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The Freewill Cycle: Volume II

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Rating: 4.5/5 (226 votes)
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TrickyThe Freewill Cycle: Volume IIWhoa. For a second there, you were worlds away. But now, you need to focus on what's ahead. You have a job to do, and it's one you've done hundreds of times before. Just break in, deliver that sample where your employer wants it, then get out. So why can't you ignore this feeling of Deja Vu?... The Freewill Cycle: Volume II is a point-and-click adventure game submitted by William Buchanan for the escape-themed Casual Gameplay Design Competition 10. In it, your actions might change everything... or absolutely nothing at all.

Competition third place award winnerExplore the currently-deserted office building, solving puzzles and viewing documents to bring you closer to the completion of your mission. The mouse cursor will change to let you know when an item of part of the scenery can be examined (by becoming a magnifying glass) or picked up (an open hand). Items picked up will be stored at the bottom of the screen, and to use one to solve a puzzle, click in, then click where you wish to use it. The game takes place in the first person perspective, so prepare to turn left and right to view rooms from all perspectives.

The Freewill Cycle: Volume IIAnalysis: At first glance, one might think that The Freewill Cycle Volume II is running in exactly the wrong direction, competition-wise. After all, the main thrust of the action is a break-in, the exact opposite of what we usually consider "escape" to mean. However, by the end, as the larger themes of the plot show through and their relationship to its prequel becomes more apparant, The Freewill Cycle: Volume II proves to have one of the cleverest interpretations of the CGDC 10 theme. The plot is effectively shown rather than told, with new wrinkles doled out at a measured pace, coming together to form a complex and satisfying sci-fi yarn. You approach a fully realized world as an outsider, breaking into not just the work-space of those employed by Verified Technologies, but also their troubled personal relationships. Sure, you could gun through the puzzles, ignoring all the intrigue revealed by the memos and e-mail accounts just waiting to be viewed by prying eyes. But what would be the fun of that?

Not that the puzzles are too shabby either. The game largely dispenses with the overly-technical sci-fi tool-using and pixel-spotting that troubled the first volume. While the puzzles maintain that level of speculative discovery, things feel a lot more user friendly this time around. Even just little things like, labeling the items you pick up, make it feel that the engine is working with you rather than against you, testing your mind rather than your patience. This even extends to the post-game commentary, something more developers should include, that helps smooth over anything you might have missed plot-wise. Sure, The Freewill Cycle: Volume II is happy to let you put the pieces of the jigsaw for yourself. It's just nice to be able to look at the picture on the front of the box when you need a little help.

The Freewill Cycle: Volume IIOne thing that sadly does return from the first volume is slightly cumbersome navigation. Many first person point and click games don't have the player explore such a space from so many perspectives. Having to turn and walk everywhere is probably more realistic that showing up in front of a door when you click on it, however it can become difficult to orient yourself at first. The similar-looking doors and offices and such do a lot to build the atmosphere of the futuristic, vaguely sinister corporate office, yes, but it makes it harder to tell where you are and where you are going. Takes some getting used to tis all.

However, a few extra clicks needed after mistaking one computer for another is a price easy to pay when the reward is a well-crafted story supported by atmosphere aplenty. The Freewill Cycle: Volume II is the kind of innovative game we at JiG hope for when running these Casual Gameplay Design Competitions, and it well deserves its place near the top of the rankings.

Author's Theme interpretation:

"At risk of spoiling the ending (SPOILER WARNING), this game resolves the questions and events from Volume I. The player will learn that they are responsible for the creation of a cataclysmic time loop. However, this infinite cycle can be broken with an act of free will at just the right moment. It is the player's main priority to escape this time loop. They'll need to think hard about everything they've seen in order to properly determine exactly what has happened, so that when the time comes, they'll be able to bring salvation to the universe." -William Buchanan

Pastel Games' feedback:

"The black background in the menu is a bad idea. make it fancy, it's a cover of the book."

"I like the ambient and sound effects. Great atmosphere. Good job here."

"The navigation is a bit tricky. For example - I want to go into lavatory - so I see the door in the corridor, and use the keycard, but it's not working. I have to be facing the door straight on, but that means I have to stand next to them in a position where I can barely see that door and then turn right. The problem with this is that when approaching something - you should always have it in sight in order to know where to click. It's a bit confusing as it is right now."

"I think that once I open the maintenance hatch - it should stay opened. Same goes for the trapdoor in the floor of harm's office."

"In the cargo bay - let's say I want to go back. I got the ultanium and want to return to machine. I click on the door but nothing happens. Again I have to click forward to tay exactly before the door, but I don't see the door right now, all I see is empty wall with a lamp. Now I have to click right and I'm at the door. That's confusing."

"It would be nice to be able to collect all those documents - you'd have them on your disposal to check the codes and passwords."

"Why do I have to enter the lock combination in the cargo door every time I'm passing? That should've been done once and then the door should stay open."

"Other than that - I like the game. The puzzles were not too hard, there was a bit too much backtracking and going back and forth through the same locations. Again - good atmosphere, good ambient, nice sound effects. Nicely rendered and items were finely drawn. Nothing more to complain about." -Mateusz Skutnik.

"Interesting plot, logical puzzles with great atmosphere. First person perspective was a great idea. It's like an extra puzzle in the gameplay. Player can't see entire rooms at a time so he has to make extra effort to solve the puzzles." -Karol Konwerski.

Play The Freewill Cycle: Volume II

Walkthrough Guide

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The Freewill Cycle Volume 2 walkthrouh

General information:
There are a lot of various documents sprinkled about in this game that, while not strictly neccesary for completion, will help you understand the plot. Navigation is generally going to be the toughest problem you'll have. But once you orient yourself, the game becomes a lot easier.


  1. Repeatedly click on the door to walk down the hallway. Click the door handle to open it and enter the office.

  2. Click on the desk to access the computer. Click "login" to check your mail. Read the file labeled "Mr. X" under "Accepted Jobs. Click away from the computer.

  3. Look to the left, and you'll see a box on the desk. Click the box to open it and get pick up the VERITECH CRATE SAMPLING TOOL and a KEYCARD inside.

  4. Click left twice, then click on the door you walked in from to exit, and start your adventure.


  1. Walk forward into the atrium, then make a left. Walk forward, and forward again, till you are by the lavatory door. Use the KEYCARD on the slot, and enter the room.

  2. Once in the lavatory, turn to the left, and click on the Janitor's Kit to examine it. Its tray will have a SIMPLE KEY on it, which you should take. Turn back to the right, and exit the room.

  3. Turn to the right and walk across the atrium to the offices on the other side. Once there, turn to the right to see Valerie Kendrick's office door. Use the KEYCARD on the slot and enter.

  4. Upon entering the room, turn to the right and examine the CD case that's in the folder tray. Click on it to open it up and take the DATA DISC inside. Turn back to the door and exit the office.

  5. Upon exiting the office, turn to the right, and walk down the hallway until you are front of the door with the octogon key pad. Turn to the left, and walk forward onto the center walkway. Once there, turn to the left so that you are facing the statue that reads VERIFIED TECHNOLOGIES.

  6. Below, to the right of the VERIFIED TECHNOLOGIES statue is a maintenance hatch. Click on it to examine it. Use the SIMPLE KEY on the SIMPLE LOCK to open it. Click down the tunnel until you come out the hatch at the other end. You will be in Isaac Harms' office, (the room next to the lavatory, that has a broken door).

  7. Look to the right and pick up the SCISSORS on the table. Also, click the file folder in the folder holder, and make a note of the access codes. Dock A is classified, but Dock B is 247, and Dock C is 989. Also make a note of the tuning frequencies on the board, particularly that Steel is 68 Hz and Ultanium is 77 Hz .

  8. Turn back to the right, then right again until you are facing the fabrication machine. Click the button on the leftmost console, and a data disc tray will open. Use the DATA DISC on the tray, then push the button again to close it

  9. If you use the desk computer in the room to read the data disc, you'll find that the fabrication machine is a kind of 3D printer that will convert raw materials into useful objects. Click on the maintenance to the left of the desk, and click through the tunnels till you are back in the center section of the atrium.

  10. Turn to the left, and walk forward, then make a right and walk till you are outside Walter Teak's office. Use the KEYCARD on the slot to unlock the door. Enter the room.

  11. Once in the room, turn to the right and use the SCISSORS on the Newton's Cradle toy, to get a STEEL BALL. Exit the room.

  12. Return to the maintanance hatch, and click through to Isaac Harms' office. Turn to the left and place the STEEL BALL on the machine's sample platter. Turn to the left and click the desk computer to access it.

  13. At the computer terminal, click PROGRAM and select _shape.placard before clicking BACK. Then click TUNING. You must set the machine so that it's tuned to 68 Hz, the proper amount for shaping steel. There are four green diamonds, each with two smaller yellow diamonds inside. Clicking each large diamond will rotate the yellow diamonds inside it. If a yellow diamond is next to a number, that number will be added to the tuning frequency when it is calculated. Rotate the diamonds so that yellow squares are next to 16, 10, 18, and 24 and no other. Click RECALCULATE and you should have 68 Hz.

  14. Click away from the computer and turn right to the fabrication machine. Click the button on the leftmost console, and the machine should have converted the steel ball into a PLACARD. Pick up the PLACARD and note that it says 6724. This is the code to enter on the door with the Octagonal lock in the main atrium.

  15. Interact witht the panel. Use the numbers you discovered earlier to enter the code, then press the red button.

  16. Turn left and go through the maintanace hatch and back to the atrium. Turn to the right, and walk forward till you are outside the door with the keypad lock. Click the keypad, and enter 6724. The cargo doors will open.


  1. Once through the Cargo Bay Doors, turn to the left, and click on the small platform to climb onto it. Turn to the right to access the computer. Click DOCK B, enter the code 247, and click OPEN.

  2. Turn to the right, go down from the platform, turn turn around. Click on the right side of the screen to move forward, then turn right so you are looking at the now-open Bay B. Click the cargo unit to examine it, then click the hatch on top to open it. Click to pick up a piece of ULTANIUM ORE.

  3. Back away from the cargo unit, turn left, and navigate yourself out of the Cargo Bay, back to the maintanance hatch, through the tunnel to Isaac Harms' office. When there, put the ULTANIUM on the fabricator machine sample tray.

  4. Access the desk computer to the left. Click PROGRAM and select _shape.cup. Click back, then click TUNING. You'll need 77 Hz to fabricate the Ultanium. Rotate the large diamonds until the yellow smaller diamonds are next to the 16, 10, 24, 9, and 18, and no others. Click recalculate, and you should have 77 Hz.

  5. Turn to the right to the fabricator machine. Click the button on the rightmost console, and the fabricator should mold the ULTANIUM ORE into an ULTANIUM CUP.

  6. Turn to the left to click the maintanance hatch. Navigate yourself through it, out to the atrium, turn and head through the Cargo Bay Doors with the 6724 code, then up on the platform to use the Cargo Bay computer.

  7. Using the Cargo Bay Computer click DOCK C. Enter the passcode 989, then click open. Turn to the right, click forward off the platform, then turn left so you are facing DOCK C.

  8. Click the cargo unit in DOCK C to examine it. Click the hatch on top to open it. Use the ULTANIUM CUP on the blue theraflamic acid to get a CUP OF THERAFLAMIC ACID.

  9. Turn around and exit the Cargo Bay. Navigate yourself to the left and head to Valerie Kendrick's Office. Open the door with the KEYCARD and head inside.

  10. Once inside Valerie Kendrick's office, turn to the right. Click the small black safe under the table to examine it. Use the CUP OF THERAFLAMIC ACID on the safe's small metal knob.

  11. Inside the safe will be a file folder with the access code for Dock A: 771. Back away from the safe, turn right and exit the room.

  12. Go to the right and navigate yourself through the Cargo Bay Doors using the 6724 code, then up on the left platform to use the Cargo Bay computer.

  13. Using the Cargo Bay computer click DOCK A. Enter 771 as the pass code and click OPEN.

  14. Turn left, click forward off the platform, then turn right so that you are facing the open DOCK A. Click the cargo unit to examine it. Use the VERITECH CRATE SAMPLING TOOL on the crate sampling point.


  1. All the lights have been turned off, huh? Oh well. Turn to the left and click the damaged security panel. Drag the red disconnected wire over to reconnect with the green wire, opening the door.

  2. Walk through the door, until you are outside Matthew Kendrick's office. Use the KEYCARD on the slot and enter the room.

  3. Examine the Emergency Exit slot. Use the KEYCARD on the slot.

  4. You'll find yourself back in the corridor where you were at the start of the game. Click down the hallway, open the down, and turn to the right to access your desk computer.

  5. Click login to check your messages. Click "Mr. Y" under the Pending column. Make your choice to accept or reject the new mission. Watch the ending and read the Retrospective to clear up any questions you might have about the plot!


Tricky - just curious what the navigation problems were? It seems to be a recurring comment and I don't yet understand how to make it any clearer than turn left/right and step forward.

Perhaps it's because most folks are not used to a true first person format in this genre (e.g Submachine, where you see the whole room, not from first-person)?


A positively mindbending, satisfying, and incredibly appropriate ending to a series that I first played some years ago. Quite opportune for it to appear and conclude during CGDC 10, for it is receiving highest marks and regards from me. Intriguing plot and logical puzzles accompanied by a relaxing atmosphere and an improved navigational scheme with screen transitions (in comparison to the first installment). I believe the problems other are experiencing in regards to navigation is indeed the first person perspective; a player may suffer from lack of perspective (or too much of it) by not seeing entire rooms at a time. Nevertheless, this episode represents a clear step forward in skill and narrative ability for the creator. Great piece, and excellent timing. Looking forward to more of his work.


Thx. Hope you stumbled across the Redux version of Volume I (not the original)!

elle September 5, 2012 4:16 AM replied to Wyloch

I hope you don't mind if I join in this discussion. I just want to point out that I don't think there are navigation problems in your games. Personally, except that one tricky dark corner in Vol 1 Redux, I had no trouble moving around and exploring. I could recognize how some players might have difficulty with the first person navigation, and that's why I had to mention it in my review. For me, nonetheless, it's not a sign of bad game design or even something you necessarily need to change.

If it is a concern to you that players are having trouble, maybe try arrows? They'd help. The downside is they might detract from the environment. You've proven you're a very creative game designer, though, so maybe you can find tricky ways to work in navigational arrows without their being distracting.

Finally want to add: this game is beautiful! I was very much looking forward to this after Vol 1 Redux and it really looks great (Tricky and I arm wrestled over who gets to walkthrough and review). You have a unique style that I appreciate in adventure escapes...it really does capture that Myst essence, that special surreal immersion that's so fun to experience.


I loved every second of it.

I hadn't played the first game, so I was confused for a bit, yet the ending spelled it out clearly, in a way I was able to comprehend. Yippee. The story was very interesting, and it shows the good twist put on the "Escape" theme.


EXCELLENT work! This is a final product ready for wide-audience play, unlike most of the other entries. The story-line is engaging and logical. The play is also both engaging and logical. My favourite thus far!


My sister might not have the patience to understand this game, but I have a vague but relatively good understanding of the plot. Nicely done, though we wished that there was not as much repetition.


Honestly, the navigation does have problems and will keep me from continuing the game. I clicked and clicked and clicked--all up and down the right side, left side, top, bottom--all the INTUITIVE places...but until I hit the exact pixel to move, nothing happened. I simply don't have the patience for pixel hunting just to be able to look around in the environment. Too bad, because it seems like an interesting game.


^ Interesting. That leads me to believe there's some kind of bug, because all of the movement hotspots are very large (hundreds x hundreds of pixels).

And the cursor is supposed to change to clearly indicate when you are over a hotspot.

Browser/flash version?


The navigation in this game is horrible - especially with the extremely padded routes (I'm looking at you, Matthew Harm's office) that I feel did not contribute to anything at all. The fact that you have to keep entering in the same passwords and use the same keycards to go through doors is a pain, especially for someone like me who ends up backtracking because I miss things in the first place. Also, it really looks ugly when turning in this game. It really detracted from my enjoyment.


^ You can disable screen transitions via the menu in the upper right, to make it more like a slide show.


This game was by far the best for me.

I hadn't played the first one, but was compelled to play through it after this.

The navigation is unique, not broken as such, but certain things became tedious, what I'd change:

Going through that maintenance tunnel. Once I've put the key in, keep it unlocked, if possible, skip straight into/out of the office after crawling through the tunnel once.

The keypad. Not a biggie, but putting the code in 20 times started to get annoying.

In the cargo bay. I REALLY wanted to be able to go from the platform to the door, but had to go right, straight, left, to get there.

The machine. Maybe I was being dumb, but at first I didn't realise I had to put something on the pedestal for it to scan and change, I was expecting something to appear there. Maybe I missed an explanation? Maybe I was over/under thinking it.

I think the general navigation issues are caused by not being able to skip to certain areas although you can see them, e.g. in the main hall, I can see a door ahead, but have to turn right, go straight, turn left to face it. Not a major issue, but it feels less intuitive than just clicking the door 2 screens ago to go to it.

Overall, I loved it, and apart from minor niggles, was blown away by the graphics, the story, the atmosphere, and the puzzles. I read every email trying to figure out the story, and was surprised when it recapped at the end. Nice touch.


Thanks very much for detailing your complaints with the navigation.

I guess I'm just a student of old-school adventure games where every location you stand is a "node" and you can face N, S, E, or W.

But my mistake was that I did not always stick to that rule...in order to save file size, sometimes I make a node with only two or three possible views, and they are in between N, S, E, or W.

So I need to stick to the convention.

As for the pedestal:

Harms is the one in Volume I who tells Ritner about re-programmable metals. The machine in his office is the machine used to do that.



Having not played the first one first, it makes sense as to why it wasn't immediately apparent.

As I said, the 'complaints' weren't really complaints, more 'niggles', and it's definitely less walking and clicking than Monkey Island *nostalgic moment*.


i hope you win. most of the games on this competition i got bored of before it finished, the only 2 i wanted to finish were yours and the bonte one. out of those 2 yours is more engaging, and looks like its had far more effort put it. good fun, thanks.


The graphics in this game were impressive, and I didn't have too much issues with the navigation system after playing with it a bit. The navigation itself becomes a little slow and tedious, but it is bearable. The world and story are extremely well crafted. The story is solid and concise enough that I could get a good grasp of the events that transpired in this game, even without playing part one. Nevertheless, I appreciate the retrospective. Not only was it helpful, but it also showed how well the author planned and crafted the story. The puzzles were solid, fun, and solvable. All in all, this is an extremely solid game, and I greatly enjoyed playing it.


Now this is a man who knows how to write a game! So often, we (or at least I) play games that feel like the game was created, and then a story was made up to go with it. Sometimes, it seems like someone wrote a story, and slapped it onto a shoddy game. But this feels like both parts were created together, to compliment each other. There are lots of programmers out there that try and play director, and it shows. You are clearly a director who also knows how to program.

That story was so well thought out, so well written, and so cleverly divulged through the various emails and notes, it begs a second playthrough. Having played part one only recently, it was still pretty fresh in my mind. That being said, I appreciate the inclusion of the retrospective. As you said, the entire story was there, but it would take significant effort to piece it together. Since you did that for me, not only do I fully understand the game that much better, but I actually have a stronger desire to go back and play it again, to piece it all together myself. Too often do games like this expect the player to share the author's exact train of thought.

Nice job again. I would recommend you take these 2 games and try to place them into a much grander vehicle. This would be great as a full game, with more levels, puzzles, some voice acting, maybe full motion control, like an fps without the s... Just a thought.

Patreon Crew SonicLover October 2, 2012 8:10 AM

You have a job to do, and it's one you've done hundreds of times before.
All things considered, that's an... interesting way of putting it.


"Click down the tunnel until you come out the hatch at the other end."


The tunnel just dead ends. I click forward 3 times and it is a dead end. There is no hatch just a wall.

I can turn left or right and find the same opening back to where I entered the tunnel with the Verified Technologies statue.

There is no opening to broken door office.



For others who may find themselves in the same splot:

Go all the way down (3 clicks) to the end wall and then click towards the top of the scene - a couple of clicks later, you will be in the office with the broken door.


^ Did you look up? (where the hatch would be)



This game is 3rd place?!?!?

The only place I got lost was in the tunnel. I love this type of escape game. The graphics are lovely.

I really appreciated the explanation at the end.

Thank you William Buchanan for a great game experience.


I could not resist! I went and replayed volume 1. I remember playing that a while back. I was great the second time around.

That was fun! Thank you Mr. Buchanan


^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

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