Thanks for making something so engrossing! I'll tip you for it when my finances recover a bit. Good luck with the second part!
Rating Text Addition for Part 2
So! It's November 16, 2018, and Part 2 is out. I just finished playing, and I feel like it's time to update my report accordingly.
It had been a while since I played, so I started my save file over. I kept all my options the same and, where last time I had both a female Joyce and Phoenix, this time Joyce was female and Phoenix was male. I like the character designs for both of them, by the way!
I tell you what, I wasn't expecting to break into Bell Tech after that cliffhanger at the end of the first part. I mean, sure, we'd have to go after Joyce somehow, but B&E? It was exciting though! I loved the presentation bit, and I really appreciated the chance to approach Joyce's "rescue" as more of a "please come back because I care about you but you can stay if you want" conversation. This is really the direction I wanted to go in regards to "is Joyce a person and should she be respected as one".
The anxiety about possibly getting caught kinda got to me. I half-expected something to happen, someone to end up arrested or questioned or something. I'm kind of glad you didn't do that (or at least, I didn't experience that), because that really would have put a dampener on things. Mostly alleviated if you allowed such a situation to be resolved by an impassioned argument for AI rights, but still.
Talking about that whole scheme, I really liked Zen. He's fun! A bit pushy, but he makes up for it in being observant of stuff that the main character doesn't think of. Also, I loved that he's your other guild buddy. It kind of resolved my earlier point about wanting to spend more time with the guild-- in my head, this means that Zen can keep the main character and the guild in touch with each other when the MC can't be online.
The competition was tense too! The timer was a really good way to keep me from looking up the answers. I got some questions wrong, but not enough to stop me from landing that job (hooray)! I did feel bad that Phoenix didn't get it though-- kind of in the same vein as my ideal resolution to legal trouble with Bell Tech, I was hoping that, miraculously, the judges wouldn't be able to decide between us, and would give us both jobs and maybe split the money among us. That may be possible (I won't know unless I look it up as I tend to go one route on things like this and look other routes up if I really want to know), but it's not the version I got.
Now, talking about romance. I warmed up a lot more to Phoenix this time around. Really, I think it started in the second part, with him opening up to the MC about his insecurities. What can I say, when somebody opens up to me, they get brownie points. I ended up romancing Phoenix in this run, though not due to conscious choice. When the confession scene happened, I said to myself, "There's no realistic way I can say no here. He's cute, he's charming, he's funny. But I'd really like if saying yes to him didn't necessarily mean saying no to Joyce, if I've even given her enough affection to get there with her." (I guess I'm a real have-your-cake-and-eat-it kind of player, huh?) Again, this may be possible, but I certainly didn't see it. Related to one of my first report points though-- I still feel like the game pushes you towards Phoenix. I found myself wishing I could spend more time with Joyce (as well as the Titan guild), but still enjoying my time with Phoenix. I don't really ever want to turn down an offer of his, but spending time with him means I can't spend it with Joyce. (Note on that: the first time he calls you, if you agree to meet with him, you automatically go for a walk. I didn't like that. I said yes to going out tomorrow so I could stay inside and play video games today, Joyce! Anyway.) I'd love to see a polyamorous route with both of them (hell, if Zen wants to get in on that action, I'm down for that too) but the game seems like it has an overarching theme of "you can't do everything all at once", which that may not gel well with. Maybe think about it, though. Again, assuming it's not there already and I just missed it.
The epilogue with Phoenix is cute though! Very glad it's not just a "everything is perfect, happily ever after" ending too, that the MC talks about the ways they don't quite (and just plain don't) match up, because in my own very limited experience with relationships, that happens. And yes, Joyce becoming a citizen and having her own life (while still being very much your roommate and friend) is really great too. AI rights!
I think that's all I have to add. This is a wonderful game, and it's clear you worked hard on it! It definitely paid off. Thank you! I'll definitely keep following y'all to see if you make anything else like this in future, and best of luck with your current projects too!
Hi! First off sorry for taking so long to reply, we had a few busy months and didn't want to reply half-heartedly to your comment!
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed review! We already read it back when you posted this but just wanted to say there are a lot of really good points in there, so thank you for your feedback.
While we probably can't address all of what you mentioned, we are currently in the process of putting together a final polishing update for the game so your feedback is definitely valuable and we'll keep it in mind while we revise some parts of the game!
Thanks for the good luck on our projects, we hope you'll enjoy some of the new ones, too. We're definitely happy you enjoyed this game!
Thanks for playing and for writing this review <3
S P O I L E R W A R N I N G
Don't read if you don't know the plot, otherwise you're ruin your fun of discovering it by yourself.
. . .
Well i'ts been long time since I finished the demo. I really enjoyed. And even wrote comment here.
But now it's time to play the full version <3 .I'm sure it was worth waiting.
Artstyle... Yeah, the artstyle is great. Λ Ξ Ｓ Ｔ Ｈ Ξ Ｔ Ｉ Ｃ color scheme and style. Amazing sprites. A few great CGs. Minimalistic GUI and artstic menus. Plus very good backgrounds and sountrack.
Characters are lovely too. Every at least a bit important for the plot character has his own well-done sprite. Some of them (MC and love interests) even two sets of them (for both "sexes").
I like also that face expressions are not static (in many other VNs they are).
Plus all the characters are well written, intersting and they have their own personalities and styles (compatible with the general style of the game of course).
Plot is very original, full of intersting events, plot-twists and a lot of (usually) meaningful choices. Plus each romance option has their own events and endings.
But not romace-related choices decide which ending (with which variotions) we get. I don't want to spoil the plot but I can that the live of portagonist can change... for better or worse...
I noticed seeveral improvements, too. And achievements :D
I'm sure that a lot people appreciate thet you allowed player to choose "gender" of MC and love interests. Plus we can choose pronouns and name.
Only two love interst? Yes, only two. But they are great and I think it's enough (at least devs could more focus on each of them).
Female version of characters are beautiful. I think Teal looks the best of them. Cute ♥
And it's very good that she's not "typical sexy girl" and she has her few very little "defects". It's very realistic way of showing people...
In both routes I chose not giving up, focusing on art content and spending a lot of time with the love interest! Plus in both cases I took part in the AI experiment.
Maybe one day I'll try another methods...
Well, I started with Joyce's route...
The cute, pink-blue, Ai maid :) .Improving owner's live. Being friendly. What can go worng? xD
Well but it's not that easy... She's very kind, friendly and nice girl and she loves her job but...
She don't want to be the only one person Teal spends her time with... Even if Teal'd prefer ot be so...
As focused on Teal's happiness as possible... Even if she had sacrifice her own happiness for it...
It's cute how much worried about Teal's social life she is but... Don't leave me! T_T
Well, at this moment of plot ended demo....
Next days were harder... for Teal... Loneliness, sadness and emptiness. But good guy Zen gave us new hope!
His plan sounded a little bit risky but Having Joyce back is worth it.
I'm glad Phoenix helped, too. The rescue mission part was great.
The finals were very interesting,too. Ance more P and T are rivals but this time the're friends :)
Teal won but it's not as important as events of the next day. T and J finally told each other how the feel.
Artifal person but real love! yay! Happy end, yay!
I really enJoyced her route :D
Phoenix route... Well she's new in town, working in the same place. She's quiet but friendly. And she likes art, too.
She's very intersting person. Especially if player chose to befriend early in the story.
Spending more time together gives a good opportunity to get closer to her.
And this time I tried to not get attached to Joyce and more focused on spending as much time as I could with Phoenix.
yeah, this time I tried to treat J like just part of the experiment I took part to get paid.
I was a trying avoid J but I still was nice when I had to talk with her.I know it's cold...
So after vanishing of Joyce, I was only like ":(".
Well, I finished J route 1st so it was hard to just left her behind, but I decided to not rescue her, this time. And indeed it was hard to just let her and live with awareness of it.
Next days! Visiting P, conversation about her backstory, tea.
Later Phoenix became our rival in finals of the art content, again xD. And Teal won, again xD.
Lunch together. And next day... The confession. And later dating and... love
This time it's more "pchysical" love, I mean they can hold hands, kiss, hug and all this stuff. Not that it's important xD
Sorry for a lot of summarazing of plot but that's how I like to tell how I feel about very good and long VNs.
. . .
Found bug: Phoenix's 1st day, 1st client arrived, T is talking (with P) about him but her sprite is not in uniform at these 3 textboxes.
Hello! It has been a long time already since you wrote this detailed review. We just wanted to say that we happily read through it and we have to thank you for taking the time and sharing your experience of Todo! ₍՞◌′ᵕ‵ू◌₎♡
Finally got the time to finish the game, this is so good, I can say that this was what I've been looking for on a visual novel game, the Pheonix ending was the best, thanks for this awesome content, keep it up boys
Thank you so much! And sorry for the late reply...
We're really happy that you enjoyed our game and that you liked Phoenix's ending!
Thanks for playing <3
I don't mean to be that guy, but did I pick up on some JoJo references??
(Menacing landlord, CaesephIsCanon)
A few important question: How do you personally imagine the Joyces' voices to sound like IRL? Can their voices be based off of anyone? Also would Joyce be into Kpop (LOL)?
Questions aside, YOU GUYS oh my god - I didn't even know part 2 was released just recently!! I remember playing last year, and this game quickly meant so much to me (I have a love-hate relationship with the Defragment track, DEPRESSING AF THANKS). There were times that I really had to take a pause from the game just because of how real it got, but part of the struggle is to face it head on so I can appreciate how awesome it is! I really do love everything- this game is so incredibly put together. Amazing job, BL+!!! Thank you for hard work!!
Admittedly, while I eventually stopped keeping track of the Devlogs, I occasionally replayed the first part (and repeatedly suffered from abandonment issues, J o y c e). And now during a time that //TODO is more relevant to me than ever, it's been updated to completion!!! Man do I love a good (or any, actually) excuse to replay one of my favorite games.
This was such a delight to discover during last year's NaNoRenO - I was HELLA impressed seeing such a meaningful and quality game made within a fricking month! I really wish you guys the best of luck in all your future endeavors!! I look forward to seeing more from both the team and the staff!
Aaahh thank you so much!! We're really happy that you enjoyed our game (and replayed it before the update even!)
As for the questions, we haven't thought that deeply about what their voices could sound like so it's hard to pinpoint a specific reference. It's definitely something Teal would like though so probably cute :3
Well, and Joyce is curious enough to try listening to a bunch of different genres so there's probably at least a few Kpop songs they'd end up liking! And maybe more as time goes on...
We really appreciate the good luck and we hope you'll like our future projects as well!
Thanks for playing <3
Hey when I update your game on the new Itch.io client, it seems to error out when installing, I will report it to itch but I thought that I'd let you know
Thanks for letting us know and reporting it to itch! We haven't run into that problem ourselves yet but we'll see if we can do anything to prevent it from happening
Randomly found this game, the art and the fact that you can be gay got me. Such a sweet visual novel! Thank you for making it free to play, I donated a little because I hope to see more work from you.
Much love, an aspiring game developer.
Thank you so much! Early on we considered selling the full version but as time passed we decided against it since it was ultimately a passion project and we figured more people would be able to play it if it was free. So thanks for still donating a little! Now that we try to make this our job every little bit helps.
We're glad you enjoyed the game and we wish you good luck with making games yourself!
Sorry for the late reply! First of all thanks for making a let's play, we really appreciate that! And yeah, we are aware that the title isn't exactly easy to find (even aside from the //). But as you said, what's done is done.
We're happy you think it's well put together and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of the game!
Thanks for playing <3
Hey i don't know if you might see this or whatever, but i was wondering how do you update the game or something? Would i have to download it again? I'm just confused ;-;
Hi! If you downloaded the game directly, you can just replace the files of the previous installation with the new version. Save files are stored elsewhere so they won't be overwritten by that. We hope that helps!
Thank you so muchh <3 <3 <3
Actually i might have deleted the old version and I've been trying to start the newer one (by just clicking open) and it won't work. please (try to) help ;-;
Are all the files of the new version downloaded? It might also work to delete the game files and just download the new version again (aside from save files the old version isn't really necessary for it to work)