"Let me tell you a story."

Originally created over the course of 10 days for the SCREAMORTALITY game jam.

HIKEBACK is a short visual novel about trust, self-sabotage, and never-ending cycles. You play as a driver passing through a mountain road late at night, when you spot a hitchhiker flagging you down up ahead. How you proceed from there determines not only the fate of you and the wide-eyed stranger you meet, but your combined fates across multiple planes of existence. In a cycle that seems to torment you for INFINITY, how long will it take for you to finally arrive at the THRESHOLD? Will you find the better ending you seek? Or will you succumb to what fate has in store for you?

--- FEATURES:

  • 15k+ words
  • A dark, surreal narrative inspired by campfire ghost stories, found footage horror films, and modern day fables
  • Branching story paths that change with every ending
  • 18 different endings (not including variants)
  • An incredible original soundtrack by Sam Tudor inspired by games like Silent Hill and Oxenfree
  • Free to play (although donations are always appreciated)
  • Blood, sweat, and tears

--- BEFORE YOU PLAY:

Due to the nature of this game, there are limited opportunities to "save" your progress. In general, whenever you've been returned to the title screen, your progress has been "saved." Additionally, the web version will remember all of the endings you have received so far even if you close the tab.

Currently, the web version of the game suffers from lower audio/visual quality as well as some minor bugs due to the limitations of the software. However, it is still stable/playable, and the desktop version can be downloaded at any time.

Additionally, there is a "true" ending to this story. When the credits roll, you'll know that you've reached the end of the game.

If you're feeling stuck at any point and would like to know how to receive a particular ending, you can view the full endings guide here. [This guide contains spoilers.]

--- CONTENT WARNINGS:

This game contains instances of:

  • Death
  • Violence
  • Unreality
  • Self-Harm
  • Gore
  • Physical & Mental Abuse
  • Some Flashing Images & Sudden, Loud Sounds
  • Disturbing Visuals & Audio
  • Strong Language
  • Religious Themes

Although this game is told from the first-person and contains surreal elements, it has absolutely no basis in reality. All characters, events, and elements contained in the narrative are entirely fictional, and any relation to real-life occurrences is purely coincidental.

If you would like to read a more detailed list of content warnings that describes each of these instances in specific terms, you can view that list here. [This list contains spoilers.]

--- CREDITS:

StatusReleased
PlatformsHTML5
Rating
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
(235 total ratings)
AuthorsCLOWN, Same Tudor
GenreVisual Novel
Made withRen'Py, Clip Studio Paint, Audacity
TagsAtmospheric, Dark, Horror, Narrative, poc-made, Psychological Horror, Ren'Py, Short, Time Travel
Average sessionAbout an hour
LanguagesEnglish
InputsKeyboard, Mouse

Download

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

HIKEBACK-1.1-win.zip 57 MB
HIKEBACK-1.1-mac.zip 40 MB
HIKEBACK-1.1-linux.zip 47 MB

Development log

Comments

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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 83 · Next page · Last page
(+1)

If I don't get to kiss this ghost, it's not a itch.io game

It's certainly an interesting visual novel. I streamed it with some other games, so I didn't read it for terribly long, but I could see it starting to go places. Thank you for making this, feel free to delete this if self promo isn't allowed.

(+1)

HOLY HELL oh my god i am just absolutely in the throes of anguish ??? I clicked out of my browser after the 5th ending, thinking it was the end until I reread the page description and saw there were 13 other endings, and oh geez, PLAYING THROUGH ALL OF THEM WAS THE BEST DECISION OMGGKDJFKJF???


I love ALL the details about this :c the religious imagery, the way each character is eventually fleshed out, and the mere concept of 'rolling back.' 

Such a good game I am ?!?!@ literally gagged I fear 


- from, your local sapphic nonbinary loser geek

(+1)

I'm destroyed in the best way. I read something awhile back that said many horror and tragedy authors don't understand that their stories are supposed to provide a "safe" fear, a "safe" sadness, a catharsis. this is a game that absolutely understands the function of its genre. in fact, I'd say it's a gold standard example of providing catharsis. I was invested, I felt fear and pain with the characters, but ultimately I am thoroughly satisfied.

(1 edit) (+1)

As soon as I thought I knew what the game was about: There was a plot twist that make me feel like I was feeling the sum of all human emotion ever to exist... THANK YOU FOR THIS GAME!!! Absolutely stunning, when I got ending 0, I was actually an absolute wreck (in a good way, or in the best way possible). Amazing job!

(1 edit) (+1)

SPOILERS AHEAD


_______________

Some of the other details I noted:
-Having “me” and “her” in lower-caps, while having “YOU” and “ME” in upper caps, to represent how small the hiker used to feel
-The fact that “hitches” (or mistakes in the time loop) is a word for mistakes, but can also be combined cleverly with “hitchhiker”

(+3)

HIKEBACK is my roman empire.  I think about it daily.  It's altered my brain chemistry. 

(1 edit) (+1)

This was probably one of the best things I've ever played on this site, like genuinely. Wish this game had a fandom

la puta madre que buen juego

the ghost are great story seem good job 

(1 edit)

I made a account just to say something about this game....it wasn't good at all IT WAS FUDGING GREAT!!
Wtf, how do people make things like this? It's beautiful, it's shocking I was confused yet as I continued to play things got put together and I like that! This is a whole other level of insane! HOW!?

{I went to see if you have anymore works and...the gay horror? Lol, what?}

(-1)

All feedback I can give is this:

(1 edit) (+1)

amazing direction in all the best ways omfg

(+1)

this game is very much going to be in my mind for the next 3 months

(+1)

Same here broski

(+2)

Ok I have a lot to say!(and an obs at the end) (a little spoiler?)

I went crazy with the details, this game's so well done that it's incredible, the sensation of a loop is real, but at the same time there were little lines and scenes that only happened after a circle ended, I found it so cool! This game rented a triplex in my head, even more at the end "StandStill" what was that conversation????jzuz!

Man I could understand why Eight was like that, that woman saying those things to him and making him go through those loops, poor thing...

This is for sure one of the best games I've ever played, so well written, so deep and with so many ramifications that you immerse yourself in the story and get fascinated, the game really hooked me and made me feel sorry for Eight.

I was really surprised when I saw that we could play with Eight, I realized that after a while running in the forest, I really didn't expect it! so cool! Eight looking for a "better ending" really got me... I think most of us are right? At least I am and I felt it in my soul.

The ending 9 made me so angry, I was already feeling so bad, I really thought he would be free... fuck "me" alright?! In the "true end" endings I prayed so hard for a happy ending... I had to take a print of them holding hands because that would have to be my only comfort for not getting what I want, at least the driver wanted to help him and they were together... But the end 13 was the one that broke me the most, omg I don't want to spoiler this so I will be quiet.

I was lost on how to get more endings, but I read the guide and understood that it also depended on the clock, this game is really like no other I have played, in every way.

Note: I got the final 5 more than three times, but even so it showed that I did not get it, and also the auto was not working ... otherwise, perfect game!

(+7)

I wish someone loved me as much as the driver loved God smh

(+2)

Dude why'd they hold hands for so long 🤨 /nbr /pos 

(+6)

Bro the driver is 100% driving either a red or a sort of dusty crocadile-green (?) truck. Dude probably goes fishing with his buds while drinking beer after church. Man HAS TO HAVE some sort of deer head on some wooden board in his house. You cannot argue with me LOOK AT HIS DESIGN THIS IS NOW MY HEADCANNON LMFAO /pos (btw love how he kills ped0s they suck so much)

(+3)

YOU GUTTED ME WITH ALL THOSE ENDINGS THEN SENT ME TO A FREE DOCTOR'S TRIP AND HANDED ME A CHOCOLATE BAR WHEN I FINALLY GOT ENDING 0

AAAAAA JAVASCRIPT FUCK YOU THERES A DAMN ERROR DUMBASS JAVASCRIPT

(+5)

This game absolutely destroyed me in the best way possible. I am sitting here, weeping from how emotional it made me. The writing and the plot are so good. I've never- and let me tell you I've played A LOT of games- had felt so emotional because of a game, yet this one struck something in me. I am genuinely at a loss of words because there is so much I want to say, so I guess I will start from the things I noticed and thought about this masterpiece at the beginning.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

At first, I thought it was just a horror game where you have a villain and a protagonist. I was so sure I would need to make the right choices to survive through the scenario, like you would do in any other basic Renpy game (nothing against such games btw, I enjoy them a lot). But then I got so invested in the plot that I didn't even notice I had unlocked the first ending. I was confused by it. I didn't get a choice in the scenario at all. And Hiker's 'I couldn't help it', left me feeling puzzled. So, I started again, but this time there were choices, and I thought, 'aha, here it is! Now I will do everything right!' Things didn't go as I had planned for them to. Hiker asked Driver whose fault it had been, and I was astounded by the 'me' answer. I thought it implied that Hiker was speaking to ME, the player. And I felt so bad because it would mean that they didn't have a choice in being the "bad" guy. The game forced them to.

I was thinking that until I got to see Hiker's point of view. I realised that maybe my theory wasn't right, which made me even more intrigued than I had already been.

I came to the 'Complex' ending and I knew what was coming when Driver started comforting Hiker. I knew it and I really didn't want it to happen. Hiker was crying, and I was crying along with them. It was devastating in a good way. I had to pace around the room because of how much it hit me, which is awesome. Then I was fully rooting for Hiker not only because they have been through hell and back, but also because I could relate to them in a way. Though Driver became scary to me.

I played and played, felt very sorry for Hiker and just wanted to give them a hug. And when I got to the 'Nurture' ending, I went to lie on the floor. At that point I loved both of the characters and just wanted them to get a happy end. After the credits, I noticed that I had more endings to unlock, but I don't think I am ready just yet. Gotta get myself together first because that was an emotional roller coaster.


Now, about the game elements!

The art style is gorgeous! I don't even know how to describe it, but it had that scary, yet comfortingly nostalgic feel to it? Loved it.

The ambience is perfect. It doesn't distract you from the plot and sets the atmosphere right. But just when you got really invested, you get jumpscared with a bright red flash and loud static noise! That managed to scare me each and every time.

The writing and the plot? Outstanding! Magical even. The writing flow was very nice. The plot felt unique and intriguing. Also loved the personalities of the characters and how they felt alive. 

Overall, I adore this game now. I have sent it to all of my friends because I couldn't contain my excitement about it. Sorry for the rambles, but I had to voice my 'thank you' in some kind of way, and I am a rambly person ha-ha. Again, THANK YOU for creating this game!

(+1)(-2)

Yeah this game is a gem you aren't the only one.

(1 edit) (+3)

That was really a unique experience! You made a very interesting approach. Hope to see more from you.

Characters and their transformations are honestly amazing. Great job!

so lets see i got ending 1 nature the ending 2 self defence then ending three kinship  ending 5 commonsence true ending for me since the guy would break up the loop if "me" the driver just ignoreed the "you" which is number8 tne i got ending 6 bitterness then ending 7 thoughtless the ending 8-1 denial ending 9 complexe ending 10 karma ending 11 break and lastly ending 13 tethered

(4 edits) (-1)

i got the tenth ending  karma and 6other endings  the karma one is the good ending for me cause well bad people don t deserve to leave even if for me even the me character is a bad person for doing that

edit....  i got tethered ending wooooow

(+1)

This was an absolutely amazing and well written game. The 13th ending made me tear up a bit.


(+1)

an absoultely phenomenal game, with incredible writing. Enjoyed it all the way throughout and couldn't stop until I finished it. Wholeheartedly recommend.

(+1)

So far this is the best endless loop game I have ever played. This game really gives off the feel of the never-ending torture of being stuck in a loop.

(+3)

I tell people all the time that this is is one of the best horror games ever made.

this was the review that made me want to try this game, and now having just played through to credits for the first time, I can wholeheartedly agree.

(+1)

Any one can tell me which browse can run this game please

(1 edit) (+1)

Wow the game amazed me that much that I wanna recommend it to the every visual lovers I knew!

(+1)

really enjoyed this. great story lines and very intriguing script

my download isnt working

(+1)

and the browser version wont work

(+1)

haven't played yet cause I've already been up all night playing other stuff but these reviews made me confident in playing so I'll probably play tomorrow!

(1 edit) (+4)

This game is literally amazingggg. Im definitely gonna play this again to try and get all the endings. So glad I played this <3


Just got all the endings. All the 8s are so sad omg. I would love to see some kind of epilogue of our boys after ending 0. I don't think I can say this enough but I absolutely love this. Can't wait to see more of your work <3

not dying is sad?

(+6)

the game keeps giving me a javascript error </3

(+1)

Is there truly a good ending for any of us...?


ALSO ABSOLUTE MAGNIFICENT, I PLAYED IT FOR 3 HOURS STRAIGHT.

(+1)

The second part of the three hour lp~ (cutted obviously). There's a third part, probably I'll put it in two days~ BUT OH THE TRAGEDY AND THEME (getting a little bit too sad at the final tick)

(+1)

AND YES THE FINAL ONE, it requires some context from the previous because it's basically an exploration of various other endings and dialogs available in the game. Not all explored but save to say I've explored a lot! It's a very excellent game, the rollback serving as a practical, mechanic, and thematic object~ The layers and layers of dialog, story, and secrets. I absolutely love it. Would love to see that sequel you're working on!

not dying is good

(1 edit) (+1)

This game is just amazing, i've got all the endings and i'm currently stuck trying to get the driver's name for the hiker; but nothing seems to work and it's so frustrating!it honestly helped me realize how the hiker must feel lolol, just going over and over trying to get something else, anything that can change it and get him his happy ending

I'm still really curious about wether or not is there a good ending for both of them, but i've taking a liking to our protags and just want them to be happy. Great job! i'll definitely look forward to your next games, keep it up!

btw, just a lil PS:is it okay with you if i ship them? just think they're kinda cute, but i won't if you're not comfortable with it

(+2)

Oh my goodness what a game! I quite enjoyed this, originally I was hoping to put the hiker in the trunk(or at least make them bump their head when they got in the front seat lol) I was so frustrated with them, but then after the rollback, I wanted to protect them, help them get their happy ending. The driver, also surprised me on many levels, especially with him being a vigilante(I think that's the word I'm looking for going after that horrible man(who totally deserved it) he was catfishing.) I was wondering if you were ever going to make another story about 8's time in the facility(?), or if there can be a way to go and give HER a smack in the back of the head or anything lol. Once again wonderful game! ^_^

I really love this game a lot the dialogue the artwork everything but I’m trying to do the last couple endings what does it mean when the clock is “glitching out” I really want to do it but its confusing can someone help me?

(+1)

binged this in an evening and have to go lie down and stare at the ceiling for a long while now thank you - absolutely AMAZING game, love LOVE the writing and the subtle variations you get after each ending while "repeating" the same stuff (like the slowburn realisation of "Oh There Is Something Very Wrong With This Man" re:the driver.........) - immediately dropkicking this game at my friends and telling them to play it. your character writing is SO delicious and i love the designs and it's all so heartwrenching yet you understand exactly why they both act the way they do,,,,,, and the LAYERS!!! SO MANY LAYERS TO THEM thank you so much for this game!!! super excited to hear there's a sequel in the works <3

(+1)

Holy shitttt. This game is incredible. Started of hating the ever-loving crap out of the biker, then hating the ever-loving crap out of the driver, then begrudgingly accepting them both. This game is amazing. 10/10

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