Blue Thistle Ghosts . . .

. . . is a game about a long-haul trucker named Jo, who's just hoping to bake some pumpkin bread and meet a ghost. Standard stuff, y'know?

The game has a branching story path, with four possible endings and eight achievements to collect throughout, which all together clock in at just under 4k words. A guide to unlocking all endings and achievements is available in the devlog, here!

Downloads of the game come in a ZIP also containing the pivotal pumpkin bread recipe (which you can also download separately & enjoy - we had fun developing it!). Blue Thistle Ghosts is also available to play in-browser, but can experience significant lag and loadtimes - we definitely recommend downloading for the best experience.

Blue Thistle Ghosts was made for the 4th annual Spooktober Visual Novel Jam - if you like it, spread the word!


Other Features

This game also has SAVE, LOAD, and FAST-FORWARD options, as well as further audio and text speed configuration settings which can be changed whenever there's text on the screen.

There's no Back option, though scrolling while in-game will bring up a BACKLOG of the most recent lines.


Credits

Blue Thistle Ghosts was developed by the FeatherBoy team; namely Benjamin Feinstein as sole developer, responsible for writing, art, and coding, as well a few key music tracks (including Title Theme, Summoning Performance, Woodwose, and additional tracks in remixes). Other music in the game is remixed from Public Domain / Creative Commons sources; full copyright information can be found by clicking the titles or by following the links in the game's readme.txt.

Beaconsfield Village Stomp; His Last Share of the Stars; The Ants Built a City on His Chest - Doctor Turtle | Thingamajig - Jason Shaw | Lesicia - Kai Engel | Early Morning Self Reflection; A Quiet Day; Happy Bop; Looking Within - Kirk Osamayo

Content Warnings

This game contains:

  • Mild swearing
  • Tangential discussions of death
  • A few good-natured ghosts


Blue Thistle Ghosts was created using TyranoBuilder.


StatusReleased
PlatformsWindows, Linux, HTML5
Rating
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(7 total ratings)
AuthorFeatherBoy
GenreVisual Novel
Made withTyranoBuilder
Tagsautumn, country, Forest, Ghosts, guitar, Halloween, Short, spirits, TyranoBuilder

Download

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Blue Thistle Ghosts - Windows ZIP 163 MB
Blue Thistle Ghosts - Linux ZIP 168 MB
Blue Thistle Ghosts - Marta's Salt and Malt Pumpkin Bread Recipe 602 kB

Development log

Comments

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I've only unlocked two endings so far, and normally I would wait until I've played through them all, but... Not this time. I need to throw relentless praise in your direction, because it's more than deserved. It's been a while since a story has touched me with the softness and loneliness that come with languished grief. I absolutely loved experiencing Jo's story, and it will stick with me for some time. 

 On the surface, this seems like a simple story, but there is so much depth hidden underneath the pastoral charm. So many wonderful details that I only discovered on my second playthrough when I stopped, slowed down, and breathed in the atmosphere--like the blue thistles leading my path through the forest all along. I thought I would need to remember the choices, but the answers I needed were there all along, almost like Marta herself was guiding me.

Absolutely well done. Thank you for sharing. <3

Thank you so much for the kind words - it really means a lot to hear!

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Beautiful game and comforting atmosphere. I love the art style and the songs! The characters are interesting and the game really has a good vibe

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Such a cute and sweet little game!! I really enjoyed it! It really put me in the perfect Halloween mood <3

Unfortunately, when I recorded it didn't record the game audio for some reason ;-; But I really, really loved the little guitar session in the woods!
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Thanks so much!! I'm glad you enjoyed, and enjoyed the music - always really satisfying to see others playing! :)

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Of course!! It was a joy to play 😊

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I enjoyed this SpooktoberVN jam entry immensely, because it fully captures the Halloween spirit with a heartfelt emotional tale on top of it! Personally I find a jam game more special when a dev goes for extra miles to stick to the theme.

It's an extremely well-executed package with every single part working perfectly with each other: the aesthetics (cute character sprites, great colour palettes with the orange&purple twilight themes, and night themes to show the passing of time), lovely guitar music and sound design, and a well-written story with fitting character events that it truly feels like a road trip (you can miss out encountering the kids for example, and there's stuff like the pumpkin decoration bonus interaction, depending on your choices).

It's fun to try to unlock all achievements, but I wish there's also a description on the candies on whether they are considered more sweet/salted, because I always get Marta's ending and I haven't seen Philip's or Tammy's yet.

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Thanks for the kind words, and the feedback! Regarding the candies - that's a really good point actually!! I've added a section on what snacks count for what to the guide post here, which should hopefully help deal with that - thanks for bringing it up! :)

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Thanks for the quick response! I was looking forward to see the other ghosts and you really delivered. Tammy's ending especially hits superhard. It has that nice what-if bittersweet feeling if Jo did not reunite with Marta in this evening, but somehow still feeling very 'right' or 'canonical': that he takes a longer journey to find his wife, and in the meantime helps a different ghost through giving her a lift, which is very fulfilling thematically (with his role as a truck driver).

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So the combination of me being easily moved by this type of aesthetic and me being in a somewhat emotional mood today (I guess??) got me incredibly weepy when I played this. And it probably doesn't help that I'm now sitting here just listening to the title screen music, which is continuing to send fuzzy-sad tingles up and down my heart LOLOL

This was an absolutely adorable, sweetly poignant, full-of-feels little game. Everything about it feels like it was made specifically to dig its way into my heart and make me feel SO MANY THINGS. I'm in love with the sketchy, almost crayon-y look of the art and illustrations. And the little touches of animation with the breeze and the match lighting up were really lovely and well done.

MY HEART SILENTLY WEEPS FOR JO. I loved his sweet interactions with everyone he met. And also just his commentary of the different situations he finds himself in. I enjoyed how little things you'd do could change different outcomes, like buying the pumpkin or buying the candy, etc. I still need to keep trying different combinations (have played through it twice so far) so I can try to find all the other little things you can do and the other endings.

The music, GOD. The music definitely added greatly to my weepy feels, I think. No lie, when Jo sat down in the clearing and started playing the song, my eyes teared up. It was beautifully done.

Just a positively lovely and sweet and homey little game that left me so full of feels afterwards! I really really enjoyed this!! 🥺💕

(Also I'm gonna have to give that pumpkin bread recipe a try!!!)

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Thank you so much for the kind words!!! A lot was put into some of those music tracks, so it's super great to hear it resonated with you! :) And Jo's sit-down-and-play scene too - that was actually a last-minute scramble of an addition, so it's gratifying to hear that it paid off!

Hope you enjoy the pumpkin bread too if you make it! 🎃

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Ah, man, this gave me some really warm fuzzies :3 Just the whole atmosphere with the art style and the music felt very nostalgic. Kinda reminded me of back in the day when my family used to gather for late-night BBQs and my uncle would play his guitar.

I really enjoyed the changing backgrounds for the sun going down, and I thought it looked beautiful once I actually made it to the clearing. On my first playthrough, I got the Woodwose's ending, which I thought was really sweet :3 I'm gonna follow the guide you've got up on your page tomorrow though so I can see the other endings! For now though, off to bed while I still have those fuzzies, haha. It was such a good one to end the night on cos I'm all happy and relaxed now ^-^

Oh, and I downloaded the recipe too. It sounds so goooood x3 I really wanna try and make it, but I don't know if I'd be able to afford the ingredients, and I'm not a particularly competent baker >.< We shall see though! It's such a cool thing to include :3

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Thank you so much, it means a ton!! Those warm fuzzies are definitely some of the vibes we tried to capture - so glad to hear it was able to bring up some good memories for you too :)

& hope you enjoy the recipe if you try! Canned pumpkin and ovaltine malt powder sometimes go on sale for real cheap this time of year, and any sort of nut will do as substitute in a pinch - even just oatmeal works well for the same crispy effect, though it's little easier to burn by mistake than nuts are!

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Yeah, it was super cosy and wholesome :3 And it was such a surprise that it hit me the way it did considering the fact that Jo and the general setting of the story are pretty far from what my life is like, haha. I was trying to put my finger on what might've made it stir those sorts of feelings, and I think it might be a mixture of the music (especially the Summoning Performance) and the sun setting in the countryside. It's probably more than that though!

It's always nice to see Tyranobuilder games too because that was the software I started out my VN-making journey with :3 Just makes a nice change from renpy. 

Well, I might enlist my dad's help and see if we can make it with a team effort, haha. Our old oven recently died though, and the new one we got to replace it seems to cook everything a lot faster, so I fear we may end up with some rather blackened bread >.< We cooked pizzas last night, and within 10 mins, they were burned to a crisp xD

PS. Reading the game page also taught me a new word! "Tangential" so that's a nice bonus :3