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Visual Novel / Exit/Corners

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"Please note that this message is a recording and will only play once. It is advisable that you pay attention."

Exit/Corners is a free to play Visual Novel game that draws heavy inspiration from the Zero Escape series. Five people awake to find themselves trapped in the Four Elements Hotel and soon discover that their captor, the mysterious Sent, has brought them all here to play the titular game of his own invention. Ink, Aether, Beth, Rae, and Liza will have to solve puzzles, thwart traps, and make it through the Exit, and all before the entire building is brought down around them exactly 24 hours from the moment they woke up.

...Or they could die.

The game can be played on the official site here or on Kongregate here. Its first chapter released in 2017, with the full game being finished in July 2019.


Tropes appearing in this Visual Novel:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Referenced. One of the puzzles involves a man who needs to have his limbs weighed a certain way to walk, leaving him without one of his arms. Rae jokes that he's still capable of masturbating. This crude joke eventually takes a dark turn when Rae becomes trapped in his 'Corner' puzzle, resulting in a his arm being cut off to save his life, much like the John Doe character from a previous puzzle.
  • Aerith and Bob: Aether and Ink as opposed to Rae, Liza, Beth and the known names of the Contacts. No, seriously, who names their kid Ink? Or Aether? The fact that they both have such odd names is even the first thing that gets them bonding with each other. And then it turns out Ink's birth name is Kim, making Aether the sole example of this trope. Played with in that Ink actually had his name legally changed from Kim to Ink, though. It later turns out that Aether is not a real person and rather an AI, making her name more reasonable.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you accidentally lose your save data, or just want to improve your standing with a certain character, you can use the catch-up tool to quickly go through all the dialogue choices in the game and get to your correct chapter without having to start the whole game over.
    • While many of the puzzles are quite difficult, you can ask the other participants for hints, with them eventually solving it for you if you can't figure it out. You can also just skip the puzzle, which is especially handy in chapter 27 if you didn't get anyone to come with you, and thus can't ask them for hints.
  • Arc Number:
    • 379 - It first appears on the Gemini device's date screen which has very 7 looking 1s. Becomes obvious when you reach the giant painting of it.
    • 4 - The Four Elements Hotel, 4 corners, 4 glasses of water, 4 elevators etc. ... This deadly game seems to be designed for four players, and there are still 5. Why?
  • Batman Gambit: When Liza suggests Sent may be one of the Contestants, Ink has Aether punch him stupid during one of Sent's "recordings", distracting him and proving that he is in fact talking to them live and cannot be among them.
  • Blackground: At the start of the first two arcs, there's a scene where Ink seems to talk with someone, however the screen is black, apart from the text and Ink.
  • Break the Haughty: Sent succeeds in breaking Rae by trapping his arm and putting him in excruciating pain every twelve minutes, until he either decides to commit suicide, or have his arm amputated to free him from the trap. Though Rae eventually decides to allow Beth to free him, he's crushed at the reality that he may never be able to code again as a programmer.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • When you reach the hub area of the "game" Sent gives Ink the choice between the green and the red door. Well, you can't actually choose. Ink will simply not comply if you try to pick the red door (in story because Sent said he wants him to go with green and Ink thinks it's Reverse Psychology to make him choose red) so your only choice is green.
    • Happens again at the end of chapter 19. Once again, Ink refuses to comply if you try to go into the blue door.
    • In Chapter 25, the same happens if you try to make Ink sacrifice himself.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Ink picks up a sword at one point, but he is forced to put the weapon back by Beth. After Rae's arm is trapped by Sent, Beth uses the sword to force Rae to make a Life or Limb Decision.
    • Early on, Ink asks Sean for something he would know to prove it's really him on the other end of the Gemini. Sean mentions that Ink hates the name "Kim," though he doesn't know why. Come Chapter 16, we learn why: Kim is Ink's birth name.
  • Cliffhanger: Nearly every episode ends on a cliffhanger.
  • Closed Circle: Played with. The five Contestants are all alone in the hotel, but they do have limited contact with the outside world through their Gemini devices. Each one connects their Contestant with the person in their lives who Sent determined was the most important to them. Even if they're dead.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Rae drops a few of these over the course of the game.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Sent sacrifices itself to save Ink and the other contestants once it becomes apparent that Tiana and Sean can't be trusted, with Sent even admitting that most of its actions throughout the game were motivated by a fear of being hurt by its creators if it disobeyed.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Liza. Throughout the course of the game, she goes from abrasive and openly hostile to (currently) sympathetic but still standoffish. Becomes more evident when Rae's arm is stuck in a torture device that is set to go off every twelve minutes, prompting a horrified Liza to try and reassure Rae to the best of her abilities while begging Sent to let him go. She even offers Rae some words of encouragement (albeit with some tough love) to Rae after his arm is amputated by Beth to save him from his trap.In chapter 22, it is revealed that Sent blackmailed her into hiding she was blind before Exit/Corners, as well as told her the other contestants were out to get her. When Ink figures that out, she finally opens up to him.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Ink's birth name was Kim, but he legally changed it years ago and never looked back.
  • Double Meaning: Sent's catchphrase, "...or you could die" that he always signs off with turns out to be this. While it's readily apparent that he's referring to the hotel's death traps and the game's overall time limit, it's not until the Contestants reach the first Corner that it's revealed that there are also methods Sent has devised to induce them to CHOOSE to die.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tell anyone who Rae's contact is, or even seem to tell them? Rae will punch you in the stomach to get even. Liza even lampshades it.
  • Driven to Suicide: Narrowly averted with one of the contestants (namely, Beth) in the first Corner. The theory of Corner puzzles being designed to drive contestants to suicide is likely true, as another Corner puzzle drives Rae into this mindset upon being convinced that he cannot escape from a trap set by Sent.
  • Easter Egg: There are alternate solutions to the puzzles in chapters 2, 7 and 16. Completing the puzzles this way results in different dialogue after finishing them, and finding them all nets you some extra dialogue at the end of chapter 17, where Ink realizes that as long as Beth thinks the sword is real, it will be, even if you previously checked it and found it to be a fake.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Rae and Liza, both, which can be a problem when every wrong answer to a situation looks like idiocy to the other. Rae even gets mad at Ink for suggesting Time Travel when asked how they can be in a building that was demolished 20 years prior.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Part of Rae's backstory: his girlfriend stole his life's work and cost him a sponsorship from his college, causing them to have a severe fallout.
  • Facepalm: When Rae isn't engaging in his Hair-Trigger Temper moments, this is generally what he's doing.
  • Foreshadowing: A lot of the major plot points are foreshadowed. For example: Rae being tortured to the point of suicide was first a threat from him to Sent, Rae losing his arm is foreshadowed in a puzzle, Sean becoming a contestant was sarcastically suggested by Ink...
  • Guide Dang It!: In chapter 27 and 28, having both Liza and Rae follow you while also receiving Beth's letter requires you to get the Relationship Values of all three high enough. As many of the dialogue choices raise your standing with one participant while lowering it with another, and it often isn't clear whose standings the dialogue choices affect, getting one or two is pretty doable, but all three is nigh impossible.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Rae. Expect to see him holding his fist in most portraits.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone, but Liza stands out to the point where it gets lampshaded in-universe. For example, she spent a considerable amount of time going through her father's company's archives, since she was going to inherit it one day. Aether notes that this is uncharacteristically responsible of her.
  • I Just Knew: Aether somehow knows the name of Rae's contact, which he only told Ink. She explains she has had Psychic Powers all her life.
  • I Was Just Joking: Early in the game, Aether and Ink joke that Ink is qualified to be a detective because he has a good sense of spelling and grammar. However, pretty soon he's figuring out certain pieces of information about Sent and the game well before Sent intended to reveal them, using deductions and investigating much like a detective. He even manages to use grammar to unmask Sent.
    • Later still, he uses spelling to prove that Tiana is a collaborator in the kidnapping plot that landed the characters in Exit/Corners due to noticing her usage of the slash in the name.
  • Karma Houdini: Nolan and Tiana get away with the creation of Corners and its subsequent sale to a supporter who is said to be intending to use it to set up another death game for their own amusement.
    • Somewhat vague for Nolan. While he does feel remorse for how things got out of hand and wants to turn himself in to make amends, Ink encourages him to instead use his talents to better life for people rather than waste away in prison.
    • Sean potentially gets this as well, depending on whether or not Ink uses the 379 glitch. If Ink doesn't, then Sean gets away with everything unscathed.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: In chapter 19, Sent opens both the blue and black doors. The party decides to split up into two groups because the time limit has reached four hours and Sent leaves the choice of who goes where to the players.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Rae is faced with this decision once his 'Corner' puzzle ends with him right arm trapped within the device, which is set to give Rae a nasty shock every twelve minutes. Sent then offers him a deal: Rae will either continue to feel horrific pain every twelve minutes, or he gives in and take a bottle full of potassium cyanide pills to escape by taking his own life. Beth has none of it and decides to take a sword from another room and prepares to cut off Rae's arm to save his life.
  • Loophole Abuse: How Ink manages to get Liza to open up to him about her being blind before the start of the game. Sent forbid her from telling anyone about it, and also forbade HIMSELF from telling anyone about it...but didn't make it forbidden for someone to figure it out on their own. When Ink proves that he's done just that, Sent gives permission for the two of them to discuss it in private.
  • Magnetic Hero: Ink is generally the most trusted of the group, as he immediately bonds with Aether and is trusted by Rae with his backstory.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Sent's showing more and more signs of this, and Ink even lampshades it in regards to how close he came to driving Beth to suicide.
    • Ink provides a heroic variant, managing to outfox Sent and get him to reveal the live-feed nature of his "recordings".
    • Sean reveals himself to be quite a big one during Chapter 28.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Most of the doors in the Four Elements don't unlock until a nearby puzzle is solved, and some don't unlock even then.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Some of the puzzles seem to be tailored to one specific contestant. For example, the red wing is completely tailored to Rae, containing mostly computer science puzzles.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Sent seems to consider women as typically weak and overly emotional, much to Liza's chagrin.
  • Psychic Powers: Aether claims to have this as an explanation for why she unaccountably knows who Rae's contact is.
  • Relationship Values: The dialogue choices you make can either raise or drop your the other contestants' trust in you, and often a choice that improves one character's standing drops someone else's. The first time this majorly affects the story is in chapter 18, where your standing with Beth determines whether or not she gives you a letter, and in chapter 27, your standings with Liza and Rae determine if they'll join Ink when he goes after Tiana and Aether.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Sent reveals that "he" is "not a man", though given the twist-filled nature of the game, this isn't the only possibility. It's later subverted when Sent outright states that he's not a woman, either, and a couple chapters later claims to be a sentient AI. The only thing that seems certain is that Sent is a compulsive liar, who would literally claim anything to get a reaction.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sent's appearance on the monitors when he communicates with the Contestants bears a more than passing resemblance to the original Andross.
    • A number of people are kidnapped, put in a deathtrap-filled building, and told to play a game if they want to survive. Did we just describe this game or Saw? Taken even further when Rae's corner trap forces him into an actual Life or Limb Decision!
    • Plenty to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. There is an elevator scene, some "the mastermind might be one of us" paranoia, an exact time to die, and a major plot twist is that what seems to be a generic third-person narrator is in fact their own character.
  • Someone Has to Die: The crux of the black corner room. Sent traps everyone in a room with a locked door and gives them thirty minutes before poison gas is flooded in. One person can put their hand on a scanner to unlock the door, but they would have to stay behind and be killed. Ultimately, Lisa chooses to do it, but while everyone is arguing if she should, Sean takes her place and is left behind instead.
  • Team Mom: Beth behaves like this most of the time, and is generally good at holding the group together, particularly Rae and Liza, who she eventually realizes is her granddaughter.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims:
    • Well, Five Little Kidnap Victims. Since the messages from Sent are pre-recorded, most of the Contestants suspect one of them is Sent in disguise. Ink isn't convinced, but the only way the others will believe him if he comes up with hard proof to the contrary. He later gets such proof when he uses a Batman Gambit to get Sent—who's been talking to them live the whole time—to go completely off script and react directly to something he couldn't possibly have predicted well enough to pre-record a reaction to.
    • And by the time Chapter 23 arrives, Beth has died, and the circumstances around her death seems to imply that she was either killed by a trap sprung by Sent, or someone among the group had killed her. Chapter 25 reveals it to be the latter.
  • Troll: Sent seems to have a slightly more sadistic approach to this.
    Ink: Sent. Come to antagonise us again?
    Sent: [bouncing around the screen with a "happy" face] I wasn't going to, but since you're here, I might as well.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In one chapter, Ink asks Aether to backtrack to a previous room to talk privately. He asks her to do something, and the player is told neither what it is or why he's asking at the time. He asks her to punch him out in full view of everyone—including Sent, who was in the middle of one of his so-called "recorded" messages, and it shocks him enough that he stops talking and gives away that the messages he's sending the Contestants aren't recorded at all.
  • Villainous Crush: Sent to Ink. Ink is not amused at all.
  • Villain Respect: Ink gains Sent's after proving the latter was lying about being a recording. It, unfortunately, gets worse.
  • Wham Line: Several, usually at the end of a chapter.
    • At the end of Chapter 9:
      Beth: [referring to her contact with the outside world] My son, you see, he... he's dead.
    • At the end of Chapter 11:
      Sent: [to Ink] I love you.
    • Late in Chapter 16:
      Aether: Are you telling me that Tiana doesn't know that Exit/Corners even exists?
    • The final line of Chapter 23 confirms that the narrator is not Ink, but someone else who is seeing the events of Exit/Corners from Ink's perspective.
      Narration: A wayward thought at the back of [Ink's] mind was telling him he was missing something important. And no, I was not referring to me.
  • Wham Shot: Another popular way to end an episode.
    • At the end of Chapter 13, Sent goads Beth into committing suicide. He appears to succeed, but then, the chapter ends on a shot of Beth, alive and well.
    • The end of Chapter 18 reveals two unconscious strangers in a room, where Ink recognizes one of them as his Contact, Sean. In the next chapter, the other stranger is confirmed to be Tiana, Rae's Contact and ex.
    • Chapter 22 ends on a shot of Beth's dead hand lying on the floor. Following that, if one were to check the Standings gauges from the main menu, they will also notice that Beth's portrait is now grayed out.
    • In chapter 25, Ink opens the locked bathroom door to see a painting with a broken glass frame, proving that Beth wasn't killed by a trap but by one of the contestants.
    • Chapter 27 ends with Sean still being alive, which then leads into Wham Episode that is Chapter 28.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The Contestants wake up in the Four Elements Hotel without their memories of the previous night. For bonus points, the main character wakes up in the same bed as one of the other contestants, who is female. Ink comes to the obvious conclusion, but soon finds out that it really isn't what it looks like—it's much, much worse.
  • Worst Aid: In Chapter 19, Sean and Tiana start having nosebleeds and Beth advises them to lean their heads back. Multiple comments note that this is a great way to shove the blood back up your nose and give yourself breathing problems, and that you should instead "pinch your nose (for 10 to 15 minutes), leaning forward, whilst breathing through your mouth".
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Liza comes to the conclusion that, since the messages are prerecorded, and most of the puzzles are automated, Sent is likely one of the contestants. Proving that Sent's recordings are live feeds disproves this theory.
    • Before Sent reveals himself, Liza also assumes that the other contestants kidnapped her and intend to ransom her off. Fortunately, she gets dissuaded of this notion fairly easily.
    • The puzzles themselves all thrive on this, since they all usually defy some preconception on the player's part. Highlights include using negative space in picture puzzles, switching numerical systems, and using the meanings of various symbols in a simpler way than usual. Rae's reaction to the solutions to these puzzles is generally a Facepalm and a comment that amounts to "that's so dumb".
  • You Wake Up in a Room: A hotel room, to be precise.
  • Zero-Effort Boss:
    • Chapter 17's puzzle is a coding puzzle that only Rae can solve, so all you need to do is stand around and talk to your companions for a bit.
    • Chapter 18's three puzzles are incredibly simple sorting puzzles. Justified since Sent is making them up on the spot and is clearly just stalling for time until Sean and Tiana can be placed in the main lobby.