When I first saw the name for Heartbound, developed by Pirate Software, I thought it was just going to be another Earthbound clone. But after playing the Alpha demo, I can see that this game will be a whole lot more.
The story for Heartbound follows Lore and his talking dog Baron, as they go on a grand adventure to fight mysterious enemies known as Darksiders. The story starts off on a typical dark and stormy night, set in the modern world. You follow Lore running through the basic routine of taking out the trash and feeding his dog. However, there are some pretty heavy implications that Lore’s father is abusive, and as you look around you will see that the house is falling apart. I don’t want to give away too much of the story away because I feel the fun is in playing it, so I will leave it at that.
The developers released a free Alpha demo so I downloaded it and played it, and the cool thing about Heartbound is that based on your actions it will change Lore’s mood, and when Lore’s mood changes the outcome of certain situations will also change and the dialogue will adjust with it.
There are a few scenes that are pretty strange and hints at some pretty dark storylines if you continue to pursue them. The more you indulge in Lore’s dark feelings, the darker his mood gets and the game will adjust to reflect that. Alternatively, if you choose the more positive path, the game and the dialogue will also adjust to reflect those actions as well.
The developers do say that there are multiple endings and storyline paths, so for players that love to search for all the little easter eggs and plotlines, the multiple endings will add a lot of replay value.
Heartbound is taking a new approach with items and combat as well. The developers say that in most RPG games you stockpile items and save them for the future for when you will need them most, but by the end of the game you still never use the items because you want to wait and save them for that one special moment, and as a result the items go to waste. Heartbound is changing that a bit by adding a new item system that rewards curious players that like to search and explore, as well as giving the player bonus powers that trigger after specific conditions are met in battle. I’m not really sure how this system will work in game, but it sounds like the game won’t have a traditional item system.
As for the combat system, the developers say that the game will not use a standard combat system, but will instead use unique minigames that you have to complete to defeat enemies. Based on your performance and skill at playing the minigames will determine how the battles and story will play out. The developers let YouTuber ArcJamie play the Alpha demo of their game, so if you don’t mind the demo being spoiled for you a bit, check out the video down below to see what it’s like.
Heartbound is scheduled for a 2017 release date, but if you would like to vote for it and follow its development progress, you can head on over to Steam Greenlight to cast your vote.
Make sure to also check out the official website so that you can play the Alpha demo for yourself. I recommend to play it a couple of times because there are a few alternate story paths within the demo that isn’t shown in the above video.