This was great. The story kept me guessing right up until the very end, yet still felt coherent. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment!
Lucid9: Inciting Incident
A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux
Lucid9 is a mystery visual novel where your choices affect the outcome of the story.
You're a murderer.
// 1 DAY PRIOR.
You can't trust anyone. You lose your mind.
// 3 DAYS PRIOR.
Someone dies before your eyes. Your friends distance themselves from you.
// 4 DAYS PRIOR.
Your school enforces a curfew. You nearly drown. Your past catches up to you.
// 6 DAYS PRIOR.
You learn that students at your school have been disappearing into nothingness. You visit an amusement park with a bunch of friends anyway.
// 8 DAYS PRIOR.
You take a history exam. Maybe you pass, maybe you fail. Then you participate in a treasure hunt in the sketchiest part of the city. Thankfully, nothing happens. Or maybe something does.
// 9 DAYS PRIOR.
You visit a career fair to review your options. Doesn't seem like there is a bright future ahead of you. You also meet a crazy woman with a vocabulary larger than her height who claims to be a detective.
// 10 DAYS PRIOR.
You immerse yourself in classes, friends, and an everyday routine. You eat copious amounts of fried chicken and are press-ganged into advertising for a club you're not even in. This is where the game begins.
// THE THING IS:
You can choose to fight this outcome.
Lucid9 is a visual novel focused on a web of intricate mysteries set in the fictional 2018 metropolis of Isamu. Inciting Incident is the first part of the story, where you play as Yama Ishimoto, a cynical high school student who would like nothing more than to keep his life free of school drama and hard choices. However, he's forced to face his circumstances when an eccentric detective blazes into his life, alerting him of a string of brutal murders at his school.
As Yama furthers this investigation, he must dig through the secrets of the city, bringing him and his friends closer and closer to danger in the process. Every step leads Yama to the most unexpected - and terrifying - culprit…
Lucid9 is being created by Fallen Snow Studios, an international group of visual novel enthusiasts who seek to make a VN by fans for fans. As Lucid9 is a passion project that has been created without any budget so far, we are aiming to release it free of charge in order to both engage established fans of visual novels, as well as introduce newcomers to this unique storytelling medium. We are working our hardest to make sure the rest of the story will be available for free as well.
- Free Voice Acting patch: All of Inciting Incident will be fully voiced in English by Yin Yang Voices. Recording production has already begun, but it's a deliberate and lengthy process. (This has been postponed indefinitely).
- Second arc of Lucid9: We are currently working on the heroine routes, which will comprise the second part of Lucid9. They will be included in a future patch. There isn't any precise release date for this patch, but we will make sure to share progress regularly with all of you.
- Lucid9 Heroine Prologues UpdateDec 23, 2019
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
The visual novel is great because it made me feel emotions. The killer made me angry.
Very good visual novel! As I was reading, I wished there was more choice for love interest, but I can see why it wasn't the objective with the overall story! And the characters and their interactions were very well written! From what I can see, a sequel is coming, and I'm very much looking forward to it!
(This review contains no spoilers or very minor spoilers. It is intended to be readable by someone who has not yet played the game.)
There is no happy ending.
Lucid9 is a tale of dealing with trauma, both past and present. A circle of friends are just trying to make it through their current year in high school, but a dark pall is cast over the school as students begin one by one going missing… and worse. While facing the fear, anguish and anxiety arising from these tragedies, the characters — especially the main character — must confront traumatic events from their past and the inner demons that still thrive on those experiences. Along the way, they learn how to overcome the shadows of the past and find new ways to move forward with their lives. And they grow closer together in the process.
But make no mistake. If there is one thing you, the reader, take away from this review, it is this: THERE IS NO HAPPY ENDING.
Lucid9 will unapologetically take you through some of the most psychologically damaging experiences a high school student (or anyone, really) could conceivably endure. It will do so with explicitly descriptive narrative and — lest the reader's vivid imagination is not enough to do a number on their psyche — graphic visual depictions. It does everything in its power to make the characters' trauma become the reader's trauma. And when you, the reader, have weathered this emotional storm, you will not find a fairy tale ending waiting on the other side.
Because this is a story about life. About fate. About the incomprehensible meaningless of tragedy.
And in life, sometimes, there simply… is … no… happy… ending.
Lucid9 is ambitious in the level of emotional investment it needs to instill, not just for its main character but for many of the supporting characters as well. It does an incredibly good job of this, especially considering that the core of the story takes place in a span of less than 2 weeks. The novel wastes no time as it begins to lay out the pieces for the core mystery around which the story revolves, but it also manages to deftly incorporate myriad side adventures and interactions that steadily and methodically reveal the critical backstory of each character — including past interactions between key characters that shape their present relationships.
Core to the story are 8 high school students (including the main character). All of these characters have unique and diverse personality and sufficient backstory development, with some characters requiring more in-depth treatment than others. In addition to the 8 students, there are a handful of other characters that are also key to the story, and all of them are also well developed. The end result is that no character feels like a cardboard standup, and the reader is properly invested in key characters sufficiently enough for the emotional impact of the story to take a weighty toll.
In one of the more impressive displays of character development, the novel has to introduce two side characters that the main character has never even met before, and build up an emotional investment in those characters in the span of one scene. The writers did a wonderful job of pacing this scene to ensure that the reader could develop requisite sympathy for those characters almost as deep as their sympathy for the core characters.
Backdrops in Lucid9 are illustrated, not rendered, and adequately convey the scene. Certain aspects of the backdrops are simplistic enough to be distracting at times, especially in the main character's home. (Why is that dishwasher so tall? Why is that oven rammed all the way into the wall and has no stovetop?) But these are minor distractions. Many scenes feature multiple versions for different times of day, which helps keep the reader grounded in the chronology of events
The characters themselves are beautifully illustrated with many different mood and pose variations. Many characters (among the females especially) include catchy signature facial expressions that really help congeal the essence of their personality type.
Unfortunately, there are numerous places throughout the game where the reader will be confronted with IMAGE NOT FOUND placeholder text instead of a character sprite. I don't know if this was always an issue with the game, or if it came about as a result of upgrading the Ren'Py engine (which, if I understand correctly, happened during the "Heroine Prologues" update). The issue is not a showstopper but definitely breaks immersion briefly in many moments of the game. Some scenes seem to have a particularly high concentration of issues (such as the amusement park).
A handful of custom illustrations with character-in-scene placement are used to deliver added emotional impact at key points in the story. These illustrations have been crafted with extra care and go above and beyond the sometimes simplistic style of the normal backdrops. Once encountered, they can be accessed later from a CG Gallery available from the main menu.
Sound & Music
Lucid9 features what appears to be a full, original soundtrack. The songs are very well done; they definitely capture and reinforce the emotional state of the reader throughout the story. The opening theme for the main menu is instantly riveting for new readers, and also manages to serve as a reflection of the emotional journey for readers who have just completed the story. Once the game has been completed, music tracks can be accessed from a Music Room available from the main menu.
Sound effects are well done, and I'm particularly impressed with the background ambience in many of the scenes. As I was wearing full gaming headphones through much of the story, I repeatedly heard subtle background sounds that I at first thought were filtering through from the room I was sitting in. There's a depth to the sounds that give some scenes a real sense of space, especially in outdoor scenes like the street corner. (Those footsteps moving from left-to-right behind me repeatedly gave me a thrill.) And heartbeat sounds…. Given what this game was doing to my own heart, at times I wasn't sure if I was hearing a heartbeat effect in the game or my own heartbeat.
There is no voice acting, so use your imagination. Frankly, after having completed the story, I'm inclined to believe that the imagination is the best place to give these characters their voices. There is… a raw intensity to some of the scenes that, in my estimation, are brought to life most intensely in the theater of the mind. To apply any kind of voice acting would be to potentially limit what the reader's imagination brings to the scene, and may potentially undermine the immersion that the story's most intense moments have otherwise.
Lucid9 is a "choices matter" visual novel, but through most of the game, you won't really feel those effects, even when presented with some options. There is an overarching effect that your choices have on certain opportunities to interact with specific characters later (in particular, at one point toward the end of the game), but these choices are otherwise essentially inconsequential.
Choices begin to become crucial very close to the "climax" of the story, which interestingly occurs about 75% of the way through. It is at this point that the character's choices have life-or-death consequences, and success at this point depends on walking a razor's edge of appropriate choices. There are many "Bad Endings" at this point, so saving frequently is advised. It will likely take many attempts to find that one combination of choices that will allow your character to successfully navigate the scenario.
This is also where the story also starts to really wring out the reader's emotions. Because the section will likely be played over and over, it also means the reader will be subjected to some of the most psychologically intense portions of the game repeatedly. By the time I successfully navigated the scenario, I was emotionally exhausted from the graphic depictions of the deaths that resulted from my choices.
After this "climax", the remaining 25% of the story is back on the rails, and essentially plays out like an extended epilogue. Although it feels weird at first, upon reflection I think this was carefully designed. You, the reader, are not just there to witness the triumph of the characters; you must also follow them on their subsequent journey of recovery and healing, because in life, no victory comes without scars. By this time the game has likely managed to really do a number on the reader's emotions, and so the reader — like the characters — needs that return to some semblance of normalcy to serve as a balm, soothing the intense effects of what they just went through.
And so the story delivers that balm, while also providing some post-climactic plot exposition that will tee up nicely for any kind of sequel. But just as things seem to be returning to some complacent sense of happy mundane, the story has one more gut punch to deliver; and if anything can be said about this novel, it's that it does not pull its punches.
Because in this story, there are no happy endings.
Lucid9 is a powerfully crafted visual novel, but also one that forces the reader to stare fixedly into the abyss of some of life's ugliest experiences. If you are looking for a happy, relaxing or uplifting visual novel, you may want to steer clear of this one.
Also be sure you are in a healthy emotional state before starting in. I made the mistake of consuming this novel during a night of severe insomnia; by the time I reached the devastating end in the wee hours of the morning, I was exhausted, hungry, and an emotional wreck (thanks to having to navigate the climactic life-or-death scene over and over earlier in the night). The novel does a perfectly adequate job of yanking one's emotions around, and that is only amplified if one goes into it in an already vulnerable state.
It will be a long time before I can pick up this novel again. There is an Achievements section that suggests there are many miscellaneous accomplishments I can go for with my choices, but I cannot bring myself to relive the events of the story again any time soon. The intense psychological impact of the characters' experiences certainly made an impression upon my own psyche.
If anything, that is a testament that Fallen Snow Studios has succeeded spectacularly in their storytelling. Well done.
Worth checking out! I also saw your recruitment post on LSF
Great game! I really loved it. The first time I saw Mr. Ryouta made me remember about an anime called Erased, and in the anime the teacher who helped the protagonist was actually the killer all along, so I always kept on thinking that Mr. Ryouta was the killer. Keep up the good work : ).
This is one of my favorites games to have ever played. Months after playing it, I still can't stop thinking about it. Truly a masterpiece of a game, with a complex main character and some really hard choices. My ONLY complaint with the game is that the ending is very dragged out and I kept thinking I was playing the last scene, only for more scenes to pop up. However, the final scene was... wow. Never saw it coming. I NEED more games in this series expanding on this story. Seriously, everyone should play this. 11/10.
too much to bear my heart races when i play this game ........i wonder why.......answer its anima
Holy shit! The plot, the character design, the writing, the soundtrack - all so good! A sequel is a must.
Do it. Just do it. Great characters, dialogue, art, music, thrills, etc.
They haven't abandoned the next part, it's just taking a long time because they want to get it right.
libre es cada uno
This... this is really great. The pacing was good, as the writing and music must have been. Even though we are provided an idea of what the plot is like, it's still unexpected. The psychological aspects are great, too. Are there any updates from the team making this? I'm awe-struck that this is over two years old and yet I've missed it.
Does anyone know how to get this game to start on Mac? It says its Mac compatible but I can't start the game after unzipping the file. I open it but nothing happens. My OS is High Sierra version 10.13.6. If anyone figures it out please let me know. Thanks!
hey is this purly read or are there choices?
There are a lot of choices. For spoiler's sake, you should discover them on your own.
i hope you dont mind! i will be streaming your game on my youtube channel and my site will be writing an article about the game aswell. we have a developer spotlight so people can see new and upcoming games that are under the raider. so far im really digging this game. i want more people to know about it. ill include a link to this page so more people can grab the demo
I love this, everything about it.
I made a video on this, I am planning on doing a whole series play through for it. You can watch it at the this link.
This is incredible! I'd say it's one of my two favourite visual novels ever! (And I've played a lot of them!)
I also favour female protagonists, so I started playing this with some trepidation, but a few minutes in and I was hooked. I like it so much I've played it four times! In a few weeks I might go for a fifth play XD
Can't wait for the second part. (And thanks for making it free. Much as I would love to pay I don't have a credit card so I can't. Amazed that something so good can be free...)
I, too, tend to play VNs with female protagonists and found this amazing. It's probably number two of my three most favorite VNs ever (maybe number one if I get around to re-playing the current number one and finding out if my opinions change). It'd also be great if the second part is free, but it's so rare to see this much quality that, for myself, I'd consider saving up for the sequels. I really hope the team behind this is doing alright. I can't believe this is two years old!!
this game is so f-ing awesome, now i usually dont like to play games with a male protagonist (well i'd prefer to play as female) but i thought to myself this might be worth checking out, at best it would only waste a couple of hours of my life, but you, my dear writer (writers?) have earned my respect, i am glad i spent 10+ hours on this, and i hope to see more from you in the future
This thing is a rollercoaster of emotions. I loved it. I hope the second part gets released soon!
I've just started the game but man if the music is as good as it is right now i'll play it purely to have my ears experience constant ecstacy.
I... I... oh please please please... don't back out on the sequel... I'm a-DYIN' here... I keep checking back to see if there's a kickstarter or greenlight request (ie: meaning... it's possible for us, the fans, to help you!).
I think the peach is ... really cute. I seriously crave peaches while playing this game...
Until now, I've stuck with free VNs and demos of commercial ones. But after this game, I wouldn't mind them being commercial. At least, not Lucid9. I probably won't be able to afford it at once, but I'd be willing to wait and save just to support the creators. The writing was pretty good!
Is there anyway for me to download this zip in parts rather than all at once?