Nova Hearts: The Spark

Nova Hearts: The Spark

Nova Hearts is a visual novel that manages to seamlessly integrate a turn-based battle mechanic into the genre. The game is planned to be released later this summer and will have three or more chapters, totaling around 12h of gameplay. The first of these chapters is released as a standalone free-to-play app: Nova Hearts: The Spark.

The game impresses through its outstanding art direction. The CGs are exquisitely drawn and unlike most other visual novels where only the facial expressions change according to the current dialog line, here the character models are fully animated. This provides fluidity to the story and allows the player to fully immerse themselves in it.

The story itself is also a bit of a treat. You are Luce, a young girl who comes back home to live with her mother, ten years after her parents divorced. While she focuses on rekindling old friendships with two former schoolmates, strange occurrences start to happen in town, which makes the trio undergo a sudden and surprising Sailor Moon-like transformation, becoming superheroes to fight off evil.

The story unfolds through lengthy dialogues and chats on the phone. There is a good amount of choices, but most of the time these deliver only a few extra lines of dialogue. However, they will positively or negatively affect your relationship with the other characters, which in turn can lead to potentially having some additional scenes at the end of the chapter. The way your choices influence a character is visually indicated on the screen through a very pleasant rain-effect of symbols: heart for the romance route, crown for relationship increase, dagger for relationship decrease. There are several characters to romance and the game is gender-fluid, allowing you same-sex relationships. There are no explicit erotic scenes (and according to the developers, there won’t be any in the full game either), but there are kissing scenes even in the first chapter.

The turn-based battles occur while the trio is in their superhero form. The enemies and heroes alternate turns, each of them being able to cast only one ability per turn. While enqueuing their abilities, you also have the possibility to delay them so that they get cast at the same time as one of your teammates, creating combos for added damage. The XP points gained in battles can then be used to upgrade your character’s abilities or to unlock new ones.

The game was developed using the Unity engine. Unfortunately, this comes with a couple of flaws. In its current form, you can neither skip nor have a history of previously read lines. You can’t go back and pick a different choice to see how it develops, and while a manual save is possible, this is available only at specific points during the game (otherwise, there is an autosave feature, but it’s not clearly indicated when the game decides to autosave).

Overall, Nova Hearts: The Spark is a very promising title. The first chapter alone got me all excited to see it fully released and experience the full story. If Nova Hearts sparked your interest, give the first chapter a try!

Other articles that you might like:

Help us spread the love about this game:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *