What brings people together? Is it society? Public transportation?
Is it life itself? Or is it... a smile?
Over 1 million take the metro daily; a smile brought 8 of them together.
You all have a collar, numbers 1-8. It is your salvation, and your demise.
Now who will make the sacrifice?
Head AS Code is a visual novel, originally released in 2018 (and then remastered in 2021) by a Canadian creator known as Miracle Moon. This is the first game in the 'Abime Series', with a sequel released in 2020 and the final game in the trilogy slated for release in late 2022. It is almost entirely a one-person operation (excluding the art and music), and it takes heavy inspiration from the Zero Escape trilogy. Does it manage to stand on its own despite its very obvious inspirations? Well... A+ for passion if nothing else
The game follows eight people who have found themselves trapped in a metro network by a masked man who calls himself Smiley. He forces them to participate in what he calls the 'Dating Game'- a death game where they must take metro trains to different stations in the network and solve various trials while looking for their ticket to freedom- the missing ninth person.
I played the original around the time of its release and, in the interest of transparency, I was given a copy of the remastered version for free because I was an early supporter/buyer. The remaster completely changed the art (character AND backgrounds) as well as adjusted some of the writing to make its connections to the sequel more consistent. I'm LPing this because I legitimately find this game (and its sequel) fascinating from a story perspective and I think other people who like the infinity/Zero Escape franchises would be interested in seeing what a knockoff/budget Zero Escape could do. To be clear, this is by no means a perfect game or anything, the actual writing at points is, uh.... not perfect. ...but I do legitimately think it's got a lot of heart, and the creator absolutely took to heart the criticisms when they released the sequel.. The start is pretty straightforward, but like the Zero Escape games there are branching paths on a flowchart, and the thread voted on which path to take whenever we reached said branches. One thing to note is that while the original game had a handful of puzzles to solve, the remaster replaced most of them with an exploration system closer to a point and click game, so at several points I've included the original puzzle at the end of the update to show what was removed.