"Heart of Battle"—Battle for love as a gladiator!

Thanks so much!

Just finished my first run, enjoyed it a lot!

The premise and plot was pretty simple and yet the whole of the book was still completely engaging - a testament to good writing, meaningful dialogue and fantastic pacing! It never felt like any of the content was there for just filler, even for the most insignificant parts.

The pacing was really well done! I feel like some single-part books really struggle with it and often end things abruptly. I definitely didn’t feel like this was the case here. None of the chapters ever felt dull or stale. By the time we hit the climax, the characters were well developed, there had been enough choices to establish our own character’s personality, motivations, allies, etc., and it was clear what all the various subplots were leading up to (siding with the AFCM and inciting a revolution, etc.).

I did feel like some of the choices didn’t match the stats I assumed them to be and it was sometimes unclear whether a choice would improve a stat, rather than use it. I think the first confrontation with Aztore is a good example of that. That might just be an issue with me being bad at interpreting the choices though, haha! Fortunately, the game is rather lenient with failures which is nice. Everyone has different opinions on stats in ChoiceScript games but I think if any collection should be less stat-reliant, it’s the Heart’s Choice lineup!

The characters were a treat. I haven’t had time to do another run yet but it seems like they’ve all got distinct personalities with their own flaws and motivations. Petra was so, so sweet. :heart: Not usually the type of RO I go for but somehow she won me over! I do think that the ROs were a little bit too player-centric at times however. It definitely felt like there was a slight disconnect early on in my run, where my PC took every opportunity they could to be antagonistic towards Petra and Ferrado, and yet they both still practically threw themselves at my PC. Obviously it was for plot reasons but it still kinda broke the immersion a bit.

One thing I really liked was how developed the non-RO characters were! Orrega deserves a special mention here of course but even the less notable characters like Cabreba were suprisingly compelling. Even Andri’s junior magician, who is unnamed and literally has a single line (afaik), has something interesting to say. I think it’s really impressive, especially since the focus of a lot of romance books is on the ROs rather than the other characters!

The sex scenes were well-written. I know that sex scenes in CS games are pretty subjective but I think you did a good job with balancing sweet and spicy. The level of graphic content was also balanced - you didn’t go over the top with flowery, ambigious descriptions but it also wasn’t so explicit to the point that you were basically describing porn. Using above-the-waist descriptions is a nice way to get around character genitalia though sometimes I wish more books would account for that. Again, very subjective and it’s hard to take into account all variations of trans/NB PCs/ROs. In any case, it’s an interesting design choice to think about. :slightly_smiling_face:

Anyways, this post is already long enough lol. There were a few repetitions of words (“unsubconsciously” was one of the ones that stood out for me) and I spotted a couple of bugs (pronoun inconsistency and missing text) but nothing major. I noticed the sex scenes kept bringing up oil which kind of threw me off but I think that’s more a pet peeve than anything. Overall though, it was a great read and a lot of fun. Looking forward to doing another playthrough! :smile:

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Did you happen to get screenshots of the pronoun inconsistencies and missing text?

I think there’s a bug. I bought the game so it free of ads but sometimes when I open it the ad would still appear at the bottom. Of course it immediately go away whenever close and open it again but I just wanna say that it happen.

Haven’t quite finished it yet but this is an excellent romance game so far and I think the setting works perfectly for either gender. As a straight male I am delighted that we finally have another game after so long with the option for male mc and female love interests where none of them felt off as female. Petra and Remi are my current preferences. Hope to see more HC games with more M/F down the road.

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I did, actually!

Screenshots


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Have you sent them to support@choiceofgames.com?

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Sorry for the delay, this is when I had time to sit down with the code and refresh my memory!

Velez: And guess what - I found a bug that made that only achievable if you sabotaged the arena, which doesn’t make any sense at all! I’m sending an updated version that will amend which option needs to be chosen. Once that version gets pushed out, the three requirements are: ‘throwing yourself into danger’, ‘telling velez about the weakness’, and not wrestling Velez in ch5 (so don’t choose and succeed at the option to take Velez down). However, it won’t work yet!

Lanziega: Take opportunities to talk to him and succeed at them, to be honest! Most of the time, he enjoys someone being rude if they’re being straightforward about it; he likes moxie. (For instance he enjoys if you successfully embarrass Aztore!) Boosts not tied to success/fail conditions: choose ‘keep an eye on the others so we all survive’ when doing the arena testing in ch6, ask him not to pick on rookies in ch6, talk to him in ch7 when you’re given a choice.

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Is it possible to save Terez during the death match with him and Aztore? If it is how do you save him?

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It’s definitely possible to save him. When he’s just about to die, do something proactive that plays to your strengths. If you pass the stats check, Terez survives.

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I’d prefer spoiler tags on that particular plot point, at least for now! Later today I’ll check through the choices and post which stats are tested.

In chapter 3 when you get to select ROEryx/Ferrado poly wasn’t one listed. Every other one was listed. How do I get this one?

If you’re talking about the scene where the game asks you which RO you’re interested in, I don’t think it actually locks you into a route with said RO. You can start by romancing Eryx first and then showing interest in Ferrado. The conversation that “officiates” your romance with both Ferrado and Eryx takes place in the ending because your MC and Ferrado only really get together in that chapter.

Thank you!

Yes, that choice doesn’t lock you into anything. Additionally, Ferrado and Eryx in a poly relationship with you is more of a V, where both of them are interested in you, only tangentially with each other, while Remi/Ferrado and and Remi/Eryx can include direct romantic attraction between the NPCs.

Ferrado and Eryx are both super flexible so it’s likely you’ll be able to get that that poly romance without too much fuss!

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This has got to be one of my favorite games <3
I love the angst, the complicated choices- and Remi xD
Definitely will be replaying over and over!

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No kidding! I was actually cheating on Eryx with Ferrado in one playthrough, and Eryx and Ferrado went and talked it out behind my back and decided they didn’t mind sharing me.

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Hey, so I just discovered something in the code:

In chapter six, there’s a “noromance” flag that shows up, and it appeared so suddenly that it caught me off guard. I thought maybe I was just overlooking something, so I scrolled around the page, but couldn’t find anything. I even did a ctrl+f search to see how many more times it came up, and my search result pulled up exactly one entry, and it was the entry that startled me in the first place.

So unless the noromance flag is supposed to happen in an earlier chapter for some reason and I just missed it (which, considering how late in the game you have to wait for Petra to try and approach you, seems like it would be counterproductive and bug out the story), I think you’ve accidentally forgotten to actually code in the noromance flag, which means there’s an entire selection of choices that don’t actually exist unless you read the code.

Screenshot below:

Huh…good catch! I’m not at my computer right now but that’s supposed to get set if you turn Petra down and have already turned everyone else down (IE all interest_NPC variables have been turned false). The fact it’s not triggering shouldn’t actually cause any issues; even regarding readability it flows into the next label smoothly as designed. But it would be fun to have it trigger properly.

I’ll investigate - thanks!

Review:

Thoroughly enjoyed this story. Overall I give it a positive review and an endorsement for anyone provided they enjoy erotica.

Specifics:

The Good - Both the characters and the love interests were well designed. The villains were well crafted to be interesting, villainess, but not stupid. The player determinant characters had good payoffs for those choosing to invest in them and similarly good payoffs for those choosing to antagonize them. And I liked the love interests personalities and story arcs. It seems like the player is able to influence them down certain lines and I appreciate those types of games rather than the ones where you have to play a certain type of character to get successfully pursue the romance. I think they were well designed and variable, and I think most players will find at least one of them attractive (at least the male versions) based on personal tastes.
I also wanted to shoutout the worldbuilding. Very well designed. Simple in areas that didn’t mattered, but enough nuance and tropie design choices to allow the readers imagination to flow.
I thought the story was very good for this format and quite frankly, despite what I am about to say about the romance and sex scenes, I was engaged thoroughly with just the story and my interest in continuing the game was completely a desire to reach the goals my character was allowed to set, roleplay the scenario provided, and overcome the challenges that objective.
And finally I would put both the romance and the sex scenes in the good category. I ended up going for playthroughs with Remi and Ferrado and I enjoyed how they were written. From the gay perspective, while there really isn’t acknowledgment of homosexuality (which I think some gays prefer anyways), it was still written in a way that gay men will find erotic that other gender variable games struggle with. I never felt like my character was just playing the “womans role” in a gender flip game. I really appreciated the effort in making it feel real.

The Meh - I wasn’t completely satisfied with the epilogue. I kinda wished for a bit more knowledge on what happened to some of the characters and what there “happily ever after” was. Specifically I would have liked to know if everything ended up working out with the warden (if she told you her story), what ends up happening with the LC gang (depending on leadership/strength), what ends up happening with the rebel faction (again depending on what you interaction has been with them). I think maybe it was to make room for the final sex scene, which was great, but why not both? lol

The Bad - the only things that I would nitpick were how certain roleplaying options that were established early in the game don’t seem to be as well supported in some of the later parts. Specifically I’m thinking of the ability to play a pacifist character - there is some scenes later in the game where the description of the thoughts of the character come across as fairly bloodthirsty which felt odd (non determinant as well, its not like those thoughts were only in options). And secondly, the first character I played was a “vicious” type, its one of the stats so I feel like it should have been supported. But I remember two parts where another character was comparing you to the “final boss”, and I purposefully selected the vicious response, and the response you would get from those characters was along of the lines of “I’m glad you aren’t as bad as x”. I’m not sure if that is a scripting error, but it just felt like those characters completely ignored how my character just said he enjoyed the violence of gladiator combat. Overall I was able to roleplay the character, just be aware that there were rarely some times it felt the author forgot to cater to some of the archetypes set up earlier in the game (or there are bugs that are doing that).

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