No Players Online was first thought to be a short indie horror game but over the course of a week would take the indie horror scene by storm.
On the surface, it seems like a small horror game with a very loose story.
The game is about the developer who made the game and how the soul of his dead wife is trapped in the coding of the game. The only way for him to continue to see her is for you to not deliver the third flag and consequently break the game.
The game starts at a menu screen with multiple CTF (capture the flag) servers, some online and some off. Choosing any of the online ones will kick you into a game with only yourself in it. You have a small laser pistol, but don’t worry you won’t need to shoot anyone, and you only have to use it two to three times depending on the chooses you make.
Once you capture the first flag from the other side of the map you are instructed to bring it back to your side to collect it. This could be the first time you need to use the gun while heading back you will hear some old music playing. If you follow it, it will take you to a small area with a music box. Shooting said music box will in turn stop the music. The only thing this really does is unlocking some later dialogue that leads to nowhere.
After you have captured the first flag, you should see an ominous red light appearing from the opposing team’s area (unfortunately to the extent of my knowledge this light is never explained yet still very effective in creating an eerie atmosphere), as you approach it disappears never to be seen again.
Once you’ve captured their flag for the second time as you walk back you might notice a couple of slight changes in the map. In fact, you may have even noticed them on your first run. Don’t worry. You’re not seeing things, the map really is changing. When you get to the point right before you enter your section, you’ll be frozen only to be told to turn around. If you choose to do so (and you don’t really have a choice in the matter), you’ll be greeted by a shadowy figure quickly approaching you. You can shoot at it all you like, but it does nothing.
After the figure disappears, a chat should appear with someone named JHON_DEV typing in it, you can’t type in chat, but you can still technically interact with him. He asks you to type ‘y’ in the chat if you can see him but then realizes that you cannot type, so he asks you to shoot twice. I don’t think the game can sense you shoot twice but after some time he gives you the basic backstory of the game: basically, the developer’s wife died and he’s keeping her alive. He found a way to code her consciousness into the game, that shadowy figure, that was his wife. And by delivering the third flag you’ll somehow break the game, killing his wife.
Unfortunately, there is no way to save his wife other than shutting off the game and never turning it back on again, but that’s not very fun.
If you choose to deliver the flag, the game will crash. Upon reopening the game, you’ll see a message saying all the servers are down, so you could walk away here, or you could input the Konomi code — getting all the dead servers back by entering any one of the servers. You’ll be met with nothing new, in fact at first it seems like it’s going to be an exact playthrough of what you just did, but while you deliver the third flag JHON_DEV will join your game and ask, “Why are you here again”. Now in the middle of the map, an eye made of text should have appeared, shooting this eye will pop up a short video. The video is hard to make out but as we now know it is a date/code, and you will need this code for later so write it down. If we go back to the original itch.io downloaded page, you will find another file to download called 100percent_sa-ve_file, opening this file normally will reveal nothing but opening it in an image viewer, or as a PNG will reveal an image of a lamp with 11/15/19 written in the bottom left corner. On that date, we received version 2.0 of the game.
EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON CAN ONLY BE DONE OF VERSION 2.0
Opening the game and typing “haunt” on the select server screen will take you to a hidden sound test menu. The test says it was 1,389 sounds. You can enter a 5-digit code here and entering any string of numbers will play a random sound, except one. Entering the code “25467” will play a loud scream and then show a message at the bottom of the screen saying “removed mesh 345 collision.”
After you do this, entering any server and going to one of the large pits on either side of the map, that you could not enter before thanks to an invisible wall stopping you from falling out of the map will now have nothing stopping you from jumping down the pit, letting you free fall below the map for a couple of seconds. After falling for a while, you will be spawned into a dirty room with a giant computer and tube in the middle.
This room has messages written all over the walls and floor. Inside the tube should be a white flag, and on the monitor, there is text telling you to enter a six-digit code “to confirm removal of file: SRH.CS.” After a while of digging, a user Cr4ck Horse#5896 on discord found a file called “Level 7.” Opening this file in notepad will reveal text saying “PLEASE MERGE WITH VESSELS TO BEGIN SOUL TRANSFER”. Scrolling down a bit further, you will see a code, 191421. Returning to the game and shooting the numbers 191421 on the keypad will then enter the code and in turn open the tube. Entering the tube will kick you back to the server select screen where now all the servers are full. Selecting anyone will begin to roll the credits of the game.
No Players Online is an enigmatic experience that urges players to delve deeper and debate all the game’s hidden secrets. The community is still piecing together the story and some loose ends on developers Adam Pype and Viktor Kraus’ itch.io page as well as the official Discord channel “Some Players Online.”