Minotaur has been funded on Kickstarter!

Kickstarter updates on the occasion:

Funded!

Campaign results

If you’re a backer, please follow Kickstarter updates for the news. We also have a very special page for you right here at U7: it’s called Club 703, and this is where we publish all the exclusive content available to you. If you have any questions, you can contact us on Kickstarter, or send us an e-mail to uof7@chainbit.com – we will absolutely get back to you.

Another important place for Minotaur is Steam. (This links to Greenlight page, but we’ll update to game hub soon.)

And one more thing… THANK YOU!!!

Whether you backed Minotaur or supported it in any other way, you were a part of making it possible. We love you.

Talk to you soon!

u7committee

Minotaur has been Greenlit… And featured by Game Jolt!

Greenlight might be going away soon, but it was still there when we submitted Minotaur to it about a week ago. And what do you know – in just a week, after getting a tremendous amount of support from Steam community, we got an e-mail from Steam saying that this part of the job is done, and offering us to start digital paperwork.

We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who supported Minotaur on Steam (and anywhere else, of course), and to commemorate this achievement, we made this sketch of a rider ready to catch green wave with his Ghost cyberbike somewhere on the streets of Nova DC:

The way is clear

Another good thing happened on the very same day: Minotaur has been featured by Game Jolt! The timing of this couldn’t be better (hundreds of people learn about Minotaur every day now), so we prepared a GJ-themed sketch, too:

That’s not Axis, of course

We’re also going steady on Kickstarter (almost at 40% now), but we still need your help! So check us out there if you haven’t already!

U7 committee

30% and counting

We actually promised ourselves not to spam you with updates about our Kickstarter campaign, but 30% seemed like such a significant number… and we cracked.

By the time we posted this article, it was actually 34% already!

If you backed us or helped us spread the word about campaign (or both!), you’re extraordinary awesome. Now that you have our back, we feel like taking on the world (steadily).

We also learned that everyone who’s doing a Kickstarter campaign (especially the one that’s going somewhere) is going to receive A LOT of spam. Seriously though, it’s just ridiculous.

One more thing… We’re very excited about physical rewards (t-shirts, posters cards and art books). We poured our heart and soul into designing them, so we can’t wait to start producing and sending them out to make people who ordered them as happy as we are.

And that’s that… Despite what we said about spam, we’ll hopefully make ANOTHER update at 60% soon. In the meantime, don’t forget that you can support Minotaur and help us make it happen!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/u7committee/minotaur-a-point-and-click-visual-novel

PS: have you played the demo yet?

U7 committee

V. 0.2. demo… and we’re on Kickstarter now!

It’s been a while… But we’re back with some news!

New demo

First of all, a substantial update to Minotaur demo for PC and Mac is now available. You can download it directly from here (PC | Mac), or from GameJolt | Indie DB | itch.io

It’s now v. 0.2 and it features:

• New chapter, new characters, new cutscene and even a short movie.

At Maya's

Welcome to chapter 2

• New hint system (many people were not happy with first puzzle, and it only gets more brutal from there on, so now you can adjust difficulty yourself). If you’re still getting stuck, we have a spoiler-free walkthrough on our website. We’re kind of proud of the way that this system is implemented, it’s quite subtle.

• Character skills: Nod can use Axis vision now. It’s like… being able to “see” electricity? And it makes gameplay more diverse (we hope).

Axis vision skill

Using Axis vision

• Complete voice over produced by Kocha Sound. And from great actors, too! You just have to hear it.

So do check it out… And let us know what you think! We really appreciate your feedback and make changes to the game based on it.

Kickstarter

It’s quite simple, really. Minotaur is on Kickstarter, and we need your love.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/u7committee/minotaur-a-point-and-click-visual-novel

Ollie-love

Love does not always mean money, mind you (tell that to Nod’s ex-girlfriend, ha-ha). You can help out a lot by spreading the word around, sharing Kickstarter announcements and so on. Love finds a way.

Yours truly,

U7 committee

Minotaur demo for PC now available!

Join over 1K other players and download demo from:

Right here | Game Jolt | IndieDB

It’s only available for 32/64-bit Windows at the moment, but we promise to upload Mac version soon. Installation is very simple: just unpack RAR archive (which includes recovery record, just in case) and run Minotaur.exe.

This demo is literally chapter 1 of the game. Your first character, Nod, wakes up in his room and finds himself in great hurry to leave it.

Of course, Ollie is there to “help” him…

…but he’s probably better off relying on you.

Nod and his personal AI assistant, Ollie

This demo isn’t very long, but it has a beginning and an end, and it gives a good idea about how Minotaur looks and plays like.

There’s also some extra stuff waiting to be found…

And we included our new music player (simple, but fancy), as well as three OST tracks, one of which requires to be unlocked.

We’ll be adding new gameplay mechanics and updating demo as we go, so if you liked it already, stay with us for more. Either way, we hope you will share your thoughts and experience with us: we would very much appreciate your feedback, which helps us make Minotaur better.

And a couple more things: if you’re feeling stuck, check out our spoiler-free walkthrough.

And if you’re feeling lazy, you can see how others play it:-) Here’s a great let’s play by FellowPlayer:

And there are others available on Game Jolt, too.

Hoping to see you in Royce apartments soon,

Minotaur dev team

The world of Minotaur, part 3: enemy races

In our previous post of this series, we told you about how in Minotaur, you can play as synthet, esper, android and penguin. However, these races are not the only ones you’re going to encounter, and even though not every character you meet is “good”, the guys we’re going to tell you about are openly hostile and have only one goal: to send you back to your last save.

Irene can be a little naive sometimes. Anyway, let’s take a look at each of four enemy races.

Demons

These creatures play major part in Minotaur universe. They are manifestation of physical and psychological suffering, which have taken corporeal form. Demons are big (usually), strong and absolutely nuts.

Concept art of Kiria, whose appearance suggests she was manifested by a person tied up and gagged against their will.

We really love the idea behind Demons, but can’t tell you much about it without ruining Minotaur plot for you, and we wouldn’t want to do that. You know…

Just know that Demons are there. They’re always there.

Bygones

Hundreds of years ago, robots known as Bygones were used as weapons in a war against Demons. After time passed and things settled down, most of them were abandoned as junk, but every now and then some enthusiast will pick one up and try to make a Roomba out of it. Which never ends well, of course.

Above — GIF from Minotaur: in this work in progress, we’re establishing forced perspective to make fight with Bygone more dynamic. Below — sketches of different types of Bygones.

In Minotaur, you’ll have your chance of taking a couple of those guys out. And NOT with power of song.

GIF from Minotaur: hunting minigame.

Corrupted

These poor sods were once humans, but turned all Mr. Hyde after a certain cataclysm.

Disturbing appearance of Corrupted makes them main source of jump scares in Minotaur…

When working on their backstory and concept, we were inspired heavily by lore of the undead (which Corrupted are, in a way), hence the names of their types.

Concept sketches of different types of Corrupted.

Corrupted are more intelligent than other enemies, and will even have a couple of lines of dialogue to exchange with your characters.

Beasts

Some species of native Kyosian fauna are more aggressive than others, especially when breaking free after being held captive for a long time.

In later parts of Minotaur, you will encounter beasts which were corrupted by, well, Corrupted. These creatures are physically weaker, but much more resilient, and are harder to deal with.

The process of corruption. It’s like going on a diet.

Social animals

Now that you’ve seen what horrors we have to deal with every day, you can support us by following @u7committee on Twitter (or Facebook… or both!). We post daily updates on work in progress, so this might be fun.

Also…

…Minotaur is on Steam. So many ways to show your love!

Minotaur Demo

One more thing: if you managed to read till this part, (a) you’re our hero and (b) you’ll probably be interested to know that in a couple of weeks, we’re going to roll out Minotaur demo to IndieDB and Game Jolt, which will include first level of the game. We’re looking forward to you trying it out, and to hearing back from you about how it went (without a lot of bugs, hopefully).

Roaringly yours,

Minotaur dev team

Minotaur gameplay mechanics: collectibles

We take in-game collectibles very, very seriously.

You did the right thing. Now, we’ve prepared a lot of extras for you to find throughout the game.

Doesn’t Minotaur menu look delicious?

Some of this stuff is added automatically — like movies. You still need to see them first, though, and they differ depending on the path you choose.

(We put a lot of work in our cutscenes, by the way… Maybe we’ll make an article to show how cutscene goes from description in scenario to final movie someday.)

Artworks are not particularly hard to find: if you think that poster over there looks good on the wall, you can probably click on it to get yourself a nice full HD wallpaper.

We even threw in a kaomoji at no extra cost.

But the sweet spot of it all are, of course, cards. We introduced them to hook you up on Minotaur lore, and hid them throughout the game.

Each numbered card shows type of object in upper left corner; letter in upper right corner is a mark of rarity (unique, rare, occasional and common). Description helps you familiarize yourself with world of Minotaur. Oh, and they look cool.

Although there are no accessible character stats in game, rumor has it that every card gives a +1 bonus to LCK, which in turn affects endings. Bah.

Either way, there are over 50 cards to keep yourself busy.

A social call before we wrap this up. We finally got our page on Steam up and running, so check it out.

Our Twitter is also set up… boy are we active.

But our good old website is not going anywhere, so subscribe to receive updates even if all else goes down.

Collectively yours,

Minotaur dev team

The world of Minotaur, part 2: playable races

In our previous/first post of this series, we told you about how the world of Minotaur (continent called Kyos) is divided into objective and subjective realities. The gist of it is: it’s safe and cozy in Dome Cities, and things are… complicated Outside.

In this post, we’ll tell you about playable races which inhabit Kyos.

Synthets

We though “cyborg” was cliché.

Yes, yes… Anyway, synthets are the most numerous race, and they resemble humans greatly (they were human, after all).

Nod, your first persona in Minotaur, is a synthet. His IR (implant rate) is 27%, which is average (civilian cap is 60%), but enough for him to do his job of upgrading weapons and armor.

All playable Minotaur characters utilize their racial traits to their benefit. Nod is no exception: his synthetic hand will come in… handy. It can even charge batteries!

GIF recorded straight from Minotaur.

Interesting fact: there are several types of synthets. Abusers have high IR, daisies like to show off and nutcrackers use old and ugly synthetics on purpose, and there are others.

Espers

Espers are immortal nomadic humans roaming lands of Kyos. They were exiled from most Dome Cities after the war they caused long ago had ended.

Elara Quinn, one of more famous espers in Kyosian lore.

Who is an esper in Minotaur is one of game’s mysteries, so… you’re going to have to find it out yourself!

Androids

You know what they are. We did give them our personal touch, of course: in the world of Minotaur, every android has unique mask to stop people from, you know, falling in love with a robot, and their life is measured by “grasp” — time that manufacturer estimates it takes for AI to become self-aware, which is usually three to five years.

The android of Minotaur is Mentor-15, a music teacher of one of other characters.

Correct! Your answer is correct.

Despite being music teacher, Mentor can operate almost any machinery, and even bypass Ollie while doing so.

Another Minotaur GIF.

Demonspawn

Powerful offspring of monster and man, Demonspawn are warriors bound by code of their kin.

U7 concept art.

These creatures are almost never allowed into Dome Cities. And since they can’t pass off as synthets, like espers sometimes do, there are no demonspawn in Minotaur, which takes place in Nova DC.

Penguins (pinz)

Penguins themselves think they are the best, which makes them racist.

Nevertheless, it is hard to deny intellectual and physical superiority of these majestic creatures.

The penguin of Minotaur is Unter, and we wrote an article about him and his amazing Paulcaster guitar, which you can read here.

Wrapper-uppers

If you’d like to learn more about different races of Minotaur, including enemy races, go nearby to Uof7.com/races

Do not forget to subscribe!

You can also find us on IndieDB.

We also have this thing going on on Facebook now, which we called “daily artwork”. You’ll never guess what that means.

Yours truly,

Minotaur dev team

New Minotaur character, Ollie, and her amazing powers of assistance

Lovely Ollie will be your personal AI assistant throughout Minotaur, and her persona is a cybermaid. She’s obedient and borderline rude at the same time. How does she do that?

At first, we were very tempted to put Ollie in classic maid dress, but finally managed not to forget “cyber-” in cybermaid.

First sketches of Ollie (click for lightbox).

She can do a whole lot of stuff if you ask her nicely.

First of Ollie (you see what we did there?), she can help you with the map. Given how Minotaur is not a linear game, and that layout of Royce apartments changes over time as story progresses, it’s a BIG help.

Depending on difficulty level you play at, Ollie shows you where you are, what’s your next objective and what (or whom) to watch out for. She also takes some notes to help you find your way around.

If you’re feeling stuck and want her to help her out, she will give you a hint. She will mock you first… that’s just in her character (not ours).

Regardless of whether you ask her or don’t, Ollie also provides occasional emotional support.

He doesn’t.

Finally, Ollie will help you with some of more action-oriented minigames. For example, she’s a really good shot!

She doesn’t just appear anywhere, though. At first, we did want to make Ollie available to you 24/7 (or 20/8, as it is in Minotaur universe). But what’s the fun in that? (And it was much more difficult.)

First 3D concepts of Ollie and her signature holo FX.

We decided that playable characters can only talk to Ollie at certain locations, where her interface is installed. Sometimes they’re in the open, and sometimes finding them takes patience and wit.

Well, we love Ollie, but it’s time to wrap this up. Let’s conclude with this: despite the fact that she’s not a playable character, she’s one of our favorites. She mostly plays supportive role, but over the course of Minotaur you’ll discover that she also has her say in how the story unfolds.

See, that’s typical Ollie. She only says that because she wants you to check us out on social networks… so here’s our IndieDB, Facebook and YouTube, and make sure to check out a couple of cool double-exposure Ollie wallpapers here.

Cheers!

Minotaur dev team

Minotaur gameplay mechanics: the basics

You might have already heard that Minotaur is, in part, a visual novel.

By all means, no, it isn’t. We love purebred VNs, but we also wanted to make the game more interesting to a broader audience. So we decided to pump up the adventure/exploration part, while keeping all the best from visual novel genre (you know, plot and dialogues and stuff).

2,5D backgrounds pose certain limitations on how players can interact with the world, so to keep you immersed we had to get creative.

First of all, we decided to make UI as unobtrusive as possible. This was achieved, in part, by making cursor content-aware:

Minotaur cursors

With just one cursor to rule them all, you can interact with your environment in various ways, and it’s all very intuitive. But make no mistake: Minotaur is not just point-and-click. You can, for example, manipulate objects by using drag and drop mechanic:

You can also directly interact with objects (like painting with that gun from GIF above), combine several items to make one (we think 50 levels of crafting), and even, at some point and if certain conditions are met, change layout of the building.

Another major mechanic is a job skill. Since Minotaur is set in The Universe of Seven, every character except Thea, who is underage, was assigned a job according to U7 rulebook, and every job has a skill, which can be activated anytime once it’s acquired. For Nod, whose job is an outfitter, such skill is Axis vision, which allows him to see Axis currents in his surroundings:

Each of five playable characters has their own job skill, and they add greatly to the variety of the puzzles.

Which is important, because we’re doing our best to make puzzles as varied as possible. No matter how good the atmosphere is, gameplay repetition ruins it, and we want you to stay hooked until you complete the game (preferably even get all endings).

One of the central puzzles of first chapter is a race against time.

Of course, the visual novel part of Minotaur has its own gameplay features. Those come with the genre… There are five different routes, you can raise death flags here and there, and, of course, make choices in dialogues.

But yes, we’ll talk about that VN-part some other time.

Don’t forget to follow Minotaur for future updates: subscribe here on our website, or follow us on IndieDB or Facebook page (which has 50 likes already! 50 likes, Carl!).

Gameplayingly yours,

U7 dev team