Any way to just set the stats as a temporary increase, non-percentage and reduce by the same amount?
Yup, I’m coding temp variables to hold + restore stats before + after the drop.
Awesome, I’ll add that the issue is known and in progress.
Just put in the changes. Thanks for your review! I stand by the stat-change’s significance to the story, but I did the implementation badly and appreciate Mary + others, who helped me figure out the below solution:
The patch will make the change a temporary stat drop, so you can see the impact on your player, but after the impairing event is over, your stats return to what they were before the event.
I’ve read all of your reviews so far. You are doing this community a great service.
I’ve seen that you mention digging into the game’s code several times. How are you doing this for a released game and on what platform (android/ios/desktop)?
Most of the time, if the files are available on Steam, I find that easier to pull files from. But most of my play time actually is coming from the website.
NOLA is Burning
By Claudia Starling
Bourbon is neutral ground—wise guys, cugines, gutterpunks, and wannabes can all party together there. The syndicates have an agreement, and they enforce it, hard. Anyone caught making trouble receives a quick message job. Anywhere north, south, east, or west of Bourbon is a totally different game.
I’ve said before that one of my major issues with the Uncharted games were widely diverging themes. This story makes me realize that I associate some themes with others, I had no idea that I would, as long as the setting supports it. New Orleans evokes just enough weirdness and magic that jumping from a somewhat grounded theme like mobsters to actual voodoo didn’t make me blink a whit.
You are a violent lieutenant for The Bull, a mobster in NOLA. You also might be a little too close to their spouse, and when you hear they get kidnapped, The Bull sends you on a rescue mission. The problem is that it looks more like a suicide mission. Can you rescue the boss’s beloved, and capitalize on your own ambitions?
This title starts as a mobster story with some creole seasoning, and then opens up later in the title as a supernatural voodoo romp rife with violence and betrayal. Almost every trope you’d expect is here, from the snitches to the corrupt cops.
Format and Typos:
Readability was high, and I didn’t find any typos.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
You’ll spend the title building and lowering multiple stats. From how much heat is on your tail, to how much respect the mob will show you, each of these goes up and down as you slash and savvy your way to rescuing your (and Bull’s) beloved.
In addition, correct choices can end up with you accruing deals and money, which will end up affecting the status of your ending.
Replayability is pretty high, simply due to the amount of various endings and epilogue flavors. Only one romance option as far as I could tell, and that one is pretty much set in stone as ‘in distress?’ from the beginning.
That last bit from the mechanics is important, because you’ll choose your ending but it depends on how you’ve handled those previous stats as to whether it works out in the end for you. Are you respected and mean enough that people will leave you alone in your forced retirement? Does anyone choose to follow you when you decide to declare your independent kingdom?
- It was sometimes pretty difficult to understand exactly what stat was being used or altered in a check, unless it was ‘Take it to the Mattresses!’
- I wish the time you spent in grounded mobster versus supernatural portions were flipped.
- No really easy way to understand why an epilogue turned out negative versus positive. Demands replaying to test and experiment, while placing most of the set-in-stone choices right at the end of the title.
- Nawlin’s and noir flavor through and through. Noirawlins? Nair? Wait, no… no short-shorts.
- Variability and branching is fairly deep for certain portions of the story.
- The Pitt is an enemy worth hating.
No announcement thread for this title. Thanks for reading!
By Evelyn Pryce
“Dove,” Sybil says at your shoulder, “I’ve got some reconnaissance. Let me know if you want to check it out.”
“Come on, Sybil,” you say. “Let’s form a twin flame of truth.”
Helen Kane, stylized as the “Boop-oop-a-doop” girl, sought damages against Paramount for the character, Betty Boop. This exaggerated flapper character had apparently been based off photographs of Kane, but the trial focused more on the vocal stylings than anything else. A small bit of scandal found its way into even that, but that’s more of the Wikipedia rabbit hole… As the MC herself imagines, you can treat that bit of factual gossip as your white rabbit, as you play your role as Alice.
Scandal Notes is both the title and the rag that is eerily accurate at defaming your circle of socialite friends. Could it be one of your associates? Can you keep your friend’s close-knit while the world is being ripped apart around them? Could you maybe find a paramour amid this Paramount-eque production?
Flapper-culture in London is not something I’m super up on, but this title seems to blend high-society and youthful rebellion (all on the parent’s dime). A mystery is afoot and you, a young daughter of a chancellor, have to solve it. This is a gender-locked title, you’ll play as a woman.
Dialogue is well done and it really felt like it might have been a movie, though the silent movies were on the way out.
Format and Typos:
No typos as far as I could tell, and for my two plays, I didn’t notice any coding errors.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
There are a lot of stats to juggle, but they seem to represent what type of socialite you play. Are you well-read, up to date with the Parisian fashions, or maybe just a bit of a gossip? Who am I kidding? The biggest gossip.
All the while, you are trying to get your own writing career off the ground while being subjected to the Scandal Notes. You’ll balance whether you are a media darling, or if there is a bit of scandal bled from your own pen. A few hidden stats track cohesion of your group and your own progress in finding out who and why your circle of friends is being targeted.
Like many Heart’s Choice titles, replayability is pretty much tied to the romance options and whether they will interest you. Three possible love interests as far as I can tell, two male and one female. So, depending on your particular preferences, you may find as many as three separate plays, or as little as one. Spiciness rating is low.
- The red herring is about as subtle as A Pup Named Scooby Doo’s version.
- One of the goals is playing matchmaker, and it really seems like this is super difficult if you don’t focus on doing it, which you have to choose to do in place of pursuing paths with your romantic interest…
- Romances feel like a secondary or tertiary focus for the story.
- The actual culprit is well foreshadowed, especially after a reread.
- The story has an awesome sense of belonging and a personal (not necessarily birth) family. While I didn’t feel romantic love for most of the characters, it was very easy to slip into friendships with all of them. They are well-written and likeable.
- Pace is kept very well, and never made me feel like I was spending too long with any specific plot point.
I am so glad someone actually remembers that character.
Freshman Magic: Spellbooks and Tangled Sheets
By Raven de Hart
But Whitworth nods and snaps his fingers, and a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie materializes in front of you. “That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss today.” He moves to the side and begins scrawling as he speaks.
So, this is where I’m going to remind you that every review comes with the disclaimer that I am who I am. Not every story will be directed at me, and that’s okay. I’m going to try to review every story with the same eye, but I’m also going to be willing to admit that I’m someone who prefers playing an idealized self-insert. Sometimes that isn’t possible, and nowhere is that more likely (for me) than in many games in the Heart’s Choice catalogue. But sometimes, if you can get past that, you might just find a bit of a hidden gem.
You are a magic dueling scholarship student in a magic university! Find your class, find your passion, and find love(s) amid a mystery. Students are disappearing… are you next?
Even if portions of the title were outside my usual wheelhouse, I found the writing and story to be very entertaining. Many of the characters were vivid and vibrant, and dialogue was hilarious and quippy. You dip between classes and extracurriculars, pursuing academic excellence. Physical romance here is definitely the focus, and the title is limited to a male main character and male romance interests.
Format and Typos:
Readability was almost perfect. Dialogue was well defined, and I didn’t notice any typos.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
Woo, boy. There are a lot of stats in this title, but don’t be too intimidated about managing them. The game is very generous with stat gains throughout the title for your standard majors, like Alchemy or Combat. Some decisions test your personality opposed pairs, but they are always fairly easy to understand. Success in checks will often affect your school performance, which will be tested when the epilogue rolls around.
Solely for the romance options alone, you’ll be able to get at least 5 reads of the title. You’ll start figuring out how to succeed in the duels somewhere along the way, so beyond pursuing your intended heartthrob, you may not add many more runs after that. And for the people who want to know, it does earn the three chili rating.
- Selecting a major feels like little more than increasing a stat. There were very few unique interactions surrounding it.
- Twist was so obvious at a point, I started second guessing myself thinking it might be a red herring.
- It may be related to this being romance focused, but stat checks felt almost too easy. You would have to explicitly forgo boosting stats or choosing something that opposed your personality to see any of the failure text.
- Dialogue was funny and was as realistic in certain situations as a magic college could allow.
- Perfect blend of ‘magic is normal and everyday’, while still making magic feel cool when used.
- Seriously, the magic duels were an absolute blast to read.
Hey, Dingo. I hope you don’t mind me asking; but is it alright for you to have a Tumblr to post your reviews? It’s okay if you’re not keen to the idea.
Gonna be honest, not really up to date on Tumblr, so haven’t really every thought about piecing one together. I’d have to look more into it.
Professor of Magical Studies
By Stephen Granade
“There’s more to being a practitioner than that.” You look through the calendar. “Colloquiums don’t start until next month…aha!” You gesture Gabriel to join you on your side of the desk.
He looks at the event you’re pointing to on the screen. “Cookies?”
I’m in this story, and I don’t like it. Well, not officially… but there is a lot of academia trappings, understandably, and I just had to stop in for a thirty minute holiday party that did little but get me a donut, some imaginary kudos, and about ten more emails behind.
Magic is real, and magical academia is real-er. Can you find your tenured place in the hallowed halls of your ivory tower, or will you buckle under the weight of ungraded papers? The voice in your head is telling you that you might not make it, but you just wish it would stop using your voice.
After a chapter spent interweaving your alma mater, hiring you to take the place of a missing professor, and remembering your time in your mystical major, the story starts working towards a mystery that gets more and more involved with each chapter. Disappearances and reappearances, possessions and cookies start filling your time.
This is well written, engaging and mixes in just enough minutiae to make it feel like you are really settling into a new career and new position. The only thing missing is multiple emails setting up access to a shared server, and constant requests for job training courses where you’ll print off the certificate, dash it to your boss in an email, and then never think about it again.
This story works for me, but I might be the target audience. You’ll deal with the political backbiting, deep betrayal, and the dry humor one might associate with campus life. The only complaint really is that the story changes from a slice of life to a dead sprint towards the finish line, and I found myself wishing it stayed at a slower pace. Maybe more ‘flashbacks’ related to the incident that happened at the end of your college career.
Format and Typos:
A few typos and coding errors, but I’ve reported them. Readability is exceptionally high. I want to make a joke about the title being a typo because I really liked ‘Advanced Studies in Pattern Magic’, but that’s just me.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
Accumulating skills, ingeniously gained in your ‘flashbacks’, stand in for your political acumen, capability in the lab, silver tongue and skill in the library stacks. Fairly standard opposed pairs determine your personality, and you’ll need to manage expectations of work progress. This is things like whether your classes get good reviews, or your student assistant does well in his final year. You are handed tasks throughout your time with the game, like working with an outside company to set up a conference and trying to convince the town to sell more land and buildings to the college for expansion (I can look outside my window and see a building right now that I’m sure my own university is trying to buy at this very moment).
Difficulty checks seem fair, and it was super easy to tell what I was picking in most cases.
There is a decent amount of replayability, first baked into the ending where it seems like there are three separate ‘big’ endstates. Along with that, you’ll find about five (and a half?) romance options… ranging from a backbiting professor from your past to a member of the town council.
There is a neat little bit of branching and variability at both ends of the title. Early on, you choose an activity, and it will change up the order you meet your classmates. Later, the relationships you cultivate essentially choose your ‘party’ for the final act. Aside from this, though, this is a fairly linear track where your choices will flavor the background but you’ll end up in the same place often.
- I will not abide the oatmeal raisin hate. This aggression will not stand, man.
- The idea of synesthesia was cool, but often felt like it was never brought up unless it was needed for a plot point.
- I’m not personally sold on the redemption arc, and the payoff feels like it depends on you being the bigger person.
- Deftly shows that high-school politics never really disappears as you grow older, you just have to be more discreet with it.
- Each character felt like someone who could really exist. Dialogue works, and swaps between the mundane and arcane with ease.
- I don’t know why it worked so well, but when your students were saying they really enjoyed your class… even though all I did was click some buttons, I felt that dopamine.
Hey, all. Apologies on the long wait. Some work-related issues over the holiday break kept me almost glued to my phone while with family (back and forth on work-from-home status and some beauracracy where my boss thought we were good to start it because we were approved to use our work-issued equipment at home, but for some reason not approved to actually start our work from home).
Current review isn’t done yet. Played the title, but have not had time to sit down with a review. The review will be up sometime next week, and I’m hoping to catch up on the other new releases in short order.
As always please don’t worry - it’s amazing to read your reviews but it’s entirely reasonable for other things to take priority!
Yeah, no apologies remotely needed-- take your time!
You must apologize to us every time you need to take a break, no exceptions!
EDIT: Damn that came off more snarky than I intended. Seriously, we all much appreciate the public service, and you can take as much time as you need to do these reviews. Plus they’ll probably be more fun if you’re not doing them too quickly.
We all deserve a break. Take your time.
Choice of the Viking
By Declan Taggart
“Well, think of this Hrapp. Right now, you’re the villain in your own saga, and probably not even the main one. What story have you ever heard of where a draugr was more than a brief stop on a hero’s journey?”
Really happy to see that Vikings are expanding their horizon outside of Minnesota. Really warms the heart, doncha know.
You met a draugr once? Well, I took on two in the first five minutes of stepping onto Iceland. In the pouring ash rain, five miles… both ways!
You take control of a chieftain’s child who inherits the mantle of leadership and leads their hamlet to prosperity or ruin. Pitted against nature and schemers, you have to maneuver your way through political turmoil, usurpers and magical haunts all while building your homestead into a shining beacon of… well… that’s up to you.
Reminded of Mugatu’s ‘so hot right now’ each time I consume a new Viking story. I say, ‘new’, because many of them are retreads of the same exile to exalt story. This is somewhat understandable because it is central to the Viking epic, but it does make every story feel familiar. You end up spending as much time trying to suss out what is different from the last interpretation instead of focusing on the story itself. In that vein, the introduction of magic and the religious choices and interactions were the showcase here alongside the obvious effort in including some of the actual culture and history viewed through a less present lens.
Forgive the bit of ignorance here, but there are also some vignettes that seem almost Ubisoft-esque. If you don’t know what I mean, there are moments when the game seems to ‘jump the shark’ from a semi-grounded experience into the altered-state worlds of Heaven, Hel and Hallucinations. This is pretty common in Ubisoft titles like Far Cry, and in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
One final issue I had was that there are relatively few ‘main supporting characters’ which are mostly of your romantic options. This isn’t too different than your normal experience with CoG and HG titles, but two of them are basically diametrically opposed from their introduction. Their relationship bar could have basically been an opposed pair. When this happens, especially with romantic options, it generally feels like you are required to be a specific character with a specific personality to fit together in that specific puzzle.
Format and Typos:
Story was exceptionally readable, especially with the options to anglicize names. Only a few typos noticed, and reported.
Game Mechanics and Stats:
Standard accumulating stats that focus on physical combat and agility, crafting, or even your own spirit magic. Opposed pairs for personality, and relationship trackers that cover your relationship with the Pagans or the Christians and how much King Harald likes you. A few hidden stats track your farm’s prosperity and who comes to help you in the hour of your greatest need.
Replayability here is fairly solid, but is not found in your relationship options. You have three complete choices for relationships, one male, one female, and one non-binary. Each of these characters are fairly unique, but it’s obvious this is not the focus of the title. Focus is on the specialty of your homestead. Do you stay traditional viking and go raid? Set up a learning center focusing on shamanistic magic? Build a craftworker’s dream? This goes on to change your epilogue as well. Do you focus on putting King Harald on the Icelandic throne early? Try to take it for yourself? Implement equality as soon as possible? Do you lean on the strength of your parent, the power of a god, or the foul potence of a demon? There is a lot that can change your outcome based on the actions you take, and the political sway you accumulate.
- This is a very familiar story, in concept and recency.
- Endstates feel a little arcane and convoluted. How exactly do you put Harald on the throne?So often, it feels like I’ve focused entirely on accomplishing some goal only to have either a different successful endstate, or to fail entirely. Some transparency would be nice.
- When all the main supporting characters are at odds with one another, it makes each playthrough feel restricted.
- Always nice to experience a story and history actually shaded by real culture.
- The epilogue is varied enough to justify multiple times through the title. So many different oaths to uphold, paths to try, and ways to rub Snorri’s nose in it.
- Flies is a great temptation and character, and a very subtle corruptant.
Welcome back, Dingo!