played this game onstream and I was super intrigued the whole time. from the dialogue to the music, I felt like this was a game that I would definitely play in its full. the only small critique I have would be to proofread, as there were a couple typos, which is more than okay, its a demo. I just cannot wait to see where this game goes from here!!! 9.5/10
Absolution: Way of the lost (DEMO)
A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux
You are Dr. Hart, a young psychologist determined to work in a mental hospital. Your lifelong dream is to help people in need, and this is where they await you.
Your new job is not as easy as one might think - you will be faced with many challenges. Nothing is handed to you. Your patients' trust, will to cooperate, to even talk to you - everything depends on your ability to understand them and communicate with them. There will be times when you will find yourself lost, and confused. At these times, you have to remember to never lose hope - because the fate of your patients depends solely on your choices.
Your patients will only tell you a fraction of what you need to know - you have to figure everything out on your own. Will you know all about them before they reveal it to you? Or will you fail and lose their trust?
Four patients will be assigned to you, given your lack of experience. Each of them deals with a drastically different illness:
- Dissociative identity disorder (commonly known as split personality disorder)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Of course, you are allowed, and even encouraged, to focus on the one you communicate with best - make sure not to neglect the others, though...
- Experience six routes with unique storylines,
- Manage your time well - plan sessions with your patients,
- Succeed as a psychologist - make the right choices while interacting with your patients,
- Create bonds with your coworkers - use your breaks to interact with three side characters, who each offers their own side story,
- Enjoy an original soundtrack and custom user interface,
- Customize your character with a first name of your choice,
- View information about all characters you've met using a special menu, which updates every time you learn something new,
- Adjust difficulty settings,
The full game will have sensitive/disturbing content in it, and a list of content warnings is available at the start of the demo - however, these content warnings do not apply to the demo.
The game has a discord server! Feel free to join if you want to chat about the game or ask me (the developer) questions
Here's an in-depth guide for the first day of gameplay (job interview): the guide in PDF. If there's a need for it, I may write a guide for the whole demo. If you're having trouble, let me know - I'll get to work on writing it.
If you find bugs in the game/the game crashes, contact me via Discord, but make sure you have the newest version downloaded. I constantly try to fix whatever bugs come up.
|Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Release date||Jun 22, 2019|
|Made with||Ren'Py, GIMP, LMMS, Krita|
|Tags||2D, Dark, Horror, Mental Health, Multiple Endings, Otome, Psychological Horror, renpy, Story Rich, yandere|
|Average session||A few hours|
|Inputs||Keyboard, Mouse, Gamepad (any)|
|Links||Youtube, Discord, ABSOLUTION on Gamejolt|
Make sure to check out the help menu for controls if this is your first Ren'py game!
- New let's play and update48 days ago
- Break events and bug-fixing update73 days ago
- About the game's graphics74 days ago
- Charlie's route is DONE78 days ago
- Total route progress chart94 days ago
- New Charlie sprites UPDATEMar 26, 2020
- Minor graphics updateMar 18, 2020
- Side character and MC sprites updateMar 05, 2020
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
The typos are being fixed, some of them are only in the demo and fixed in the full version. Thanks again for streaming, I really enjoyed it!
Hello! First of all, I'm loving the atmosphere of this game & the music is spot on. I can't help but be intrigued about where this will go. I'm not finished playing the demo yet and will comment again once I am, but I wanted to mention that I think I may have come across a bug? On the second day, I had a session with Charlie, then Michael. After the break (spent with Elizabeth) I was given the option to choose someone again and Michael was an option. I selected him and the conversation dialogue was the same as before. Figured I'd mention it just in case it's something you haven't caught yet!
Going back to the demo now - can't wait to play more :) Keep up the great work.
Edit: After returning to the demo I went back and decided to choose Tom instead since I was getting the same scene again with Michael, and the score meter overlapped the names of Michael and Tom. Michael's score meter seems to be stuck on the screen and on day three when I selected Michael, I got the same dialogue again.
I hope I'm not being a nuisance in bringing it up ^^;
Got it, will fix it right away ~
Actually, I feel like some of my testers from way back reported this issue and I dug through the code, unable to find anything wrong with it then. I'll try it again, but there's definitely something going on with that Michael session. Thanks for reminding me, anyway.
Hello! I want to say that I really love this game, I've been following kind of silently for awhile, and I noticed in the discord you were posting progress images of the characters, I didn't want to say anything at first but i don't know, it's kind of an unpopular opinion but here we go.
I think the new sprites don't look good, the MC"s shoulder looks a little large in comparison to everything else, and everything is just so dark, I understand it's a dark themed VN, but when the background is dark, the story is dark, and the characters are dark too? There's no real contrast, unlike the original that had darker backgrounds and brighter looking characters, they were a little easier to see, but now it's just a lot of black shading on black. I don't want to sound too harsh, I just want to offer another perspective, Tom's sprite especially. I think his jaw is set a little too low, it looks more like he has wider cheeks instead of a wider jaw, it's a tad unflattering, which is a little unfortunate as Tom is probably my favorite character. Charlie is also very dark, it's just a lot of black shading, and I don't want to discourage you or make you think i'm trying to just be negative, I think the story is fantastic and the scenery is beautiful, I just think having especially dark characters with dark backgrounds is a mistake visually, and some of the anatomy is a bit off. Obviously not all art will be perfect, and always striving to improve is a good trait, so I hope this doesn't come off as toxic, criticizing always gives me a bit of anxiety because I'm worried it will be taken as just insults and not constructive like I want it to be, I just want to help a little if I can, and i know people will probably disagree with me, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, I think the older sprites were more visually appealing, even if they weren't anatomically correct, but it's also a personal opinion. I'm really looking forward to the development of this VN, and I hope to support it however I can. I'm really sorry if I caused any offense ;~:
Oh no, that's a perfectly valid point. No offense taken.
I myself am not very happy with a lot of the graphics, I try to get better and redo them sometimes, but well - like you said, it won't be perfect. I'm constantly improving and fixing things, I personally think my art doesn't look very good and I agree with a lot of the examples you brought up. Still, I think the new sprites are an improvement over the old, even if the shading makes the colors kind of dark and greyish. That's something I'm still working on improving.
Honestly, if I could do cell shading that looked good, I would and it would save me a lot of time as well. But for some reason I just can never get it right digitally.
If you're on my discord already, feel free to say hi. Valid criticism only means you care about the project, not that you're trying to hate on it or sabotage it.
Thank you for the honest criticism ~
I Liked your game a lot! The characters have a really unique personality, and the environment is also pretty creepy. You made a nice job in the ambience, and I really liked that! :D
Hope you have success with the game <3
Hi! It's around 5 a.m. and I've spent last 3 hours playing this game.
And let me tell you, those 3 hours were amazing! I love the characters and how their personalities and stories unravel, love the atmosphere, music, love how unique the general idea of the game is.
Thank you so much for your hard work and for referring to such an important topic as mental health. Can't wait to see the rest of the game.
Wish you all the best! <3
Wow this was amazing! I was hesitant at first because of the many content warnings about jump scares and such (im quite squeamish) so I was pleasantly surprised with how calm the main gameplay is! I am a huge fan of Michael and I look forward to being able to play his full route when the game comes out. This is such a cool game and the dialogue is wonderful, thank you for this!
And thank you for leaving the nice comment ~
The content warnings apply to the full game, but I figured I wouldn't want people enjoying the demo and then not being able to play the full game because it does get heavy later on content-wise. The jumpscares are pretty rare and don't really happen on most of the routes. But I like elaborate content warnings, so I put everything in it.
I'm glad you like Michael, he seems to be pretty popular among players.
I kinda made myself an account just so that I could write you a comment and tell you how amazing it is! I'm so much in love with the whole concept, the story and the characters (I think Michael is my favourite for now, even if he kinda scares me a little). I'm really excited for the release date and I'm 100% down to buy it! Keep the good work up!
Thank you for the nice comment ~
I'm very grateful you decided to make an account just for this, reviews like these really motivate me to keep working on the game.
I adore this game and in the 24 hours I have had it, I've played it different ways just to see all of the outcomes. I love that there is a back button as well so I can quickly see outcomes if I was questioning myself. Does the game continue on after you show up late for work and speak with the boss?
I've had him fire me, but I have also had success but then quit later.
Are these the only possible endings right now? I have literally done everything that I can think of.
I can't praise the creator/s of this game enough. I adore it and I am definitely looking forward to the full release.
The two endings you got seem to be the "bad" endings which you can't continue from in the full game.
To get on a patient's route (one of the four) you will need to spend one session a day with them. Just make sure to spend at least one session (tuesday to friday, monday is scripted to get to everyone) with everyone else, or you'll be accused of neglecting your patients and fired. Additionally, you'll need to get most answers during their sessions right.
To get on Sharpe's route, do your best during the job interview and spend an equal amount of sessions with everyone. And for Elizabeth, you just need to hang out with her every day since tuesday and try not to say something that will upset her.
To put it simply: you can't proceed without selecting a route, and there's no menu to do that - you need to get on a route throughout week 1.
I hope you have fun exploring the different paths you can take in the demo. Thank you for your kind words ~
Thank you so much for the response! I was seeing every single patient, and the best ending that I got a few times was that he said my schedule was perfect and decided to hire me... but then my character ultimately quit because she felt like there was no progress... Anyway, I will definitely try it again with the way that you suggested.. I mean you are the creator of the game... :) I don't mind replaying it. I love the characters and the whole makeup of the game. Again, thanks for the response and creating this incredible game. I can't stress enough that I cannot wait for the full game to come out and look forward to the other games that you make in the future!
Just played the demo last night and I can't -wait- for the full game release. The patients that I had kept me on the edge of my seat and the whole game gave me a sense of...unease? Trepidation? And I loved every...single...second of it. Great job so far, and really looking forward to whenever you finish making this game. I will totally buy it on Release Day in a heartbeat flat.
I've been intrigued by the premise of this story since I'm bipolar and have been hospitalized a few times. But two things in your game description make me very leery of playing it since you seem to have some very wrong ideas about mental illness. OCD and panic attacks (or as you say, panic disorder) are NOT reasons someone would be hospitalized. No doctor in their right mind would hospitalize someone just because of those diagnoses. PLEASE tell me you have written the patients as someone who actually knows something about mental illness and not just what you have heard and read on the internet and seen in movies and TV. Those of us with mental illnesses are VERY sensitive to how we're portrayed in popular entertainment (including games) BECAUSE so many people treat us according to what they THINK they know about mental illness, which is too often dead wrong and VERY misinformed.
So am I going to be insulted by your portrayal of the patients or am I going to have a positive experience? I'm hoping for the latter but in my experience too often it's the former. Just as an example, from watching things like Judge Judy all too many people think that because I'm bipolar I'm going to be very nice to them one minute and trying to kill them the next. That's not someone with bipolar disorder (which 99% of us would NEVER even THINK of hurting anyone else) but that IS a psychopath, which is something else entirely.
I'm quite honestly awaiting your reply because most people wouldn't even set a game or a story in a mental hospital (which in most hospitals is really no different than any other unit in the hospital, although in most hospitals it's simply called the psychiatric unit). So as I said at the beginning, your story synopsys has me very interested.
I fully understand your concerns regarding my game's potrayal of the sensitive subject that is mental illness.
One of the reasons that I, after 2 whole years of development, am so motivated to finish this game on my own is the way it adresses mental health and the many false, harmful stereotypes surrounding it. That means I am very careful with the sources I trust and the inspirations behind certain characters. In my opinion, I have been very mindful of how my game might shape the players' mental image of the illnesses presented in it, and of the people struggling with them.
From what I've heard from both my testers and the players on itch.io, the characters are potrayed as realistically and respectfully as possible. Of course, some of them were more difficult for me to grasp than others, but so far I've had no negative feedback regarding that aspect of the game. I believe the key to creating mentally ill characters in a respective and positive way is to simply treat them like any other character. We are all people, with real thoughts, feelings and motivations, regardless of our mental health - this is the message I'm trying to send with this game: that people with psychiatric disorders are not antagonists - they're not serial killers, creepy stalkers, or some monsters out of a horror movie. Now, you may be confused as to where the "horror" tag comes from, given that. Suffering a mental illness, especially when not treated, is a very difficult and frightening experience for the sufferer and their loved ones - but I'm sure you know that much, given your story. The true horror of "Absolution" comes from the feelings of loss, loneliness and helplessness experienced by people like you. I think it's a subject that should be explored in any medium, as long as it's done in a truthful manner.
I would also like to mention that I am a life-long sufferer of multiple different mental health problems and I know, just as much as you do, how it feels to be left out and misunderstood. I've heard responses anyhwere from: "Mental illness? You? Ha!" to "But you're not going to kill me, right?". Even if I haven't personally experienced everything potrayed in this game, I feel like I care a lot about what is said and shown in it, because it concerns me as well.
One of my hopes for this game is for it to be able to someday build an open-minded, comfortable community where people can share and discuss their experiences, learn more about what mental illness is like, etc. That's why I am always very fond of people approaching me about the game to talk about how it relates to their experiences. If you have the time and want to contribute, I would love to discuss your criticisms and thoughts on the potrayal of this topic within the demo - it's never too late to tweak a thing or two if I learn something new. You can find me on discord via the game's server.
Now, to answer the points you made
- any mental illness can lead to hospitalization if left untreated and faced with a lot of outside pressure/difficult experiences. OCD and panic disorder (it's the name of the disorder) in this game aren't the most typical cases, but they're both very much possible,
- forgive me for my lack of knowledge on american TV shows, I have never seen Judge Judy and I didn't know there was such a thing until now,
- there is a lot of variety in every disorder, so I wouldn't be that certain of the 99% statistic,
- actually, I would argue with your definition of a psychopath, I don't think most of them are violent by nature like you described,
I look forward to your response once you play the demo. It's been a pleasure.
Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough reply. You've put my mind at ease. I'm downloading the game right now and I'm looking forward to playing it. Here's hoping I've found a new favorite. And again, I admire you for creating a game based on such a sensitive issue as mental illness.
I kinda hated it bc IT didnt save the last time i played and i got the job that time NOW I HAVE TO DO IT ALL OVERRR
Did you save your game, but it got corrupted?
Also, consider turning gauge meters on if you're having trouble - that way you can try every option and see which one raises the likelihood of your success.
I really liked it and would definitely pay for this. Its such a unique concept!
I hope you will be able to finish it ;P
Thank you ~
I might have to take a break for a month, but we'll see about that (I hope I won't have to, but work's piling up and I have deadlines).
I really enjoyed playing the demo.
This game is so interesting. My favorite characters so far are Charlie and Tom.
When I was first introduced to Charlie, I felt instantly delighted. After all, Charlie's personality was so different than the rest of our patients. He was so friendly and brought a smile on my face. I know there's more to him than meets the eye.
Unlike Charlie, Tom was so mysterious. My list of questions for Tom just kept growing as I started to get to know him better. I look forward to meet his alters and maybe they will answer questions Tom won't.
I wasn't being biased with my schedule. As a psychologist, I wouldn't want to play favorites with patients who have mental illnesses and add to their distress. When Dr. Sharpe was evaluating our work, I realized Dr. Sharpe himself may be a potential love interest. 😅
I can't wait to play more. I want to know what will happen next. I'm suspicious of Dr. Sharpe and the hospital, though. I don't know why, but I get this feeling that they're hiding something ... or I might just be paranoid. 😆
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment ~
If you're curious about Charlie and Tom, you can always replay the game and spend one session each day with one of them - I put the more interesting things about each patient in the later sessions so only the more commited players will see them - it's how you get on their route, by spending as much time as possible with them without neglecting anyone. But I see why you'd want to treat everyone equally.
Again, consider checking out the rest of their sessions - I won't spoil anything, but you probably won't regret it.
Yes, Dr. Sharpe is a love interest, and so is Elizabeth. I thought it would be nice for a side character like him to be explored a bit more rather than just being a soulless plot device.
I discovered this game just a few days ago. I have always wanted to play a VN/Dating Sim with a setting like this, and better yet if the MC is a psychologist. But I wasn't expecting the way the story sucked me in, and at the end of the demo I was left wanting more. I loved all the characters you introduced, William specially... but every patient is really interesting and I'm curious of their stories and want to help them in any way I can. Even if it's just a Demo, it surpased my expectations and I definitely will buy the full game when it's released. I'm really happy to have come across this game and I thank you for all the effort you are putting in making it. Take your time and take care of yourself, everyone who loves this game will wait patiently. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. :)
Thank you very much, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too ~
The setting was always a huge part of this game, and it was really the initial idea - to make an otome where you're a psychologist in a mental hospital. I just thought the sessions format was an interesting way to interact with the characters.
Make sure to check out the game's Discord server to stay up to date on all "Absolution"-related content.
ohmygod this was so good! Surpassed my expectations for sure! Michael and Charlie are my favorite, especially Michael! Can't wait to play the full game!
Thank you so much. I'm very glad the game surpassed your expectations <3
Merry Christmas ~
Just wanted to take the time to say that you're amazing for creating a game like this, and I hope you don't overwork yourself or anything! Can't wait for the next update :)
Currently rewriting a long event on the fourth week of Michael's route - I'm fortunate to be in the mood for this recently and it's been very motivational to see all the recent progress. I appreciate your concern, though ~
Besides, I can still make time for school and Netflix, so it's all good.
Thank you so much for making such a wonderful game! I thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope that progress comes easy for you and that you have a lot of fun continuing this project!
Thank you, I'm trying to get as much progress as possible done in December. My current goal is one asset a day and more on the weekends.
I love this SO much, if you have any idea of when the full game is coming out please tell me!
Hi, it's me again! :) I just come back to this game because I just love William and the other boys so much. By the way, what time period is this game set in? It really feels like a 1990's sorta of environment.
Anyways, once again, best of luck on this game., and you're doing amazing! I'll probably 99 percent buy it once it comes out in 2021.
I wasn't going for any time period in particular, I guess it's set whenever it comes out.
Thank you for your continued support ~
I just finished to play the demo and I’m already in love with this game ! I played quite a lot of visual novels and Otome games and I can definitely say that from what I’ve played so far , yours might be one of my favourite ! Thank you for your amazing work ! Even though Michael is my favourite for now , I’m really excited to see what you have in store for all of them. Mental illness is a very touchy subject and I think you handled it quite well. The characters seems so complex and have so much depths ... I’m really curious to find out more about their past.
I just have a little question : do you have any idea when the game will be fully released ? Not to pressure you or anything , I’m just so excited to play this game that I wanted to know...
Again great job and good luck !
Ah I'm really happy I tried the demo! It's really interesting so far and I really like it. My personal favorite is William so far :) I'm just excited to see what he'll be like once Dr.Hart makes him completely trust her. I can't wait for the final release of this game!
Thank you so much for the nice comment ~
I'm glad you like William, he seems to be the least popular of the four, which worried me a bit, since he's also my personal favorite.
Until the full game is released, feel free to follow my development blog on tumblr or join the discord server for updates.
I really enjoyed the demo, Michael is my absolute favorite!~ I think this game shows a lot of promise in both gameplay and storyline, and the demo alone has so much complexity-- I'm excited to see it develop further. The soundtrack in particular stood out to me as really impressive, it set the atmosphere well and honestly had me feeling tense more than once while playing. I've played a lot of horror games and that doesn't happen to me too often anymore, lol!
I do have a question, due to the (what I anticipate, considering the content warnings) sensitive nature of the game's content: do you have a sensitivity reader, or someone with experience regarding mental illness and hospitalization, to help with those aspects of the writing? I understand that this isn't necessarily supposed to be a hyper-realistic portrayal of a mental hospital, but I would be sad to see later portions of the game fall into unintentionally harmful stereotypes.
This game strikes me as a project that has a lot of love in it, I can't wait to see the end product!
Thank you for leaving a comment ~
Michael seems to be the fan favorite so far, and it honestly makes me quite happy, given the nature of his illness and his introduction. It's a miracle that the soundtrack seems to work so well, given my complete lack of knowledge on music, so it's very nice to hear that it serves its purpose.
The whole point of this game is to avoid negative stereotypes about mental illness - I have heard feedback regarding the later parts of the game that the sensitive issues are tackled well so far, at least until halfway through the game.
I'm putting a lot of effort into the game, I really appreciate the feedback.
Can't wait to destroy everyones life!
as both a visnov addict and an aspiring psychologist, i'm really excited to see this get developed more!
I'm glad you enjoyed the demo ~
There's a lot more to come, and I'm just as excited to show it to you
Ah, a very nice game from what I've seen so far. It has alluring characters and an interesting plot. I hope to see more, and I can ascertain that I will definitely buy this once the full game is released!
Though I also read the recent development news; I hope you'll feel better soon! c;
The game looks exiting! The only thing that bothered me was text that blended with textbox and made it hard to read :(
Is it possible to make it a few shades lighter?
I also have a question. Was MC's red colour scheme intentional? Wouldn't red be a bit agitating for patients from a practical point of view?
By the way, I was surprised that MC's template name wasn't Harleen.
I plan to make a small patch to the game that makes the text a little brighter, along with a few minor fixes soon, maybe even today.
I don't know, I just thought it looked cool, honestly.
I didn't want to base her off of any 'psychologist stereotypes' in order not to associate her with them.
Hey, I drew you something for Halloween: https://navypinkdev.tumblr.com/post/188723626744/happy-halloween-everyone-i-thou...
Wow she looks dope xD
I love that this is not a straight up Harleen cosplay but Harley Quinn inspired.
Now I wonder what sort of villains could other characters be but that's probably falls into spoiler territory so I'll abstain from asking :)
I did have some ideas about the others, but yeah, some of them are spoilers. Maybe I'll draw someone else next year, who knows ~
It's also good to see you reply such a long time after your original comment. If you have a discord, consider joining the game's server - if you want to keep up with development news or just chat in general, it's pretty fun: https://discord.gg/wxrxGN3. It's always nice to see new faces there <3
As you know - I've beta tested this game. The potential for this to really be an in depth look at some complex and anxiety driving situations is high. I would absolutely recommend turning off the lights, turning up the volume, and getting sucked into the game!
I wasn't sure if the game is scary in its current shape, but I guess I can't judge that. I'm glad you think it lives up to the 'horror' tag so far.
(And yes, it will get intentionally scary later on)
I really liked the demo and what you did with the interface. This game has such a unique atmosphere to it that really draws you in. Really excited to see how each character's story will unfold. Keep up the great work!
Thanks a lot~
Don't forget to join the discord sever! I'll gladly talk about the game there.
I absolutely adored the demo! I was pulled in with every complex character and dialogue, I cannot wait to see where this goes <3
Join the discord server, then. I'd love to hear your opinions of the characters and the story ~
the teaster was good ! i liked it !