Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / Date Warp

Go To
Linds and Alben

A Ren'Py-based Visual Novel released in English by Hanako Games in 2010. Take a sprinkling of Otome Game, a dash of Speculative Fiction, a lot of sneaky references to a certain movie - and serve over a bed of plot twists that make it hard to describe anything much about the story without giving too much away.

Our heroine is Janet, who is on her first date with a boy named Bradley. A storm leads them off their path, and their car breaks down. They find a mansion and ask to stay until the storm passes. The following morning, when they try to leave, they find a forcefield keeping them inside. You can find the game here.

This visual novel provides examples of:

  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Janet can sometimes dream about herself with pale skin and blue eyes. This foreshadows Nathaniel's bad end, where her soul gets stuck in Bianca's body.
  • Equivalent Exchange: In order for Bianca to gain a soul and come back to life, someone else's soul needs to be sacrificed in exchange. That someone is usually whichever girl gets trapped in the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: To get a good end, the Bianca experiment has to either fail or get called off. The only exception is the true end.
  • Fanservice:
    • Most of the guys appear shirtless at some point.
    • You wouldn't expect it from a novel with a female protagonist and male romanceable options, but there's a bathroom scene in which the player gets to see Janet in a bra. Linds ends up walking in on her; Janet can choose to either freak out or pretend to be cool about it.
  • Golden Ending: Bradley's true end. Janet and Bradley manage to get home, Bianca and Susan are saved and none of the other victims of the "Groundhog Day" Loop go missing.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: It's hinted at in Linds' bad end, and explained in the true ending, that the sequence of events inside the mansion keeps resetting and playing over again. The only difference is that each time it's a new girl coming in, just like Janet, or Susan before her.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Alben and Bianca, who couldn't be more different. They both have very pale skin, dark hair, and extremely similar features.
  • Insufferable Genius: Janet used to be one of these, and it came very close to screwing her over. In the backstory we learn at the start of the game, Janet's classmates previously bullied her because of her Genius. Because of that, Janet wouldn't join any extracurricular activities with the girls, which is understandable. The "Insufferable" part came into play because Janet ended up not joining any extracurricular activities with anyone, and she forgot that the college she was applying to strongly prefers girls with lots of social experience on their applications, so Janet almost didn't make it into college as a result.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Linds is perfectly fine with being called a creepy pervert, but call him little...
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In one of the endings, as soon as Janet finds out about Nathaniel and Bianca she decides to give up pursuing him and instead focuses on helping to cure her. In this particular ending, it only partially works: she wakes up in Bianca's body and Nathaniel is overjoyed at getting his lover back, but since it's Janet in Bianca's body and the real Bianca is gone... This leaves us hanging on the implied Morton's Fork: does she tell him the truth and crush his heart, or does she live out a lie and crush her own?
  • Kids Are Cruel: The characters have a long conversation about this. Numerous examples happen in-story, like the kids who bullied Janet and Alben as well as the kids who tried to rough up a sick and homeless Rafael.
  • Like Brother and Sister: The reason why Janet didn't date much in high school. Because their community was so tight-knit, she regarded most of the boys as bratty siblings.
  • Multiple Endings: 11 of them, to be precise. A Bad Ending for each of the five boys, a Good Ending for each of the five boys, and a True Ending for Bradley that you can only obtain if you got all the other endings first.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut:
    • Subverted. If Janet reveals what she read in Bianca's diary, Nathaniel will reveal that he and Bianca had already talked about it, and he doesn't care because he loves her.
    • Played straight in the original release in that if Janet spends the night with Linds, you not only get his bad ending but what is probably the worst ending in the game. Word of God is that the writer didn't intend for this to be seen as an indictment against having sex. It's just that sleeping with Linds makes Janet too distracted with romantic drama to focus on what's happening. This is altered in the silver/Steam release so that a choice afterwards can allow you to still get the good ending.
  • Parental Abandonment: A rare justified example! Rafael's parents abandoned him...but only so he could have better access to health care than his parents were capable of providing. In fact, when Janet criticizes Rafael's parents' abandonment, Rafael responds in bitterness, but unlike usual examples of this trope the bitterness is in their defense, saying he's sorry they weren't perfect.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mostly averted with Bradley. Although he seems like he plays this trope straight at first because upon entering the mansion, he threatens everyone with a gun since he thinks they all did something to his sister. The aversion occurs because after he's neutralized, he never does anything else wrong and that gun pays off in one of the endings.
  • Relationship Values: All of the guys have one. Bradley's is the only one that can reach the 'love' status. The highest the rest of the guys go is 'like'. Word of God states that the reason for this is that Janet isn't in the mansion long enough to establish such a deep relationship with them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Alben plants one on Janet after she confronts him about his feelings about Bianca's impending death. Unfortunately, this is a clear sign that you are on his bad end.
  • Together in Death: Bradley and Janet. In Bradley's normal end they decide to sacrifice both their souls in order to bring Bianca back to life.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The opening video makes a dramatic reveal of Bradley and the gun which doesn't happen until several minutes later.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If Janet, after reading Bianca's diary, chooses to tell Nathaniel that Bianca wasn't the pure woman Nathaniel thought her to be, and that Bianca actually slept with multiple guys before she and Nathaniel started dating... well what made Janet think Nathaniel wasn't already aware of this? He and Bianca had already talked about this and decided to move on like adults, not like a child like Janet who sneaks around and snoops into private diaries. This is a strong enough What the Hell Hero that it plants you firmly along the path to Nathaniel's bad ending.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Janet and Bradley get stuck in Atlanta in most of the endings. In Alben's bad end, the rest of the guys get trapped in their world instead.