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A short summary of my thoughts:

- Diversity among romance options
- LGBTQ+ inclusive, including a no romance route
- Especially loved the inclusion of someone questioning gender, rather than having it all figured out
- Pretty, bright art
 - Stress-free kinda game
 - Sweet characters
 - Some heavy stuff
 - Fully accessible for blind players and screen reader users
 - Overall cute and heartwarming!

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One of the best VNs I've ever played. Characters have so much life and the humor is phenomenal. The art, as well, is just...WOW!! I adore this game :')

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I've played approximately 25 visual novels on itch.io, and Arcade Spirits is in the top 5, without a doubt. Each character had a personality that was fully fleshed out (Hamza was one of my favorites, I can't deny), which made emotional attachments that much easier to develop. 

This VN really went the extra mile, adding shocking and unexpected events that completely changed the direction of the game, and prompted additional chapters. Nothing felt forced. 

I think the best aspect of Arcade Spirits is that, while playing, it feels that the story was written before it was a VN, and then all the game aspects, choices, etc., were molded to the story. This is really hard to accomplish, and most VNs don't pull it off.

Even though this was $20, it was worth it. 5/5

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Wonderful little dating sim with a great, emotional story and characters. Gavin and Percy are definitely best boys. It's not often I can find bigger men in these sorts of games. Soundtrack kicks ass too.

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I absolutely ADORE this game. I just finished my first playthrough and I'm starting a second one to try out different options. The characters are really relatable and the writing and voice acting are incredible. Seriously, I love it.

Arcade Spirits is actually the first "pure" (with no other gameplay elements) visual novel I have ever played and I feel like it has set the bar pretty high. The writing would actually work by itself as a decent work of fiction, but together with the interactivity, the well-designed branching options, the art, the music, the voice acting... the result is amazing.

I acquired this game through the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality (that bundle is turning out to be a great way to discover excellent indie developers and inclusive games), but I definitely plan on buying the sequel/expansion for its full price when it comes out. 

Thank you for this great work and my best wishes for any future projects!

PS/edit: I must add, as some other players have mentioned before me, that the depiction of Hamza's character is perhaps the main thing in this game that seems out of place to me. He's a positive character in the story, true, but he's also basically a caricature of an Arab man as seen by non-Arab people, and that doesn't seem like a very good idea, particularly considering how inclusive this game is in other aspects. That could be something to improve in future projects.

Best wishes!

Hey,
This game is amazing and I love it.
One question though - is it possible to romance a character without picking the initial "this person is really hot" option? Didn't initially pick that for Ashley but then realized later it's something I'd like to do. Do I just have to load an old save and change my choice?

Kind of a late reply, but for anyone else wondering, yes you can still romance a character without picking "this person is really hot" when meeting them. It's just a way to immediately start flirting with them lol. I'm asexual so I never picked that option but I still romanced Teo and Galvin :)

thank you so much!!!! i am so glad to not have to replay the entire game up to this point :) and no worries abt the late reply lol, better than never!

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I've just started to play this and so far so good. However, there is something I don't have much clear. In the description it says that decisions will have an "effect on the future of your arcade". Does that mean that there are multiple story routes? If so, I would like to know how many, because when I play a visual novel I like to explore all the possible routes (specially after playing the Zero Escape franchise, which actually require you to explore different routes to progress).

I'm enjoying this a lot so far. Is there any way to buy the OST separately? It's lovely. 

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You know, a part of me wished this had actual full voice acting.

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Really got me hooked. Lots of great dialogue and I'm excited to play through it again. If you're thinking about splashing the cash, I think it's well worth it. Probably took me 2-4 hours for a playthrough and there's definitely some different choices I want to try.

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Oh my gosh I'm in love with this game. It's such a comfort game and in the end I felt really, really connected to the characters. Thank you so much for this.

If anyone is interested, I wrote a review here:

https://bingiegingies.com/2020/09/30/arcade-spirits-review/

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This game is really fun and I really love unlocking the prizes and cant wait for any expansions you guys end up doing

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Retro Games + Romantic Visual Novel = Arcade Spirits! The art is very good, the plot is unique and I love the characters! Extra bonus for crafting your own character at the beginning of the game, and being a queer friendly game!

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I really enjoyed playing through this game. The characters are fantastic and I wanted to know more about them. I wrote more about it in my blog, but I'm going to follow you as well. I hope to see more in the future. Cheers! 

https://pajamagaming.blogspot.com/2020/09/believe-your-dreams-arcade-spirits-pc....

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This game is absolutely amazing.

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i've played this game to 100% completion now (kinda just by skipping around saves) and i love it

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i liked it :))

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Uhhh thank you. That's the best I can say to the dev. This game was absolutely brill.

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when I got to the end and and saw genderneutral pronouns being used for Ashely in their conclusion,,, I might have cried a bit. I really appreciate the gender and sexual diversity in this game <3

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Potential content warning for microaggressions in portrayal of Arab men...?

Not sure how others feel about it but some writing choices around Hamza felt really dissonant to the rest of the game and other diverse portrayals in it.

Feels worth mentioning especially given that dehumanising portrayals are perpetuated against Arab men in western media more than any other demographic and people deserve a heads-up before having certain comments in the game dunked on them unawares.

I put it all in my review but yeah - though I appreciate the other representation throughout the game and wish I could have enjoyed it more, that was a really strange falling point and I struggled to finish it because of it.

(+4)

That did definitely feel uncomfortable yeah

(+1)

Ok so I just finished the game and I'm so emotional right now. This game has been on my list for over a year and I have only recently been able to get my hands on it, and I'm so happy I did- this VN is just perfect. The user interface' the mechanics, the characters, the detailed customization of the MC, the voices' the music, the writing, the theme itself- WOW. Just wow. Teo was absolutely my favorite character, and his route was just amazing and oh my god I love him. I'm at loss of words- this game is just purely amazing, and thank you for creating it. It was heart touching and wonderful. Can't wait for the next game!

 I'm gonna cry in the corner now bc I love Teo so much

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Yoooo same. My boyfriend's name IRL is Teo and I just... Teo was vulnerable, he was sweet, he was charming... I MEAN

omg, that's so cool! And oh my god, yes, such a baby

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Hi all! If you’re trying to play on a Mac via the Itch launcher, but you’re getting a lengthy error log when you try to save (and thus can’t save at all!), try downloading the game directly from the Itch site instead. That solved the problem for me, at least!

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Can I say I love this VN? 'Cause I do. I love how funny and heartwarming the story is. It feels pretty realistic and everyone has their own unique personalities. QueenBee is a little bit too intense for me and I can relate with Naomi a lot. Francine, I adore her so much. I like that there's a lot of branching options and scenes to explore as well. But... I'm a little bit sad upon finishing the romance route...


Also... are you planning to resolve the mystery behind Polybius? I'm curious what's with all that because it's not completely finished, with every tension revolving Deco Nami and all...

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for all I know, they are planning the release of a second game! And I think that it would probably follow that mystery, it just makes sense

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Oh, I really hope so. I find the mystery interesting. And it turns out, it is actually a real urban legend. I have no idea there was an arcade game that attained a legendary status. It even has entry in tvtropes.org! :D

wait what? that's so cool, I've gotta look it up!

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yeah, a lot of the things referenced in the game are actual urban legends or actual history. for example, the et games being buried, the video game crash of 1983...

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I enjoyed it a lot.  The characters were incredibly likeable.  and the story was a great ride.  I'd love to play more VNs like this.

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Super fun! I've loved this game. Played through multiple character, event, and relationship story lines.  

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For a game that's fully voiced, not all characters "fully" speak out the dialogue.

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Love this game :)

All the characters are very charismatic and real enough.

I will probably play again to see the possible ramifications that my choices will have in the story. For now, #TeamAshley all the way kkkkk

Thanks for making the game. It was a real silver lining in this quarantine.

(+7)

Okay, so I actually finished playing this a few days ago and I've had some time to process it. Well, my conclusion is that I genuinely love and adore this game so much. It has shot to first place on my favorites in the visual novel genre. 

From the art, to the characters, to the storyline and game mechanics. Every single character we interact with is so genuine and passionate, and I could not and will not stop saying that. I could relate to everyone in one way or another, and it's so heartwarming that it's not just a romantic affair. It delves into friendships, building them over time. It's so interesting to learn more about everyone's lives and how they handle different situations. That sounds so much like real life, and I am so glad that it does. These characters have life breathed into them. Not only that, but the MC grew as well. 

I hope everyone gets to play this game at least once. It's marvelous. Thank you to the entire team for creating and developing this game. Thank you so very much. 

(+1)

Absolutely loved this game to bits!!! There's just so much to love, the characters, the story, the MC themself! Love it. Thank you for being such a bright light during this time.

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↓ NO SPOILERS REVIEW ↓

absolutely loved this game from start to end. not many visual novels hook me in so good, so I was really pleased to find one that does! I really like the customisation options on this, even down to pronouns! well worth its price despite getting it through a bundle. I've already recommended this to my best friends who love visual novels as well (I am pushing for them to buy the game on Switch or PS4). I hope they love it as much as I did!


I really liked the options in answers and how they all contribute to a different personality trait that you can build on, and I can really see how this can cater to literally anyone since there's an option for everyone! the story will also play out based on how you respond and react personally, which is such a great feature in a visual novel game. granted, there are some choices you have to make to further the story, but I'd say 99.97 times out of 100 (pun intended) you are really able to grow the character and their relationships with other people as you would, just like in real life.


I'm not one to replay games to see how things turn out no matter how curious I get of other pathways since I play using my instincts and what I would unapologetically do, but I'm super excited to see how my best friends will play their stories out and if their ending is different from mine! (let's be real here, I'm most curious to see who they end up dating more than anything else..) thank you so much for this masterpiece. I truly enjoyed it, Arcade Spirits will always have a special place in my heart.

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when your sad because your to poor and its the only game where you can customize your pronuns you know of

my friend tried it tho, she gves 10/10 so i do to!!!!

(+11)(-1)

1/10 can't fuck the grandma ( jk )

(+2)

Love this game! Cute and incredible story. I liked the MC and all the others, too. Charming and interesting AU. I had a great time and definitely cried!

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Hi, I just repurchased this in the Visual Novel bundle but I didn't receive a Steam Key, even though it was mentioned in the bundle description.

I had originally purchased it in the BLM bundle, and I liked it so much I wanted to add it to my Steam account as well. So I purchased it again when I saw that Steam Keys were also being given in the Visual Novel bundle. But the key is nowhere to be found on the downloads page.

Could you please help? Thanks!

(+3)

I've never played one of these visual novel games before, but this one is absolutely adorable and wonderful. Fantastic sense of humor, great game mechanics, terrific art. I can tell this is a game I'll end up replaying just to experience everything.

(1 edit) (+3)

This ia the first game I decided to play from the Racial Justice and Equality bundle I purchased a month ago (lol took me a moth to get around to playing anything)
Before I reviews, tip for Mac players: if you try to open it and get an error about them not recognizing the developer, then just right click, then press open, it'll still give you an "are you sure" message but will then let you open it and shouldn't have further issues, I did see an earlier comment of a Mac user losing a save, haven't had an issue with that so far. I'm 99.97% sure this game isn't trying to give me malware (hehe game reference)

On to the review, just finished my first play through yesterday and I LOVE this game!! It delivered much more than I expected, I felt it was more than just a simple dating sim, even though I chose one character to romance I was invested in every one of them, and want to try every route, it goes beyond what I expected, and I found the game very relatable as I felt life has been throwing bad things at me lately like the main character, it felt very realistic and relatable even if it is the future/an alternate future. I love the art style, the designs, the voice acting, I like that the characters talk out their full lines sometimes too. I love that different choices are part of different personality traits and I played to what I felt I would say in real life in most situations.

Honestly my only complaint is just wishing there were more hair style options and more than one outfit, though I understand that they may be because your character is included in cutscene artwork, which you don't usually see in other games like this as far as I'm aware, it makes sense since I assume it makes it easier to create artwork and program simpler designs. It doesn't take away from gameplay so if anyone is reading this who hasn't played yet don't let that keep you from playing! It's so much fun!

There's so many more positive things I could say but I don't wanna post spoilers. Once I can afford to I'll likely buy this game again full price.

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Enjoying the game it's really cute... but at the kids party, I spent the entire time freaking out internally, being alone with mikey opens ups so much liability...

I work with children, I understood their fear of a birthday party though.


And Graham Stark is a voice actor??? I was so confused until I looked up who I recognized...
And then I cried.

I think I'm just going to keep editing this post as I play...

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Hi there, when do you plan to add more steam keys on your game page?

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I really, really enjoyed this game.

I got Arcade Spirits in the BLM bundle but I enjoyed it so much I went ahead and bought it again just to show my appreciation.

The characters, the story, everything about this game was blast to play. I love the way the different traits change your personality and the story. 

When I saw Stefan Gagne's name (who I recognized from some of the most memorable Neverwinter Nights mods I ever played) I expected something different, and this exceeded my expectations.

I really liked all the routes (although I have to admit Ashley is my fav...NB rep for the win) but also I appreciate that they thought to include an Aro\Ace route. Thumbs up!

Also, after seeing what was needed to unlock it, I can't believe I found the hidden romance option by myself. :)

Can't wait for The New Challengers!

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