A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux

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Broken Minds (壊れた心) is a murder-mystery visual novel set in 90s Japan.

When lonely 20-something Noa Karada finds herself being stalked by a mysterious killer in a rabbit mask known as The Orphan, she contacts the Yamagata Private Detective Agency for help. However, as her case grows more complex, the detectives grow more distant and eccentric. Perhaps Noa would’ve been better off never letting them into her life at all…



  • Explorable environments
  • Inventive mystery-solving mechanics
  • Many choices & hidden secrets throughout
  • Six different endings
  • Over an hour of original music
  • Flowchart to help navigate routes


The free demo includes the first three scenes of the game. It does not include the extras menu.

Purchase

Buy Now$6.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $6.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Broken Minds 1 GB
Version 0.0
Player's Guide 672 kB
Broken Egg 12 MB
Broken Spiral.pdf 9 MB

Download demo

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Broken Minds Demo 841 MB

Development log

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Comments

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(+3)

I have so much GOOD to say about this game. The art is wonderful and it got better and better the longer I played. Lots of really awesome effects and sound design that give a lot of depth to what would otherwise feel a lot like other shallow 2D visual novels. The drawings are like if Serial Experiments Lain and Shiki had a baby, and they should look weird in a 3D environment but they just looked cool. The 3D parts of this game were hands down my favorite --  the 90s style shading and movement were just so nice (ESPECIALLY the puppet minigame). All around creepy and beautiful and avant garde.

The soundtrack is also incredible. It was what kept me interested when the game got slow and it was mixed so well between scenes and dialogue....I have no idea how the dev did it, but I love it. 

It is not perfect though. Like most, I think the biggest flaws are in the Logic Train. The easy games, like the lie game, puppet game, etc. are just pleasantly sensory and not at all hard. The fallacies minigame could use a lot of work; it started out fun and challenging and quickly grew contrived. The fallacies take a long time to solve and sometimes (notably more and more toward the end of the game) the correct answers would have weird logic and straight up "wait, what?" answers. Specifically, the answers would switch between requiring game world logic and then real world logic and there was no indication of how you should puzzle it out. 

When the fallacy game worked, it worked, but when it didn't, it was hard to spam through and frustrating to play fair.

(To be fair, I give HUGE props to an indie dev putting that much work into developing such a complex game when they didn't even have to. It would have taken a huge amount of work.)

Now, the plot...I'm really  not sure what's going on here. Believe me, it was extremely interesting, but things happened so quickly in the beginning, with so little explanation...and then the case became so complex because Noa was withholding information from the player but somehow expected the player to lie and deceive convincingly... and finally, at the end (at least, the ending I got) there was no explanation. If the game had no replayability, I would probably be kind of pissed, but as it is there are many more endings for me to unlock, so I'm ready to play again sometime.

I will say I wish I got more reward for my five or so hours of gameplay. I also wish it was more obvious where my decisions influenced the ending, because the only indications I saw were in the beginning when you could choose moods and evidence. You get way fewer choices like that towards the end of the game and it made the Logic Train spam at the ending seem kinda futile. 

That's about it. I really did love this game. The atmosphere alone was insane and I loved how much diverse gameplay was packed into something that was described to me as a "visual novel." It's also the first game I've enjoyed in the Racial Justice pack so far! Thanks dev for the cool game and the enormous amount of effort put into it. I hear that it's a pretty dated release at this point but I hope you're still making things!

(+1)

Thank you for the detailed review! Yeah, one of the biggest flaws is that the game is considerably less fun if you start with certain routes. In hindsight, I should have had less routes so that each one could have been more meaningful, and made the choices less obscure to begin with.

My design philosophy was to make every choice as "hidden" as possible so the player wouldn't know what was going on right away, but that made the barrier to entry way too high.

The wheel of fallacies are definitely more of a huge chore than they are fun, I highly recommend just turning on easy mode (accessible from the tutorial) — it won't show you the answer right away, only if you get frustrated and switch it on. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the game despite its many flaws! Yup, I'm still making stuff! My website has frequent updates if you're interested. Thanks again! :)

(+1)

the detective ending! may I please have another hint? I don't know how to be any more evil! </3 

(+1)

The game's pretty old at this point, so I'll just tell you the answer! Get on the "psychopath"/guilty route, don't help Yuzuki, and plan to kill the detectives :)

(+1)

Thank you! I adore your character design and dialogue and look forward to seeing more stuff in the future! (part of the series or not)

Thank you so much! :)

(+3)

Bro

Whoa nice!! Great design for her outfit!

(+1)

When I press the Get Steam key it tells me

There are no keys available at this time, try again later

Is it/was a limited chance to get one, or one will be eventually available?

(+1)

Ah — yes, unfortunately Steam has stopped giving me keys for this game after I ordered a very large amount of them to participate in some bundles. In order to get more the game would probably have to sell more copies. Thanks for letting me know, I'll update the information. :(

(+1)

That sucks. :’(

(1 edit) (+2)

Considering most of the visual novels in the bundle seem to fall a bit flat for me, I am glad to see that there still are VNs that manage to excite me. Its the story about a young girl, her parents, a bit of murder and a lot of insanity. The decisions you make here directly affect the personality your main character develops, which in turn changes how you approach the story. Its well written, intriguing, has a great style and actually makes you think in the interrogation sections where you need to lead people onto the path you need them to be on. 4/5

More Racial Justice Bundle impressions:
https://itch.io/c/915453/quick-impressions-bundle-for-racial-justice

Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! :)

(+1)

Wow, this game really exceeded my expectations! By the first ending I had gotten I was pretty confused and felt like things were very awry and I was missing a looot of context. The more I kept going the more things made sense and it was a very satisfying experience with a lot of attention to detail. The art and the music are superb! I kept getting impressed with the production value. The writing was a bit hit and miss at times but after finishing the game, the way the characters talk make much more sense.

I also wanna let you know that I read your developer commentary, since you seemed to think noone would hahah. I really appreciated all the explanations you gave and your humor.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to playing all your other games and sharing them with my friends. You deserve a lot more recognition.

I got 2 questions:
1) Do you have Discord or any place where the fans could contact you and share their experience?

2) I still haven't gotten the Detective's Secret ending! I saw your tips to everyone else but I still can't quite get it. Could you provide more info without spoiling anything? No worries if you can't!

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks so much! I really appreciate your comment. :) Congratulations on being the third person ever to read my developer commentary lol! The best way to contact me is through comments on this site, since I get emails notifying me about them, Twitter (@OddTillTheEnd) or you can send me an email at kowaretakokorodev@gmail.com !

(2 edits) (+1)

Thank you so much! I completely forgot about that option even though it showed up multiple times and I delayed picking it until the end hahah. That was stupid of me ;p You can edit your comment now to make it less spoilery if you want!

But yeah you should consider making a Discord server at some point! Would be a good community hub for your fans.

(+1)

Haha! Yes I might at some point :)

(+2)

I absolutely loved this game and I cannot highly recommend it enough. The plot twists, the story telling, the pure number of different endings and options made me go through the game over 6 times in order to see just what was in store. An aptly named game, where everyone's mind is broken and after playing it myself, so is mine.

Oh wow! Thanks so much! :)

(+1)

Any particular reason you set this in Yamagata? I went to 南校 (in the 90s, no less!), so color me curious.

(+1)

Oh wow, that's so cool!! I didn't have a particular reason, I was just looking for an under-represented prefecture of Japan. One of the things I want to do in the sequel is make the setting more Yamagata-focused. Though I did use Yamagata as reference for things like the outdoor scenes, it doesn't really feel like you're in Yamagata specifically, as those are sort of generic areas. I'd like to include various landmarks, like Yamagata station, Nanukomachi street, things like that. :)

(+1)

I recommend Mt. Zao (equally beautiful in summer, though it is more famous for skiing in winter), Yamadera (aka 立石寺), and at least one good soba shop.

Thank you so much! I'll look into including those in the game! Definitely going to have a soba shop. :)

(1 edit) (+1)

i had a lot of fun with this i think it helps that the detectives don't take themselves very seriously at all lmao they've certainly got personality ! the storytelling and characters always keep you interested! (also i may differ from others who've played this in that after a bit i think i got pretty good at the wheel of fallacies so that one became my favorite minigame in the end idk i just felt so accomplished after getting them right) i've never played a game quite like this,, i've only played it once but i'm pretty satisfied with the ending i got and noa seemed to like it too lol i do really want to check out the other endings though ! anyway i had a great time thank you

(+1)

Thanks so much! Glad you liked it — I'm surprised you liked the Wheel of Fallacies, hearing that is very much appreciated! Thanks for playing! :)

(1 edit) (+1)

awesome plots/twists. liked/loved everything except the wheel of fallacies which i solved mostly through trial and error. enabling or disabling individual minigames would make me want to play with minigames on as that one was 95% of the reason i turned off minigames. 

thanks for the game (racial bundle)! and for the light novels which i am looking forward to reading. i wound up buying your 100 detectives game because of this.


(review i posted on a forum i go to)

-------

eNjoyEd;

Broken Minds
wtf...wtf. visual novel where you, the client, help the detectives investigate murders. they are...bad at it. you have to guide them to the correct clues and deductions, or at least the ones you want them to look at.

i chose the simpler version of the game where you picked motivation/dialogue/action options as opposed to the minigames version. options for the motivation choices include bleak, psychotic, and nice aside from the other normal chat text. combinations of the two make you more of a liar, expiator(someone who makes amends), or puppet. you can be quite twisted as i followed the bad ending route and did some messed up stuff. some of the characters are definitely twisted. i liked that route as the protag just did things that were so abnormal that i had no idea how things were going to end. choosing different motivations make your thoughts and actions different (nice psychotic will do different things to the evidence than the nice expiator). even the physical text changes, with the psychotic reaction to hanging out versus the normal person's being hilarious.

after you get one ending you get a flowchart option that shows how to get to a good or bad ending though there's only a few spots where you can be psychotic/bleak/nice. there are quite a few endings though. i am definitely going to go through to see where the other outcomes land me.

edit: just tried the minigames, they are a mixed bag. after solving a run or two i tried them out and there's a puppet theater one that's fun, a build a piece of evidence one that creates the object piece by piece after you correctly describe it, pick two sections of the brain that relate to a sentence, and a horrid wheel of logic fallacies one that i hate so much i am never going to enable the minigames again.

edit 2: the "true" endings are truly crazy wtfery but the mystery's solution was pretty good!
-------

(+1)

Hey, thanks so much for the review! Yup, Wheel of Fallacies are really horrible, even I don't like playing through them at this point, so, they definitely won't be coming back for the sequel lol. Doll Theater is also my favorite. Thanks for getting Methods!! :)

(+1)

this game is so incredibly well made! i played through all the endings but one of the "true" endings is locked? is it the detective's secret ending?

(+1)

OHHHH i got it...oh my god this ending is really cool wow this game is incredibly in depth and absolutely enjoyable!!

Wow, thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it! :)

(+1)

This game looks super cool, but for some reason I can't get it to run on Mac? I followed the directions on the download page and told it to open it even though it's "from an unknown developer," but it still doesn't open, it just says it will and then sits there closed. Any idea why not? Could it be a Mojave/Catalina update issue?

Ah yes, that's a classic Mac game issue. If you right click and then select "Open" from the menu, you should be able to bypass that. If the game doesn't work, you can also try dragging it into the Applications folder. But the best way to play it is probably to launch it from within the itch app. :)

(+1)

Sorry, I must not have been clear. I did that and it still doesn't open.  I'll try the app, though, thanks!

(1 edit) (+1)

Launching it from the app instead of my computer worked! Thanks!

Sure thing! Yeah, I've been having trouble with launching Ren'Py-based games on Mac without the app myself. :(

I'm stuck on the puppet mini-game trying to show how Uzumaki dies. Reiwa leaves, he takes out the box of chocolates, eats them, throws them in the pond, and then he dies. I click submit- nothing. What am I missing?

The question is about how he dies, so pressing submit on "He eats the chocolate" should work! :)

(+1)

ugh can't believe i missed that! thanks :)

No problem — it was pretty vague, so that's on me :)

(+1)

I've been loving this game ever since I got my hands on it. The environments are amazing, the gameplay keeps me on my toes-- and there's something about the art style that has me absolutely enamored. All in all, wonderful job!

Thanks so much! :)

(+1)

I went into this thinking I could handle the puzzles.... everything has been going well, some cheats. But on what I think is the final logic train, I can’t for the life of me figure out the final puppet theatre mini. The one that is, takuma was talking about how noriko and hiroki died. Can anyone give me the juice? Thanks 

(+1)

Sure — select Noriko and Hiroki and Noa's apartment set, then click the dolls until they both are lying on the floor and have bullet holes in them. The answer to the question is "Hiroki died because he tried to save Noriko." Hope that helps!

(2 edits) (+1)

thank you for the reply! Can’t wait to get home and finish. I’ve gotta say, I haven’t played many indie games. I’m having a ton of fun with this game. Like others have said, the doll mini games can be a little challenging, especially if you have selective memory lol. But overall great experience. It’s the first game I played in the bundle, chose it randomly. Thanks for the game and reply!  

(+1)

Oh wow, well thanks for supporting the bundle!

(2 edits) (+1)

******SPOILERS*******
Don’t look at picture 

Potential bug help needed below. 











hello, sorry to bother you again. I completed the logic train, and I got the the text “with this last dissection, Takuma’s logic would falter” but after that I can’t progress. It only lets me press play after unlocking the last box and won’t progress in the story. Am I doing something wrong? 

(+1)

Ah, that's a bug. Sorry about that. I just uploaded a build that should fix it — but let me know. :)

(1 edit) (+1)

no problem! I'm kind of a noob on computer, how do i update build? Do i just have to reinstall? Thanks again for quick reply!

Edit: I see it was update on the game page. I will re-download!

(3 edits)

Just wanted to update. It is still stuck. I can activate abox, then press play, it then resets the last box. Meaning after i active and then break a box it will repeat the animation of unlocking the final box with the text repeating. Hopefully that is some useful info/makes sense. 


Edit: I also notcied another bug. If you scroll the wheel on your mouse upward consistently, it will bring you back to either the last activity or last save. It brought me back to the mini game after I completed all the boxes. 

Edit 2: it only does the scroll wheel bug after I "complete" the final box.  

(1 edit)

Hmm... I am unfortunately unable to replicate this bug after trying several times. In order to see that text, the game has to have hidden the Logic Train — so I'm not sure what's going on. The "re-unlocking" the final box you described is fine, I don't think that would be causing the issue. What you can do for a quick fix is to restart the game and pick "Amateur Sleuth" mode, then jump to a save before the final Logic Train. I will keep looking for what could be causing the bug.

The second bug isn't a bug — I want people to be able to use the scroll wheel to rollback text :)

(+1)

Also: apparently, much like most people in this comment section, I'm stuck on the first puppet minigame. Nothing I submitted seems to work; not the combination you suggested to another player (Noriko, Hiroki, Uzumaki, Takuma), not that group plus Noa, and even reloading my earlier save and trying to put on Easy mode, for some reason, just kicked me back into the puzzles - I was under the assumption it was meant to allow me to skip all the minigames?

I'm really bummed out because I was enjoying the game a lot, would love to find a solution.

(2 edits)

Ah, sorry about that. I changed it so that you only need to select Noriko, Hiroki and Uzumaki. Hmm — sorry for the confusion, but by Easy Mode do you mean what you select at the start of the Logic Train, or the "Amateur Sleuth" mode you select at the beginning of the game? The Logic Train Easy mode shows you which Wheel of Fallacies answers are correct. The Amateur Sleuth mode skips the Logic Trains. :)

(+1)

Ah, I meant the one you select at the start of Logic Train - I misunderstood it to be a 'flip to amateur sleuth at will' button, my bad there. Thanks for the help, looking forward to finishing this up soon

(+1)

Found a typo after the first set of minigames: Reiwa says "You're parents" instead of "your parents"

Thanks! Fixed :)

(+2)

I liked this! I feel like the optimal experience is going through the game once following the "Nice" mood and only then moving onto the other ones. In fact, I'd say it loses most of its purpose otherwise. The art style was good, I enjoyed the atmosphere the 3D rendered backgrounds helped give, and I enjoyed the story and ultimate solution to the mystery.

Most of my complaints come from the minigame department. The first puppet minigame in the "innocent" route (as noted in the other comments) was a bit frustrating; if you pick Takuma, then you're basically going under the assumption that we're talking about the actual murder, in which case there's no point in picking Nao. If you pick Nao, then you're talking about the fire incident, which Takuma has no place being in. The easiest fix is probably just removing both of them and sticking to the key players. 

The logic train puzzles I admittedly cheated through. I'd consider simplifying the wheel and just making options that "seem the same but aren't" just merged into one thing. Of course, I say "just" but that'd obviously take a lot of re-tweaking, so I'm really just grateful that the point to cheese through it was there.

The mood system was interesting. I appreciated the way the choice recontextualized Nao as a person. They were a nice touch. That said, some admittedly felt more satisfying than others. I'd maybe suggest tweaking the conditions for the true endings, though; I actually went through all six paths, picking the paths that each mood felt more geared towards, only to realize how the true endings were actually unlocked. In the end, that part felt a bit tedious, even when skipping through everything.

Either way, it was fun! Happy to have come across this and given it a play!

(+2)

Thanks! Yup, completely agree with your points... I will adjust that minigame soon when I update the game in May. I always cheat through them if I can help it — that's going to be a big focus in the update as well.

In retrospect it was a mistake having six "moods" — I could've cut it to four or even just the main three.

Bit too late now but if I could do it over again, that's what I'd do. :)

(+1)

I'm really loving this game so far, the visual style is fantastic and the 3D environments really appeal to me, and have a lot of cool details! I am horribly stuck on the first puppet show puzzle when defending Uzumaki, however, and I just can't figure it out. I'm going to be trying some other paths because I want to see the other parts of the story at least!

Thanks! Hmm! Yeah, that one gives me trouble too. I tracked it down, this is the answer for the first part of the puzzle: Select Noriko, Hiroki, Uzumaki, and Takuma in the Noa's Apartment set. (It's confusing because the scenario in question includes Takuma as he left the apartment.)

(+1)

Haha, I actually just figured this out myself and was coming to edit my reply! Mostly I was confused because even though Noa is in the scenario with her parents, you don't select her puppet head. Thank you so much for replying, I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of this in the next few days!

No problem. It's on my list of things to fix now, so thanks for telling me! :)

(+1)

I adore this game but even with the hints i can not get past puppet minigame and its very upsetting...

Thanks! Yeah it can be a bit tough — even for me :) My next update to the game will hopefully address that issue.

The game's been updated with a new difficulty mode that skips the Logic Trains altogether. :)

(+1)

thank you so much!

(+1)

the game is very good but the puzzles are so damm annoying difficult

(+1)

Thanks! You'll be glad to hear I'm working on a fix for that... not sure when I'll get to it but it's in the works! :)

(+1)

The game's been updated with a new difficulty mode that skips the Logic Trains altogether. :)

(+1)

Thank you i will try to play this game again this week.

(+2)

I completely scraped every bit of content from this game! As well as the light novels. The game immersed me greatly and the characters connected to me, even with all their negative traits. When I saw the game art, I knew I had to play it. Going through all the 6 routes was not painful at all, and solving the mini-games made me feel powerful hehe. Delving a little into spoiler territory,

I am curious as to how Noa got all of that money, since it was revealed in the second novel that she lied about being a manicurist. She couldn’t be mooching off her parents as it was quite the opposite, haha.

This game undoubtedly deserves more recognition, especially with all the clear hard work put into it. The story, characters, visuals and OST were simply amazing! Keep up the good work, dev! Looking forward to Broken Spirits. ^^

(+1)

Thank you so much! That's so nice to hear :) An immersive experience is exactly what I was going for, so that's awesome! Hmm, it's true I didn't explain that — mostly because it completely slipped by me! Can't win 'em all. Let's just say it has something to do with Uzumaki and his habit of hiding pachinko tokens everywhere... Thanks again! :)

(+1)

Ah, that explanation did not come to my mind while I was wondering about that haha You deserve a bog thanks as well, dev! I really liked my experience with this game. ^^

(+3)

I played for most of the day today, haha. Unfortunately I can't figure out that one ending with the detective's secrets, but overall the art and the story was really fun to experience; even multiple times in a row.

(+1)

Thanks so much! That's great to hear. I hope the mini-games weren't too frustrating. :)

If you make choices that are as evil as possible, you will discover the detective's secret. :)

(+1)

Hmmm...

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-13/body-parts-harvesting-hinders-...

(+2)

I'm starting a let's play series for Broken Minds!

Awesome! Thanks so much. I'm enjoying it a lot. :)

(+3)

Loved the demo. Your visual style is just amazing, and the way the environments give a sense of being grounded in a physical space is so uncommon for a visual novel. Really looking forward to playing the rest of the game.

Thanks! That was definitely one of the advantages of rendering so many backgrounds. Good to know it was worth it. :)