Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#106 Post by okiness » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:53 pm

Played the whole game and well, hmm. . . . I'm putting my review under spoilers. I'm warning you I had a lot of issues with the game, but I really really don't want you to think I don't love your stuff or your abilities. Really. I'm serious. Please don't hate me ;_o
I'm not going to say the game was bad. Because it wasn't inherently 'bad'. It was just unbelievably, almost completely, exactly like Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side. You had chibis for activities, you based stats like you would in the game. You even ranked the academics in a slanted way like the game does, in a clearly Japanese based system that should measure more Canadian/American. Affection and dates, it takes place over three years (even using a plot point to skip the first one) and yet it lacks one thing Tokimeki DOES do.

The story starts out in every Tokimeki game with a backstory- a backstory that is culminated in the end no matter who you choose unless you really suck. Now - in this game I think it's good you went with Vi and the h@x to differentiate from Tokimeki. . . but it's. 1. not different enough. Everything from the interfac to the clothing system to relationships is virtually the same and I feel that cheapens your efforts alot. You didn't take the plot and change it, you took the interface and did a similar story. It's hard for me to cut you slack because of it. I am more likely to forgive 5 people for doing a supernatural romance as long as they all write differently and express it differently. Unless you added bombs this could not be closer to Tokimeki. 2. There is no culmination. Vi is obviously your 'mentor' type, taken again from Tokimeki to be your life mentor. But you never really talk to him, even if you're trying to get his ending. He comes, he leaves. There is no message there that says, hey wow this is what the MC got from this experience.

None of this means you didn't work hard. You obviously did! Your art has improved, your dialogue is funny, your music is well paced. But you lacked what Frozen Essence did that blew the pants off of me: There is nothing about this game inherently ..individual. The plot just seems typical 'I'm a normal girl who magically gets a super sidekick to go on shoujo adventures with me' throw in super powers and you're just a mahou shoujo. What disappointed me the most was that none of these love interests was particularly interesting to me. I thought you'd make a funny Twilight reference, instead you rolled with a fourth undead plotline and Chase going from stoic to absolutely weird. Dmitri is a boring and predictable character who is literally the embodiment of ex girlfriend tropes. Where is the shock and aw of the Zareh story? Where is the genuinely cute quirk of the main love interest who could have been predictable?

I don't want to seem too harsh. Trust me when I say, I'm way more picky than I should be. This game should not be free because the labor you put into it was far more than even some regular games I've seen. I feel like I should have paid for it, and the quality is good enough to be commercial. But . . .not because the story is genuine by itself. I only enjoyed playing Blaze's storyline, everyone else I trudged through.

Again, the worst part is really how identical to Tokimeki memorial it is. I think I'd be a lot more forgiving if it wasn't so blatant. But it...really really is way too similar to the game. I cant sit here and say it isn't good, it doesn't show significant programming expertise, or even that it's bad. But you know what it IS? A squandering of your talents. You are an awesome writer with great ideas, but this just falls short for me. I want to like it so bad, because I *really* love and respect your works and abilities, but I hope your next game is more like Frozen Essence.

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#107 Post by inhalance » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:31 pm

Alright! After playing through Chase's route and partway through Dmitri's, I'll leave some of my opinions here as well. ^^
Chase's route:
I went through his route first not knowing anything until I came across your quick guide (which actually helped me a lot since I referenced to it about 50 times during just Chase's route). The game was very enjoyable, and there were several cute/funny moments. Your art has definitely gotten better since Frozen Essence, which I played quite a while ago and enjoyed. By the beginning of 3rd year though, the weekly activities and dates were starting to feel repetitive, especially since the options are always the same and after about 10 dates if you choose correctly, the love/friendship meter were already full for Chase and I just kept re-wearing outfits and asking him out. :\ The game felt extremely long as well.. you mentioned that each route took you no longer than 2 hours, however it took me about 8-10 hours just to finish Chase's route. I admit, I was a bit disappointed with how repetitive and predictable the sequence of events were. I saved about 100 slots just for his route. However, I really liked the clothing! They were cute and trendy styles ~
Near the end of his cycle, though, when it was revealed that he was a vampire, I felt like you kind of dropped a Twilight on me.. like, 'oh, she just pulled an Edward with the sparkly sweat!' I didn't know whether to be surprised or not surprised by the "plot twist", I guess is the appropriate term for it. It felt a bit weird since Chase suddenly became awks with the protagonist and things just felt kind of strange, especially since it was later revealed that Chase took blood from Lucas and Alice as well.
In total, you put a great amount of effort and time into this VN, and it definitely shows. I really appreciate your hard work, and sorry if my review sounds a bit blunt in some places. I think the game is of very high caliber, and it should definitely be more popular at the moment. However, I feel like there is a fine difference between this game and Frozen Essence, not because of the obvious differences of the themes, but because of your style. Frozen Essence had a nice individuality to it, whereas this game felt just like another typical otome game that's repetitive with the usual lineup of guy personalities/characters.
Overall, I congratulate you on a job well done. I'm definitely looking forward to your next production. Thank you so much for this amazing game as well. You are truly an amazing artist, writer, and programmer for having done most of the work yourself. I definitely see you as being very successful later on. ^^ p.s. Have a nice Christmas!
Offering proofreading help and writing assets.

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#108 Post by VenusEclipse » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:13 am

@Okiness:
It's okay, I don't hate you for being honest. If I hated everyone who didn't love my work, I would never put anything out at all.
I honestly don't know the back story in Tokimemo, I played it in Japanese with voice acting years ago before there was even a translation out. I just loved the game play. I got addicted and I relied on voice acting to get me through as well as trial and error. :mrgreen:

They're a professional game so my game is definitely inferior to that. I still wanted to make one, just had to make one in English. Something was making me make it even if it's going to be a pain (and it was). I think you're the one that mentioned the bombs? I think I replied that I didn't understand how they activate, but I won't make an excuse for my lack of understanding of the Japanese in the game. It is what it is.
And I haven't played it ever since it got translated. This game sort of took over my life. I don't mind the comparison though, I did make this because of that game.

For the story element itself, I actually had to rewrite this about five times because of continuity issues. It's hard to write a big back story and connect every event after I scripted the system with my amateur-ish programming skills. I ended up rewriting, redesigning, and turning it into a slice of life, high school sim mostly because I didn't want to throw away the "system" I made with my lack of understanding back then. That's just for you to know if you're wondering. :mrgreen:

Don't worry, I'm not mad. I'm actually writing another VN right now that you'll probably enjoy more than this.

@inhalance:
Yeah, it takes me 1/2 to 1/3 of the time most people take. It's why I felt the length was fine. Chase's route got lots of mixed results. I worried about these reactions but, I felt like I will regret it if I didn't go for it. Writing this is much more tougher than doing a visual novel where I would connect dots and story lines. This one is more broken up with the sequence of events being dependent on other attributes. It was a pain to write, and I underestimated the work involved. It's why I can't really do one of those epic scenes that I love to write. Writing a slice of life, high school setting is one of my toughest feats ever. So I've given respect to whoever can write well in this setting without any supernatural stuff. I have tons of respect for them, and more if it's a sim!

Last Thoughts:
I'm fine being compared to Tokimemo since I loved that game, and I definitely made it because of that.
I'm more confused to be compared to my previous game, Frozen Essence. Both games are pretty different. Are people expecting the game and the characters to be like the previous game? If I never made Frozen Essence, would people still hold expectations for "epic" story lines?
That's really the thing bothering me at the moment. I've gotten emails with people saying things like this, some writing as though the sim aspect was unexpected. It's just that I feel that both games are different other than the otome part. It makes me question about my future if I decide to tackle different genres and themes.

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#109 Post by okiness » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:17 pm

Think of it like this - you super like a game. It's totally awesome.

Then you don't like a game. All you have as a frame of reference is that you did love one piece of work, and so now you're like "oh, how do I explain this?"

For instance, I love Hanako Games. Love her. She is awesome. Hated the crap out of Date Warp. Playing it made me vastly uncomfortable.

Then I played Magical Diary, completely different game. Loved it, because the powerful writing Hanako is known for was there.

THEN LLTQ came out. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! Loved it all the same, because the writing was there.

Feel free, seriously, to do different stuff. I think MY complaint, badly worded, meant 'hey I liked Frozen Essence so I know you can do better, but this had some issues' and that's what I intended. If this was a slice of life and say you had not had to change what you wanted? I think it'd be great. I would love for you to reach out and do more. Now that I know you had to change a ton thanks to the programming, it makes sense to me. Really, I had just wondered why it was lacking in the one aspect I was super impressed with - Writing.

You can write a Life SIM BL for all I care as long as you write like the genius you are! XD

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#110 Post by destiny_921 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:19 am

I know I said I'd review (something like that), but I've been so busy lately that I've only just started playing the game eventhough I downloaded it at the moment it was available *hides*

I'll give a more in-depth and comprehensive review later :3

For now, Merry Christmas Eve and congratulations on completing this game! :D
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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#111 Post by arizco » Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:08 am

I really loved playing your game a lot<3 it did take some time to finish one route but I actually liked the characters and their personalities.One issue i've had though,I had to reset my laptop because of something and then when I tried to download your game again it would say that the file was corrupted and that I need another copy..I really would like to play it again so i was wondering if you perhaps knew what went wrong?

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#112 Post by VenusEclipse » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:55 pm

Thanks Okiness. I get what you mean.

@arizco:
I think the file got corrupted during the download. Did you check the file size? Just download it again. =)

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#113 Post by fontage » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:52 pm

Hello~! Congrats on the release!
I recently finished Chase's storyline and Lucas's so I thought I would drop some input.

I really did like the pop culture references. The story and characters are really nice too. I liked how there were surprises here and there about them -even though I've only played two paths-. The game did feel kind of long though? lol. I had already gotten all my stats around 300+ sometime in the second year/ early third year and I wish there was a faster way of skipping the stat scenes.

Also during Lucas's path, at the end right before his final cg I believe, the scene repeats.

Nonetheless I did enjoy the game and felt it was believable. :)
I'm not very good at reviewing. haha

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#114 Post by IefaSan » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:14 pm

This is one of the longest dating sim I ever played... Haha. I have to be in high school for 3 years.. That is long.. Nevertheless, I really like this game.. amazing story line!
Though it's funny when I just break up with Dimitry but Tamera and Naomi talking about him when I go to Tamera's house. And then the mood bar appear. I don't know how to feel about it though... XD


The only problem I face it I can't buy any costume or outfit at all.. Imagine I've been wearing school uniform for 3 years to every occasion. LOL.. I save up my money until it was $2000+... After I come here again, I saw the game guide. I will try to change it and play it again because it was awesome!

Thanks for the amazing game!

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#115 Post by Skyefrost » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:26 am

I definitely love the story and the fact that
everygirlwasafterchase'ssweatwashilarious and that's the reason he sparkle in the sunlight
I liked Chase the most because he's so freaking awesome lol. we would probably be friends though, I'm not his type of girl. I liked how all the characters are not just their stereotypes. like how Tamera is just an idiot sometime not a preppy cheerleader. I loved all the characters.

Lucas was sort of urh...for me. he just wasn't as interesting as the others, btw I'll played through his path but still don't understand his
future secret business.
that he talked about. (got the full ending too.)
wasn't it that he just sold a bunch of stuff that his dad sent him? what that got to do with his future?
I sorta had a problem with Hwang probably cause I'm Vietnamese with a lot of Chinese friends. I don't think there is such thing as a bitter soup. well there would be but if someone is sick we uses rice porridge for them. though the scene was cute I can't help but be slightly annoyed...

As for the games mech: I usually don't like stat raising games but i'm glad I gave this game a try it was fun! it was the characters that made this game awesome.

The CG scene sort of bothered me particularly with when the characters are at a table or interacting together it looks sort of off. but the coloring saves it. the table is out of perspective.
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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#116 Post by eternalwishess » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:59 am

I've been waiting for months for this game to come out ever since you posted a trailer of Heartstring Bugs. O:
Personally, this game kind of disappointed me because I thought it'd have a well written story that would be like Frozen Essence or The Legend of the Piper Girl. Instead, it seemed like it was more focused on stat/relationship building, because that's all it seemed like the game ever did whenever I chose my activities throughout the week. I know you put in a lot of effort while making this game, but I think I would've enjoyed a regular visual novel much more without all the fancy programming and functions involved for the gameplay. If there had been more dialogue, variety, and events throughout the gameplay, I probably would've enjoyed it a lot more.

Regardless, I do envy you in that you were consistent and well dedicated into making this game.
Call me αίкσ, hehe. C:

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#117 Post by phoenixhymn » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:11 am

I will admit that I downloaded this game for the sole reason that you included people of color in it--and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. (And then I was delighted to see that you were the same person who had done Frozen Essence, which is the game I played over Christmas break and got me to actually sign up for this forum.)

I didn't bother trying to get anyone's ending. Mostly I just wanted to see if I could get all the boys to date me and keep it secret from everybody. Which worked for all of two minutes before
Huang broke up with me. It happened late in year three, and I couldn't figure out how to woo him back at all. Is it possible? I was able to invite him on dates, but he just kept making anguished faces at me for saying we were still friends and such.
The last couple hours were extremely repetitive, but that's what happens in a stat-raising game. (This did not keep me from staying up until 5:30 this morning to play it. I only stopped because my computer ran out of battery. >.>)

Aside from some weird continuity issues that other people have already noted, I don't have any major criticisms. Thanks for releasing this fun game!

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#118 Post by VenusEclipse » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:39 am

@Fontage:
Edit: Someone is going to send me a save file for that part so I can fix it. Thanks for notifying me.
And thanks for your review. :mrgreen:

@IefaSan:
Is it a missing graphics problem? Are you able to fix it so you can play with the clothes?

@Skyefrost:
sorta had a problem with Hwang probably cause I'm Vietnamese with a lot of Chinese friends. I don't think there is such thing as a bitter soup. well there would be but if someone is sick we uses rice porridge for them. though the scene was cute I can't help but be slightly annoyed...
Hmm, my grandma makes this very bitter tasting herbal soup when I was in her care before. Otherwise, I usually get congee when I'm sick. I think it varies for each Asian family. xD

And I'll still be working on my perspective and anatomy issues that still pop up with this game. ^^;

@eternalwishess:
I do get mixed reviews on this. Some people love the stat raising part of it while others prefer my other visual novels. That's fine though. A continuous story is really hard to write for a sim, at least for me. So I watered it down to make events fit as much as they can. I'm going back to making visual novels because of these many graphic problems that pop up, the work it takes to make a sim, how much time it takes to help people out with various problems after release, and getting more exposure to more good sims before making another one. :mrgreen: Oh, and I really miss writing visual novels. This sim was supposed to be done in half the time from my plan. >_<

@phoenixhymn:
Edit: Oops, I forgot what happened in the game when I posted a reply. Here's the right response.
It happens during his story arc. As long as you keep seeing his events, there's a scene with a chance you can get back together later.
The last couple hours were extremely repetitive, but that's what happens in a stat-raising game. (This did not keep me from staying up until 5:30 this morning to play it. I only stopped because my computer ran out of battery. >.>)
I sometimes stay up for the same reasons when I was introduced to simulations. There was this magic that I really wanted to reproduce, or at least try making myself one day.

--------------------------

Again, thanks for playing everyone. =D!
Even if you liked it or not. It's a dream of mine to make a sim one day that people will play. I went through a bunch of scrapped sims that I attempted in other engines, so this is the one that surfaced on top of the scraps.

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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#119 Post by IefaSan » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:13 am

I play it again and the problem fixed. I can buy clothes now! Yeay! Just wondering.. is it possible to be in 'dating' relationship with more than one person?

I already got Dimitri's ending and it was superb!
I really like when Dimitri saves 'me' on the Halloween party. I was like starstruck and starts screaming+squeeling like a fan girl when I saw him.
Right now I'm trying to get Lucas. So far so good.
I haven't finished it yet but right now I just found out he's a vampire. After knowing that, all the 'hints' you put in this game starting flashing in my mind. Like how Chase somehow sparkles under sunlight, when he's dating 'me' he kept talking about craving and blood. Also when you make a movie about Lunar Eclipse and when we saw the CCTV Tamera puts, we can see Chase moving so fast. Hahaha... I really like these hints and quit frustrated because I didn't notice it sooner.
Every person have their own story and that's makes this game interesting. Though I just thought is there any boys that I can date without feeling guilty? Because
towards the end we know that Dimitri has a GF name Natasha. I just found out that Alice likes Chase and it's quite obvious that Naomi likes Huang. I know this is just a game but I always live on Principe 'never steal your friend's man' XD And that's makes only Blaze and Lucas left. TBH I don't really like Lucas personality and Blaze looks annoying (sorry) So far, I gotta say Dimitri is my favourite boy! LOL
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Re: Heartstring Bugs [dating sim, otome] (Guide's up)

#120 Post by Ran08 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:14 am

Downloading this right now. :D

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