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NEWS/UPDATES:

LOVESICK DARLINGS 1.5 DEMO IS OUT NOW!!!

UPDATE NOTES:
- Complete overhaul of Albie's story.
Now features his struggles at his religious private school and choosing between making Maisy or his parents happy. He has a frail constitution due to a life-saving surgery when he was a baby, but is no longer chronically ill in the way he was before.

- EXPANSION of Maisy's backstory! Maisy has now only arrived at Foster Hills High the year before Syd got there, after she was expelled from her previous school because of a certain "incident" involving her and another student. This is the same religious school that Albie is still going to currently!

- RESHUFFLING OF EVENTS: The shopping trip with Maisy has been completely rewritten and takes place on on the Sunday of Week 6! And now features Albie! And gift-buying! It's good fun! I hope you enjoy this streamlined version of advetures with Maisy and Albie.

- ADDITIONAL FREE TIME DAY NOW AVAILABLE IN THE DEMO! Because of the above reshuffling, this means Monday Afternoon on Week 7 has opened up - giving players additional Free Time options in the demo! And a dilemma between Maisy and Steph that day! Who will Syd choose to impress? His crush or his best friend? It's up to you!

- ✨ BRAND NEW ✨ Title Screen! And more!

Read more about all the changes in the July Kickstarter update!

Please give us a review once you're done, and share any and all feedback and any bugs you find with me!

ALSO, WE HAVE A STEAM PAGE! HECK YEAH!  Wishlist LoveSick Darlings now! (this really helps!)

In case you missed it, we also have an opening video too! (Wow!):


Hello! Welcome to the official itch page for LoveSick Darlings! For other less-pressing news and updates regarding this game, scroll to the bottom of this page and check out the developer logs and blog posts I have done. If you're checking out the game for the first time though, read on! But for the most recent news, be sure to check out the game's Kickstarter update page where I post monthly!


What is LoveSick Darlings?

LoveSick Darlings is a visual novel focused on creating and testing the limits of teenage relationships. It explores friendship, high school life, love, and everything in between. The game plays with tropes and expectations found in romance visual novels and dating sims by undercutting this often-romanticized period of everyone's lives with a realistic edge.

Syd, our protagonist, moved into town at the start of this year. He’s become best friends with a girl called Maisy who lives on the same street with him – and by extension, her friends too. Over time he has become a natural part of a diverse group of friends. The school year is growing closer to its end, and Syd’s friends are pressuring him into asking his crush out to the formal at the end of the year. Will he be able to do it? How will his friendships hold up around him as he makes these big decisions towards the end of this high school year? And what if someone in his own group of friends sees him as more than... "just a friend"? How will your relationships hold out once the truth of people's feelings are out? It's up to you to deal with these situations as Syd to decide the fate of him and all of his friends.

And that is where our story begins.


What do you do in the game?

Get immersed in the setting of Foster Hills High as you spend Syd's days hanging out with his friends at school and choose what you do and who you spend time with! Watch as everyone's daily lives and struggles play out and decide how Syd and his friends react to what is going around him. Gameplay include "Free Time" events (inspired by the Persona and Danganronpa franchises), and a branching story with dozens of paths and outcomes that flow seamlessly between each other. There are no set "routes" you are locked in or out of. Every choice you make and everything you say as Syd matters. Explore the bonds Syd has with his friends via their daily interactions, then put your social skills and decision making to the test in in-game events known as "Social Events" where you spend time with the cast as a group for some of their biggest life-changing moments.

Build relationships with the main three heroines by spending "Free Time" with who you like best! But watch out, as how and who you spend your time with can have all kinds of consequences...
But most of all, have fun and enjoy building bonds with the characters in a natural and free way.


How do I play?

After a lot of hard work by myself and several others I paid, I have readied a "demo" or "preview" version of the game for the public to enjoy! One run is about 6 hours long depending on reading speed. To see all the possibilities and explore every choice is at least an extra three hours. So, there's a lot of content to start with!

I would say more about the content of the game, but I feel like the less you know, the better your experience will be. I recommend just diving in and playing it now! The rest of this page is mostly just supplementary information for those interested in the background of this project.

Click the download button above or at the bottom of the page to play now!

DISCLAIMERS:
- There are occasionally place-holder background images, and not every side character (like character's parents) have sprites, due to their minor roles in the story (and simply that I don't have the funds to commission sprites for everyone). I apologize for this and hope you enjoy the game despite this.

- The game intended for mature audiences. There are no "adult" (18+) scenes in the game, but the game does feature: sexual references, adult themes, and coarse language. All things which you'd typically find in any High School friend-group.

- Supported systems: Windows, Mac, Linux.

- If you encounter any bugs or issues at all, let me know ASAP. Contact me over Twitter (@LoveSickDarling) or via itch.io so I can fix them quickly :)

Trigger warnings (light spoilers for the in-game story):
- A main character is shown to be in an emotionally manipulative/abusive relationship with someone else. There is no physical violence or assault whatsoever.

- A different main character is shown to have an abusive parent with hoarding tendencies. There is no physical violence.

- Mentions and themes of degrading self-worth and mental health.

- First-person depiction of an anxiety attack.

- Allusions to self-harm.

How much does this cost?

This demo is absolutely 100% free. No cost or payment needed. Play it. Give it a whirl, have fun, and give me feedback if you'd like!

If you are so generous as to support this game and its future, donations are welcome. But there is no obligation. 100% of all funds I receive will go to funding this project's future. I cannot thank you enough if you do decide to financially support this project in any way.


Why is this just a "demo/preview version"?

LoveSick Darlings is the first game I have ever made on my own. I've been writing since I can remember, but game development has been a huge learning process. Frankly, I released this demo because I want to get what I have so far of the game out there in people's hands. I'm a creative at heart and just want people to enjoy my content. Let me know what you think of the game, I'd love to hear feedback! (Message me on here, or @LoveSickDarling on Twitter.)

This demo represents just over one third of the content in one complete "run" of the game. However, once multiple endings and paths are factored in - this demo is more like an sixth of the planned total content that will be found in the full game across multiple play-throughs.


Character Profiles





What makes LoveSick Darlings different?

This game is based off the single premise of my frustrations with how romance is often handled in dating sims, RPGs, and games as a whole. The question I’ve always had in dating sims and games with “romance” options and similar character-based interactive experiences is why none of the other potential romance partners or wider cast ever acknowledge or comment on the player’s relationships at all (looking at you Persona). I may just be playing the wrong games, but the only two games to meaningfully have another character reference my player character’s romantic partner were The Witcher 3 and Dragon Age Origins.  Both are great games, but neither are dating sims or even visual novels for that matter.

Which is why I thought "what if a visual novel did acknowledge those kinds of things?" Like, maybe if you start being too nice to one character - the other gets jealous. Or someone else gets more and more desperate for your attention if you spend too much time with other characters. Or maybe they see you spending time with someone else and even think you make a great couple - so they back off and decline your offers to hang out, hoping you spend time with someone else. instead. From these questions, LoveSick Darlings was born.

The biggest interactive element in LoveSick Darlings is what each of the heroines think of your relationships with the other characters.  This is also what I am most proud of in the game, and I hope you feel like your experience was tailored to the choices and decisions you made in-game.

With this story, I am trying to emulate the universal high school experience as best as I can. The forming of romantic relationships within friend groups around the middle of high school and the ensuing gossip or meddling is a common high school experience. It's an utterly unique "group dynamic" that can only happen in this setting, and it's what I'm trying my best to realistically recreate in game format.

This game has a very targeted focus on realistic character relationships and growth in a way that I hope is reminscent of games like Tokimeki Memorial. But to go just one step further and have your relationship and reputation status with each character be recognized by all of the cast - and to which they react accordingly. This is the defining principle that defines LoveSick Darlings as a high school romance VNs. So rarely does a game story recognize how powerful a "group dynamic" can be in swaying and defining relationships, and I want LoveSick Darlings to explore that.


Who made this?

I, Dimitri, may be the writer and project lead but this game was made possible with the art and music work I commissioned from distinguished artists like Ippers and PhiPhi  - and original music from Tim Reichert. The list of people who contributed goes on, too. Check them out below. But about me? I am a Masters of Screenwriting graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts in a far-off magical made-up land called Australia. I usually do work in writing articles, film scripts, and trying to get my TV pilots off the ground. LoveSick Darlings is my major creative project at the moment, and has most of my attention dedicated towards it. It is also my first game project or visual novel I have ever published.


What is the future of LoveSick Darlings?

So, now that you've seen all this about the game, you might be wondering:
"If this is a demo, where is the full game?"

On January 3rd 2020, LoveSick Darlings concluded it's Kickstarter campaigned and raised $8300 AUD! Wow! Check out the Kickstarter page here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lovesickdarlings/lovesick-darlings-a-visual-novel-with-consequences/posts/2726215

The full game is looking at a late 2021 release date! I hope you look forward to it!


Conclusion

This is probably a page with too much detail at this stage, but I felt like I owed it to everyone who gave their time to play and give my game a go to explain as much as I could about the project's past, present, and future. I hope you all stay for the ride and see where this project takes us. Follow the official @LoveSickDarling account on Twitter for all updates and news regarding the project, follow the project here on itch.io, and check out the Steam page! Any and all support is highly appreciated!

Thank you so much for your time and for checking out my game! It really means the world to me :)


Want more?

After the credits section below, check out the "devlogs" below to keep up with the latest developments regarding the game! The more recent "devlogs" are more like blog posts as I rant about all kinds of random details about the development of LoveSick Darlings you could ever want to know!


Credits:

These are the people and organizations I have to thank for helping me bring this demo to life.

Original Character Designer & Sprite Artist:
Ippers (@t_ippers)

CG Artist:
Phiphi Au Thon

Sprite Colouring:
Edhelsen

Title/Icon Design, and artist of "The Girl and the Beast":
Madeleine Cooke

GUI, Menu, and Interface Design:
M. (M_is_Scared)

Chibi Character Artist:
Santa (@SantanaelChan)

Original Main Theme Composer & Additional Music:
Tim Reichert (@FulminisIctus)

Photography:
Nicholas Zeylemaker

Background Locations provided by:
Dickson College & Canberra Technology Park

Additional Background Photos:
Unsplash

And many more! Full credits in-game!

Updated 4 days ago
StatusIn development
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
Release date May 04, 2019
Rating
(75)
AuthorDimitri
GenreVisual Novel, Interactive Fiction
Made withRen'Py
Tags2D, Anime, Dating Sim, Multiple Endings, player-choice, Romance, Singleplayer, Story Rich
Average sessionAbout an hour
LanguagesEnglish
InputsKeyboard, Mouse
LinksSteam, Twitter, Facebook

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lovesickdarlings-1.5-mac.zip 462 MB
Version 1
lovesickdarlings-1.5-windows-linux.zip 497 MB
Version 1

Development log

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