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I have to admit that I didn't fully read the game description before hitting play so that reset genuinely startled me after Jo's last loop. Me AND my character out here going ???????????? LMAO

I think I made it to 10 loops before I finally decided to stay. Maybe 11? I don't think I saw every possible iteration of the timeline (a combination of an unwillingness to be callous and a desire to make sure everyone is if not happy then at the very least alive) but I unlocked a significant portion of the lore, so I'm happy with it.

I surprisingly ended up at the Epilogue with Esteban! Not sure how that happened: one moment we're vandalizing public property and the next we're happily living together. He's so cute... I love me a soldier boy with a sentimental soul. <3

The game is wonderful. It genuinely made me emotional and I ended up falling in love with ALL the characters on all the routes, minor or not. (Alive or not.) I can't imagine what it must feel like for the main character to spend their entire lives in love with someone, creating a home together, and when the comet hits realizing that the only proof that those years ever happened are the memories that you hold. I don't think I'd be able to stay sane, after that. I think that's why I decided to end the loops so quickly: my character was starting to fray at the seams. 

Explains Jo at the start, though. I hope they managed to find some peace after their loop. (Or maybe Jo remembers, after a while? In the History route they mention feeling like they've seen things before so...)

I never did end up going south! I stopped to grab a snack and ended up finding a new family and a cat. Something for another loop, perhaps? I did save just before I decided to stay, after all. ;)

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I haven't finished a full playthrough yet, but I want to make sure I'm actually understanding the premise first. So, it seems like I continue reliving my life until I solve the puzzle and figure out how to make the world not end. (Haven't done this yet; I've solved some things, but not everything.) But I'm assuming the game doesn't end there, and at that point you figure out how you want your actual life to end in a somewhat more free choice style rather than finding the correct answers? Am I understanding that correctly?

I loved it.

It was beautiful.

I've seen the endless world-saving cycle trope executed wrongly so many times. And I feel like I finally found it living up to its full emotional potential. 

I cried, but those were the type of tears that bring you relief. The best type, if you ask me.

You may hate the feeling of being small, unimportant, helpless as life goes by, but it in itself is necessary, vital to valuing what you have and learning to seize the day.

It was a good night's experience. I wish there were more games like this.

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The whole time I had to restart over and over it made me want to cry a bit. I can't imagine having to try so many times to save the world and seeing the people you love die again and again. Once I got the "stay?" I felt so relieved. it felt like everything I worked for was worth it in the end and I'm glad it was a happy ending. (Esteban ilysm qwq <3) thank you for this wonderful and oddly emotional game!!  

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24 full runs. i went through 24 iterations of a life led by our protagonist before i finally made one i wanted to stay for. in some lives, i was too jaded to care and too angry at the circumstances that i gave in to callousness. in some, i was curious and went down different paths just because i could. and in other runs, i treated the characters and this story with the greatest care and the reverence they deserve. 

wow, i must've spent upwards of 5 hours reading through this story !! this was so incredibly well-written that i found myself genuinely lost in this world you've made and got invested in the lives of these characters. i felt the bone-deep resignation in unsuccessful runs like it was mine; felt hopeless frustration at the repetitions and the seemingly never-ending loop; felt the loneliness under the crushing weight of a world that i had to save even though it shouldn't have been my responsibility. i felt the contentment of finally settling down and giving these characters an ending they deserve. the way the plot is slowly revealed is brilliant. i feel there's still so much of this game that i haven't even touched ! but at some point, you have to stop. 

concepts like this are always so interesting when done right, and this is one instance where it's clear that it's been handled with so much skill and love that it's difficult to step away once you've started. this—and you—are beyond brilliant. thank you so much for sharing this with us !! xx

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Thank you so much! I loved writing this small world & I've been loving watching others explore it. 

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Hello Ejadelomax πŸ˜€

I discovered your game through your Ao3 account and spent too many hours on it πŸ˜€

I love it. The details, the multiple possibilities, the characters etc...

SPOILERS

I need some help : 

I managed to save the South with Jo and come back to the city a month later. But when I save the South with another character I can't come back nor save Suzette. Are there other paths I didn't find yet ?

And when I choose the magic or combat paths, I can't save Suzette neither πŸ˜”

Thank you very much for this game. I spent a lot of qualilty time with it πŸ™‚

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There are other paths -- you should be able to save Suzette in the magic or combat majors; and you should be able to save both Suzette and the south. There's a few ways to do this-- I'll let you explore. But let me know if you keep getting stuck! 

Sadly, I'm still stucked πŸ˜”

Spoilers! 

If you find out enough about Suzette's research, you'll learn how she does the spell (so ask her lots of questions in the History path & be nice). Then in future lives, you'll be able to find the spell (before she learns it!) and destroy it. Then she'll be okay (for that life), even if you later go south. 

Alternatively, befriend Jo & steal the relics & take them south with you. Jo will ask Suzette to help, and this will give Suzette enough of a purpose that she won't have the same breakdown later on. Suzette loves a Cause. 

Good luck! 

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Thank you πŸ˜€ I had found the part about Jo but not the the spell part.

And can we go back from the South with anyone else than Jo? With the other characters the protagonist has to stay  in the South after saving it.

No, it's a special Jo ending :)

If I got to the lake city twice in a row, there’s a dead end right after the fish.

Thanks for letting me know! I've been trying to fix that bug, but I haven't quite gotten it yet...

I just spent like 5? 6? hours playing this and had to leave a review. Very strong Steins;Gate and Outer Wilds vibes, both of which are games I adore (and that have a similar mechanic, highly recommend to anyone who enjoyed this). I "stayed" 3 times, each subsequent one driven by finding out about other things I could do. The first time, I was immediately drawn to Suzette, I guess I kinda have a thing for the smart girls. Didn't figure out how to prevent the war, but saved the city and ended up with Suzette. Did the entire first playthrough without saving, so I had to reset in order to keep going. Started trying to work out how to save the south, then trying to figure out how to end up with Suzette while also saving the south, and instead fell in love with Myka after spending more time with her (who reminds me of my one true waifu,  a certain other experiment-loving genius girl). And so the second time I stayed, I had saved the south with Myka, saved the city, and proceeded to travel the world. After talking to a friend (who had recommended this in the first place) and reading some comments, I learned about Suzette and Tereza and how to get to the school reunion. And so the third and final time I stayed was with Myka, having saved basically the world, and having scones with Suzette. A good life indeed. 10/10, will recommend. Even if it does end up consuming one for an entire afternoon and into the evening. It was well worth it. Loved this, a lot.

I'm glad! Those are some great lives to live

Imagine saving the land, hooking up with your dream waifu, and then letting the world die just so your friend does not give up painting.

I can see it...

I found this game and I loved it, so very much! I had a bad day yesterday and this game wiped all of it away, for which I am so thankful! It's beautifully written. 

I'm at a point where I basically have most of the ending I wanted, but for the saving the South thing with someone other than Esteban (who I loved as well btw, all the characters are so very vibrant), I tried just taking the relic and staying and I can't seem to find a way to do that? If it's not possible I'm not going to be actually mad, I still love the ending I get. 

You can save the south with folks other than Esteban, if that was the question?

Sorry yes, rereading now my comment I realised that I was a bit rambly and incoherent! Thanks for the answer, I'll keep trying when I feel better <3

Let me know if you want tips!! You can always call a friend ;)

This was really beautiful.  I love all the characters, but especially Myka!


Thank you so much for making this.

My spouse calls Myka their "game wife" :)

I loved this! I played it the whole evening yesterday, and also today. I do wonder if there's a way to combine saving Suzette with the ending with Esteban & the saving of Veris, the southern lands & the world. It seems to be either the one of the other, and I feel really bad for Suze.

Keep exploring!

But I'm lazy by nature, and have hit the same events no matter what I change :'(

Esteban isn't the only one you can go south with... I think that will help you! 

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this game left quite the impression on me! i truly left the game on my most perfect ending - i saved suzette from herself, i got to be with esteban (he was my favorite), saved the witch from her curse, diverted the comet and warned the generals about the snowmelt. i would love to play again and see what else i can uncover but i am so in love with the story and i started truly caring about the characters and story. thank you so much for this! 

Thank you, I'm glad! 

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I just got to the end (a end?) only after 10 loops and this was quite the story. I love the mystery and trying to figure out what needed to be done. Also getting to know the characters and befriending them. For the first few loops I would only date Suzette, but once I got to know Myka, I stayed with her. I really liked how not going on a date didn't make it feel like you weren't getting closer with that character. I didn't date a character every loop, only when I felt like it's been 'slow burn' long enough for me. 

Great story. I'll have to see if there are other ways to get to the end of this game.

Also! I really like how you can tell different character about the loops and ask them to help with plot points. That was great.

Thanks! Yeah, it was important to me that befriending and romancing a character were both equivalent "win states."

just played for about 2 hours - started with combat and then switched between magic and history for a bit and went back to combat. i always defended jo first, burned the reference docs for suzette, and though i couldn't go for drinks with suzette in the combat and history routes, that was one of my favourite parts. also really loved the way myka reacts when you say it's not a date, and suzette's "i'm...NETWORKING". i've finally ended it on a flooded town but still having protected the world, but i'm gonna read the comments and see if i can retry it with a better result. suzette was probably my favourite character and i just loved seeing her transformation and the way she came into herself after elaia was invaded (when she's yelling at roger!). so so ready to replay it a bunch more times. it's absolutely captivating writing and it makes me think (most of the choices leading to the best outcomes are ones where you take action, and where you listen more, and apathy leads nowhere. it's not always applicable irl, since sometimes your body and mental state control things more, but it's a fair bit of advice to take the chances and opportunities for friends and experiences that you get).

I'm glad you enjoyed it! There's definitely more to explore if you want to... ;)

You can keep retrying in-game, in character. Even once you can stop the comet, you can drop the stone and not "stay," it will take you back to the beginning again with all your same knowledge. 

I found this when you mentioned it in your latest ao3 update (neither red nor gold) and have created an account here to tell you that I adore everything about this story so much! It's got such a lovely amount of whimsy and delight in the characters and the magic, underlaid by a very real sense of exhaustion from the main character and the toll this is taking on them. But at the same time, it's not a defeated sort of toll, and the ability to take a few quieter and more light hearted loops (your descriptions of going down to the sea are so evocative, I love them) really make everything worth it.

You said you were interested in hearing the story we all went with, so here's mine: I focussed a lot on the magic / history routes at first and only went through combat later, and the loop I stayed on was the first loop I ended up with Esteban. It just felt right that the interactions with him had all happened for the first time, whereas with the others I already knew so much more about them than they knew about me.

I then went down and read the comments, realised there was more stuff I hadn't found, and reloaded the save to loop again until I'd met the other Mister Pent and gone to the reunion, then one final loop to end up with Esteban again.  Thank you so much for creating this, it's absolutely amazing and definitely a story I'll treasure!

Thank you for sharing your story! One of the things that's so fun about game writing is there's all these stories and experiences new to me and unique to the player that get to happen, and I love to hear about them. Esteban is a treasure and I'm glad you liked the sea!

I played this ages ago when I first came across it, played until I could achieve a "perfect" ending (with everything resolved nicely, far as I could tell), and then immediately wished I could play it again. I then recommended it to everyone I could, and my girlfriend and I have spent a lot of time now rehashing other scenarios in this wonderful world you've created with our own characters. I came across this when I was having an especially difficult time and it touched me in a really sincere place, especially because you've managed to fit in so many of the tropes and themes that connect with me so strongly.

This story has occupied so much space in my brain and thank you so, so much for making it. Your writing and the heart that you managed to convey was so wonderful, and I'm really looking forward to when I inevitably decide to return to it again. It was just puzzling enough to make me satisfied when I found the pieces I needed. I felt the calm and the finality of choosing to take a life just to live a little, away from everything else, and the determination upon my return back again. Everyone was so wonderfully charming and every life with someone new felt well-spent.

I figured this media has occupied enough space in my brain and my heart that it was only right I finally come and leave you a little comment! Thanks again for making such a wonderful little story. I'm looking forward to seeing more from you <3

I'm so glad this world offered you exploration and respite! It was a really meaningful adventure for me to write while penned up in 2020 so I'm glad it struck a good chord with you as well. 

I'm still hitting a dead end without any choices at the bottom of the lake.

I've learned Archaic and witnessed Suzette. Last paragraph before no options is:

"There is a clatter of stones to your left, and then a flood of darkness streams toward you. It's more massive and terrifying than those first dark sprouts of Suzette's. Those were seedlings and this is a choking seaweed forest of darkness and death. Hooray."

Shame because this is really interesting.

I'll try to track down that bug, thanks!

this is good.

Thank you! :)

This was superb. Loved it from start to finish. I have loved the lyrical, poetic feeling of your writing for a while (I follow you on Tumblr/Ao3) but finding it in an IF game was simply wonderful. Just the perfect fit.

Played it on my phone and my PC (so had to do some repeating) but I think I made it to the 'best end' somewhere in the 40s. I got stuck for a little bit before realizing that I had to go south eventually.

Stayed with Jo because... I mean, it's only fair. They gave up so much for us, even 40 lives isn't enough to repay. :)

Love it! What a good life, thank you for sharing.

I found an ending I'm happy with on cycle 11, but reading the comments I see there's so many more options I never saw--is there a walkthrough anywhere so I can figure out how to trigger those options?

I don't know if any rigorous walk through, but there's some general pointers down in the comments! One note-- make sure to go off to the hills when that option occurs, and explore!

20
Twenty tries to figure out how to set up to save Suzette and snag Esteban before triggering the comet save for the first time. 

Very good story. 

Very nice!

I can not express how much I love this game, it is so good and the little changes that occur over time are so good! I love that you have to pay attention to move forward best, and there were times in which I actually cried a bit. I love the premise, I love how you handled it, and this was such an amazing experience. This is certainly one of those games I'll be coming back to over and over. 

Thank you very much! I'm so glad

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Hey ejadelomax, this IF really is among the very best I've played. I've spend quite a few decent hours on it, and intend to spend many more.

I'm writing now just to share a clue on a bug that makes the game freeze. So, SPOILERS AHEAD for people looking for reviews on this game.

While I saw in your latest update that a bug after entering the lake bed is already fixed, there is yet another quite annoying one around that spot—"You ponder the words."—I just got no new options after clicking it (game frozen), at around the 5th loop. I tried a lot of stuff to solve this, and in the end I believe having a discussion with Mister Pent at the bar as his apprentice, specifically unlocking [story on the lake monster with name and wish details (and/or) the way to pronounce archaic words] freed me from the bug, as naturally in the following loops I went down a more 'advanced' path in the lake.

So perhaps you could look at the conditions at the point where the player does not know either or both pieces of information, that's possibly where the bug lies.

AFTER 20-somethin' endings I FINALLY DID IT, I LOVE YOU GAME DEVELOPER
AND I LOVE THIS GAME!!!

never abandon your pen, mate-- you are a gift.

I'm so glad you liked it!! And the pen's still going -- working on a new game now!

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After over 50 runs, I finally got the ending I wanted with Esteban. I finally made it to the end. 

This was a beautiful story. Now that I know what to do, I would play it over and over again. It was a straining experience, but relieving once I got to the end. 

Thank you.

I'm so glad! <3

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I also feel stuck! 

(SPOILERS!)

I have figured out everything other than 1) going to a reunion and 2) going south with any romantic interest (asides from Esteban, who is a sweetie, but I would like to take Jo!). I have also never met Gemma and would like to, but that's not my main concern.

I know that I have not tested out every dialog option, but I'm wary of straying from what I know works (wake up, talk to anyone, any school, skip grad for gem+archives, save lady, save land, and then live a long but lonely life. I can get Esteban to come with me if I select combat school, but I have not figured out what conversations I need to have in previous seessions in order to take someone else. I am on loop 40 and I suspect I can figure it out if I take a break but the story is so good that I can't put it down. I am on mobile and can't figure out how to add a save file so you can see my progress, apologies.

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Don't go south yet! Get the Gem from the lion's head, and then live your life in Elaia for a little. Go to the archives/history path if you want Jo... Good luck!

Thank you for narrowing it down to the history path! I finally got my ideal ending! I am very pleased and happy and this is just a wonderfully written adventure that I will share with my friends <3

Thank you!

Can someone please help me? 

(spoilers) 

I got it where the south is healed, Suzette is saved, the war never happened, there isn't anyone in the water, I know the word I need, and you go to the reunion. But I can't figure out how to get the relic in that line. The only way I figured out how to get the stone is to take it from Suzettes tent. I really like this game, but I'm on loop 29 and I've stopped finding new things. It's starting to get more frustrating than fun, which is a shame because I really have enjoyed it.

A couple options: 

- Do a life where you go the history route, go out drinking with Suzette and Jo, and pay attention to Jo so they tell you about their thesis... 

OR do a run where you don't go south, go to war and get the relic, then end your life with either Suzette OR Jo as your romantic partner/best friend... they should point you in the right direction

But this is a good corner case! I'll try to write in a catch-all pathway, to point you to how to get to the stone if you've found the "best ending" without having yet been told that... Hm. I'll try to see where that fits in. You're the first one to hit this particular sequence of events, that I know of!

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So, I just tried what you suggested, about paying attention to Jo, and I managed to find the ending I wanted.  No war, south was healed, no one in the water,  was able to destroy the threat, met both Mr.Pents, switched to working in the magic shop, went to the reunion, went to Suzettes wedding, and was friends with everyone. Then I stayed.

Honestly this was one of the most interesting, and fun, and emotionally investing games that I've played.

10/10 would recommend.

I'm so glad, thank you! 

hey! this is such a cool game. if we save our progress, will it save to our account or to the browser?

And if it saves to the browser, is there a way for me to transfer the data to another browser?

I believe it saves to the browser -- I don't know if it can be transferred or not! 

i loved the game! sat down for hours and played it in one sitting. took me 26ish loops to get the ending i wanted, but i eventually did! thank you for the game, i had a lot of fun :3

I'm so glad!

I'm loving the game, but I can't find out how to both romance Gemma and save Suzette. Only way to save Suzette it seems it is to choose history or magic but I can't romance Gemma in those paths. 

And I'm curious, how many chapters does that book have? 

Try asking Suzette more about her research... I promise there is a way! 

Oh god, I think like eighteen? I tried to make it fun. You can read them all on my patreon (ejadelomax). 

Thanks, i think i got the "perfect" ending, the one with the school reunion, but now  can't find the Gem to stop the end of the war. I know how to get it if there's the war, but without it I have no idea. What do i have to do? 

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History track,  try going drinking with Suzie&Jo and then pay attention to Jo... 

Thank you, I managed to get the perfect ending but choosing the history track. I played for 50 life XD It was a great game :)

Ha mistake on my part-- history not magic yes!

Help! It says save data not found! I saw really careful to save my progress last night, how can I recover it?

Oh I don't know! Did you get the confirm message when you saved? Are you using the same browser? Same device?

I'm so sorry this happened & wish you luck in recovering it!

I'm stuck :( I'm so close!! I just can't figure out where to go to learn archaic, I've been through like 15 lives but I just don't know where to find this :')

Have you talked with Mr. Pent in the magic shop? 

Hint: you can also translate the word without learning Archaic, if you take Myka to the city with you... Just go hang out with her instead of going to the ball! 

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this reminds me of Edge of Tomorrow! I got the option to stay after my 6th attempt, but I wasn't able to save Suzette so here we go again! xD

Edit: omg!!! I think I got a near perfect ending! This is wonderful! πŸ’•

Good luck!!

hi, i believe i hit a dead end? i went backpacking instead of starting the day as usual and went further south. there, i met moretti who confided in me about the black ooze plaguing their lands and i make the choice thats something along the lines of "i've seen magic like this that kills the practioners and turns them into monsters" to which moretti responds, "why would that infect our water?" after that, the story wont progress, jus to let you know!

Did you try refreshing the page and reloading a previous save? There's an intermittent bug that causes it to crash like that, and that fixes it! 

If you tried that and it didn't work, let me know and I'll look into other causes. Thank you for the bug ticket! 

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sorry for the late response but i did do that and it didn’t help unfortunately D:

Okay I'll check that out, thank you! I'll post a bug fix when I've got it. 

Hey, brilliant story. I think I hit a dead-end so I just wanted to alert you. I went to the sunken city with Myka (Lost how you spell it.) And there was no where else to go. I am sorry that I cannot remember every decision that lead there, but I had been learning archaic as well. Really love this superbly written.

Thanks for letting me know! Did you try refreshing the page then loading a previous save? There's one bug I know of where that fixes it. 

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oh my god?? my mind is literally blown out of the water?? this was so so so so stunning? i literally spent so much time on this and it so FUN. i lived 14 lives, and it was such a beautiful experience.

spoilers ahead!
i got the option to 'stay' in my 13th life, but i didn't take it, and i'm glad i didn't because it means i got it all in my 14th - i ended up with jo, stopped the war, saved the south, saved suzette, and stopped the comet. i went to the reunion, i made friends with all the other people from the story - and it was so so so fun and beautiful and heartbreaking. (suzette married tereza! mister pent has a husband! i love this so much)

it made me really happy to see the option to "stay?" in the last two lives and i finally understood what the name of the game meant and i was just *screams*. thank you so much for making this it means so much to me and i'm sure i'll be revisiting it <3

my only regret is that i didn't get to interact with tereza and i didn't even meet gemma in all my lives </3 another reason to play the game again! 

edit: some frantic comment reading and existence of two ao3 fics has taught me that gemma is the first name of ossani and now i just wanna say YES i love gemma thank you very much for your time and when i play this again YES i want gemma endgame thank you <3

I'm so glad you liked it!! That's a good life you got there :)

I never expect to find myself in endless loop. I think I going crazy

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This was so good. I didn't even mind looping through things I've already seen, because I could get through it quickly enough. It really encouraged me to experiment in ways I've never been motivated to do with other IF games. I managed to save the South, end up with Esteban, and save the world, but I didn't manage to save Suzette. I'm going to take a break then try again. And man, the sweetness of that last choice, when the title and the meaning of that single word hits you in the chest. That was pure poetry. Thank you for this game!

The name "Stay?" was one of the first things I knew for certain about this game! I knew that was the question at the heart of it -- which life do you want to stay in? 

It was very well done! Congratulations! 😊

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What I expected going into this was something short and strange. I didn't expect to be wrapped up for hours, not minding as the time passed, trying to get an ending where no-one died and everyone was happy. 

Even if Jo didn't remember their long trial, I'm so glad they got peace in the end.

This was a beautiful game, thank you for making it.

Thank you! I care so much about Jo's peace. 

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