Honestly, I think Heart’s Choice was always a bit redundant I guess? but I am not exactly sure if that is the word to describe it.
It is supposed to only be a place to submit romances but Hosted Games more or less does the same thing and in my opinion with better results, I don’t think I was as invested with any Romance Options under Heart’s Choice compared to say: Ortega, Herald, Argent, Jun/Ko, Allesa, Hadrian, Morgan, Ava, and Nate, and don’t get me started on WIP’s.
It just feels odd to create a whole app to put some romance books in even though most of the discussion of Hg tends to be about romance more often than not, speaking of Hg I believe it affects HC because why would they go on the latter when the former has romances that are more widely discussed and complimented?
I always play the demo first. If I enjoy that, I download the game and upgrade before starting. I also pretty much always buy within the discount period, for what it’s worth.
While Heart’s Choice feels like it was created with me in mind (I’ve probably read 400+ wlw romances), I do tend to agree with Jesus’s comment – paraphrasing a bit here – that they rarely feel like romances with background plots, they feel like fiction with background romances. Which is precisely how CoG games feel. Wayhaven feels more romantic than a lot of the Heart’s Choice releases, which is kind of confusing?
I think part of the problem for choice-based romances is that, once I decide on a partner, time spent with the other ROs feels wasted. Friendship dynamics can be nice, but the more ROs there are, the more diluted the central romance becomes. Add to that a plot that all romances fall under (as opposed to a plot primarily designed to support the central romance)…and what you have is Choice of Parisian Courtesan or Choice of Great Gatsby. Or, as mentioned, The Wayhaven Chronicles.
I don’t know what the solution to this is. I imagine it’s a tricky line to walk as an author. As a Heart’s Choice reader, though, I just want to get swept up in an epic love story. I can’t say that’s ever happened. I’ve enjoyed some of the stories, but I can’t think of one I would describe to a romance reader as a romance.
If the game catches me from its description, I buy it. Even if I only end up making it through two chapters before dropping it, I still prefer to pay for them.
Among my friend circle, we’re all kind of fans of choicescript games, but I’m usually the one that people ask when they’re on the fence about purchasing a game. So I kind of feel bad pointing out any negatives or criticizing a game (even if that criticism is just “wasn’t my thing, dropped it a couple chapters in”) if I haven’t paid for the game.
Also as a whole, I enjoy choicescript games and enjoy supporting the authors since I have the disposable income to do so.
I played one for free. It was okay, but I doubt I’d go back to it. See, the thing is, almost all of Heart’s Choice stories don’t match my play style. As good as some of the settings and premises are, I’m a self insert player, which means I just don’t play genderlocked F MC stories, nor do I play M/M romances. If there gender choice MCs, and at least variable ROs, I’d probably at least try more of them out.
That’s a common complaint that I also have with HC, for a publisher that is stated to release romance books it just feels that romance is more of a background activity compared to the main premise of the game, it feels that the focus is on setting and story instead of characters and relationships.
The romances in Fallen Hero and Wayhaven work because we have time to characterize the characters and get to know them and form bonds, but in Heart’s Choice, everything just feels a bit rushed I guess? I don’t think we have enough time to get to characterize the characters and form some strong attachment to them and it doesn’t help that we don’t have many romantic scenes in a label stated to have a focus on romance.
Honestly? I think it would be for the best to publish in either COG or Hg instead and close the app, Heart’s Choice was never a really popular branch and I think putting things there just hurts their chance of people seeing it and deciding to check it out, It doesn’t really help that there isn’t a lot of content compared to COG/HG so it just simply doesn’t stand a real chance.
I voted for “buy before completing”, but its not really completely accurate for me.
I will usually play the first part of it for free to get a feel if I am going to like the romance options, the roleplay and the writing style. Sometimes up until the first wait time and sometimes up until the second. Then I will purchase it.
For the record I have played, purchased, and completed All-World Pro Wrestling, Heart of Battle, and Brimstone Manor. I have played, not purchased, and not completed Freshman Magic, Downfall, and Jazz Age.
I treat HC just the same as any other CS game.
I start playing, and if I reach the ad-/wait-time or demo end, and still want to continue, I will buy the game.
I too feel like the games can have a little too much focus on story, to the point where romance gets side-lined, but I don’t really think it’s fair to compare HC with HG, since HC is the romance-focused version of CoG, not HG, and HG games can already be romance-focused and much more varied.
My personal gripes with HC is pretty much the same problems that I have with the usual CoG formula, that can often be frustrating or off-putting for me as a reader.
This is a good explanation as to why the ROs in HC games feel so bland to me. It’s like they’re trying to appeal to everyone and there isn’t enough time to really get attached to any of them while playing.
I own three HC titles. I played 1.5 of them (never finished the second because I got bored with the characters). They didn’t feel like romance games to me and the ROs were too bland. I haven’t played any since then, though I had considered buying the gladiator one until I saw someone talking about the ROs in it… and decided no thanks.
Several HG titles and WIPs do better with romances than what I’ve seen from HC (Wayhaven, FH, and the upcoming Fernweh Saga, for example). It sucks, because I actually liked the idea of dedicated romance titles, and expected them to have more depth in the relationships (especially for the gender-locked ones, where it’s easier to focus on writing without the extra coding), but I just haven’t seen it.
Heart’s Choice games aren’t something that interest me, as none of the games are evidently aimed at someone from my demographic (straight male); I know there are some where you can play as a man and set the gender-variable ROs to women, but I find these rather lacking honestly.
I’ve only ever bought one (as I found the premise somewhat interesting), and I thought it was pretty bad from a romance perspective (the actual story wasn’t too bad).
I picked I buy before play, but I am also of the play the demo first and then buy if interested.
I will also cast my vote into the chorus of… for an off shoot of the brand which is suppossed to be focused on romance, there is not enough romance in these games. The plot takes over, and it is often a plot which does not facilitate romance very much, when it should in a romance game.
Of those I only one had a good romance to other plot balance and that might honstely just be because I enjoyed the other plot so much that it didn´t matter much.
As for those who are confused as to why a HG can feel more romance oriented than a HC, a HG is under much less restriction and can be anything the writer wants. This mean that you can write a story like Wayhaven, which is written like a romance vn. (Seriously, it is. The author has also written vn).