Visual Novel: Air Pressure
is a short, and decidedly unromantic, visual novel.
It focuses on the unnamed protagonist who tires of his relationship with Leigh, a girl he's been with since high school. He feels stuck and oppressed, and wonders how to bring this subject up with Leigh on his birthday.
It's short and melancholy, and will
take more than two playthroughs to "get" it. (Don't worry—it's short enough, takes around five to ten minutes to play.)
The flash version is here.
You can download it for Windows, Mac, or Linux here.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: On a meta sense, Leigh stands for something (see below). Depending on the path you take, Leigh is either a selfish, controlling jerkass, a girl that genuinely wants you to be happy, or a girl stifled by the romance.
- Animesque: The art style is meant to look Japanese.
- Deconstruction Game: The game initially appears to be a Romance Game Visual Novel where the main goal is to repair the protagonist's relationship with his girlfriend, but doing the "nice" actions that would normally get you a happy ending leads to a far more disturbing outcome instead.
- Destructive Romance: The protagonist's relationship with Leigh can come across like this on certain paths, with her verbally abusing him and convincing him that he would be worthless without her.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: On the second day, the protagonist will either get a headache, the shakes, the feeling of depression, or all three, which sounds suspiciously like drug withdrawal.
- Downer Ending: The "happy" ending, depending on your view of the game. He just narrowly avoided death, but he's going back to Leigh, anyway.
- Gainax Ending: The "good" ending winds up with the player in the hospital, apparently getting away with injury, and looking forward to being released and getting home to Leigh. This really hammers in the metaphor of addiction.
- Inner Monologue: Most of the game, though if you decide to walk around without Leigh for a while, the protagonist will go people watching for a while. His monologue will either decide that he feels bad without Leigh, or feels better without her.
- Interface Screw: the second day, you'll see Leigh flickering. Depending on what you said to here the day before, the protagonist notes this and asl if he's seeing things, or ignores it, as if it was normal.
- Jerkass: Depending on the player choices, Leigh will either be an asshole to you, or you can be callous to her. And depending on the choices afterwards, Leigh will quickly show remorse, and/or the protagonist will also feel bad and apologize. Whether or not you continue this leads to several endings.
- Mind Screw: Deliberate.
- Minimalist Cast: Aside from the protagonist going people watching and nebulous references to other people in some dialog situations, it's just the protagonist and Leigh.
- Multiple Endings: You either stay with her and end up in the hospital, deciding that you cannot go on without her and that she's necessary to be happy, or stay with her, knowing that you won't be happy, but not sad, too scared to live or be with her, but comfortable with each other, or you kick her out of the house.
- Even these have permutations— Leigh can be angry at you when you kick her out, with the protagonist disliking her, or quietly agree, with the protagonist saying that he was glad he met Leigh, though. Leigh can finally get a confession from the player that he's unhappy with the way things going, and when he tells her to leave, she refuses politely, saying that he's sad and that he needs her help, and that they can make it work, or she refuses adamantly, taunting the protagonist (but eventually apologizing), both leading to the "neutral" ending. Or, the day passes quietly, with the protagonist not having the guts to kick her out.
- Mystical White Hair: Leigh, possibly the personification of addiction.
- Out with a Bang: Subverted, if you see Leigh as a metaphor for drug addiction/self harm. On the second day, the protagonist can choose to 'get close' to her (or is forced to if the player spent the whole game trying to get closer to Leigh), and they are implied to have sex that night, which could mean taking more drugs or cutting. The next day, he wakes up in the hospital, narrowly surviving death.
- Shrug of God: The author's admitted it's up to the viewer to decide what the game's metaphor and what Leigh represents, but has said Leigh's not meant to be drug addiction or heroin, but something similar.
- Tsundere: Type two, depending on the paths you take. Towards the end, if you've spent the game pushing Leigh away, Leigh will get rather nasty, bringing up the fact that . If you get angry at her, she calms down and is regretful at yelling at you, but pushing her away further and keeping your resolve gets her a bit more angry. Some paths, even if you push her away, she isn't angry at all, and even seems remorseful or sad if you leave her or tell her what's up, and at times, seems genuinely caring.
- Utsuge: Not "in your face", but once the Fridge Brilliance sets in...