View Full Version : Fatal Hearts - Visual Novel Adventure

10-11-2007, 08:01 AM
So at long last I'm nearly done with my 'artistic' project, the one I've been doing instead of the cute knight sequel for the past two years. :) Although considering the potential of the casual adventure game at the moment, this might not be quite as doomed an artistic project as I originally expected, but we'll see.



This is a branching, multipath adventure game. Play through the story (all reading, sorry, I don't have the budget for several hours of voice acting) and make choices to move the plot along, choose-your-own-adventure style. As the story unfolds you will encounter different minigames/puzzles you'll have to solve in order to proceed.

This demo covers most of chapter 1 up to the first MAJOR decision point - there are lots of small choices that do affect the way the game turns out but there are only a few that put you on the four major game branches. There are fourteen endings in all.

The game is not released yet and this demo hasn't been really heavily hammer-tested, so do tell me if it explodes or if the instructions aren't clear enough or anything else really...

Adrian Cummings
10-11-2007, 08:36 AM
Sorry, double posted again somehow?

Adrian Cummings
10-11-2007, 08:36 AM
I just had a go at it given that I am a 42 year old bloke, but tried to look past that bit heh when playing your demo just now :)

I actually thought it quite well presented and although this type of game is not my bag, I can see you must have a bit of a niche market here to yourself pretty much with this type of game content.

Later on... I moved all the spider webs out of the way (by moving them all to the very bottom of the screen) but noticed I did have to move them all pretty much as far as possible to the bottom before I could proceed, so the tolerance value was a bit harsh it seemed on that bit.

Music is nice too and graphics suffice for their intended purpose.

It worked on well Vista on a dual screen pc, I say this as some games don't like my test machine for this reason alone.

If I were a young girl or young boy (that was that way inclined perhaps er heh) I would want this game or somebody to buy it for me.

Anyway - Good luck!

10-11-2007, 11:15 AM
Game ran without problems.
The upsell screen opened my web browser but my screen was still in 800x600 until i quit the game.
Some points:
- Didn't know what to do with the spiderwebs. Looking at Hint felt like cheating, so maybe tell the player what to do.
- Control of rotating the mysterious book is sloppy and awkward to do.
- Can you re-read old text? Happened to me a few times that i missed parts by clicking one time too often.

10-11-2007, 11:27 AM
Can you re-read old text? Happened to me a few times that i missed parts by clicking one time too often.

Yes - pageup or use the scroll wheel on the mouse.

Looking at Hint felt like cheating, so maybe tell the player what to do.

On most puzzles, the first hint automatically pops up unless you've disabled auto-hints, and that usually explains the basic idea/controls. But for the very first puzzle I needed to tell the player where the menu is in the puzzle screen rather than how to play the puzzle.

10-11-2007, 10:17 PM
Great art, good story (what I saw of it), fun puzzles... looks like another winner from Madame Butterfly.

I hope this does well for you. It could be a tough sell as it isn't the usual portal flotsam, but then no one saw Aveyond coming.

Cute Knight, Aveyond, and now this. You seem to be on a mission to single-handedly reform the portal paradigm. Keep it up! :)

10-12-2007, 03:43 AM
Not single-handed, Aveyond is amaranth's, not mine. :) I just feature it because it fits in well with my stuff. (And she's got a sequel coming up shortly...)

10-12-2007, 04:07 AM
I found navigating with the mouse complicated and had trouble finding the menu at some stage.

The game in my opinion has a deep and captivating story that is perfect for a female audience, needless to say!

I found myself clicking everywhere in the kitchen to get something to happen, guess I fail at being intuitive or reading instructions.

Looking forward to seeing all the wrinkles ironed out, and can't wait to see how popular it becomes.

Thanks for reading my reply.

10-12-2007, 05:40 AM
You beat us to releasing a visual novel. :) Congrats on completing. Hope it does well for you!

10-12-2007, 07:30 AM
I haven't had a chance to try this out, yet, but I wanted to offer a hearty congrats! This has been quite a while in the making.

11-02-2007, 03:25 PM
Sorry for the post to an old thread but I thought it would be more polite to answer here with my comments on Fatal Hearts than take the other thread off topic. I wasn't actually going to write anything, I played this back when I first saw the post but I just didn't want to post a negative opinion. Since that's all it is, an opinion of one person.

Fatal Hearts was one of those games I was utterly convinced that I'd end up buying. I've been looking forward to it ever since I heard of it. I downloaded the demo here with great anticipation and so it was a surprise when I found out that I didn't enjoy the game after all.

The first thing that sat uneasily with me was the main character's age. 15 1/2 made her too young for me. 16 I could have dealt with a little better, but under that she's not legal and I feel uncomfortable with the idea of playing a kid talking about boys and marriage, especially when the guy who shows up in her dreams is most definitely older. That's just me and is quite likely a misinterpretation but it presses a button that makes me go 'no'. I know girls do it and when I was her age I'd have thought nothing of it but being more than ten years older she just seemed too young. I couldn't really connect.

The game didn't feel interactive enough to me. I know that's the style of the genre, but key decisions I'd have liked to make were made for me whereas the inconsequential ones seemed to be left for me to deal with. I couldn't decide whether to go with the boys to the party, or to stay with the dead body and talk to the police, content that the law wouldn't find me guilty. But I did have to choose whether to walk home or call my mother when the end result seemed to be the same. Or to search my friend's house or go out to the library (was it? and searching the house seemed to reveal absolutely nothing and thus made it pointless. So I felt railroaded and a touch frustrated. It's more interactivity that I'd expect in most games and just not as much freedom as I'd have wanted. Even if I did get stopped from going to the party, by my mother catching me sneaking out or something else coming up I'd have liked that option. Even if the police did initially blame me for the murder I'd have liked the choice to stay because I really couldn't see the logic in running away when I was innocent.

The other thing I found difficult was when searching rooms I'd have liked cupboard doors to open so I could look inside and see the contents or just something more than the screens where all clicking gave me was text. I felt like I should be able to move things or have some sort of impact on the screen and I didn't and couldn't. I know that's the way of visual novels but it just didn't feel right. It's strange since it's not bothered me in other games of a similar style.

I found the options menu difficult to navigate. The rest of the interface for the game worked but it never felt intuitive to me. The 'hints' didn't seem to be hints at all but instead much needed instructions for the games. Clicking 'hint' feels like cheating whereas reading instructions makes sense. It's just a mindset I have and I'd have rather it wasn't labelled hint. That said I did work out what to do on the puzzles without said hints.

I got stuck on the running away from the dead body puzzle and being stuck it frustrated me. The lack of being able to save in the demo meant that I knew I'd have to replay everything in order to get to that point again. I sighed and decided that it wasn't worth it. The story just didn't draw me in enough. I wasn't hooked though I was admittedly curious as to what happened to my friend, the mystery just didn't feel urgent enough.

The artwork was lovely and I could see that a lot of work had gone into the game. It was a game that I really thought would appeal to me, I really wanted to like it, so it's strange that it didn't grip me like I'd expected. I liked how the puzzles were mixed in, appropriate to the story. I'm sure that it will sell really well, it just wasn't a game for me.

11-02-2007, 04:09 PM
No problem. :)

(The girls' ages were set at 15 precisely so that they would not have access to cars, which makes a difference in the way they can respond to events. If they were 16, Christina still wouldn't have a car (lack of money) but Lucy would.)

Although I admit, animations/responses when searching the room never even occurred to me at design time, because I come from the old 2D adventure tradition, where clicking around the room to look at things and getting popup boxes telling you about them was a pleasingly-high amount of interactivity, compared to being faced with all this stuff you couldn't do anything with at all! :) BFG also mentioned they would like to see animations while searching. I suppose the difference is that now people are used to Hidden Object games, which are crowded with things you can click on and have them sparkle, jitter, and disappear. It's something I'm thinking about, anyway.

Choosing whether or not to walk home is indeed unimportant, but it's stuck there to be sure that the player encounters the method-of-making-choices very early in play, so they understand how it's going to work. Choosing whether to go look for Lucy or go to the library does have effects, but you may not see or understand all of them right away.

This being early in the story, the amount of branching it can do is limited. Drastically going off in a different direction so early would necessitate a 'game over', which I think would annoy people a lot more than simply not getting to choose. :)

I have noticed that even people who bought the game seem to be not reading the 'hints' at all, and am currently reworking them.