Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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Thought Police

by GrooveMan - Jam Entry

A neon-noir visual novel about interrogating witnesses, the latest in bio-sensor technology, and street violence.

Content warning for blood and a handful of f-words.

You play as Alexis Brambilla - a detective inspector for the richest and most technologically advanced police force in the world. You have been given access to their latest research project - an interrogation room that can give you real-time feed back on a subjects emotions.

What might you uncover when you put it to the test?

There are 3 bad endings and one true ending to find! Getting them isn't hard, but I hope you enjoy the experience, irreverent dialogue and probably unsubtle political standpoints.

Words, coding, and backgrounds by Nathan Blades. Character art by Aryn Clark. Music is from, and a brief clip from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. Sound effects are from

Made in Ren'Py. Check out for more information about the engine.

Downloads and Links




RowdyGhosts says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:37am

Pretty! Cool! I didn't expect such an involved story!

Robber says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 3:45am

gotta love this style..
pretty intense story,
would like to see a bit more depth in conversation/ interrogation options like phrases to choose from or something, even if they end up with the same story path

popogames says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:22am

Very interesting concept. Very complete story for such a short jam.

devince says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:36am

Got me to the end well done

berareu says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:37am

Nice visual novel, I managed to get all the endings! I liked the story, even if I felt that some more funny lines took away from the mood of mistery and danger of the game (at the end for example)!
Great work!

GarethIW says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 12:54pm

Wow, that was uh.... wow. A couple of amusingly unexpected twists there, I liked!

Boodog says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:38pm

Awesome job! Nice work :)

ruerob says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:05pm

Nice work. What a big story for a three day work.

blockbot says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:20pm

Not my favorite genre of game, but you all put in a lot of work, and the art is pretty awesome in most place. Nice submission!

Apr 30, 2014 @ 6:18pm

Cool story, in 72h it's pretty impressive.
Great job !

Solifuge says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 6:24pm

Hi, this is Vector from the Victory Garden team! (posting under Solifuge's account)

Wow, this is a REALLY good short VN. I think I managed to get all the endings. Great atmosphere, great characters and art, and it's the best interpretation of "beneath the surface" as subtext that I've seen thus far.

If there's one thing I'd change, it's the humorous take on the scene where the officer nearly gets killed... there's places for humor in your game, but I really think that destroys a lot of the tension you've been building up. The other thing is--as you probably know--the image of the random policeman really doesn't fit the style of the rest of your characters.

Great job. Thanks for the experience! I'd love to see a full-length VN from you guys.

GrooveMan says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 6:52pm

I have a terminal problem that I can't write serious fiction. The previous VN I wrote was extremely goofy, and I must admit, I had that weighing on my mind as I wrote this one.

The policeman was sadly a time concession. It was the last sprite required, and to ease the pressure on Aryn, I handled it. Thing is - I can't draw, so I found a functional compromise.

Nichii says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 7:21pm

Holy shet man, that was some good story :D

Mman says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:04pm

Loved the use of emotions, and the ending I got was rather funny. It would be awesome to see a full game of this.

Hob623 says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:08pm

Pretty great story. Wish there were more.

Hob623 says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:08pm

Pretty great story. Wish there was more.

mneubrand says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 5:00pm

Long story line with multiple branching points. Nicely done. This must have taken you a while.

Ragzouken says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 5:47pm

ahhh this was great! interesting to play and not too drawn out either :D

Erfeo says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 5:54pm

Very cool, although I wonder if they'll have DVD's in the future :D

TobiasW says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 6:15pm

Great art and an enjoyable story with interesting twists! And I really like your choice of music - often music from Kevin MacLeod is easily recognizable, but in this case I even had to look up where it's from. All in all, good job!

TobiasW says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 6:52pm

(And in case you're interested, I got all the endings.)

meszka says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 10:51pm

I liked the emotion-reading element. I think it made following the dialogue and choice-making more engaging. Decent story and some nice unexpected humour :)

May 3, 2014 @ 1:40am

This game was hella neat! Loved it!
I didn't expect the supernatural element to appear even if it was a setting in which one could read others' emotions with their smartphone, that was quite the pleasant twist. The beneath the surface theme has been implemented well.

Even though some might not like the extra humorous elements, I think it was ok, as I personally think detective games need a bit of tension-relieving humor.
The random police officer in another style got quite a laugh out of me as I didn't expect it.
It's also interesting how Jacek and Kayode seem to have been together. There aren't a lot of games with LGBT characters, but the representation you give them in this game is lovely.
Great Job!

cageinabird says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 7:46am

You've managed to tie the theme in to the game in quite a few ways, both in the setting and the mechanics. I don't normally play visual novels, but I found this to be well written and entertaining. Well done!

May 3, 2014 @ 4:58pm

Intriguing story. Nice work!

Cake&Code says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 5:34pm

That was really awesome! I would love to see the story fleshed out since I was left tantalizingly engrossed in the characters, I was about to bust everyone out of that building. There's a ton of really great foreshadowing with the description of the building being super high tech as well as the city having the best surveillance. This escape is going to be tough!

The characters were cool and the device that reads emotions was very well thought out and well-integrated. The chief's reaction was priceless! :)

May 4, 2014 @ 12:02am

Omg hi GrooveMan! Thanks so much for the kind and completely accurate comment!
I was looking forward to see if you made a game this LD. I'm not disappoint!!!!!!

This is ambitious and awesome, even more than Pizzapocalypse

GFM says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 12:12am

This was really good! The story was really interesting. I didn't see that coming... It was surprising (the psychics powers), but didn't feel out of place.

Caridorc says ...
May 6, 2014 @ 6:37pm

I did not have time to read it all but this game si very well done all around, graphics, sound, images and so on

DavidErosa says ...
May 8, 2014 @ 12:30pm

Wow, amazing game! I had lots of fun with the story. Will play again for the rest of the endings. Thanks!

Moosefly says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 11:54pm

Damn, didn't even learn about the psychics on my first run, but managed to make it out alive on my second. Nice art and well fleshed out story with some interesting twists and characters. Some of the choices didn't really play out like I thought they would, but that's a problem I usually have with VN:s.


JoshRespawns says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 5:54pm

Great Game mate

madalaski says ...
May 17, 2014 @ 3:48pm

Jesus man, that is an insane game. Everything about it screams awesome at me!

kibertoad says ...
May 17, 2014 @ 4:01pm

Please make a full game out of it. Like, drop all of your life stuff and start making it.

taocayo says ...
May 20, 2014 @ 12:22am

The emotion reader was a pretty good idea. It provides the same mechanic that LA Noir was using on the suspects faces in an unambiguous way.

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