is it a romance?
A downloadable visual novel for Windows and macOS
Tristram Rose appears to be a simple tailor, living and working in Inverness in Scotland in the mid-18th century, but then, he’s an expert in keeping up appearances. In actuality, Tris is immortal, and has lived centuries moving from town to town in order to leave any suspicions behind him. He also has a remarkable ability: a healing touch which he similarly refrains from using, lest he be labelled a witch.
But when love comes knocking, it’s hard to keep cautious. After revealing his powers to save the life of his partner Alasdair, Tris finds himself at risk of exposure – both as someone with supernatural gifts, and as a man who loves other men.
By noose or by carriage, Tris is leaving Inverness.
If he flees, Tris will lose everything and be left destitute on the streets, but if he stays to earn enough to start a new life, he risks the gallows. Fortunately, at that moment a woman in dubious clothes with an equally dubious background approaches him requesting an expensive commission.
Three paths lead forward. Should Tris try to mend his fractured relationship with Alasdair, seek help from his enigmatic client, or dive headlong into work to fund his escape?
Help him find his way through his last Inverness nights.
- Over 65,000 words of queer, supernatural-historical fiction
- Three distinct story pathways: prioritise your work, your relationship with Alasdair, or befriending your mysterious client
- At least two endings to each path: will you run from your problems, get someone killed, or make amends?
- Approximately 90 minutes per playthrough; playing all three paths is recommended, for at least 4 hours of gameplay
- More than 20 lush illustrations showcasing the finest in 18th century fashion
- Pastel colour scheme and authentic baroque soundtrack to soothe the dual stresses of sewing and exes
- Content Warning: contains gore, sexual references, emotional/physical abuse, alcoholism, depictions of racism and homophobia, body horror, discussion of gender dysphoria, suicidality, implied suicide, description of dead bodies, institutional abuse/police brutality, and profanity. Recommended for ages 16+
- Note: a large part of this game is about the institutional abuse of LGBTQI+ people, how that abuse is amplified for LGBTQI+ people of colour, and the way it filters down into interpersonal abuse and fractured communities. While the final/'true' ending of the game is hopeful there are many difficult and confronting scenes throughout the story, as well as a number of bad endings. Please consider the above warnings carefully before playing.
Director/Writer/Background Art - @kitsubasa
Sprites/CGs - @leedalangin
Additional CGs - @EmptyFeet
Additional CGs - @spoiledchestnut
UI - @MysteryCorgi
Cover Image - @PentagonBuddy
In order to download this visual novel you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $12 USD. You will get access to the following files:
- 3rd Anniversary RetrospectiveJun 30, 2020
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
it's mostly a break-up game! instead of starting a new relationship, you're trying to figure out how to end an old one that isn't working anymore.
I'm horrid at reviews but I loved Inverness Nights too much not to review it! Started it during a night of insomnia when I couldn't get myself to pay attention to anything and the writing hooked me straight away; I have a lot of love for the little, hard-hitting lines like, "Alas silenced every possible meeting this dress could've had."
I ended up doing several runs back-to-back and was really surprised at the amount of content I completely missed my first playthrough (my personality is relatively closer to Tris compared to the other characters so I ended up playing him as an unmitigated prideful loner the first time around lol). Having him listen to Shell's advice more in other runs seemed to allow him and those around him to show a bit more vulnerability, which was incredibly heartwarming, and the end of that one scene where Alas and Shell both leave Tris and he expresses how tired he is of being scared (of being "caught") was really emotional for me.
Big, big thank you to the talented dev team for this gem!
Edit: just realized you're involved with Catacomb Prince, another fave. You're too powerful.
sorry I didn't respond to this sooner! lots happening lately, oops.
I'm glad you enjoyed is so much, and that you got a lot of out multiple runs! it's not obvious unless you're trying to fill the gallery, but the 'true' ending actually has two completely different versions from the point that Astor arrives at the shop, depending whether you've been mean to Alas or not -- so there might even be a little more variation you haven't seen. When I was writing I tried to make sure there was some satisfying nuance to how the relationship dynamics work and what the different gestures mean long-term, and that (aside from doing all the background art when I'm didn't have any art training) took the bulk of dev time to implement, so it's nice knowing those details are noticeable.
(yes! I wrote and lead on both; CataPri is a comedy because I spent three years on IN and really wanted to write some jokes after how serious it was, ahaha)
I forgot to comment when I played it for the first time, but it's almost a month later and I'm still thinking about it! I really really loved this game. I love historical dramas and media in general, and your research for this game really shows in a way that is extremely satisfying. This is the game I have unknowingly wanted to play for a long time, and I want to sincerely thank you for satisfying a need I did not know I have for queer visual novels set during the 18th or 19th centuries.
I deeply and unaccountably loved Alas, and I admit I'm guilty of wanting Tris and Alas to "make nice" as you spoke about in your retrospective. I think it's because I identified more with Alas than with Tris, felt his pain more strongly, and wanted Tris to learn how to treat him more respectfully and lovingly... which is definitely how my first (and many of my subsequent) playthrough(s) played out, so I was definitely satisfied with that. ...I don't know what that says about me, haha, but thank you again for writing that option even in what is ultimately meant to be a story about a breakup. There's so much else about the game and the story that I loved, but I don't have enough space to talk about it all.
Also in your retrospective you wrote about queer pain and the need for stories about it that are not voyeuriste. I have a lot of thoughts about that also... I know a lot of people enjoy pure fantasy escapism, playing through a setting where homophobia doesn't exist, but I've never been able to get much out of that sort of story (though I'm glad it exists). I'd rather have something that feels honest to my experience— where things may be painful, and that when the characters find love and happiness it feels... not earned exactly, but honest. Like it could really exist, where queer love and happiness is not an escapist fantasy but something that is real and something that can exist alongside grief and danger and complication and everything else. Anyway that's sort of what I got from this story. :)
thank you so much for the beautiful comment!
Alas was always meant to be the more relatable character of the two, for sure. Even though he's being awful and reckless at the start of the game, he's much more capable of self-reflection and growth than Tris is, and his change of heart in both versions of the true end are meant to be an indicator that with a bit of a hand he's got this capacity to learn and adapt that Tris doesn't. The reason I think them making nice isn't an ideal solution is that, while they could have a /better/ relationship than what they've got, that doesn't make it their /best/ option overall -- that end was meant to satisfy the urge to see it happen, while also showing it's an imperfect solution. Alas is used to denying himself the life he wants because he's afraid of being alone, and him being given a push to go on some adventures and find a community he can really belong in should be healthier long-term. So the true end is basically meant to be a (slightly grouchier, romantic) version of this.
I'm glad that's what you got! I think that, generally, there are times where you want to pretend there isn't a fight happening, and there are times you want reassurance it's a fight you'll win. IN is intended for folks who need the latter.
Also re: a need for queer history VNs, my next big project is early 20th c, which is a bit outside the period you mentioned but maybe still of interest! It's another fight-you'll-win story, about a man with a hard-won sense of self-worth trying to find love and stability in a world that keeps trying to dehumanise him... sometimes literally. Title TBA, but we'll hopefully have some details public soon :V
I've got thoughts to share but it's too late (5am) to share them and I'll probably edit this later but for now: went from "meh" on my first run through to one of my favorite VNs I've picked up. Fanart is on the way, for sure
one of the big weird things about this game, in retrospect, has been how much I relied on the true end to really tie it together -- I've had a couple of people say to me that they quit before then and it's like, I can't begrudge them because the early stages can be pretty frustrating but I did try to make the payoff for those worth it... ah well, it is what it is!
I appreciate that you stuck it out and I'm glad that you enjoyed it in the end.
I deeply enjoyed the writing in this game <3 The character's range of expressions were all too relatable, and the depth of research and world-building background knowledge that it rested on was a pleasant surprise. To be fair, I already love all manner of queer history and magical realism (or fabulism, if you prefer) so I may be any easy sell, but even so, I could feel that this was a labour of love. I only regret that I hadn't heard about it before the Bundle for Racial Justice! I'm now excited to check out Catacomb Prince once I get the chance.
P.S. To the writer: if you happen too come across this review, as an illustrator/indie comic creator who loves queer historical fantasy, I would love to create art for one of your visual novel projects someday- Sincerely, Nicholai aka. yozhikisblue
Thank you!! The game took about three years of dev time and a good chunk of that was just me reading up on pointless, cool facts about 18th century language and living, then dumping a lot of them into Astor's scenes and dialogue, since they're meant to be the kind of awful person who'd know every single trendy insult for a Scotsman. Of every fact I picked up my favourite is still that prior to the invention of matches (which was way later than I assumed?) the fastest way of lighting a fire was to shove some tinder in a detached pistol mechanism and hope the gunpowder did the trick -- I rewrote a whole chunk of the end sequence to fit that in because of how excited I was about it. There are a lot of choices like that that make it a messy game in retrospect but hopefully the passion of them makes the messiness excusable, ahaha.
Hope you enjoy Catacomb Prince, too! It's not as thoroughly-researched because it's an otherworld setting, but it's got some odds and ends, mostly re: Renaissance art. The trade-off is that it has a boxing match with the fantasy Pope. Who can say which is better...?
(I've added your details to my artist list, and I'll let you know if there's anything relevant! I clicked through your profiles and I love the attention to detail on the clothes/backgrounds/etc -- cool stuff!)
hi! i got this game in the biiig bundle and i'm interested in playing it, however i see that gore and body horror are included in the warnings- would you mind elaborating on that? is it visual or just written, and if it's visual what exactly is shown?
hey! thanks for asking -- the spoiler-free version is that it's mostly text, but there's one ending with an illustration of someone's face covered in blood (no visible wound)
as for what's in the text (spoilers; use rot13 to decode)
BODY HORROR: gurer vf n tubfg punenpgre jub'f noyr gb cbffrff qrnq obqvrf, naq fbzr qrfpevcgvbaf bs jung vg srryf yvxr gb bpphcl gurz.
GORE: crbcyr ner fgnoorq ba frireny bppnfvbaf, naq fbzrbar unf npvq guebja va gurve snpr.
okay less up-my-own-ass comment this time: would it be fine if I did a let's play of this? I'd only show off a route or two so that people wouldn't fully be able to experience the vn without buying it, but I'd like to show it off to others
hey! sorry I didn't reply previously, I had a lot of stuff happening last month.
Thank you for the compliments on the writing, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! Re: the music choices and the lack of an obvious flag for the true end; I agree that accessing the endgame isn't super obvious and some of the tracks aren't terribly fitting, but unless something major happens I'm likely to leave it as-is. Because I released it three years ago, there's a lot of stuff I'd change now if I were to start working on an update, and I think that getting too deep into that sort of thing would be self-defeating -- for one, I think it's more worthwhile to apply what I've learnt from past projects to new projects than revising the same thing for years after the fact, and also, if I mess too much with it it's not the same game anymore. If it outright breaks and there's something technically wrong I'll fix that ASAP, but for creative fumbles, I think I have to be content with what it is or I'll be here forever.
I'm totally happy for you to do a Let's Play, and I'd be keen to see it if you're comfortable putting the link here! :) Thanks again for your comments and I appreciate you wanting to show this to others. It's very kind, and it's heartwarming to know people are still finding this now so long after release.
Lately, actually spending money on games has been very rare for me, but the writing in this one made me buy the game after finishing the demo just to experience more of it. Even the tailor shop talk being all Greek to me didn't detract too much from the experience. Overall, I don't regret buying it and would recommend it.
However, I felt that the music choice for scenes involving Aquila's reappearance was unfitting. I suppose the theme is meant to be a leitmotif for them, and works fine as one; but when paired with suspenseful scenes of Sinbad encountering his past tormentor and locking up with fear, it's more silly than scary. Also, I discovered the "the part of the hero to be played by the shadow" option completely by accident, as I'd been searching for new endings by loading prior saves; some kind of indicator for its existence would probably help other players with this issue.