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Recordkeeping: Heartbeat Demo COMPLETE - The Forbidden Codex of The Pink Beyond - A Sqrl's Journal — LiveJournal

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September 1st, 2018

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03:34 pm - Recordkeeping: Heartbeat Demo COMPLETE
Can I really count beating a demo as a complete? Well, it did take me about five and a half hours, and that's longer than some actual games take to finish, so what the heck, let's go ahead and count it.

HeartBeat is an upcoming cutesy JRPG-style game in the Earthbound/Mother tradition of Cute But Weird. I dunno if it's going to spring the 'dark edge' of those games at any point, but so far there's not much sign of it.

The world is inhabited by monsters called Mogwai (no, forget about Gremlins, this is different), all of which are pretty adorable but also ... well, monsters. As a Conjurer who bonds with mogwai, Eve goes on a quest...

...well, she kinda doesn't so much "go on a quest" as "make a bunch of friends locally and get dragged into their problems". Still, there's questing, mysterious factions dangled just out of reach of the player's knowledge, friendly fun times, etc.

What catches my interest to some degree is the worldbuilding. Mogwai have their own society, ruled by their own leaders and whatnot, but some are exiled or choose to leave and enter the human world to live among them. Humans see this as either invasive or welcome coexistence depending on their personal stance. Likewise, there are feral mogwai roaming the wilderness, with glowing red eyes suggesting something is Not Right about them... I'm curious to see whether this game has it in itself to embrace and explore the ethical questions it's already raising.

There's an air of mystery and friendliness to the game -- Eve is explicitly not killing anything, she's just defeating or making them surrender -- but her partner-mog is obviously not telling her everything. Likewise, the closest thing to true villains so far is your standard-issue Three Smartassed Jerks. (Team Rocket, Team Skull from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, whatever.)

I'm seeing a lot of people call it a "Pokemon clone" and it's absolutely not, though. You do not throw capture items at stat-randomized monsters with limited move-pools, you have a party of set characters with a slew of moves each.

That's not Pokemon, guys! Words mean things!

Anyway this was ... generally pretty good and I'm almost certainly going to drop ten bucks on it when it's a full game sometime in September.

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