Astrolabe Games released a free demo for the FUTU Studio-developed visual novel Shanghai Summer on PC via Steam.
The demo is available now and allows players to play through the prologue, which covers the first 2 in-game days of the story. The publisher confirmed the full game will be released in 2024.
Shanghai Summer is a visual novel set in the summer of 2003, following the story of the protagonist, Baichuan, as he experiences a series of “anomalies” over twelve days. The narrative unfolds in Shanghai, where Baichuan starts to sense something unusual about his life, triggered by an unexpected invitation from his long-absent ex-girlfriend, Qiuyu. This leads him into a journey through what feels like twelve lucid dreams, where time behaves anomalously around him.
The gameplay involves players collecting ‘Topics’ and ‘Clues’ from everyday interactions, allowing them to delve into the hearts and minds of key characters in Baichuan’s life. These interactions are not just about understanding others but also about drawing inspiration and comfort from them. The goal is to turn the small events in Baichuan’s life into strengths, culminating in the twelfth night’s finale, where he attempts to “fix” the shattered dream.
The cast of characters includes Fengyi, a dream-chasing freelancer artist; Xiaobo, a troubled high school student; Jingxian, a university student weighed down by family issues; and others. Each character, despite their complicated lives filled with regrets, strives to live to the fullest. The story unfolds in familiar settings like classrooms, a bookstore named “What-If”, and a neighborhood cafe. These everyday scenes of city life are depicted as places where mundane moments intersect with new possibilities, suggesting that the key to altering one’s destiny might be found in the most ordinary of places and interactions.
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