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Girl with a Heart of

 

Girl with a Heart of

Platform: PC Games
Category: Adventure, iPhone
 
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Girl with a Heart of (yes, that's the whole title), provided to me by Bent Spoon Games, is a wonderful new game that I had the pleasure of playing recently. I played it on the iPhone first before trying it on Android and PC as well. It's available for $2.99 on iOS and Android and for $5.99 on Mac and PC. It's an interactive narrative telling a fantastic story. No one playing it will be stumped. No one will find themselves thinking he or she isn't good enough. The main character in the game must overcome challenges, but the player can simply experience the story. Even with a couple small, technical problems, it's a great game!

Graphics and Sound

The world of Girl with a Heart of is presented very well. The music varies, dependent on location or event, and sets the tone nicely. It also acts as a good cue for what's about to happen. Before I talk about the graphics, it's important to mention one bit about the world of the game. This world exists underground. Darkness is energy, not light. Darkness provides life, not light. If you look at the screenshots, you'll see that buildings are dark and seem to cast light shadows. It's a very interesting design. Some things in the game were a little too dark for me to notice on the iPhone however. For example, at one point a character mentions a mural. I didn't notice it at all even though I had walked past it multiple times. Yes, the world is supposed to be dark, but should it be so dark I miss things? This problem doesn't exist when playing on a larger tablet or on the PC version. Overall, things looked really good. Like you might expect from a game with small details in the graphics, a larger screen gives a better experience. Playing it on a tablet or PC will make it much more visually appealing, but if you prefer iPhone gaming, you'll still get a good experience.

The character design was especially interesting. During dialogue, a portrait appears so you can see the person talking in more detail. (Cynthia is quite cute for a purple woman!) Graphics design is important for the development of complete characters too. Children in this world are pale, but adults are dark. The main character's mother was attacked by Light, and now she's pale because of it. It was a fascinating design, and I really enjoyed it.

Gameplay

In Girl with a Heart of, you play a girl named Raven who lives in an underground society. Darkness is the source of energy and life. She's a member of the Dark race and is separated by her parents after her city, Underfoot, was attacked by Light's army. As you might guess, the Light race and Dark race are at war. In fact, Light uses actual light as a weapon. Early in the game, Raven discovers that she has a magical, artificial heart. Using the heart, you can empower Raven, recursively getting more powerful. In Raven's hands rests the fate of her town... and maybe more.

As an interactive narrative, it should come as no surprise that dialogue is the main gameplay mechanic in Girl with a Heart of. When you talk to someone, his or her portrait appears along with the dialogue. Choices for responses are displayed, and you can pick what you want to say. Depending on previous choices, different choices will be available. While I enjoyed the dialogue greatly, I have two small complaints. First, on my iPhone screen, the text was far too small even on the maximum font size. I will say that I discovered that I need glasses recently and don't yet have them, so I'm sure it would be better if I could see more clearly. Text size was not a problem at all on a tablet or on PC. Second, there was one dialogue choice that never went away although every other dialogue choice in the game would disappear after being selected once. I suspect it was because it discussed an important part of the game and served as a reminder of how to perform a mechanic.

Decisions are all done through the dialogue. Do you agree or disagree with the person talking to you? Do you tell the truth, or is it better to lie? These are questions you'll need to ask yourself constantly. I enjoyed the writing and learning more about each character in the game. Interestingly, I found that a large portion of the characters are insecure and rather weak. This isn't a bad thing of course, and the story works beautifully, but I wonder if there was a reason they were designed that way.

Besides dialogue, text is also used for commands. If you stand near the bed, an option to go to bed appears. Touching the text does that action. There are also text notices. For example, if you try to go to bed when something important hadn't been done yet, it'll tell you that you forgot to do it.

Raven has four stats - insight, lying, imbuing, and magic. At the end of each day, you can place two points in any of those stats. I'll tell you this now: there's no wrong choice. Just spend points however you see fit. It's obvious when you might need to change what stats to use later in the game. It's a really great system. I especially love how it's used at the end of the game. It would spoil the game if I told you, but let me say that the stat and imbuing system is handled in an incredible way at the end of the game. I wish I could excitedly explain the system to my friends, but I'd rather get them to play the game!

Raven will learn magic, and you'll get to use it in combat a little. It's important to the narrative, but combat is actually used very little. If you're looking for an action game, this isn't it. If you're worried about having combat segments, rest assured they're minor and very forgiving. You'll like it!

The game is all about decisions. Should you tell the truth? How will that affect the rest of the game? Should you trust this person? These are questions that come up repeatedly. Which one is the good and which is the evil choice? Unlike many other games, neither is good, and neither is evil. Did you do the right thing? I can't say with any certainty. I can look back at a full playthrough and not know if I what I did was truly right. All I can do is look at each decision as it comes and consider which choice is the best for what I want to accomplish. Similar to real life, I can't be responsible for how the world responds. I can only be responsible for my own actions. Like the stat systems, decisions really shine at the end of the game. It's absolutely wonderful.

Conclusion

I played Girl with a Heart of a lot, and I plan on playing it some more. There are no superfluous gameplay mechanics. Even the small mechanics are important. The story arc of what's happening to Underfoot is interesting. The history of the world is even more interesting. Without giving too much away, I will say that aspects of the story reminded me of Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber (and this is definitely a compliment), which could give you an idea if you've read that series. Girl with a Heart of is a great piece of interactive fiction. I'd recommend playing it on PC or on a tablet, but if you're looking for something for your phone, you'll enjoy it there as well. I know I really enjoyed it on my iPhone. Ask yourself the following question. Are you fascinated by the world I described? If so, buy this game!









 
 

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