A downloadable game for Windows and macOS

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You are a hero; the Hero, in fact, who has just put an end to the Villain terrorising the island, ending your long quest. But you remember nothing of it; not the quest, not the woman claiming to be your fiancée, not your amazing deeds and immense riches. Five years have been wiped clean from your mind. When the Villain’s minions continue to cause trouble, you must travel once more, this time in search of your forgotten memories. But the more you remember, the less the stories ring true.

The Hero’s Journey is a visual novel/otome set in a medieval fantasy setting. It features two separate routes that, while following the same journey, offer different choices and a different set of companions.












Aerona, Rhain, Ikemma and Emrys are romanceable.

The game features:

  • four chapters and multiple endings (spanning 175k words)
  • a predefined protagonist with a past that is already written, but whose future is yours to  choose
  • four love interests
  • 30 CGs
  • two routes offering you a different approach to the same journey
  • a new game+ mode which increases your stats and allows you to get better endings

There are also two DLCs for this game!

The NSFW edition replaces the scenes in Chapter 3 and 4 with detailed intimate scenes and CGs. You can buy it here:



The booklet (which you can purchase here or along with the NSFW DLC for a discount) has over 90 pages of extra content. 

It contains:

  • 20k words and a few illustrations
  • multiple stories from the love interests' point of view
  • some trivia about the characters
  • a detailed walkthrough of the game and how to obtain the different CGs and epilogues
  • a look at THJ's development, previous versions and old art


THJ is complete, but don’t hesitate to report any bugs, issues or things that seem weird! I’ll still provide help and make fixes if needed.

You can also follow me on twitter to get more updates.



A note for players on Mac:

Some Mac users can’t run the game, or the game freezes when they try to save, change their settings or see a CG. 

If you encounter this problem, you can try these solutions:

  • Right-click on the game app -> Enable Write permissions.
  • Right-click the game app -> Click "Show package contents" -> Open "Contents” folder  -> Open "Mac OS" folder -> Double-click on the executable called “The Hero’s Journey”. This will launch the game through the terminal.





This VN is intended for mature readers.

Please be advised that THJ is an overall harsh story taking place in a harsh world. Some of the choices offered to you are morally reprehensible and possibly distressing.

The game has mentions of death, injury, child abandonment, sexual assault and child abuse. Your choices can lead to explicit violence and some of the art depicts blood.


Credits:

Music: Village and Dark Hollows by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com) Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Other music and sounds from zapslat

StatusReleased
PlatformsWindows, macOS
Rating
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(118 total ratings)
Authormaneki_mushi
GenreVisual Novel, Interactive Fiction
Made withUnity
Tagsamare, Dating Sim, Fantasy, Female Protagonist, LGBT, Medieval, Narrative, Otome, Romance

Download

Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

THJ1.4.9Win.zip 320 MB
THJ1.4.9Mac.zip 321 MB
THJ-booklet.pdf 85 MB
if you pay $4 USD or more

Development log

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Comments

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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 69 · Next page · Last page

what a lovely game!!! so gorgeous, and the characters felt so real and personal to me;; all of them were so well-written!

I recently replayed this game and my God i forgot how good it was! From the story to the art– i really genuinely loved everything. I usually don't play stories where the MC isn't at least renameable but i LOVE serene so much! She is such an interesting character and i love the dynamic she can have with each of the love interests. I remember the first time i played this game and it was even better than how i remembered. I love love Aerona, like LOVE HER 😭😭😭 I felt so bad when i wasn't on her route but oh my god literally every route was so engaging!! I genuinely had to keep switching between the star and the sun path because i also really love beca and thisbe. Im not good at describing how i feel but my god if this is not one of the best games ive ever played. All for free too like??? Truly I've been blessed and im so happy to be able to play this game <3

(+1)

I really like this game! It is extremely wonderful and immersive. The multiple choices and the way they effect the ending is very interesting. The art style is wonderful and so are the CGs and backgrounds. The characters are also amazing  with special traits and backstories which make them unique and fascinating.

I found everything to be wonderful... except for the fact that after a while my game no longer opens properly. It gets stuck at the very beginning at the hourglass loading screen. This is making it really hard to complete the game fully with my previous progress at hand... I have had to delete my files and then re-extract them over and over again and when I do get it to work my progress seems to not match to that f before. 

I would be extremely glad if you looked into the matter. 

I've been trying to look into the issue but I think it's an engine issue and not something I'm able to fix :/ The only potential solution to try I can think of is to keep your number of saves low in case it's a file size issue (so like, overwriting/deleting your oldest saves instead of using a new slot every time).
Sorry this is happening, and sorry I can't help much!

(+1)

Its alright! Thanks for your concern and advise!

Deleted 156 days ago

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts (and don't worry, your English is perfectly clear)!
I'm really glad you enjoyed Emrys's route and that the moral implications of it felt compelling! I hope you'll enjoy Aerona's route as well, she offers a different angle on your past and how to move forward! I'm also glad you like her art, she's also my favourite out of the character designs :)
Thank you for your support and for taking the time to write this comment, I really appreciate it <3

Hi there! I was so excited about the game I purchased the full version with the leaflet too, but even after following the guide to run the game on Mac my laptop says this:

“The Hero's Journey” cannot be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.

Is this a common issue and do you know of a way I can fix it?

I haven't heard of that happening to other players! Though there are a lot of issues on Mac :'( This link has different ways to solve this issue:
https://4it.com.au/kb/article/how-to-open-app-cant-be-opened-because-its-from-an...

(and if neither of these work and you'd like a refund, you can email me at manekimushidev@gmail.com with your itch.io payment receipt!)

(+1)

I played this after reading a review on it in ChoiceBeat: Issue 7, and I am really glad I did! It's very well crafted!

My fav character was Wooly, I opted to spend time with him whenever I could, but all characters are written well, and I loved to interact with them.

Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you liked the characters and Wooly in particular <3

(+1)

This is such a great game. It had me engrossed for days. I really love Rhain. Protect him all cost Seren! He's so precious. I obviously played his route and was so enamored with him! He was so well written and so in love with her for so long, I just wanted to make sure he received all the love he deserves. I did start to fall for Yi Kai as a character, but in the end he had nothing on Rhain.  

It is such a rare treat to find a long visual novel that really pulls you into the story but this game has done that and all of the characters were so well developed. Amazing!  

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm also super happy to hear some praise for Rhain, I think he's the LI who flies under the radar the most but I love him :')

(5 edits) (+2)

SPOILERS BELOW!

This was honestly one of the best visual novels I've ever read. I love your writing @maneki_mushi especially the emotions and feelings of each character.

It's a parody on the whole concept of the "perfect hero" and even knowing Seren's upbringing, it was hard to demonise the actions she did in those forgotten 5 years...well except for the implied toxic relationship with Aerona.

Being a bi woman myself, I was torn...between choosing Aerona or Yà Kâi.

Aerona was the one I originally fell for. Her harder, battle hardened warrior shell covered a softer lovable inner self, and her personality was something that I liked. The way she cared for Seren, held her close protectively so many times, and her pure love. *Not to mention the scars that make her look good, army women with scars are kinda my type...lol :P and the NSFW scenes with her were so amazing and realistic, no male gaze at all which made it even hotter and...emotional my god* (the ending proposal from her made me cry) 

Then there's Yà Kâi for who I felt a mix of adoration and guilt. I just wanted to see him happy, see him smile and was broken to see him losing his memories slowly but surely. 

Although I leaned more towards Aerona, I still wanted to accompany Yà Kâi to see that he safely reached his home...I don't care about the long journey of going and coming back to Aerona. 

I'd have loved if there was an option to convince Aerona to come with you on the travel to lands of Han just to make sure Yà Kâi is back home safely. Maybe she would only agree if you did enough good things for her in the story choices? That way Seren could get closure and lead a happy life with her fiancée...then again that's just not how life goes sometimes.

The game was great and I loved reading everything! Not many otome games out there cover both male and female love interests so nicely, thank you for the read, well worth the purchase of the pdf and dlc version! :) 

(+2)

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Your thoughts on Aerona make me really happy, I'm glad her characterisation came through and made you emotional! Also super happy to hear you like the NSFW DLC, it's important to me to make female gaze content and for the adult scenes to reinforce the story themes and add to the emotional intimacy!


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SPOILERS
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Getting to see Yi Kai's journey through and come back to Aerona would just be too good :') I wanted the final choice to feel difficult, there's no "right" choice and if you care about the characters every choice might have a downside.

(+1)

Thanks for your reply! I agree with you it would have been too good, and in a way it makes your choices even more meaningful. 

You have a real impact by your choices on those you care about; makes each choice all the more intense and real. 

(+4)

You might already know this, but there’s a glowing review of this game in Issue #7 of ChoiceBeat on pages 10-11: https://www.flipsnack.com/choicebeat/choicebeat-issue-7-zklose5unf/full-view.html

They captured some of the things I love about this game! :D

(+3)

Oh wow I didn't know! It's such a kind review, I was so happy and blushing reading it :') thanks for sharing it with me!

(1 edit) (+3)

SPOILERSBELOWWWWWWWWWW


i CRIEEEEEED i started this at night and skipped school today just so i could play this.. this is more than a masterpiece, words cant describe what i feel for this,, emrys and becca are my new home and im in love with them, i cried and cried for yi kai,, and there sm choices i made that could have affected everything differently, the guilt i felt for eveything,, im going to play again and again with different choices and all but i'll miss my dear emrys alot,, AND BECCA omygod pls harden my heart so i could choose to walk in the sunlight, knowing becca and emrys wouldnt be with me is already making me not wanna do it BUT AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH I WILL TELL THE TRUTH and honestly, i was planning on hiding the truth long enough so i could send both emrys, becca and yi kai oversees and then i would have staged sumn where aeron would uncover me for the mastermind i was,, so at least she wouldnt be punished and stuff yk bc obv she's known as my FIANCEE and would be associated w me whether it was good or bad and i wish her the best,, part of that is why i stopped romancing her and went with emrys but i didnt regret it,, anyway i'll study some organic chem and solve some pastpaper AND THEN PLAY AGAINNNN this time,, i'll wal in the sunlight. im so fucking sorry my heart hurts i need becca and i wanna be emrys' friend but ik they wont walk w me,, at least ik emrys will be a good dad to becca,, and im so sorry becca i cant believe im crying over my 4 years younger than me kid lmao, i love u sm becca and i'll come back and look at the stars for u and ur dad<3

(+1)

-------------------------SPOILERS-------------------------


I'm so happy you feel so strongly about your choices and the characters :') Leaving Emrys and Beca behind to take the Sun path is a hard choice for sure! I cried when I wrote Beca's scenes on the Sun path sometimes, I love her and it's hard to write her and Emrys as antagonists T_T I think it makes it all the more heartfelt and sweet when you do take the Star path and get to have them by your side though!
Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts and feelings!

(+1)

literally, what u created is a masterpiece, i already got 2 of my friends to play it and they love it SM NXIHSA becca will be our forever fav kid

(+1)

Aw thank you! I'm glad to hear your friends love the game (and Beca!) too <3

(+1)

youre most welcome <333 ydk how good this makes me feel

(+3)

Good god, when I wanted to walk in that sunlight and then Beca wouldn't follow. I just had to go back and look at the stars instead. ;_;

(+2)

I'm in love with Thisbe. Totally understand why you can't romance her, of course. I wouldn't romance Seren if I were her, either. XD

Loving this so far. I was like "omg I'm getting Total Recall vibes" lol. And of course I LOVE that there are two paths. There are VNs out there that have less replay value because it's basically just mildly different scenes when you have different romance options. One of the things I absolutely love about CinPhen and Seduce Me 2 is that the replay value is great because the paths all differ. So having different paths to romance the other half of the romance options in this VN is great. Can't wait to romance Emrys. Gonna be difficult coz I have zero clue how his mind works. Like trying to get Solas's approval all over again lol

(+1)

I'm glad you're enjoying it so far :) I love VNs/games that have drastically different paths too, it's really thought-provoking to see the same story from different perspectives!
I think Emrys is a little easier than Solas haha

what is CinPhen?

I would like a link to the game

Cinderella Phenomenon. You can find it on itchio or Steam.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah I love that game. 

(+2)

spoilers?

Ikemma is sweet, and I love his route. I didn't expect that there could be a happy ending, and I'm glad that he feels better. Thank you.

(+4)

SPOILERS

I'm a sucker for happy endings so I had to give him one, despite everything :') I'm glad you liked him and his route!

(+3)(-9)

Is it possible for you to create a mode with a male protagonist?, I feel extremely uncomfortable playing as a female role.

(+3)

No, sorry! The protagonist is really established and her appearance/gender are really integral to the story.

(2 edits) (+1)

Oh, that's okay, I love your game " Blank "! By the way... What do you use to create your games? ( Virtual kisses)

Aw I'm glad you liked Blank! I use Naninovel, a visual novel extension for Unity!

(1 edit) (+1)

Hello! I have experienced a few issues with the game. Everytime I save more than 4 save files, the game tends to crash. Is there anyway to solve this? 

I think it’s because I have a habit of always saving the game everytime a choice appears, so I tried to delete the files and restart the game, saving only when an important choice comes. But still, after saving four times, it started crashing or getting really slow. I really want to play the game, I love your writing and characters but I don’t know how to fix this problem.

Edit: Forgot to mention, but I'm playing on a windows pc. 

(+1)

I'm not sure! Are you playing on Mac or PC? If the former, there could be issues with the permissions given to the game (it needs to be allowed to "write"). Another potential reason might be that the drive the game is located in doesn't have enough space to create a new save.

(-4)

Can you play as a male?

(+5)

No, this is an otome with a predefined female protag!

(+1)

Hello!  Usual stuff with fixes, they often introduce their problems. :p

(SPOILERS)

- I've not yet replayed the game from the start, only resumed my last save, so I can't tell if this problem occured in an earlier stage of the game. I will post other comments under this one if I find anything. 

You can see Wooly is quite large here. It happens at the end of the second quest and only before the desert.

:') one day I'll finally catch them all
I'll wait for more bug reports to make a fix since this isn't too big, but thanks for letting me know!

(+1)

So sorry to bother you, but I was wondering where in the game we access the journal entries we've unlocked? My instinct was the book button where the saves are or the gallery on the main menu, but I didn't find them there. Thank you so much for such a wonderful game!

(+1)

If you press the Escape key it'll open the pause menu, where you can find the "journal" button!

(+2)

do you have a walkthrough? :)

(+3)

oh! nvm found the info

(+2)

I have no clue if you've already answered this, but do you think you'd ever publish this to steam? 

(+1)

Not at the moment! I feel like it'd need more polish and I'd need more experience with making games/the tech aspect of things. But I am planning to publish my next projects on steam and remake THJ one day, so an iteration of it will get there some day!

(+1)

that's fair. If you need info about bugs, the only one I'm having is when Rhain just randomly becomes huge, lol.

oh I thought I'd fixed all of those T_T is this happening in the latest build? and when?

I just downloaded the game recently, so I assume it’s the latest build. The times I remember is when I believe Wooly is at the gates, and 


!!SPOILERS FOR CHAPTER 4!!!




They’re in the hidden palace with Ikemma

(+2)

This game is, by far and definitely, one of the best visual novel I have played in a long while. The history is so immersive and well written, some characters actually have layers of development to them, instead of being tossed aside by the main characters, having their own opinion and developing an actual wish and goal for themselves, each one different and lovable on their own accord.  Be prepared to feel strong emotions on this one, some plots may be hard to read due to their nature, but this also shows how the world can be harsh. We have a strong protagonist, a female main character with a obscure past. I just loved everything about this game, if anyone is considering playing it, do it! You won't regret that. The CG's are also amazing, the layout of the game reminded me of cards from a tarot desk, very pleasant overall. 

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Part with spoiler: As a bissexual woman, I generally don't go for female interests on those games, simply bc the tropy of "innocent and will forgive all your actions" really don't interest me that much. Aerona is such a well written love interest, I fell in love with her immediately lmao. She's a warrior, dedicated and you can see that she's struggling as history progress, her opinions changing as we learn more about the protagonist past choices. She loves you so much and we made that poor woman fall in love two different times with us (not going to lie, the protagonist don't trated this woman the way she should the first time, glad that was also highlighted later on!) her ending was the most emotional for me. I had to marry her, furniture the house together and, of course, make her damn happy. The mention of the acceptance of a lesbian couple in a medieval set game actually gave more consistentency to how the society works, I just love how at the end of the game you can have a good grasp of the world that was explored, not just the good parts about it, also the cruel and displeasant things. The fact she also move on if you broke off your relationship instead of eternally living in a state of grief seemed very realistic to me. 

 Rhain is a cute romance, way too good for the world to have him. He's your friend since you both were kids, and I kind of thinks he's the kind of man who will love you throught devotion (the fact some of his previous relationships didn't work out bc he told his girlfriends he had already killed for you...). The thing is, despite Aerona being your previous fiancée before you had amnésia, his romance isn't forced. We can see hints and a man that clearly still loves you, struggling to let you choose what you want, but in the end it's your decision that counts. Also, this man's father is absolute trash, and  I just wanted to hug him and let him be happy for once with the life he always dreamed. 

 Emyrs was a character I initially hated, him being rude and all. He and Ikemma were in your life before the amnésia thing, and you can understand why he thinks so little of you and the motivation behind your hatred relationship (no, this not the "I hate you bc I love u!", he had valid arguments to do so). Very emotional history, be prepared to have your heart crushed at some points in this route. He seems very young and his past history involving his mother proves that his life have been pretty harsh too, you understand that his initial motivation was mundane, he regret some decisions and they seem to haunt him nonstoping, that's when sharing this burden with someone enters. His romance is slow paced, really similar to dealing with a scared cat. The first time he visits your room he seems so conflicted, testing the waters and not knowing what to do about the fact he actually may like how you changed after the amnésia, became more real and not just a reflex of the lie you created. This is so well developed, we can see a layered character right here. He feels guilty over his past deeds and it infuriates him that you simply forgot about everything that was done, but as we progress and you two became more close, it became clear he's also vulnerable under all this hate he nourish. Besides, his protective relationship with Beca is A+. 

 Ikema is a very complex character and I can't avoid feeling his story is meant to be a tragic lovers ending, that's why I avoided romancing him initually. He's strong and fragile at the same time, the dark magic that slowly start to decay his mind is difficult to bear. Initially you see a sweet and smart person, that slowly is replaced by a confused one, his mind not entirely his own anymore. He's also a layered character, you can see the mention of the fact he was hated even before he became the villain in your scheme, because of the way he dresses and the place he came from. He loves you so much, but he absolutely hates living trapped in a tower, besides missing his country and the people there. I loved the way he was written, but the ending leaves you feeling like something ain't right. I haven't played throught all of his possible endings, but it didn't looked fair to me to make him stay in a place that he hated living, at the same time that leaving with him seemed to be similar to abandon everything that our protagonist had done, letting the cult have an iron grasp on things we tried to change. Ikema deserves so much love, but making some choices as his lover ain't easy.

 Well, I'm sorry for this long review. It's been a long time since I last felt so involved in a history development, and this game certainly did damage me emotionally for being so good lol. I would love to play a progressive work about those characters, but I feel like things ended in a very sastisfatory way. Seeing that the hero was, in fact, the villain, was so good. Just wanted to thanks everyone involved on this project, amazing work!

Aah thank you so much for this thorough review! I really love reading people's thoughts on the characters and I'm so happy to hear you think they were complex and went through some development! It was really important to me to make each character in the cast feel real, part of the world and of the quest.






SPOILERS









I'm also happy to hear you liked Aerona specifically! I feel the same way about female love interests, they can (sometimes) be too one-dimensional and only allowed to be pure and nice, so I'm glad Aerona didn't come off that way! She did get treated pretty poorly and deserves happiness, I just had to give her someone who loves and supports her even if Seren decides to break off the relationship.

As for Ikemma's route, his various endings do all have some drawbacks/sacrifices. I feel like so much has happened to him and he's done so much that there was no way to have a purely happy ending. I feel like it really ties in with one of the main themes of the game, that your choices will always have both positive and negative consequences, and that everyone just has to live with them and move on.


I might make more games about these characters in the future! I'm also really emotionally invested into them haha, and I have lots of ideas for Thisbe's and Beca's lives after the quest.

Thank you so much for playing and for writing such a thoughtful review <3

(1 edit) (+2)

Fellow bi woman here and I totally relate to all what you said about Aerona. Honestly, i even felt a bit of anger and guilt towards the 5 year forgotten Seren and her toxic attitude towards her.

 She deserves way better than that manipulation. I like immediately fell in love with her personality. When you get to know the soft emotional, lovable interior under the hard exterior it's just magical.

 I'd highly reccomend buying the NSFW version if you haven't. It deepens the romance, emotions and has no off-putting male gaze. 

I also chose to romance Yì Kâi and was also falling for him. The final choice between choosing between him and Aerona was really really difficult.

Although I know the jealousy Aerona felt...I just wanted to see him smile. I relate with him on the body image issues and using something that would harm you over time to look better. He's such a pure soul that you just want to hold and protect. I also absolutely hate how forgotten 5 year Seren treated him, she doesn't deserve him at all.  

So i was torn between choosing someone I want to protect or someone I want to be protected by. I wish there was an ending where you could leave Yì Kai home, travel with Aerona, and come back to the island, then again Aerona has gone through a lot of stress because of Seren, she's within her full rights to refuse.

So you're right, it left me a bit broken either way, especially since i don't know how Yi Kai ended up after I left him on the ship. 

(+1)

I started and finished this today, I was HOOKED from the beginning!
Went for Emrys's route and while I thought he was shady from the start I wasn't expecting THAT lol
I loved it and I'm sure I'll read it again to do other routes and make different choices!

(+1)

I'm so glad you liked it! Emrys definitely has a lot of twists and turns haha, he's been one of my favourite characters/route to write!

(+1)

Really enjoyed the booklet! :D

I'm glad you did!

(+1)

Found a mac fix if you are unable to save your game or close the settings page. 

Right-click your game file-->show package contents-->contents--> Mac Os

Then you will see a picture of your terminal and the name of the game click that 

That will launch the game using your terminal and now everything will work!

(+1)

Thank you so much for explaining this! I'll add it to the game's description to hopefully help players having this issue <3

(+1)

of course! Glad to be of help and thanks for the amazing game

(+3)

Sorry if this is a strange question but which LI has the wholesome/less darker route, please? 
(If you don't mind, can you make a list from least dark to most dark?)

PS: Sorry for my bad english... 

(+3)

It's not a strange question at all! I'd organise it like this, from least dark to most dark:
Rhain (Sun path version) > Aerona (Sun path version)> Rhain (Star path version) > Aerona (Star path version)> Emrys > Ikemma

All the routes have happy endings so they'll all have a few wholesome moments, but Emrys's and Ikemma's routes definitely have a lot more angst and struggle before getting there. As for Aerona and Rhain, some of their romance scenes change a bit based on whether you pick the Sun or Star path in Chapter 3, and Star will generally be a bit darker.
I hope that answers your question!

(+3)

Thank you so much for all this infos! <3

I wish you good luck for the dlc and booklet.

(+3)

Amazing VN! I am definitely buying the booklet when it’s available. :D

(+1)

Thank you! I've made some good progress on it so I'm hoping to release it soon :)

(+1)

Rhain looks enlarged in this part of the game also this version is 1.4.3

(+1)

:') thank you for reporting this! I'll make a new fix soon!

(4 edits)

Hoooly fuck. I would need more time to write something that is actually coherent as it's 2:20 AM here and I just binged all of the routes and possible combinations, but is there (SPOILERS)

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a reason, a canon reason (I know, it wasn't revealed) that you, as an author, feel like it made sense for personally, for why Seren placed the anchor inside Yi kai's study? I probably don't want to know this reason (it's a lie, I do want to know this, as the pre-Seren seems like a really calculating, pragmatic person with a denial as a coping mechanism and I love these types of characters. What could she gain by doing so?), but would simply know if there, indeed, was some real reason behind her actions. Sorry if this came out somehow jumbled, but after getting to Yi kai's ending where he returns to his homeland and Seren realizing that his improvement is really only temporary, I just had to ask!


... to be honest, I will most likely return here to ask about the same thing in about 2 years or so if I don't think of anything.

(+1)

(SPOILERS)






I don't really have one canon explanation but more of a mix of reasons! I've purposefully not allowed myself to really decide on all of past Seren's motivations/real feelings, so it mostly depends on how she felt about Yì kǎi.

I like the idea that Seren was also really tired of the scam and starting to feel either guilt or just overwhelmed, and wasn't planning on continuing it like she'd told the minions (at that point she didn't need the scam anymore, it was the cult and minions that pushed her to continue). So depending on how she felt about Yì kǎi, she was using his disappearance as a distraction to upset the minions/Emrys and get some attention off of herself; if she did care about him, it was a mix of that and wanting to put him it to rest, as it seemed his condition could only get worse and he'd never manage to reach the island. (though obviously leaving him in the tower like that is a really cruel way to do this, which goes to show that even in her sympathy, Seren was still a very cold person).
Also Yì kǎi's plan was to stay in Seren's house under a fake identity before leaving the island (with Seren, if they were lovers), and I imagine that would put Seren, the trust of her companions and everything she's gained at risk, so she never saw that plan as realistic in the first place. The plan was more a way to placate Yì kǎi (and maybe make him feel better, if that's something she cared about).





(END SPOILERS)

I hope that's somewhat satisfying :') I'm working on some extra stories for the DLC booklet right now which have some PoV stories for the party members, and I think the first meeting PoVs give a bit more insight into what sort of person Seren used to be! Rhain, Emrys, Aerona and Ikemma's PoVs will show different times in Seren's life and different aspects of her. There won't be super definite answers because I love leaving some questions unanswered, but it might suggest more theories!

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Dear Maneki Mushi, I blame you for this roller-coaster of emotions 😭 you made me go through! I missed reading mature stories that treat its darker themes seriously. I need to thank you for staying consistent with the tone of your story; it made so many scenes much more rewarding, reveals so much more intense, and character development so much more satisfying to witness.

Oh, and speaking of characters, do I need to mention how came to appreciate this colourful cast of characters you created? Just reading how they interacted with the Seren (and Seren with them), and how they interacted with each other was reminiscent of Dragon Age and Neverwinter Nights 2’s companions. The cast has great party dynamics and great banters, like in those old but gold rpgs.  In my eyes, THJ has managed to capture the essence of rpg stories, with its characters, narrative writing, and beautiful story book like art that suits the aesthetic of a Hero’s Journey just perfectly.

I would want nothing more than to go into detail about the scenes and which characters made me tear up/cry, but I fear I would only end up babbling text walls of spoilers and gushy nonsense x’ ); so I'll wrap up my comment.

THJ hit all the right spots for me, that even after finishing the game, I still think about it. More people should know about it, and give it a go. You won't end up regretting it!

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Thank you so much! I'm actually very inspired by those old rpgs and they're what gave me the idea for THJ in the first place, so I'm really happy that it's noticeable :)

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I LOVED THIS GAME, its AMAZING. THANK YOU, for making this game, and completely for FREE. ive replayed it so many times, played all the routes! its so good!! thank you so much! i was just wondering, ive replayed so many times, but i cant seem to get the CGs in the top left corner in page 5 and 8, as well as the whole page of page 7? XD any tips?

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Thank you for enjoying the game :)

(SPOILERS AHEAD)
Page 5 top left corner: Ikemma's second kiss CG (occurs right in the same scene as the first, in Chapter 3)
Page 8 top left corner: Star path version of the desert confrontation
As for page 7 those are all the versions of the fight in Tamor, and I just realised they can't be unlocked because I misspelled their names :') I'll make a fix for that soon!
Let me know if you're not able to unlock the page 5 and 8 CGs! I can't see any issues with them and they work for me, but it's weird you didn't get them.

hi again! thanks for the response, but the ones you described is the bottom left corner (for me, is it different?), i meant the ones above those two! 

(SPOILERS)

i didnt realise you could attach images XD maybe this'll help? Thanks in advance, im gonna replay it again anyways haha, i seriously can't over this game, i first played when only chapter 1 was out, so i still genuinely thought seren was the hero for the longest time! the plot twist was really cool! again, thank you :)




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oh that's so weird, it seems the CGs show up in a different order for different people? I thought they'd be in the same order as in my gallery! That makes it really hard to figure out which ones you might be missing, but what I can think of if you romanced everyone and went through both Sun/Star is you could be missing:


(SPOILERS)
Thisbe's Leader check CG (unlocked by passing her leader check in Chapter 2's camp scene, some additional lines and the CG appear in Chapter 3)

Beca's Leader check CG (same as Thisbe but by passing her Leader check in Chapter 2)

Ikemma and Rhain's ending (unlocked by romancing Rhain, having Ikemma as your lover and choosing to leave the island)

The no romance ending (unlocked by not romancing anyone)
(SPOILERS END)

Let me know if that helps! I'll include a full list of all CGs and their unlock conditions in the DLC booklet I'm working on but it's a shame our galleries are in a different order, makes it a lot less straight-forward.

Oo yes! the Ikenma and Rhain's ending is one of the ones i'm missing, although the other 3 i already have.  Now i'm only missing the one is page 8 it seems, but oh well, thank you again for responding, it helped! i think i'll just wait for the DLC booklet then?  thanks again!

(+3)

aww man, you just broke my heart. this entire charade feels like a pre-packaged wound with salt attached. extra painful extra bitter, but for the better

i got to say i'm a bit disappointed at the end, a rude reminder that wound will leave a scar. but i guess there's no flawless tale with no struggle and a happy ending doesn't always a perfect ending.

anyway i'd say 10/10

Thank you :') I was aiming for bittersweet where hopefully the sweetness sticks around longer as you come to terms with the bitterness, so I hope it feels that way!

(+5)

I already wrote a review, but I just wanted to say it's so gripping and compelling how, in the end, it's up to the player to interpret the last 5 years, Seren, and even her second journey. I love the comparison made with the poem, that her journey, the story, and Seren's role it can be interpreted in hundreds of different ways. Even Seren herself will never be able to know for sure. But I also really liked the point made in the last couple of lines of text, that regardless, everyone has to live with everything that has happened and keep moving forward. It doesn't really matter WHY things happened, just that they did. How do we move forward? How do we make things better? How do we work with our past actions, our guilt, and how do we absolve ourselves?  What can we, personally, do to change anything at all?

SPOILERS IN REST OF COMMENT! LOOK AWAY!
SPOILERS IN REST OF COMMENT! LOOK AWAY! 

Personal thoughts: I think a "fairytale" ending would have been Seren's party overthrowing the cult.  In my first playthrough I was hoping for it... But that's just not how things work in real life. The oppressive structures you grow up with are too powerful, too manipulating, too humiliating, too far-reaching to even think of trying, or to be able to succeed if you did. They're so realistically evil!!!!! God!!! And the problems in the world of The Hero's Journey wouldn't have been fixed with just the cult gone.
I also thought it was amazing how compelling the two characters that leave depending on the route are. I mean like, I did the Sun path first, and then finding out you get to kind of make a family with E**** and B*** if you go for that in the Star path was sort of so. So. Emotion inducing...... But Thisbe was really. Like her accepting you trying to make things right and all. Wooly being representative and everyone accommodating him. I kind of wish you could still tell ****** the truth in the Star path because I felt so bad... Literally so bad. (Unless you can somehow and I missed that because there's a ton of variables here) But that's how human these characters were. I went for Aenora first since I'm a lesbian and I loved the development and the like, everything to do with the Sun path and her route in that. Becoming equals, etc. But I was so surprised how the Rhain route didn't feel like betraying her and hurting her badly. Well it did a little at first...but then it's like...no, this is human. And they're both great people :( I was also VERY surprised by Emrys' route but then it almost became my favourite (being gay married in a homophobic world makes Aenora surpass Emrys for me but it's close!) it's just like. Woah. And Everything about Y* K** is so SAD!!!!! Tragedy! With hope! Because that's what we need to get through all this. 

SPOILERS END
SPOILERS END

TL;DR: This game deserves AT LEAST one playthrough to the end. One of the most meaningful visual novels I've played in the last couple of years, which is really impressive for its length and price (free!). There is an incredible story within this game and one worth reading. The player has to decide on their personal interpretation of the events and the character, but the fact that there isn't a singular one is exactly what we have to do as humans and the things we live through. I'm also very willing to pay for any future DLC or any kind of "behind the scenes" content. Congratulations on completing the game!! 

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Thank you so much for your lengthy comment!

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

I'm so happy to hear you found the characters and themes compelling. I was a bit concerned some things would feel disappointing (not remembering everything, the cult being hinted at to start unravelling but not being swiftly defeated) but like you said, it's realistic. I also think it's important for the overall message; you can't make things completely right, defeat the cult and somehow undo the damage they've done (and still do), but you can lay the foundations for others to slowly become aware of its issues and turn against it.

For Aerona in the Star path, there's no way to tell her but I've tried to suggest she has a suspicion things aren't quite what they seem (though she doesn't understand the full extent of it), but decides to ignore this because it won't matter as much after the quest is over, and she's satisfied with her relationship with Seren feeling more secure and less imbalanced now. I think I wouldn't be able to handle the angst of it myself if I was a player though :')

It was important to me to show that Rhain and Aerona are friends despite their respective feelings for you/history with you! I'm glad it makes them seem more human.

I'm also super glad you liked Emrys, Beca, Thisbe and Wooly and their respective arcs! There's a lot of difficult themes there that I really wanted to execute respectfully and tastefully.

(SPOILERS END)

Thank you for taking the time to write this, it's really rewarding to see people feel strongly about this world, characters and story I created :)

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Wow, absolutely wow. Personally, I felt I was able to deeply empathize with Seren. It was much a moving story with amazing imagery. The writing created such a serious and fragile atmosphere. 

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Thank you so much! "Serious and fragile atmosphere" is such a lovely way to describe it, that's exactly what I'm aiming for so I'm really happy to hear it :)

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First I was aiming for Rhain then, I changed to Emerys and ended up with Ikemma in the end lol I AM REALLY CONFLICTED it wasn't an easy decision. Had to save a couple of times (╥_╥)

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haha that seems to happen to lots of players! fortunately that's what replaying is for ;)

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OKAY SO ITS 4 AM I FINISHED EMRYS ROUTE I AM CRYING BUT I MUST GO TO SLEEP NOW I WILL POST MY ACTUALLY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS GAME AFTER I DO IKEMMAS ROUTE TOMORROW BUT IM JUST DROPPING TO SAY THAT I LOVE IT SO FAR THAT END CG OF EMRYS IS SO CUT E I MUST SLEEP

:') thank you, I hope you'll like Ikemma's route as well!

(+2)

I finally finished this, only one route but I have no idea how I'm going to be able to go back and play another. That one choice... I feel like I can only make it one way because I can't bear the disappointment from a specific party member if I choose it another way. I tried but it broke my heart :(

This was really well made, I loved the twists and turns, the character development, all of it. You really made me care about these people. I went in thinking I'd romance one person and go this one route, then another made me care too much and I switched, and then it happened again!! Honestly I think that takes a lot of skill. I'm also really impressed with how much bug fixing work you're putting into this, but don't forget to take a break! Bug fixing is exhausting. 

All in all, really awesome game, amazing story, well developed characters. I just wish I knew what old Seren was thinking about certain things, but I guess that's the thing.

You should be proud of yourself, and I can't wait to see if you have more games planned in the future. But I hope you take a break, you deserve it!

(+1)

I'm so glad to hear both the choices and characters made you feel a lot of things! I really wanted the characters to feel real, complex and affected by your choices.

I'll ease off on the bug fixing :') I just felt really bad about there being some freezing that outright stop players from progressing further, but (hopefully) those are all taken care of now!

I'll make more games in the future and already have some ideas, but yeah, I need a break haha. THJ has been a lot of work and a pretty emotional experience, but I think the DLC will be easier and allow me to really conclude things in my head and take a nice refreshing break afterwards.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

(1 edit) (+2)

Me after reading Chapter 2: 

(+1)

lmao I'm so glad it had the intended effect

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Nice game! Such a coincidence that one of the characters has the same name as the one I have been using for several years now. Because Aerona is not a common name. I was really surprised ^_^

Thank you! Haha that is a coincidence. Most of the cast has a Welsh name so they're all bit uncommon.

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I just started the first chapter and became completely engrossed in a matter of minutes. In fact, I like this game so much that I’m going to try to be patient and wait to play the rest until the whole game is finished - that way I can binge it!

Thank you so much for sharing this game! Best of luck with the next chapter (and whatever else is happening in your life). :P

(+3)

I'm so glad you like it! The next chapter is coming along slowly (lots of plotlines to wrap up) so I could use the luck, haha. Thank you for your comment and for enjoying what you've played so far!

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