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Video Game / Libretta

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No one read my story.
No one cared for it.
And that is where it ended.

Libretta is a freeware exploration game created by vgperson, the translator of games such as The Witch's House, Mogeko Castle, and Blank Dream. A girl named Libra explores the library, reading multiple books, when one strange book suddenly whisks her into another world, and she must search for a way to get out.

Can be downloaded here.

Libretta contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Libra, Mik, Kamille... and Kelly and Kim. Played With for Kamille and Libra those are not their real names. Justified with Mik in that he is a mirror image of Kim.
  • All in the Manual: Some facts about the game, such as the fact that Kay technically wrote all of the books in the other library, and the confirmation that Kay was murdered, are included in this detailed post written by vgperson.
  • All Just a Dream: Invoked in the Happy End; Kay maintains that nothing that Lauren experienced truly happened, which allows Lauren to accept Kay's resurrection and to revoke all of the events of the game.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Of the two female characters we see flashbacks of occasionally, one of them is stated to be going on a date with another girl, and another is stressed about talking to her parents regarding some aspect of her identity. Lauren is seen talking about going on a date with someone named Suzy, while her sister, Kay, is confirmed to be transgender at the end of the Happy End.
  • Art Initiates Life: Reading some of the books within the other world produces effects in it.
  • Awful Truth: Kay is implied to actually have been forced to go to a conversion camp by her parents, causing her to run away from home, and to have either been murdered for being transgender, or to have committed suicide. This is only implied in the Bad End; in the Happy End, it's merely stated in passing that Kay lost her life somehow.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The game is initially set up like a psychological horror RPG in the vein of The Witch's House and Ib, but it's actually a melodramatic narrative about acceptance. There are some horror-like elements, but these only exist to enforce the "bait" and do little in the way of the story.
  • Big Bad: The game seems to have one who directly speaks to you in the room where you must play shirigories in order to get out of the shrinking room, and again to tell you that no one will ever accept Kay, but it's not known who this person is.
  • Blackout Basement: Some rooms require a flashlight to traverse them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens at the conclusion of both endings, where Lauren either muses about how your intervention allowed Kay the chance to live, or where someone (implied to be the librarian) states that you should go back and try again.
  • But Thou Must!/Cruelty Is the Only Option: At the beginning of the Journey stage, you encounter a girl who politely and shyly tells you that she can't allow you to pass the spot where she stands. By exploring another way, you find a book detailing her story. You must read it, and in doing so kill her, in order to pass to the next screen.
    • Actually, she can be saved, but you're unlikely to see that on your first go through the game. After the cutscene with Kamille, simply ignore the book and go back to see her. Her name is Chang'e.
  • Button Mashing: The S/word works by hitting random keys on the keyboard until you complete a circle around Libra, temporarily vanquishing your assailant.
  • Call-Back: It's stated toward the beginning of the game that Libra loves Shirigories. It reappears multiple times later on as her only means of progression.
  • Cat Scare: A few by Kelly.
  • Cessation of Existence: What Kamille is afraid of, and essentially what happens to each companion. Someone who looks an awful lot like Kelly can be seen in the library after the ending, though.
  • Chainsaw Good: The primary threat of the third area besides falling to your death is rotating sawblades that populate numerous paths.
  • Creepy Doll/Red Herring: That pink bunny doll that can be spotted in several scenes within the game. Though at one point it can be seen frowning when you have to solve a certain puzzle, it never actually comes to life or attacks Libra.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Libra reaches it if you choose not to believe Kay at the end of the game.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's implied that Lauren's sister Kay was this after it's discovered by her parents that she is transgender.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Invoked subversion. One puzzle involves transferring water into three cups of different sizes. You can only either fill a cup, empty a cup, or transfer any water in the cup to another cup until the target fills or if you run out of water, whichever comes first. The goal is to fill the cups to the dotted line without going over. The puzzle is impossible. You have to dissolve salt in a bucket of water to create a solution.
  • Eldritch Location: The other library, which at one point even ceases to exist outside of a certain room.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: A book foretells that this will occur at a randomly-generated date in the near future.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Implied to be what happened to Kay, though by whom is not stated.
  • Foreshadowing: Early on in the game, a girl can be seen complaining to her sister that she is upset about the lack of a happy ending in the story they've read, stating that she wouldn't read if she didn't want a happy ending. This idea is brought up again in the middle of the game, and once more at the end, when we discover it's Libra who has been rewriting stories which she didn't enjoy the ending of, and it's this determination to give everything a happy ending that enabled her to rewrite the story of her sister's life and bring her back home.
    • All of the characters Libra encounters share a similar theme: wanting to be accepted for who they are and searching for a place or a person where they can be comfortable being themselves. These are all aspects of the personality of Kay, who ran away from home to find a place where she could be herself.
  • Happy Rain: You generate this after solving a certain puzzle.
  • Identity Amnesia: Libra has this to a degree; it's the main reason why she never protests being called by the wrong name.
  • Interface Spoiler: When with Kamille, a room containing a mirror will not reflect her, but a completely different girl entirely. This girl is Kay, Libra's sister, whom Kamille represents.
  • Lethal Chef: Kelly.
  • Logic Bomb: Mik does this to the MIME, a device solely designed to mimick everything it hears, unless it cannot, in which case it deactivates. He accomplishes this by playing Shirigories with it, a game where you lose if you repeat words. The MIME repeats Mik's first word, realizes it can't do so, and deactivates.
  • Mirror Scare: Multiple, in the Hall of Mirrors.
  • Mirror Monster: The primary threat of the second area is sentient, faceless reflections of Libra that came out of the area's numerous mirrors, as well as a reflective floor. After their first appearance, you soon acquire the S/word, a sword for self-defense that temporarily vanquishes apparitions when they attack.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The Journey level is based around these. Many of the puzzles are based around puns; it helps that your inventory only gives text names and descriptions. A "Glasses" can be a pair of prescription lenses one minute and three drinking glasses the next.
  • My Name Is ???: During the flashbacks, the names of the characters speaking are replaced with underscores.
  • Mystical White Hair: Libra has it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The game evokes it in earlier segments, featuring large, empty hallways and dark rooms in an Eldritch Location with a very limited cast, leading the player to expect Jump Scares and Everything Trying to Kill You. You'll find out that this isn't the case if you spend a little time in the game; the only things that will kill you are the handful of real, visible threats, and the only scares come from the cast themselves, who are all fairly benign anyways.
  • The Promise: Libra finds one toward the middle of the game it even ends up in her inventory! This is a promise she made to Kay to stand by her. She also has another one, from Kay to her, promising to return home once she finds the place where she can belong.
  • Reality Warper: You, the player, as Lauren states directly that she believes you to be the reason Kay was brought back to life.
  • Rewriting Reality: Libra acting under your guidance does this a few times with the pencil, though with small details added to books that allow her to progress.
  • The Runaway: Kay after her parents find out that she is transgender.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Seems to be the case for Lauren and Kay the former seems to be very demure and quiet, while the latter seems to be more outgoing.
  • Silent Protagonist: Libra for the most part she does speak, but we don't usually see what she says. Subverted in the happy ending, where she talks directly to Kay and to you.
  • Shoutout:
    • "A Funny Story" can be read in the library. Libra doesn't find it very funny.
    • As well as a book titled "Destiny of Flame".
    • Two girls physically resembling Ib and Mary from Ib (a similar game that was translated by vgperson) can be seen in the normal library, implicitly arguing about the logistics and ending of the game... though the "game" appears to be a book in this universe.
  • Shrinking Violet: You encounter one blocking the path to proceed in the Journey stage. You have to kill her by reading her story in order to proceed. She can be saved, but you're unlikely to see that on your first go through the game. (After the cutscene with Kamille, simply ignore the book and go back to see her. Her name is Chang'e.)
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Some puzzles are pretty abstract.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: In-universe, there's a story of a boy who wants to love a demon girl, who he finds out enjoys tormenting him by rejecting his love. At the end, he decides to torment her by living. He proceeds to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. So hard, in fact, that it kills Libra too.
  • Timed Mission: When Libra has to play shirigories again with... someone, and must find the word "exit" before the room grows too small and crushes her.
  • Tsundere: Kamille, though it's Justified as she is aware that she's not a real person and is resentful about it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: At the end of the game, you have flashbacks of all the characters you've encountered asking you if they can be accepted, with the final question coming from your sister who ran away for this very reason. If you choose to stay silent to all questions instead of saying yes, you are locked out of the good ending completely.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: How Kay is brought back to life after the events of the game.