A downloadable visual novel for Windows, macOS, and Linux

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The first game in the Methods series.

One hundred detectives compete against each other in a mysterious competition, solving mysteries created by criminal masterminds.

The detective who wins receives one million dollars and the opportunity of a lifetime. If a criminal wins, however, they will also receive a million dollars... and parole, no matter the severity of their crime.

  • Over 25 interactive crime scenes

  • CG, sprite and background galleries

  • Bios

  • Music room

  • Character interviews

  • Behind-the-scenes

  • Original soundtrack

  • Chinese translation
  • Vignettes

The free demo contains the first ten chapters of the game. It does not contain the Interviews, Sprite Gallery, Background Gallery, Mystery Replay, Mystery Skipping, or Behind-The-Scenes features.


Buy Now$19.99 USD or more

In order to download this visual novel you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $19.99 USD. Your purchase comes with a Steam key. You will get access to the following files:

Methods 1 GB
Version 85

Download demo

Methods DEMO 628 MB
Version 6
The Fascinations of Lord Loomy (PDF) 12 MB
Methods Press Kit.zip 225 MB

Development log

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Dear Mr / Mrs,

I am a student in Translation from the University of Mons in Belgium. I recently discovered your game entitled Methods, and I would like to use it for my thesis. Indeed, my thesis will consist on translating and localising a videogame from English to French, which is my mother tongue. Thus, I would like to ask you your permission to work on this game. I will use it only for an academic purpose, which means that I do not intend to commercialise it in any way. Unfortunately, I can not find any word count for this game and I need it to confirm that it fits the instructions that I got.

I hope this message will find you well, and I hope to get your answer and approval soon.

Best regards,

Capucin Cousin

Hello! You are  welcome to translate the game, I would be honored! It is pretty long, however, at 156k words. If you do decide to translate it, I would also be interested in officially implementing your translation if that would be okay. So let me know! :)


Thank you very much for the word count and for your permission! :D I would be pleased if you used my translation officially! However for now on, my thesis requires me to translate around 25k words, but it would be a pleasure to continue the translation work later on, according to the time it will take.

Alright, no worries! Thanks for reaching out! :)


Here is my email adress if we need further contact: 201480@umons.ac.be 

I would like to know if you could/would send me the script?


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Methods has been on my radar ever since I played (and loved) Prison of Lies and I'm so glad I finally got around the playing it!! I really can't give this game enough praise. From the art to the music to the gameplay everything is so jam-packed with charm and creativity. It's a game that keeps you guessing and not just about the story; every time I began to think the detective competition was getting a bit formulaic it introduced some new mechanic or concept. It's genuinely impressive how many different well-executed ideas LockedOn managed to fit into a single, relatively short game. 

And of course the character writing and sense of humor are top-notch, like I genuinely laughed out loud regularly. My favorite characters are Detective 7XX, Nell, Slakes, Killersoul... the list goes on! Admittedly the POV-switching was a bit jarring at first, but it's a clever way to introduce such a large cast and let you see the game from several different perspectives (though a part of me wishes we spent a bit more time with some characters). The extras menu is also very extensive and lots of fun to go through. 

Overall Methods definitely lived up to my expectations. I got it on sale but I think it's well worth the $20 and I'm excited to try out the Canada Files! 

Wow, that is so sweet of you! Thank you very much, I'm so glad you enjoyed the game! :)


I played this game when it first came out(version 1.0) 2 years ago and got this, and broken minds for free during the covid sale. I absolutely adored both of these games and prison of lies, the way the stories are written are so complex and amazing and the game mechanics make it so much more interactive and fun. Every character in these games stand out as their own, even in a cast of maybe 60 to 70 characters. I can't help but love every character because even side characters who are barely used still seemed to have a lot of thought put into them and felt very fleshed out.  I have a lot of personal favorites but one detective I hope we see more of is Detective Noose. I'm also a HUGE fan of Detective Selete and how her dialogue was written in her chapter. One of my favorite parts of your writing is how you are able to write different perspectives that perfectly reflect the characters. I still have my original Methods save on my old computer that I replay maybe twice every year. I decided to revisit LockedOn to check out any new projects you might've been working on and I was so excited to see the new content released for Methods, the prequel announcement, and the sequel announcements for Methods and broken minds. I will definitely keep tabs on all the new games being worked on in the coming years. Unfortunately with receiving games for free or through bundles it can be pretty complicated to access the new downloads or added content. On the main game page there is a header that says you own this visual novel with a download button below it. The download button above is available but the place where you would download the game from normally is locked behind the paywall still. (I wasn't able to download the game just now through the page the above button linked to but after using the itch.io app instead it worked fine, definitely just other itch.io problem in general.) This isn't a huge problem as I can still access the game but when trying to download the Red July story DLC the paywall is still there and it doesn't register like I own the main game. Should I put in a ticket to Itch.io through 'I already own this game' to fix this? It's okay if there isn't a work around through Itch.io or to access the DLC I am more that happy enough with the main game but it would still be nice to play through the new chapters. I don't know if anyone else has had a problem with this, Itch.io can be pretty buggy with paid games. When I first got the game I thought that Methods: the detective competition was one of the best games I had ever played. It was so rich with content and I can't stress enough how put together this game is from the solid memorable art style, screen format, really fun and constantly changing gameplay mechanics, soundtrack, amazingly written story, in-depth characters, and just the amount of love I can see that was put into the game. I still think it is probably one of the best, and most entertaining games I'll ever get to play. It's one of those games where you can keep coming back to it and you'll enjoy even more than the last time you played. I am such a huge fan of your work and I am so glad I decided to get Methods and broken minds 2 years ago. I can't wait to see the new projects you are working on and how much your work has improved over the years. So sorry if this was a lot! A lot of this would have probably been better sent over email or dm but comments are the next best thing


Oh my god, well first of all thank you so much! I really appreciate your comment! Version 1.0 feels like so long ago now haha, it's nice to hear from you again! Yeah, the way itch.io handles paid games that have been free in the past is definitely not ideal, and I ran into a similar issue before. I'm happy to simply give you a download key: https://lockedon.itch.io/methods/download/9IsUbx4U94HswczfYqdjKke0VNx6iyrRDWSmFN... I hope that helps you access the DLC content — let me know if some devious person grabbed it before you could, in which case I'll send another one to you through email. If the key doesn't help, I can also just send you the game with a google drive link or something. I'll get it to you somehow! ;) Anyway, thanks again and sorry about the bugs with itch!


I know it's been a few days, life has been pretty busy, so sorry about that! I did get the key and it worked fine! I was able to access the DLC no problem!! thank you so much!

Oh great! Glad it worked! ;)


Hi there ! All your games and projects look very cool ! I wanted to give it a try with Methods demo, if I plan on buying it afterwards will my save be imported ? Thanks !


Thank you! Unfortunately not, but the "unlock all chapters feature" will let you resume playing where you left off without much trouble. :)


Hi, I bought the game on Steam and it's been an amazing experience, with all the plot twists and the endearing characters (as annoying as 7something-something is at the beginning, I ended up being quite fond of him, especially in the last chapter). But I've found something that looks like a bug in the extra chapter with R.J. When this puzzle appears:

When I click on the keyhole to submit my answer, it does nothing. So I'm completely stuck and can't do anything else in the game. Am I doing something wrong?

Anyway, congrats on the amazing job with this VN! I can't recommend it enough.

Hello! Thanks so much! That's really nice of you. No bug there I think —keep looking for the right answer by clicking the key head/key blade. I could stand to add a message there that prompts you to keep searching so you know you haven't found the right answer though. :)


Ah, okay! I thought if the answer was wrong, the character would say something like "Is that the right answer?", like in the previous puzzles XDD Thank you  very much, I'll keep trying then!

Haha, sure thing! :)


This game is absolutely amazing. As an aspiring writer/developer with a passion for mysteries this just touched all the right spots, and the behind-the-scenes extras are hitting me on a personal level - thanks for sharing the wisdom. It's not often I get to say this but this game genuinely gave me hope. I have some projects to work on now, and you have a new fan. Thank you so much.

Thanks so much! That's great to hear! I'm glad you found the behind the scenes useful. Good luck with your projects! :)


I played this game and finished it within the span of a few days, I was so hooked on it. I'm a huge fan of visual novels already, and this is, without a doubt, one of the best! I can only hope this game will continue to get the recognition it deserves!

Wow! Thanks so much!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)


This is the best game I have ever played! LOOOOOOOOVE the plots and characters. It's just like the game I have ever imagined and I will definitely recommend it to my friends who interested in VN! 

Just for curious, what game engine u used for Methods? since I'm developing my game with Unity and I want to try some others.  

Thanks so much!! :) This game was developed in Ren'Py, it's a free open source engine that's best suited for visual novels. The learning curve isn't too bad and there's a support forum (Lemmasoft Forum) which is a fantastic resource full of people who are happy to help if you get stuck. Good luck with your game! :)


Thanks!!! :)

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Methods is my first LockedOn game and VN. It's fun to play a game which engages my intellect rather than focusing on the speed of execution. But the general atmosphere is what keeps me engaged. The mood music, the funny character names, and the lighthearted banter are consistent and enjoyable, the art is interesting rather than bland.

I immerse myself in the game, relax and forget all my troubles for awhile. Thanks, LockedOn!

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoy it :)


I keep trying to install the game but 'failed-network error' and 'failed-forbidden' keep popping up when ever i try. I already restarted chrome and cleared my cache. is there anything i could do to get it to download?


Hello! It seems like a problem with Chrome. Here's what I found:

"The thing which causes almost all Chrome downloads to fail is usually your antivirus which should either be replaced, especially if you are using a free version. The alternative is to disable HTTP or Port checking on the antivirus to allow downloads to go through."

If that doesn't work, you could try using the itch app, or a different browser. Hope that helps! :)


It did end up working! Thank you so much!


Awesome! :)


This is literally one of my all time favorite games. I recommend it to everyone who is into mysteries and a fleshed out diverse cast. On another note, if you need a Turkish translator in the future  I would be more than happy to do the job :) Also when I was playing it seemed a bit long but now that I am finished im aching for more!


Wow, thank you!! I will keep you in mind for sure :)


Hello! This game has been a blast so far and I'm been enjoying every moment of it. I seem to encounter a few problems, however:

-Chapter 23's Trigger Chain's submit button doesn't seem to do anything, or am I misunderstanding how the Trigger Chain mechanic works? I've tried several combinations and none seem to progress in any way.

-The Gallery is inaccessible, from either the main menu or the story. Not a major problem, but something I'd like to mention.

Other than that, though, it's working pretty smoothly. This is the first game of yours that I've played, and I'll also check out your other games as well.

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Thanks! Yes, the Trigger Chain mechanic will be changed in a coming update as it's currently too confusing. Submit will activate once the right words are selected. For now, here's the answer since it's really hard to get past.

First Trigger Chain: "stage two" "round four" "mystery" "solution"

Highlight words for the second Trigger Chain: "doctor" "kips" "chemical" "liquid" "poisons" "olfactory"

Good news! I managed to replicate the bug with the Gallery and I've hopefully fixed it. That will be coming in the next update. :)


Hi! This game looks intresting but I'd like to ask: are there any applicable trigger warnings beyond murder and death?

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Well there's also a reference to drug use but it's pretty mild. Some of the murders get pretty gruesome, but they take place in a fictionalized context since it's mannequins being set up to look like they've been murdered. And parts of the game are about prisons and the inhumane treatment of prisoners, but it's more about the broader concept and not sensational, explicit, or overly gratuitous. That's all I can think of. Overall, it's a pretty lighthearted game. Hope that helps!


How do you update the game? It seems it keeps giving me error when I try to keep playing the updates :(


Hmm, that's weird... Is it an error within the game, like a Ren'Py error, an error from your computer, or from itch? You may need to uninstall, then reinstall the entire game, which can be done easily within the itch app, or if you aren't using the app, delete the game file and re-download it. (Your save data is in a different folder, so your progress should be saved). Let me know if that works!


Thanks a lot for answering! Well, I downloaded release XX when it was released but as I tried to update to number XXI it didn't work properly at the time (it gave error when I tried to advance the chapter and couldn't solve it and I didn't want to bother you) so in any case I decided to wait until the game was fully finished to keep playing  :) Buuut time has passed and given the current situation I wanted to keep going... Right now it only stops working when I click on the gallery (with or without actual saves on the Renpy folder). It doesn't happen anywhere else I think? But I'm a bit afraid it will end up freezing if I keep playing the game or on the next release so I don't know if I should try or keep waiting(?).  This is the Traceback:


I'm sorry, but an uncaught exception occurred.

While running game code:
  File "renpy/common/00start.rpy", line 212, in script call
    call _load_reload_game from _call__load_reload_game_1
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 456, in script
    python hide:
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 456, in <module>
    python hide:
  File "renpy/common/00keymap.rpy", line 466, in _execute_python_hide
Exception: Couldn't find a place to stop rolling back. Perhaps the script changed in an incompatible way?


I have deleted and reinstalled the game a couple times in different folders and I have started anew and apparently only the gallery is not working. Given it seems I can keep advancing the chapter I guess I'll try to play to see if it fails (?). Thanks anyway for your answer and your fantastic work! I don't know how the story is going nowadays, but it was amazing to the point I reached and I have been looking forward to continue :) 


Thanks! :) I see... let me know if it crashes when you continue playing. If it does, and the game is completely unplayable, there's the "nuclear" option — not only deleting the saves in the game's folder, but the persistent data as well. You can find it here:



Mac OS X




Though that will wipe out all progress in terms of bios, interviews, & gallery images, with the "unlock chapters" feature in the Options menu you can gain access to every chapter, and proceed from where you left off without having to replay fifty chapters. It seems like it may be caused by incompatible autosaves — but I'm not sure, so even doing this might not solve the issue... :(

Thanks for letting me know — it's no trouble at all. I hope the rest of your experience goes smoothly. :)


This is a short(ish) review for those interested in Methods. A full disclosure, I've followed LockedOn for awhile, but I'll try to do my best to be neutral - and avoid spoilers! 

On it's face, Methods is a story about detectives (and criminals!) competing for a cash prize - or freedom. Though it includes a heaping helping of mystery, the force of the story are the characters, interactions, and dialogue. If you've already experienced a LockedOn piece, you'll probably already know if it's for you.

For those new to the author, though, you can expect clever interactions, odd asides, and the occasional poignant moment. Methods is a mostly silly story, though that arguably makes the dramatic and tense moments more effective. 

The narrative switches regularly, and if you're the sort of reader that doesn't like stories that change perspective frequently, it may be a bit of a struggle. On the flipside, if you enjoy seeing things from a different angle, the changes in perspective are really well-done. Speaking from a personal note, the Game Master segments were near the bottom rung, and they're one of the pieces of the story I look forward to most, now.

Despite several jokes in-story about how the detectives/cast don't have time to stand out, I'd say that especially the focus cast stands out well. Further, as a LockedOn work, there is a lot of supplementary material, too. Bios will be familiar to anyone who's played Umineko or Higurashi, but also come with statistics charts that are usually worth a chuckle.

One of the reasons I feel the cast works so well, besides recognisable design and engaging dialogue, however, are the interviews. Though often funny, some of these provide a completely different take on the cast or their actions. To try to encapsulate how interesting they are to me, it's a bit like the difference between seeing someone's pre-recorded performance...

Then catching them behind the scenes, talking candidly with their staff.

With the shift in perpsectives, methods, and motivations, I feel like you could give the story a try whether you're interested in following the story for the story, or just outfoxing the cast -as there are mysteries, several in fact! But I'd strongly recommend Methods for anyone who enjoys humourous VN, mysteries-as-a-setting, or just likes seeing unusual characters play off of one another.


Also, for those looking for a bullet list of things that might appeal to you about it, here are some pros.

  • The music is incredible. This is true of LockedOn games in general, but the jazzy, capricious score is just - really enjoyable.
  • Some of the themes present in other works, most notably Prison of Lies, are present. If you like those, I think you'll enjoy Methods.
  • Each character's art and personality stand out. It's very easy to let style override dialogue, but that doesn't happen here.
  • Humour is definitely subjective, but it's a VERY funny game, especially if you share the sense of humour. If you like peculiar, off-the-wall jokes that have punchlines several chapters on... You almost certainly do.
  • You'll almost certainly have a few characters that really make you smile.

And here are some counterpoints to consider:

  • The full novel will be pretty long. If VN aren't your thing, it may be harder to justify; but I think you'll also find it's a good gateway into Visual Novels.
  • You're going to need to keep track of things. Several of my guesses were wrong because of reader error, for example. May be a plus, if you like scheming/matching wits with the characters.
  • Waiting for new releases is hard, even when they're reliably weekly! Fortunately, the developer is a golden standard of consistency. But for those who want a complete product, waiting might be wise - though you will be paying more.

how many chapters will there be?


Once I’m done there will be 100 chapters. :)


Nice interface. Good job!


Thanks! :)


I always love detective, crime scene games. This game similar to the favous Camen San Diego from the 1980s if I remember correctly.




just started playing it. loving it already 


Awesome!! Thanks for playing!




This is a great game! I found you after playing of Prison of Lies and I'm really enjoying the deductions and the little gimmicks. And 772/773. He's the funniest guy.


Haha thanks! I appreciate it! :)


Wow-- in one month, you've gotten so far and it's amazing! I really love the 777 and Nell's interactions. And I also like Haney. Those screens when you switch to a new chapter are awesome too; and while I don't listen to the music too much due to habit, I'm really into what I have heard. I think you're doing great! (And Killersoul is a sweetie minus the whole... crime thing xD)

Thank you so much! :) Having a weekly deadline has really helped me meet my goals. Thanks for checking back in on the game! :)

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This may be a small bug but I can't access other chapters-- just Chapter 23. Also the minigame is really a stumper-- I figured it'd be stage two and round four and the thing at the end, but apparently I was mistaken.

Mellie is very quickly becoming my favorite Gamemaster because she's silly and also very lethargic and honestly I identify with that. 

(also poor 778... I hope he reunites with Nell soon. He's taking it pretty hard, haha.)

Hmm.. that does sound like a bug. You mean Chapters 1 through 22 are all hidden or something, or do you mean Chapters 24 and 25 are hidden? In the latter's case, getting to the end of Chapter 23 will unlock Chapter 24, which will unlock 25.

As for the minigame: apparently the design is much more confusing than I thought! Here's a hint that I think will help: you can select more than one word from each column. Just select all the words that apply. :)


I loved the game, it has a great concept and really interesting story telling! I played through chapter 1 and 2 and can't wait to play more of it :)

P.S~ If anyone wants to see the gameplay they can here:


Wow, that's awesome!! Thank you so much!


I love the art style in the game and the music really set the mood, I truly felt like a detective! How long have you been working on this game? :D

I don't know if you've heard of Game Development World Championship before (gdwc2019) but it's a competition for indie game developers where they can submit their games and it's free! It's great if you want some more visibility for the game and it only takes a couple of minutes to join :)


Thanks! I first started it four years ago, but I stopped development for a really long time. I recently went in and revised the first three chapters, made all the UI, and added two new chapters and a completely new soundtrack. :)

I have! I will submit it soon, I just need to make a gameplay video .


JUST when I needed a pick-me-up, no kidding?! And the premise, I'm already diggin' it! Now the question (my little grey cells ask of me) - could it be that... Not everyone present... Is just a detective?

Heh, downloading right now.  Also, I know I've said this before, but it astounds me how well you can juggle projects.  More after I've actually played Release I!


Haha, enjoy :)


Gonna wait awhile (and mess around a bit) before hitting with my opening thoughts, but - I am! :D



Figure I've waited long enough, and there's enough of a buffer here so that people won't scroll down and get spoiled, even if just for the first chapters.

I'll be honest, the concept alone had my interest. But I just dig the execution, especially the way the partners rotate out. Obviously, nobody has more intellectual chops than Hackett - well, uh, some people might have more intellectual chops than Hackett... Most people...

But he can paint a scene like a melting gelatin animal on the backburner of a freighter truck.  (I tried.)

The elements are really well-integrated together; I especially like the biography system. But, with there being one for the Greeter... Could it be... That she's more than she appears?


(He's gonna die. I feel like he hit at least twenty death flags this one run...)

Speaking of death flags, what was up with that look Coles gave the good(?) detective? Hrmn. HMN. I, myself, having many keen(??) instincts, can't help but wonder if... Coles was faking faking his ability to think of an answer. I mean, his intellect is listed as being so very high! Though, er, with that wit score...

Anyway, I don't trust him. Even if everyone in this game has really great taste in glasses, hats, headwear and general accessories. (Lucha-who-is-definitely-not-Spidermouth and Rows being two of my standouts. In fact, could it be that Rows and Sparks deserve a notch more likeability? Isn't that true of everyone?! My deductions are just off the chart, this morning!)

Speaking of which...  I deduce that Mouse...
I don't know how to put it, but his description, the bottom-right section of his graph...

My heart hurts. Could it be that this is what it truly feels to be a mystery fan... In a mystery...

All right, enough about the cast - I might follow-up with a bit on the Game-Masters later, or how I think Hackett'd be well-served by actually listening to George, his perfume being, strong or no, but - gameplay.

I really like that you can't fail these (early) puzzles unless you're actively trying to torpedo them. Whether you keep that for the future  or not, it's a great way to show off the partner detective and their thought process.

The puzzles themselves were very fun. The second one I got the moment I heard Mr. Ant and Mr. Disco, but that's because I've got a twisty mind or something. Gahaha!

Pretty much everything felt smooth; this might be your smoothest game yet. I stated it before, but the integration of the sound test, bios, everything just felt great. And I freakin' loved the title cards.

Since it seems - so far - to be mostly a linear novel, I felt the pacing was good, too. Nothing felt bogged down or drawn out. And I was VERY interested in what served as the ending point here... Actually being able to see some other people's handles on the screen may or may not be important, but it's a really cool little detail.

As you can probably tell, I enjoyed the hell out of it, definitely looking forward to more! One question for you, I've noticed I have the ability to leave reviews, here. Mind if I leave one now, or do you want me to wait until the conclusion?

Finally, 'cause it's tradition - favourite track is currently stuck between Sauntering Around and Investigatory Conjecture.


Lol I may have been a bit unfair to Mouse there. When he gets nervous his intelligence drops haha. Glad you liked the multiple choice puzzle thing, I was bit worried it'd be stale since it's a pretty overdone mechanic. I'll be shaking it up a bit going forward for sure.

Good guess about the Greeter. I'll say no more :)

Thanks for the feedback! I'm shocked you have more to say for a review, but that'd be awesome, of course! You might want to wait until Release II, since it has a surprise that's relevant going forward, and sort of illustrates the entire vision of the type of story this is. ;)

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Haha, my friend - it's only overdone when it's done poorly - something you don't need to worry about. :)
I know you'll introduce other stuff too, thinking of interesting twists - whether in dialogue, or presentation - seems to be your milieu.  :D

But yeah, I could talk about it for some time; left a (slightly) verbose review, but one that could easily be updated as the story progresses and new perspectives are revealed.

Now, I've got no clue what that change'll be, but I do have quite a few guesses, ranging from the plausible to the mad.

My free time evapourated (more's the pity, I was gonna try for a jam, myself!), but rest assured that I'll be eagerly waiting for Release II! :)

p.s. and well that may be true re: Mouse, it's also why Hackett and Mouse SOLVING THE CASE was... pretty dang great


OMG. Looking forward to this!


Thanks! :)