The vndb mentions "AI-Generated Graphics" and if it's not a false tag, would you mind me asking which parts'd be so?
It's About Time
A downloadable game for Windows and macOS
A browser / web-based version is also available to play online here!
"This is the beginning of the age of steam.
Our romance (currently at 55,000 words) is set at the transition between the Victorian world as it began, and the near-magical trajectory, into the new age of steam.
You play as Emma, who - through wile, wit, and good fortune - unlocks a secret that has remained dormant for two centuries. While many are keen to obtain the secret for themselves, others will stop at nothing to destroy it. Yet, using the secret results in unintended consequences, unleashing new forces that prove difficult to control.
However, a new age of invention is not the only thing blossoming. Emma has her hands full, not only with the mysterious secret, but some unexpected contortions of her heart… set in motion by a ruggedly handsome young machinist, a charming gentleman who comes to her rescue, a woman who defies Victorian norms, and a brilliant young man who carries many secrets of his own.
There’s also an ancient order trying to overthrow the whole thing. Somehow Emma finds an unlikely ally among them...or is it a trap?"
Note: New Play In Browser Version Here
Our spunky main character in the year 1889. She’s a 21 year old lady who is juggling the expectations of her family against what she truly wants. What is it she wants? Well, she’s not entirely sure of that yet, but it’s certainly not what others are expecting from a young Victorian lady.
While she’s figuring out her future, she stumbles across an extraordinary secret that’s lain hidden for over 200 years. The solution to this mystery involves getting to know an unusual cast of characters, who help Emma unlock both pieces of the puzzle, and new romantic possibilities too.
Hiro is an ambitious gentleman. He’s just as charming as he is handsome, but with a bit of a dark side. Betting on the right people has allowed Hiro to work his way up to the peak of Victorian society, yet he remains unsatisfied.
Emma’s secret may be just what he needs to realize his most ambitious plans yet. But he’s starting to discover that perhaps that’s not what he wants from her after all.
Dalen is a blacksmith with a stunning physique and a heart of gold. He’s a childhood friend of Emma’s and is struggling between the way he has always known her, and the fact that they’re now all grown up.
Some may find him clueless in love, but everything is clear in Dalen’s mind. He knows what he wants, and he believes he has it all already. But perhaps this whole time there’s something right under his nose that he’s missing after all.
Helen is a woman who defies Victorian norms. She has played the game in a man’s world and won. She makes no apologies for who she is and what she wants, and she has enjoyed great success as a result. Yet hard choices have led her to give up on many things as well. She has never had anyone she can truly share her life with.
In Emma, Helen sees a younger version of herself. Will she help change Emma’s future? Or will Emma change hers?
Donovan lives a spartan existence in a monk-like fraternity. Most find him rude and abrasive. He spends his days reading every book and manuscript he can get his hands on - he avoids people and detests interruptions.
Yet Donovan’s chosen life of isolation is a response to a colorful but painful past. Can he make room in his broken heart for someone new?
Aiden is a young scientist born in the wrong time and place. But don’t underestimate him based on his boyish looks. With a remarkable creative mind, Aiden plans to devote himself to work that will change the world and make a real difference to everyday people.
Yet realizing those noble aspirations may prove harder than he thinks. Aiden may be in control of his inventions, but he’s not in charge of what others will do with them. Oh, and he’s on the path to choosing a loveless existence… but he’s about to experience a sharp course-correction on that count.
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Such an interesting premise! I fell in love with the cast of characters, it's rare that I ever want to play all the routes but you've done it in this short demo! The prologue compatibility test was an interesting mechanic, and it's refreshing to see a time travel game that goes into more than the bare minimum of time theory! Hope to see more of this in the future!
Just finished one playthrough of the demo. I'm pretty excited about this game and will definitely follow its progress.
My favorite LI so far is probably Donovan, followed closely by Helen. I decided to just flirt hardcore with every love interest, out of pure curiosity, since every game is a bit different in how one lands on a route. (Btw, I like how pre-route affection appears as compatibility calculations during the device test run scene.) Donovan's brash exterior did melt pretty quickly once Emma pointed out his poor behavior, and we surprisingly find out a lot about him just in that first interaction, what with the Q&A. I'm honestly surprised he would reveal that much, but it has also succeeded in making me curious about how a romantic route with him would go. Teach me the ways of the world, Donovan.......
I also liked Helen and the dialogue she has with Emma about being the sword. I'm assuming there will be another scene in the full version before the test run where Emma gets to make her choice... but I was internally screaming at her, "SAY YES!"
Aiden is cute and Hiro seems enigmatic, what with his talk about his dark side, and Dalen has potential as the sweet childhood friend. All in all, I think the love interests are interesting, and I'm looking forward to see where you take the story romantically, especially with all those delicious flirty options.
As for overall feedback... The premise is super interesting, and I can't wait to pick back up where the demo leaves off. I love the discussion between Aiden, Dalen, and Emma about how the forces-that-be will prevent certain paradoxes from occurring, as that is something I haven't seen in media that uses this plot. (Trying to be vague to avoid spoilers...) What I loved the most was how there were not only options to flirt/be friendly/be professional/be rude, but also options within those categories! I haven't seen that before, so it was really cool to be able to choose to flirt coyly or be upfront, or to be rude/blunt.
I love the background art so much - it's absolutely gorgeous! The sprite designs and CG are beautiful too. One question, though - why are there two apparent sprite styles? Aiden, Helen, and Hiro share the same style, and Dalen, Emma, and Donovan share a different style. The CG style is also really different from both. Most players prefer consistent styles at least between the CG and sprites, and with the sprites as well.
Also, assuming the final version will be edited more... Otherwise, this was a really fun jam game! Adding it to my to-track list.
Thank you so much for such detailed commentary and feedback! So wonderful to get your thoughts on all these elements of the game! As this was one of our first games we learned a TON doing this demo, and are working on lots of fixes (some related to the issues you mention above). One of the biggest is the inconsistency with the sprites. That was a result of our short timeline and working with multiple artists, but with the luxury of more time we're now working on a single set of sprites (and many more expressions) produced by a single artist. The MC herself is already done and she looks sooo amazing now..We are also considering some changes to the MC's backstory that will give the player more context and input into her story (and hopefully maintain the right balance of snarkiness and likeability). Also glad to hear you liked the "paradox" plot discussion - it felt pretty geeky and we weren't sure if others would appreciate that geekiness or not. If you enjoyed the discussion with Helen, I'm curious if you found a hidden scene with her (not sure anyone did, maybe we hid it too well). Don't want to put any spoilers here, so pls DM on twitter if you wish to discuss that :) Again, thanks for all the detailed feedback. Glad to hear there's interest in the plans post-demo.
Wow, MC looks so gorgeous!! I figured it was the case of multiple artists but thank you for responding!
I'm definitely looking forward to more MC backstory since it appears that she is struggling against the common conflict of that time for ladies who do not wish to be married, but her specific circumstances haven't been revealed. I'm curious how you wrote around the issue of her being a marriageable single lady who's out and about sans escort. (Or is that only something for women of a higher social standing?)
Feel free to geek out! I personally loved that scene and discussion, though I'm sure there will be others who might find it too lengthy or do not have the interest to follow along.
I am pretty sure I did not find the hidden scene with Helen, so I'll have to go back and hunt that down!
Ah yes... sans escort is something that's a bit tricky. We take a bit too many liberties at the moment (and will continue to do so in the name of good fun) but that's one of the things we at least have a semi-plausible explanation for. It's also a time when the streets of London aren't exactly safe either. BTW, there's also a hidden route as well, and a couple of people have found that one, so we will probably leave it as is. :)
hiro is sus
No comment, hehe. Curious though, did you make it through the whole demo? There's so much waiting to be revealed in each route... I hope you are prepared.
I didn't know what to say to him!! D: lmao I like aiden and am curious about Donovan.btw why on earth does mc think it's a good idea to walk through the poor district in the victorian era O_O
Ooo, glad you like Aiden, and yes, Donovan is interesting once you get past the rough exterior. Can't speak to the habits of the MC... I suppose she's not about to be told what she can or can't do.
How interesting. I enjoyed the demo
this looks really interesting
i alrdy how my eyes on one guy , how much/long is the word count for the demo if i may ask? like how long does it go story wise? are there routes?