Fading Hearts
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Fading Hearts was a pleasant surprise, more so when I discovered that it is not by a Japanese company. A nice combination of visual novel, dating sim and role playing that has plenty of things to discover. Definitely a title that you will want to complete more than once.

Gameplay: Much more to see and do than typical visual novels.
Graphics: Nice characters and backgrounds, pity about the monsters.
Sound: Very nice

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Fading Hearts

Developer: Sakura River Interactive | Publisher: Sakura River Interactive | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Format: CD-ROM / Digital Download

It is not often that I am surprised by a visual novel, well not in a good way in any case, but Fading Hearts definitely caught me off guard. It is a tale about Ryou, a seventeen year old high school student who is caught in a bit of a love triangle. Ryou is in love with his friend Claire, who unfortunately already has a boyfriend. In turn, his other friend Rina is in love with him but he cannot reciprocate her feelings because of his affection for Claire. This is all very ordinary until you mix in a mysterious park full of monsters, a magical girl, past lives and more.

The gameplay starts off pretty ordinary with Ryou spending his time at school or hanging out with his friends.  Then you discover that Ryou is actually a bit of a computer whizz and can make money by helping out companies online. This money can be used to buy books to improve his skills or manga which not only reveals a fascinating story but also bestows him with magical powers. Soon you find yourself having to balance money making with increasing your stats and managing your social life. Ryou receives a regular monthly income so you don’t have to work if you don’t want to and instead focus on other things but it might mean you won’t have enough cash for stuff like training weights or all the volumes of a particular manga.

Fading Hearts has multiple paths and endings, which means that to comprehend the full extent of what is going on, you are going to have to play the game more than once.  At first you might think it is just a simple visual novel where you have to woo the girls.

However, venture into the forest at night and some turn-based role playing game style battles await you. To survive these and discover the secret of the forest, you will need to arm yourself with some magical spells and train hard to increase your skills. You can of course ignore this part of the game completely but you will miss out on some interesting story elements and probably end up with an unhappy ending.

Fortunately, you have two characters, Alice and Mini who analyze your game upon completion and supply you with hints on what to do next time round. The game also has some built-in achievements for discovering certain plot elements. These, in conjunction with the interesting (if surreal) story made me replay the game until I got all of the achievements. The fact that I could fast forward through previously read dialogue helped a lot in later playthroughs though.

The artwork in the game is very nice and although there is only a limited amount of characters, they are drawn quite well. The monsters on the other hand look like hasty last minute additions and do not fit in with the overall art style at all. It really looks like the monster art was done by someone else entirely and then plastered with a heavy blur filter to hide their looks. The audio is also quite nice with some very fitting tunes but no voice acting.

The game is quite polished although I did discover a few glitches and spelling mistakes. Installing the patch cleaned things up a bit but there were still a few instances where the story didn’t quite line up as smoothly as it should have. I guess this is due to the branching paths that you can take but it is quite jarring. Overall, Fading Hearts is quite an impressive effort from a Canadian company and it certainly puts a lot of other visual novels to shame. It is refreshing to play a game in the genre that doesn’t use any adult content as a crutch for its poor plot.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista, 7
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz x86 processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Intergrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Older Intel Integrated Graphics Chips are not supported
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.6+
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz x86 processor
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Intergrated Graphics
  • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz x86 processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Intergrated Graphics
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Older Intel Integrated Graphics Chips are not supported

Related posts

Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender

Aqua Kitty - Milk Mine Defender

Aqua Kitty - Milk Mine Defender might look like a charming, casual game but it has the heart of an old school arcade shooter and will really test your skills. The hand drawn pixel art is beautiful and the whole experience is enhanced by the excellent chiptune soundtrack. Gameplay: Retro style side scrolling action that packs quite a challenge. Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn pixel art. Sound: A rocking chiptune soundtrack that compliments the action nicely.

Hitman: Codename 47

Hitman: Codename 47

While Hitman: Codename 47 was a good game in its time it requires a lot of patience to get the most out of it. The lack of checkpoints or save spots means that one mistake can take you all the way back to the start of a mission. I also encountered quite a few bugs and crashes during my time with the game which is a pity. Check it out to see where it all started, but don't expect it to blow you away. Gameplay: Entertaining but expect lots of trial-and-error as well as needless repetition. Graphics: Looking very dated at this point. Sound: Flat voice acting, but the sound effects are good.

Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar

Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar

Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar offers a nice role playing fix without the investment in time required by the bigger titles. The emphasis is firmly on combat, so if this isn't your favorite aspect of the genre you can skip this one. Although your input is rather limited, there is still plenty of strategy involved and the game can become rather addictive. There are plenty of enemies to face and the game offers a nice challenge, which makes it ideal for whiling away a few hours. Gameplay: More strategic than it appears at first glance. Graphics: Nice visuals, but the animation is a bit sparse. Sound: Not a lot of variety, but what is on offer is good.

The Purring Quest

The Purring Quest

The Purring Quest has a few flaws, including a rather limited amount of levels, but it is hard not to be charmed by the delightful protagonist and moving story. The hand drawn visuals and animations definitely stand out, but the game is genuinely fun as well. It might not feature a lot of innovations in terms of gameplay or puzzles, but there is no doubt that it was a labor of love for the creators and something all cat fans will enjoy. Gameplay: The controls are a little stiff, but this doesn’t detract too much from the fun. Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn visuals and some stellar animations. Sound: The orchestral soundtrack is quite epic.

Eye Of The Beholder 2: The Legend Of Darkmoon

Eye Of The Beholder 2: The Legend Of Darkmoon

While at fist glance EOB2 might just seem like more of the original quite a few features have been added which makes this game more entertaining and more involving. As always though it's hellishly though and you'll need quick reflexes and plenty of brainpower to crack this one. Gameplay: Immensly frusrating at times but very addictive and rewarding. Graphics: Good but not that much better than part one. Sound: Still not much in the way of music but the sound effects are ok.

Sakura Space

Sakura Space

The Sakura series heads into space for a yuri adventure with this release by Winged Cloud. Players get to experience what happens when Captain Shika and her crew of mercenaries stumbles across the bounty of a lifetime. Although it might look like you have choices in the game, it plays out more like a kinetic novel, but offers some entertainment nonetheless. We would recommend sticking to the uncensored version though, as it offers a bit more content. Gameplay: There are some interesting story elements, but the focus is mostly on the ecchi escapades of the girls. Graphics: The artwork by Inma is gorgeous as always, but the cast is small and the locations limited. Sound: No voice acting and decent, but unremarkable music.

Leave a comment

7 − one =