Hey, you’re back!

It’s been a minute hasn’t it?  Maybe a week?  Perhaps longer?  I’m not sure, the pills make Her lose track of time.  But after 1 year, 3 months, and 20 days, Nikita Kryukov’s mysterious horror visual novel hybrid, Milk outside a bag of milk outside a bag of milk, has been released.  Though is it a visual novel?  Or a point-and-click adventure?  Maybe a psychological horror dream simulator?  Or maybe-

If you haven’t played the first chapter, Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk, the previous title is wrapped together nicely in a very well-made animated introduction, showing off the extra love and effort pumped into this sequel.  We last left Her at the doorstep of mother’s apartment.  Mother’s voided black eyes seared through whatever sanity was left when She walked through the door as she told Her to go to bed.  She could feel the terrifying eyes following her every move.  A full sprint to make it to her room.  She can feel safe there.  Away from Mother.  Away from everyone.

While Milk outside a bag retains the original’s structure of a visual novel drizzled in sullen neon tones and a molasses thick atmosphere, the sequel adds some depth in traversing Her room as a point-and-click adventure, much to delight of Her, seeing as this was her idea.  Notebooks with half drawn but fully criticized scribbles, plants that have needed to see the light of day for longer than She has, the l̸̞̜͌́̈͆̍͒̕͜͝͝ą̴̪̹̺͓̥̱́͑̐̎͒̃̐̿͆̎̚p̶̩̘̥̍̾͋̔̍̒̋͌̃̾̔̎̕̚͜͜t̷̡̡̝͎̳͓͚͔̉̿̋͗̀͜o̷͕̱̟̮̱͉͎̙̻̾͌̔̆͌̉̎̔͘p̴̨̨̮̮̙͖̠͐́̐̔̍̓̋͒̀͗̿͂͠͝ that stays plugged in but She doesn’t know why.  Each part of her room places a puzzle piece in the center of the table, but She will turn each piece counter-clockwise to skew the final picture.  You want to learn more about Her, but She doesn’t want that.

But hey, you’re The Voice here, you tell her what to do!  Digging deep in Milk inside a bag covered the schizophrenic tendencies of a trauma-impacted child with no one to speak to but You.  Sifting through Milk outside a bag finds these tendencies were given a helping hand with the very real consequences of an under-matured mind colliding with the serpentine strangers of Social Media and its tendency to chastise the gullible over-sharers and their serene outlook on a new world.  It unflinchingly shows the effects of having your trust obliterated, and the lack of wanting to do…anything after it.

And Kryukov’s efforts in creating a world of one is hauntingly beautiful.  The docile tones of electric guitars and the soft pinching strokes of piano temper Her into her almost purposely claustrophobic room, the somberness of each note pushing You harder into your chair as She finds a cute way to fly past activities she enjoyed, only to crawl into self-made reasons to remove herself from them, lest something attack her again for enjoying what She does.

These fireflies of the past change the course of her night, for when She sleeps she has several different dreams-nightmares?-no dreams, dreams are more fun…that she will interact with.  Slipping into different worlds where infinite mornings devolve into mind-cracking monotony, sprawling heights with a vertigo-laced dare to jump, and having your mid-teenage-life crisis interrupted by a Buy 2 Get 1 Free Pizza advertisement.

These dreams all end the same.  She is not well.  She has to take a handful of pills every morning to numb the pain, but She doesn’t want the pills, but the pills keep You here, and She doesn’t want to be alone.  She is afraid of her parents and the people she thought she knew and the store that has a sign that says “20 minutes until close” instead of posting regular hours because that just seems odd for a store to have to work so much harder to let its customers know closing time is now 15 minutes away and now 10 minutes and now-

A life left recluse and tears draining from the eyes of a girl who has seen too much and experienced more than She should.  A story that doesn’t provide a happy ending, but a story that needs to be told.  That there are many dangers in the world, but none as frightening as a helping hand from an unknown body.  For Her, she just needs to find the purpose of the milk.

The milk outside a bag.  The milk outside a bag of milk.  The milk outside a bag of milk outside a bag of milk outside a bag of milk outside a life outside her room outside a bag of milk outside a friend of Hers outside a place of peace outside a please of help outside a me of-

A Steam code was independently purchased for review.