I know what you’re thinking. Another isekai title? It’s a concept that’s been prevalent in anime and visual novels in recent years, but Ascendant Hearts has fun with it. All you know about RPGs is common sense to the inhabitants of Lightshire and their world, but Hayato, an avid gamer, still has no idea what’s going on.
When Hayato wakes up by the water fountain of Lightshire, he realises he has amnesia. He at least realises that this isn’t his world, and that things are very different though. Whilst Lightshire would be perfect in a game, Hayato isn’t in a game. The sudden monster encounter he finds himself in begs to differ though, and he’s quickly saved by outcast black mage Shiori. Realising that Hayato is completely oblivious to the way of the world, the two party up so that Hayato isn’t stranded.
It may sound generic, and that’s because it’s supposed to! Ascendant Hearts pokes fun at isekai tropes, and it makes for some hilarious dialogue. Terms like raiding and NPC exist in this world, but they don’t share the same meaning. For all intents and purposes they more or less have the same end goal, but this is a real world so NPCs are just non-adventuring villagers or other citizens with quests to give. Fetch quests and the like exist too, and Hayato is constantly questioning if he can predict this world with his vast RPG knowledge — sadly, he’s usually a bit off the mark.
The game lasts around 4-5 hours, and it kept me glued until the end.
The game lasts around 4-5 hours, and it kept me glued until the end. The person behind the attack on Lightshire shocked me, and it did a good job in keeping me guessing. The characters are likeable and you can pick to date one of three – I went with black mage Shiori. There is a h-patch if you’re into that, but it doesn’t add a whole lot. If anything, it makes some scenes feel out of place, and it’s a better experience without it.
Ascendant Hearts features great character design and stunning environments, and they thankfully don’t become tiresome over the game’s brief journey. There are a lot of CG images to unlock, which will require you to experience each girl’s route if you want them all, and they are lovely to look at — the only time you see the protagonist is in the ending CG with your chosen girl, and he looks fairly generic.
The soundtrack does a good job in capturing the lazy atmosphere of small town Lightshire, and the battle music is catchy. Some of the tracks don’t loop as neatly as they could do for longer scenes, but it’s not something I found to be particularly bothering. If the soundtrack was available on Steam I’d be buying it, so get on that Visualnoveler!
A short, entertaining adventure that’ll leave you satisfied.
It’s easy for me to recommend Ascendant Hearts at the low price of £7.19/$9.99, and I highly enjoyed my time with it. It doesn’t last long enough for the concept to become tiring, and it’s a short, entertaining adventure that’ll leave you satisfied. It left me wanting more, but I’m glad that Visualnoveler didn’t drag it out as it ends neatly, with no loose ends in sight. Ascendant Hearts is a high-quality visual novel that’s worthy of your time and money, and I look forward to seeing what Visualnoveler release next.
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