Muen is a free doujin software by group Project Gem. In a dark town lit only by lanterns meant to safeguard the people from the monsters outside that hate light, lives a boy called Timon. He lives dreaming of a world above his where the skies are blue instead of living in permanent darkness. One day, a chance meeting with a certain being grants him that chance – help them, and he may be able to head to the world above.
Timon heads to his hideout at a junkyard where things fall from the sky, and has made it a habit to rummage there to find anything that can be of use. He carries with him a portable lantern made for him by his father, that can be charged from any one of the energy lines running through the town, and carried around. People who fear leaving the light would never come to a dark place like this. A long time ago, it was here that he picked up a picture book that told him of the blue skies above his world, and he had wanted to see those skies ever since.
Suddenly, there’s a noise – ‘something’ has appeared at the junkyard. Timon saw it on previous occasions and it’s a ‘thing’ that seems to hate light so it doesn’t appear near him often, but it never seems to have any intention of attacking him either. The ‘thing’ disappears into the nearby woods shortly after it startles Timon, and SOMETHING EVEN CRAZIER HAPPENS. A talking head falls down into the junkyard – this head is Mao, an onee from the world above!! He’d fallen down into the world below and now needs to find a way back up, but has somehow lost his body along the way. He more or less climbs onto Timon and demands that Timon help him find a way back to his home, and Timon agrees – interested in the prospect of seeing the other world. (For the time being, Mao wraps himself up in cloth because people would usually freak out at a talking head.)
Timon knows of a person who works as a train conductor; these trains move between different towns and this person may know something more about this world. At the station, everything is quiet and Mao asks about a white train he sees at the station. Timon explains that this train was used to collect/transport the bodies of the deceased who were victims of a plague sometime back – rust would grow over the victims’ bodies and they would crumble away. Anyway, Timon manages to find the train belonging to Shasha, his childhood friend who’s apparently a bit of a coward. However, Shasha isn’t of any help as he refuses to let Timon travel to other towns via train, and can’t say anything that would help him find a way to the world above. However, he still has the choice of walking through the maze-like Toneru (Tunnel) streets that connects one favilla to the other. They’d run the risk of being attacked by monsters, but there isn’t any other way to get out of town at the moment.
In the end, they head to the tunnels, where nothing except trains are supposed to enter. It’s cold and completely dark in there, and Mao feels the presence of one of his…bodyparts…! There’s a cool 3D segment where you get to search through the tunnels for it, and we find it in a bag. However, one of the monsters is nearby and begins to RUSH AT THEM, scaring the crap out of both Mao and Timon, who had assumed the creature wouldn’t attack him (it’s the same thing that appeared at the junkyard). His lantern chooses this moment to go out and they’re in a huge pinch when suddenly, train lights fill the tunnel. Shasha has come chasing after them with his train and asks Timon to get on. Timon does so, flinging Mao inside. Shasha was super worried for Timon and freaks out when Mao starts complaining about how it hurt to be thrown around. Shasha faints while still standing up LMFAO. Anyway, Timon frees Mao’s torso from the bag and it combines safely with his head. A new piece of his memories seems to come back with the body, and Mao recalls that he had strongly felt that there was something he had to do in this world. With more bodyparts, he might regain more of his memories!
The train stops suddenly, having run out of fuel. Trains run on the same silver shards that power the lanterns, and there’s no way to get ahold of more as the train is out of stock. However, Timon recalls that the place called the ‘First District’ has structures and facilities that produce most of the shards that feed and power the other districts. The First District is in the center of the other favilla districts. They have no choice but to leave Shasha in the train while the lights can still be powered, while they head to the First District to get the shards needed to run the train again.
On the way, Mao feels the presence of more bodyparts. They turn into a tunnel that smells heavily of rust – this could be where the bodies of the dead from the rust plague were discarded in the past. However, burying those bodies rusted the earth as well, and they had been dug out again in a rush. Rusted earth is loose, so they have to be careful. …Well, they find his legs this time! They hear a train whistle and rush back, hoping to find a train to split shards with so they can power Shasha’s train. Shasha’s train is running around on the tracks and Shasha’s calling out for Timon, panicking because he’d woken up to find him gone. Timon and Mao are surprised because they thought the train was completely out of energy. Shasha spots Mao again and starts shaking, because IT’S THE TALKING HEAD. Timon explains everything to Shasha when they get back into the train again. Shasha also explains that he keeps emergency supplies of the shards stored in the train, as it’s dangerous to keep huge amounts at one time, you have to press a button to let the shards deposit into the train bit by bit. Shasha is also TERRIFIED THAT MAO IS STILL ALIVE BECAUSE DON’T PEOPLE USUALLY DIE WHEN YOU’RE LEFT WITH A HEAD LOL.
Mao says he has to open that door no matter what – the door that joins this world to the world above. Shasha also recognizes the bags that they found Mao’s parts in – they’re bags meant to keep junk bound for a certain favilla that specializes in collecting junk. The place is known as the Second District, and the station looks like it’s rotting away. Shasha makes them promise not to leak that he’d helped them, because this is breaking the rules and he wants to keep himself and Timon safe from any punishment. Shasha is so nice, he’s terrified of Mao but still offers to help them search because he doesn’t feel safe letting them both be together. At the junkyard, it seems that the caretaker usually takes out the junk from the bags to check and throw away, so his arms are probably just lying around somewhere LOL. While searching, Timon notes that Mao is unusually quiet, and his lantern goes out after he asks Mao if he’s alright (Mao replies he’s fine). Before Timon can put in more shards, they hear a low growl – a monster has appeared. Mao kicks it away and destroys the monster oh my god HAHAHA. In the meantime, Timon lights up his lantern again.
Shasha gets all quiet and says he wants to head back to the trains, but Mao makes noise because it’ll be lonely without Shasha. He whispers something to Shasha, which makes Shasha change his mind about leaving. They find Mao’s left hand while seraching through the tunnels soon after, and the three of them take a rest. Shasha asks if Timon intends to leave with Mao to the world above, and Timon admits that he plans on doing just that, which makes Shasha worried for his safety. However, Timon wants to see that blue sky no matter what – and he’s kept this a secret all this while, but his mother was from the land above. His mother had fallen into this world via the junkyard just like Mao, having lost all her memories. She was saved by his father there, and while she never remembered the rest of her memories, she had a memory of the blue sky. However, both his parents had passed away last year due to illness. He isn’t sure if he will ever return to this world should he leave, but Shasha begs him to come back – even if he has no family here, he has friends, right!? ;_; Timon then promises to return after he’s seen the sky above.
Timon’s head begins to hurt suddenly and Shasha demands for him to show him his forehead. However, before Timon can do so, they’re interrupted by Mao who has sensed his right arm. When they find it, his memories all return. There’s an old tunnel somewhere that has been hidden from sight. The way is mostly blocked to trains now after it collapsed many years back, but there’s a flight of stairs somewhere in it that would allow those on foot to travel to the world above. Mao blasts open one of the blocked tunnels with a makeshift bomb made out of the energy shards, stating that as everything in this world is ‘rotted’, removing junk is an easy job. Back on the train, they’re heading down the tunnel when suddenly everything comes to a halt. They’re being attacked by monsters that have broken one of the train’s lanterns and are advancing towards them. Shasha and Timon don’t know what else they can do because they can’t shake them off, the train has already reached its maximum speed. Shasha decides to go separate the conductor’s carriage from the other carriages behind, and Timon is worried for Shasha’s safety. However, Shasha says no one else can do it besides him, and – he takes off his hood and facemask, revealing that he’s also one of the victims of the rust plague. He’d only been able to go on living for so long because he was drinking medicine, but would soon become unable to move, and would die in about half a year. Shasha tells Timon not to worry, and borrows his lantern before leaving.
Timon yells for Shasha to return, but Mao grabs him, telling him that there’s nothing he can do – going over to help would only get in Shasha’s way. Shasha separates the carriages but doesn’t return to theirs – instead, he sets fire to the shards deposit in the carriage he’s standing in, and blows up the whole thing. The impact gives the first carriage (Mao and Timon’s) a boost and they speed away while Timon screams for Shasha. Mao knew what Shasha was planning because they wouldn’t have been able to put distance between them and the monsters simply by increasing their speed by a paltry amount, so Shasha had chosen to kill the monsters collectively. Mao apologizes; he’s the one who started all of this by roping in Timon and Shasha to help, and Timon is still devastated by the loss of his friend. They head towards the exit, and the player is faced with a final choice: for Timon to stay, or leave.
Leave: Timon sees the blue sky, and begins to crumble away, having caught the rust plague. Mao hugs him just as rust begins to show up on his own body as well, and apologizes for what he has done to Timon, and Timon disappears.
Stay: Timon can’t bring himself to grant his own wish and chooses to stay. He bids farewell to Mao, but collapses suddenly from pain. Mao gasps; Timon’s plague syndromes have begun to worsen due to the air coming in from the world above!? Timon tells Mao to leave, but Mao refuses to abandon him and carries him all the way to the First District’s hospital when Timon loses consciousness. However, Timon notices handcuffs on Mao, and Mao apologizes for having tricked him.
Overall Thoughts: Needed more explanation LMAO. The art and voiceacting is fantastic for a doujin work, and I’d like to see longer stuff by this group. However, due to its length, the story fell short for me. The various systems included ingame were pretty fun though. I’d try out something by this group again in the future.