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Soul Sunder is the story of Zero, a young woman whose life was shattered when she unintentionally sets in motion events in her childhood that left her village destroyed, her brother dead, and her best friend crippled for life. Nine years later, Zero receives a letter from an unknown sender calling her to the depths of Purgatory, a mysterious dungeon that had risen from the ground. Many adventurers enter it's depths, but few return. It is in this place, the letter claimed, she could confront the truth of what happened in her past. Guide Zero as she forges into the nightmarish halls of Purgatory and tries to come to terms with the past she once tried to leave behind.

Soul Sunder is a dungeon crawling RPG with a unique twist: An emphasis on survival rather than grinding. While you can fight enemies to gain experience and level up, the focus of the game is using a combination of items you find in the dungeon and different equipment loadouts to navigate through Purgatory. Health items are limited, enemies are brutal, and there is no one coming to help you. Will you uncover the truth? Or will Purgatory claim you and your companions?


- A powerful, character-driven plot.
- Survival horror-like setting.
- Decide your approach to combat by choosing from an array of skill-granting weapons and items.
- 3 difficulty modes to suit your playstyle.
- Very challenging, survival-based gameplay.
- High replay value to try out different combinations of items and equipment.
- 2 different endings NOT based on static choices.
- A simple crafting system.
- Around 5-8 hours of gameplay.

Note: The Download Now version is the RTP Independent version. If you have the VX Ace RTP, come here to get the RTP Dependent version.

Click here to go to the RMW thread:

Click here to go to the Game Jolt page.

Latest Blog

Heaven or Hell

The downloads have been updated to version 2.0 in response to feedback from the last couple of reviews. I'm really sorry it took so long to do so!

So what's new in this version? Well, the biggest addition is a new difficulty setting: Heaven or Hell Mode. This is essentially Survivor mode but with a twist:

No item shop in Haven.

Yep, your only means of survival will come from what you can find in the ground. No loading up with healing items now. You still have the Blacksmiths, so spend your money on armor instead.

Heaven or Hell mode makes your actions in the Childhood Arc a bit more meaningful. By completing optional objectives and finding secrets, you're granted a few goodies to make the Adult Arc a bit easier to get into. This version adds a small, but hopefully appreciated new one: if you can find the secret candy stash in Orias, you're given a First Aid Kit upon starting the Adult Arc. And since each First Aid Kit can be used three times, that should make the lack of an Apothecary a bit easier to get over.

Anyway, Heaven or Hell Mode is for those that have already beaten the game once and want a real challenge. It's tough, but it can be done. I want to do something cool for anyone who beats that mode, but my mind's drawing a blank. If you want, I can make a page for a list of names of anyone who wants to be immortalized for completing the game in this mode!

Outside of Heaven or Hell, there have been a few changes as well. You'll see the nitty-gritty ones by checking the Version Changes document in the game's folder, but they're mostly balance fixes. To prevent you from drowning in healing items, the prices of all restorative items in the Apothecary have jumped up a decent amount. Which means, if you want to load up on healing items, you'll probably have to sell a few more attack items or equipment. Hope you're cool with that! Hee hee hee. But, as this would be incredibly unfair to those just starting out, the Apothecary will give you a discount while you're in Haven for the first time equal to the original price of those items. The idea of the game was to be hard, but fair, and unreasonable prices before you even have a chance to buy anything just isn't fair.

Since I didn't mess with the properties of the items themselves or add/remove new ones, anyone who wants to continue their save file should be able to just transfer them over. Word of advice: Rotate your save files.

... I'm making this sound really evil. And while it's true that every once in a while I have a glass of Saint's Blood with my dinner, this update was more to address some game-breaking issues than the result of a sudden sadistic streak as well as provide a challenge for those that found the game too easy the first time. I ran through the game on Heaven or Hell mode, and I saw a LOT of things I would have done differently if I could go back and do it all again. If I wasn't already fully submerged into Prayer of the Faithless, I might have actually remade the whole thing from the ground up.

Run when you need to, don't forget to check enemy properties before using an item, and don't forget to guard when enemies charge up. If you need help, check the hints and tips tab on the game page or ask a question here and I'll help you. You'll be fine. I believe in you!

So here you go. A more sadistic, evil version of Soul Sunder.

Merry Christmas~
  • Completed
  • Red_Nova
  • unity
  • RPG Maker VX Ace
  • RPG
  • 11/20/2013 06:29 PM
  • 01/04/2019 03:59 AM
  • 09/26/2014
  • 331595
  • 75
  • 4005


The all around prick
Nah, that all looks good!

Regarding permission: I appreciate you taking the time to ask me, but you don't have to worry about asking permission to use assets I've made publicly available for promotional items like this. It looks like you've taken the title screen from the game rather than the on in the image gallery, but the other two were just images taken from the character page, so they're fine to use.

Just so it's clear: yes, you do have permission to use everything in that image! Good luck with the speedrun!
Well, isn't this nice?

Seems like it actually works to avoid every encounter.
If by a ton of bad luck they fail to run, candies will help(or do like me and reload the save file and try again to avoid the monsters). Even tho I didn't use any item and it still worked, on survivor mode. (not even rocks)

Also, should I take something out, move something, add something or edit something?
I need your permission to use assets created by you.
The all around prick
It's been a while since I've had any contact with SS, so I don't know if avoiding all the encounters will pay off in the long run. I know Arya needs to be a bit stronger to survive the first boss, but beyond that, I'm not sure.

And... no, thank YOU for creating these games! I have no idea how you can have so much patience and motivation to finish PotF after like 3(?) years.

I don't go outside.

Regarding your stream, I'll see if I can drop by if I'm free! Just post on the PotF page when you start, and followers will be more likely to show up.
I mean, that Superguard drive is really good. Especially when timed right to block attacks enhanced by Miasma Charge. But yea, I only focused on killing the Devourers and some monsters that were easier to kill. I was kinda surprised to see that I got rewarded for killing them. (I may consider something similar for the game I am working on)

But yes, without having at least 3 candies, surviving the forest is a suicide mission(i never tried avoiding ALL encounters...Would that even work?);(and oh boy, then there's the ruins, but the player is forced to avoid encounters after Arya gets "clumsy", so it's a bit merciful)
i mean falling into that hole

To be honest, that mini boss abuse made me fall for that theme which plays during mini boss fights(was it the same for other battles too? I dunno). But yea, I should try "Heaven or Hell" mode without the abuse. (yay more money for armor)

And... no, thank YOU for creating these games! I have no idea how you can have so much patience and motivation to finish PotF after like 3(?) years.

Ah, since PotF was mentioned, I'll begin shamelessly self promote myself: ahem, I was planning to stream PotF's demo on Twitch in like...10-14 hours(trying to finish the demo in less than 1 hour). It'd be awesome if you got to join even for a few seconds https://www.twitch.tv/silviutm

The all around prick
Thank you so much for the thoughts, Silviu! I'm a bit disappointed with myself for not keeping in touch with RMW as often as I did years ago, but I'm super glad you brought this over to RMN!

Your opinion on the childhood arc's difficulty is interesting! I know a lot of people online and off who rage quit before finishing the village perimeter because of the difficulty. Still it's great to hear your thoughts on the resource management!

I say that because the Adult Arc was not supposed to be nearly as easy a time as you had. No, that mini boss that drops a Frozen Flame was not supposed to be abusable. I figured that no one would be able to grind it since there was no way to reliably heal your party outside of a single campsite. Because it was possibly to buy a whole bunch of items from the store (and that annoying bug that lets you use items after their charges hit zero), the adult arc ended up a lot easier than intended. It's the biggest reason why I added Heaven or Hell mode later.

As for your second spoiler, the answer is quite simple:

For plot.

Thanks for your thoughts on the story and characters. Those were the two things I had the most fun working on. You're right in it it wasn't really anyone's fault for what happened. This (and Prayer of the Faithless) was mostly a story about dealing with the aftermath of the actions of the childhood arc and not about a hero vs. a villain.

Speaking of PotF, I'm glad you're looking forward to it! I'm working as hard as I can to finish it!

Thanks so much for your comment! I really appreciate it!
(I also wrote this on rpgmakerweb.com, but then I checked your last log-in and I realised that place was abandoned. And now for the actual message, fully copy-pasted, yay. also, whenever I say "p.s.", then it's something which wasn't in the original message)

Well, how should I begin this? I really like what you did with the story. The combat wasn't THAT hard even in the Childhood arc(on survival), since I came here after playing PotF's demo, of course. (But yes, resource management was a bit harsh in the childhood arc) {p.s.:too many raspberries, too little candies, oof}

I don't know if it was intended, but the "mini-bosses" in the 2nd Stratum have 100% chance to drop a frozen flame(or whatever it was called), right? Well, they only took 2 frozen flame uses to kill{p.s.: at level 9 iirc; pre-level 9 i just had to do 2 normal attacks after its turn}, and they dropped a frozen flame which has 3 uses. So yea, since most of the times it was using Miasma Charge on its one and only turn, I started farming Large Miasma Samples until I got them to be worth around.... 2k marks? Also it was a chance to farm Frozen Flames too, so yea..... (Survival may actually be easier than Casual **cough cough**)

By doing that, I was kinda torturing myself because I was buying more items of all kinds for combat, and I hate having my inventory full of things. {p.s: I ended up having a TON of items, most of which I didn't even need to use anymore}

Anyway, after fighting Origin.DESPAIR, I kinda avoided encounters. Like, almost no encounters at all. The rest of the boss fights were also way too easy compared to the rest of the game... (Thank that Cape for getting Zero's magic def to almost 60 iirc). So it felt like the existence of encounters was unnecessary after the 3rd Stratum.

The characters were nicely made. Each one had their own personality. I feel bad for Cieran, I don't think it was his fault. Nobody(?) knew what would happen.

Overall, it's a great game, just like Remnants of Isolation. Looking forward to the full release of Prayer of the Faithless!

Also how the hell did they survive after falling down a.... uhmmm...... how should I say it..... CLIFF????

{P.P.P.P.S: I know ps means post-scriptum, but please bear with me if possible}
Jesus Christ this game is brutal.

The all around prick
Thanks for the offer, but I just meant images. I made a new background for the game page because I learned how to eliminate the seams on images to make them appear continuous.
In a marvelous display of misplaced priorities, I got so excited when I learned how to make seamless backgrounds that I couldn't help myself. It's not much, but hey.

Do you mean seamless transitions between map transitions? Because I could have taught you how to do that. Just saying if you are struggling on how to get RPG Maker to do something I might be able to help. Figure I'd make the offer since you've helped me before.
The all around prick
In a marvelous display of misplaced priorities, I got so excited when I learned how to make seamless backgrounds that I couldn't help myself. It's not much, but hey.
Ooh, I watched the rebirth ending on YouTube and now I get it, thanks for the clarification. That's nice, I'm glad you didn't go for the bog-standard good/bad end dichotomy but something more relevant to the themes. I assumed there was going to be some hamhanded moral about how only way of coping was the right one. :p

Well, as for the Western thing... I don't know if you watch Gravity Falls, but I think the penultimate episode encapsulates what I'm trying to get at. Basically, it's the climax of a cosmic horror story, so the apocalypse is happening: the town the story's set in is a flaming pile of rubble and people are dying left and right. The protagonist decides he needs his sister's help to defeat the villain, but the villain has preempted this by trapping her in a fantasy world where her every whim is catered to. She's really immature and is terrified of growing up, so this is very effective. The hero can't just dash in and rescue her; he has to convince her to leave on her own terms. And the whole time, I expected him to bring up the point that, you know, PEOPLE ARE DYING and she therefore has a moral obligation to help them, but... he never does. The whole thing gets turned into this bizarre morality play about what's the best decision generally, wallowing in fantasy or accepting reality. The story acts like all that matters is the emotional development of two ordinary kids, which completely ignores the specific context where this whole issue is way bigger than them and there are other people affected by this. I found the whole thing extremely dissonant and bizarre, and I've heard similar accusations leveled at Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Soul Sunder doesn't go to nearly that extreme, since a big emphasis is placed on how Arya relates to others and her final decision is to help everyone else by destroying Purgatory. But I still felt shades of that in how the story that is at first all about her guilt and how she deals with her companions was reduced to just her personal grief and the reveal that she was responsible for everything at the end. The final component of a story is generally the part that gets the most emphasis and what it can be said the story is "really about", so by making grief the final piece, it grants the personal introspective part of the narrative most precedence. So that's why I felt it was a little cliche.

As for the chosen one thing, I thought Arya was also a chosen one? That's why the gate exploded, it selected two chosen ones and that caused a divide by zero error? Is the reasoning that the prophecy about killing Isaac doesn't apply to her because she wasn't the original chosen one?

Anyway, I do think I understand the reasoning for the choices better now, thank you. If the connection is that trying to understand the past so you can fix it and atone = redemption ending then that makes sense, since that was what I was trying to do. I just found the tone in the bonus room unclear; it sounded like doing those things just meant I was a wuss who was wallowing in despair with no greater purpose.
The all around prick
Appreciate the thought out response! I'm stoked the game provoked that much of a reaction!

The bad ending you get in the Childhood Arc is the only real bad ending in the game. The two endings in the Adult Arc are neither good nor bad, but the way that Arya/Zero gets over her grief and enters the next phase of her life, which depends on how you play.

I can't really argue with most of your gameplay critiques as, like you said, a lot of it is dependent on unknowns, like enemy's targets or item drops. No, there was no relic that granted healing magic, so you certainly didn't miss it. The latest version of the game changed Abie's dialogue to be clear about that. In my current project, those sorts of variables are what I'm directly addressing, so I hope I've learned from this!

For the story points, well, let's talk about them. Loads of spoilers ahead:

I'm not really following your connection with western culture, and I'm a little confused as to why you'd even bring that up. Soul Sunder primary inspirations are Silent Hill and Resident Evil, two series from very eastern shores. An angsty, broody hero who solely focuses on themselves is very much not what Zero was about, as she's worried about Myra, her father, and is defined by quite a few more traits, like her love for snacks, newfound fondness for blowing things up, and discovering the enjoyment of traveling, the ideas of which are explored in the campfire conversations. It's funny: stories that focus solely on vengeance and forgiving/saving the enemy featuring a one-tone brooding hero are exactly what I had too much of growing up, and wanted to break away from. I feel like we had two very different experiences with western media, so I find this sort of opinion fascinating.

There's a few misunderstandings about the chosen hero thread: Arya was not and never was intended to be the chosen one. Alex was. The scenes in the 4th Stratum made that quite clear, and was the driving force behind Jack's actions that lead to Cieran's appearance in Orias. But he died before growing into the role, so the only hero he cared about being was Arya's hero, which led to how things ended up in the Adult Arc. Killing Isaac was the exact opposite of what was intended, as it was fated that Isaac would die by the hero's hand. So Jack conspired to kill the hero to PROTECT Isaac.

As for victim blaming, I disagree. It was forbidden for ANYONE to venture into the Forbidden Ruins (See? It even has forbidden in the name), and the one time that rule was broken, the entire village was destroyed and most of its residents killed. Child or no, I think anger at the one person coming back from that place would be very justified, even if it was excessive. That being said, your reaction at Arya's involvement (or lack of) was exactly as intended, as Arya herself claims as much during the ending scene. From there the story breaks away from Orias and victim blaming to Zero and her survivor's guilt. I'm right there with you on your feelings towards Arya's dad, though!

I asked Myra about the wheelchair not because I wanted Arya to dwell on the past, but because I was concerned about Myra and wanted to learn her side of the story. I wanted to learn more, which I'd honestly say is the opposite of wallowing in memories?

Purposely revisiting past traumas in order to learn more is, well, exactly what someone who wouldn't let go of the past would do. Simply dropping it and moving on would be much less painful, if not exactly illuminating. This choice wasn't about making Zero wallow in memories, it was about learning more about the past in order to confront it. The same can be said about rereading the letters. The fact that you actively took steps to learn more about the past is exactly the kind of behavior Zero would take if she wishes to confront the feelings she locked away for nine years. Take the opposite mindset for comparison's sake: A player who just wanted to get the experience over with wouldn't bother doing all the things you did, and would set their goal to completing Purgatory first and foremost. The Zero in that game wouldn't want to take the time relive old traumas, and instead would wish to move on with her life. The ending for that route would be appropriately different.

Basically, it boils down to two options: Did the main character wish to go back to her previous life as Arya Landale, finally ending the long years of self-punishment and forgiving herself? Or does she settle all her scores, puts the past behind her, and moves on with her life as Zero the hunter? The answer is completely up to the player and is based on their behavior and their thought patterns. Whatever reasons you have for making the choices, the choices are still made, and Zero's behavior and outlook changes accordingly.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings, but let me know if it hasn't. Thanks so much for your detailed explanation! It was very interesting to read.
Yes, thanks, I forgot about that. And now I've finished. Well, I only got the good ending (at least I assume redemption is the good ending), but I don't feel very motivated to go back for the other one.

I had mixed feelings about the gameplay.

I like the idea of grueling survivalist gameplay in theory, but I'm not sure if an RPG is the best execution of that idea, at least not in this engine. Too many things are dependent on chance (evading attacks, who gets targeted, etc.) and many encounters vary wildly in difficulty depending on how you've prepared, but it's impossible to know what monsters any one blob will turn into and what the optimal setup for them is. It's also impossible to know whether or not fighting is worth it -- some monsters drop really valuable stuff, some don't, some are guarding treasures, others aren't... Preparation in general was a big problem, I think. The game is very generous at handing out items you need (at least on casual mode), but you don't know that at first and you can't know exactly what you need, what you'll get, what you should stock up on... That applies to the armors, too, since almost everything has a dangerous weakness but you have no idea what enemies you'll be up against so you don't actually know what to use. I felt like I really had to wing it and hope for the best most of the time. That is an understandable feeling to have in a survival game, but it strikes me more as how a player should feel if they're desperate and doing things wrong rather than as a default state. (I also seemed to have missed the craft book for Isaac's knives? Eh, I had enough money by the end that I could buy them. And the item merchant says there's a relic that grants a healing spell, but I never found it? Never found any holy magic either.)

In general, I'd say the game could have stood to be a lot clearer about certain things, like that there were hidden objectives in the child arc that could carry over bonuses, or that you can't return to town until you complete the stratum, or that THE HARDEST BOSS IN THE GAME WILL APPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE AND MURDER YOU BEFORE YOU EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO SAVE in the second stratum. I am still a little ticked off about that -- unless you correctly guess exactly where you're supposed to go immediately there (and you do have to guess because the crack isn't there beforehand), you're completely screwed and have to redo that entire section all over again. Compared to how generous the rest of the game is with save points, that felt really unnecessarily punishing.

The battle system itself was pretty good, though. I liked that even regular attacks were tiring so you were forced to make your actions count if you wanted to survive. The simplistic one weapon = one ability system would have been a hassle in a longer game, I think, but it worked here since there were so few weapons anyway and power progression wasn't a big thing. I thought the options were a bit too limited, though -- everyone can only inflict one physical damage type except for Arya, and then only midway through, and you can't use piercing damage at all outside of throwing knives in the first stratum. It felt a bit too forced -- like, each enemy had one party member that was suited to deal with it and everyone else couldn't do more than chip away. That falls away later on when elemental weaknesses matter more, but it's still something I noticed. I also thought people had way too few item slots for a system that was supposed to be so item-based. I always prioritized healing items, so everyone only got 1, maybe 2 attack items -- and if that slim selection didn't happen to be useful against the monster I just ran into, welp, guess I'll just have to stick to regular attacks today. Giving me access to the full pack at all times would have expanded my options considerably, and would have probably helped me not have a giant hoard of stuff by the end. (So many unused firebombs...)

I also felt the game had a really extreme inverse difficulty curve. Maybe the first level's difficulty was just due to my inexperience, but I remember the second stratum being brutal, and FURY was the only boss I actually had trouble with; the others were complete jokes I annihilated pretty quickly. (Ironically, I found that the advice given for FURY -- do an all-out offensive -- worked way better for the other Origins than it did for FURY.) Possibly I just learned how to powerlevel, I dunno, but by the end I was two- or three-shotting almost every enemy before they could do much, or any, damage.

However, I will agree with everyone else that this was very fitting for the child arc, even if Alex felt a wee bit too powerful for an 11-year-old.

As for the story... hm.

I felt like I wasn't entirely sure what you were going for. I have to say, I was pretty surprised by the ending reveal that the whole thing was about something as simple as Arya's personal grief. The whole game, particularly the bits with Cieran, seemed like it was building up to something about forgiveness, not coping mechanisms. I never felt like Arya's grief was the major focus of her behavior. She barely ever mentions Alex or her personal involvement in his death throughout the whole thing; even in the third stratum, where I expected Alex to be the final illusion, she's totally focused on everyone else, and the responsibility she feels for them, not any kind of personal loss. Guilt is obviously still important since the final answer is "forgive yourself", but it was weird to me that it suddenly took a backseat to something that had barely been developed at all at the climax.

And I'm honestly very disappointed that it did. It's not really your fault, but Western culture is so oversaturated with hyper-individualist narratives that are all about the examination of one mind and one person's personal battle with themselves, often completely ignoring the actual, tangible effects they have on other people and how they relate to them. And I'm just really sick of that. I can't help but think a story that focused more on the idea of vengeance and whether or not Arya could forgive others would have been far more interesting than yet another angsty guilt-ridden hero narrative. I found Cieran's story extremely interesting in the way it turned our perceptions of this villain figure completely upside-down, yet the whole issue is just dropped after some vague, halfhearted waffling on the subject. It's also extremely convenient that he's already beyond saving so Arya doesn't have to make any hard decisions on the matter.

I think this led to a disconnect when I learned about the criteria for the ending, also. I can see the connection between those things and dealing with grief if I squint, but none of the explanations given would be my first assumptions. I asked Myra about the wheelchair not because I wanted Arya to dwell on the past, but because I was concerned about Myra and wanted to learn her side of the story. I wanted to learn more, which I'd honestly say is the opposite of wallowing in memories? The guilt bargain thing was very unclear to me -- I assumed it was a "but thou must" thing where I had to say yes to continue. Even if I did try to metagame, most of the bargains were about helping people and being nice, which is generally a good thing -- plus isn't that what people usually have to do to put vengeful spirits to rest in a lot of stories? For the letters, like with Myra's wheelchair, I reread them because I wanted to understand the others and piece together the mystery. Adding that to the grief counter feels like it's saying Arya owns their memories, which is the exact kind of individualistic "it's all about me" idea I was talking about. And I seemed to have completely misread the choice with Cieran -- since I assumed the big theme was forgiveness, I assumed that refusing to fight meant I was forgiving him, not that I was letting go of past trauma.

The whole blame game stuff struck me as a little weird, in all honesty. Maybe I'm just a very forgiving person but I felt everyone was way too harsh on Arya. The whole thing is objectively Alex's fault first and foremost, yet Myra blames Arya for... what, not doing more to stop him? That felt really victim-blamey to me. She does have a leg to stand on in regards to how Arya abandoned everyone, but it's not like she was a parent who had people she was responsible for, she couldn't have done much anyway.

I actually think the father is the one who's least deserving of forgiveness, which made me pretty weirded out by how he got a death-equals-redemption ending. He handles Arya's confession and breakdown in probably the worst possible way by dumping all the blame on her, which is what directly leads to her snapping, running away, and causing the whole mess in the adult arc. And unlike everyone else, he seems to express absolutely zero remorse for his abuse.

And I'm a bit confused by some of the metaphysics? So Arya can subconsciously manipulate miasma because she's the chosen one (how? who does the choosing?), and she wants to punish herself so this manifests in creating Purgatory and dragging herself into it, yet also she drags tons of unrelated dudes into it too because ??? Did the miasma become so strong it got a will of its own and started reacting to unrelated peoples' grief too? And she never bothers to actively use this power except at the end where she gets empowered by Alex's ghost or is that just her imagination or...? I don't... I don't understand. And nothing seems to come of the prophecy that she's supposed to kill Isaac, unless that's supposed to be a sequel hook.

Oh, and I have to say, the whole ~was Haven actually an illusion the whole time~ thing at the very end felt really over-the-top and unnecessary. Something that big isn't something you can just drop in at the last minute, I feel, at least not without a proper explanation that gives it purpose.

In general I think the story tried to do too many things at once. It was generally well-written and I liked the Silent Hill-like atmosphere, but it lacked focus on its themes and couldn't develop them evenly, which muddled things a lot.

So in sum: I think the game is basically good, but collapsed under its own weight, and did some things better than others.

Oh, plus, you've probably already been informed of this, but just to cover my bases, you make two minor grammar mistakes: You use "it's" as a possessive (the correct form is "its", to avoid confusion with "it is"), and you don't capitalize mom/dad/father/etc. when it's used in place of a name (when common nouns are used in place of proper nouns, they're capitalized like them, I guess for consistency).

Edit: Oh wow, I only just realized the five strata represent the five stages of grief. Very clever.
The all around prick
Did you pick up the key Isaac dropped in the middle of Haven? That unlocks a drawer in his apartment.
I'm unclear on how to advance the plot after the third stratum. After the scene with Myra she just says she'll talk more tomorrow, but resting in Isaac's apartment doesn't change anything and I can't find Isaac anywhere.
No problem, thank YOU for making it :D
The all around prick
Woah. Glitch or no, beating the game at level 8 is impressive. Great job doing that! And yeah, Acid Vials and Throwing Knives are pretty strong. Regarding the negative item issue: I can't seem to fix it myself, and I haven't heard from Trihan in two months. It's sad, but it looks like that glitch is here to stay.

I'm psyched you liked it, despite the issues! Thanks so much for playing!
I just played through this game for the past few days, and I really enjoyed it. The story was very good and had some really dark moments.

It was quite challenging, but not overly so. Ever since the second or third stratum, I made certain to keep a stock of Acid Vials and Throwing Knives as I knew they would be instrumental in fighting the bosses. From around the midway point of the game I pretty much avoided all encounters and scrounged around for as many items as I could, and wound up beating the game fine at around LV8.

Though I can admit part of my success was thanks to that - item glitch lol..I wasn't sure what was going on when they started going -1, -2, etc. At first I thought maybe it was pulling uses from other copies of the same item that you had in inventory or something, from what I see on here it's apparently a glitch.

Sadly, I have absolutely no idea what causes this glitch, so I can't really offer any help in fixing it. It just seemed to occur randomly.