I’m a sucker for video games like Where the Heart Leads.
A middle-aged man falls right into a gap and awakens in a wierd dream-like place through which he relives — and might make adjustments to — his total life? Sign me up.
By and huge, developer Armature makes essentially the most of this setup to inform an emotional and introspective story about life. Right off the bat, I took fairly a liking to protagonist Whit. He’s obtained that ‘cool laid-back dad’ vibe to him, and seeing the trigger for his tumble — him attempting to save lots of the household canine — will get you rapidly invested in his journey to return residence.
Of course, it’s by no means that easy. To try this, he’ll must undergo completely different occasions in his life — his previous, current and future — and make decisions that form its trajectory. It’s a captivating premise — if occasions had performed out in another way, what route may your life have taken? What relationship would you’ve had together with your father? Mother? Brother? Then-girlfriend? Neighbour? Where the Heart Leads affords lots of of decisions based mostly in your interactions with folks, and this results in dozens of endings. All the whereas, a easy watercolour aesthetic and candy, low-key soundtrack give the sport an endearingly quaint really feel.
This is likely one of the sorts of tales I like essentially the most — small-scale however deeply private stakes for the principle character. Well-written dialogue helps promote Whit’s experiences, comparable to insisting on serving to out his overworked, unbiased girlfriend Rene or encouraging his headstrong brother Sege to pursue his desires in opposition to their mother and father’ needs. You’ll then have the ability to see how these decisions have an effect on Whit’s relationships going ahead, which makes them really feel significant.
To add to the sport’s small-town really feel, Armature additionally encourages you to talk to much less vital non-player characters, like Rene’s father who’s butting heads with Whit’s father. These are sometimes fascinating and assist flesh out the world, even when they’re not as straight associated to Whit’s core journey.
Where the sport suffers most, although, is in its construction. On paper, dividing the sport into sections based mostly on completely different elements of Whit’s life is a brilliant strategy, however the pacing feels off in follow. Some areas, just like the early farm chapter, are overly lengthy, significantly with a protracted tractor repairing bit. Meanwhile, later sections may have used extra time to breathe.
The recreation’s isometric perspective can be typically at odds with the digicam, getting caught in several elements of the surroundings, like bushes or homes. While this seems to be a stylistic selection on Armature’s half to supplying you with a wider take a look at a given space, the execution is considerably missing.
These points are pretty minor, although. Overall, Where the Heart Leads makes for a completely memorable expertise because of its thought-provoking narrative, and it’s completely value trying out when you’re into these sorts of story-driven video games.
Where the Heart Leads is out there for $33.49 CAD on PlayStation 4 and PS5 through backward compatibility.