Spirited Heart is a difficult game to recommend. Fans of dating and life management sims will no doubt be quickly immersed, but for everyone else, I doubt the game will maintain their interest.
Although your character will always be female, you are allowed to choose three different races to choose from: human, elf, and demon. Each race has particular, inherent stats, and through the life choices you navigate, those stats are adjusted to create a custom character. I played through the game once with each race, and while I ended up with a demure elf and human, my demon was delightfully spunky. There is a full roster of individuals your character can date, including male and female options. The potential lovers are fantastically varied and interesting, but sometimes winning the affections of a particular person takes a little trial and error.
You start the game as a adult who has just moved into her first apartment, and the game will end when one of a variety of endings is reached. The experience will either end when you reach the age of 30, when you get married, or when you fulfill the goal set by the goddess of your race. At a certain point in your life, the goddess will appear with a specific job goal for you, and if you meet it before the age of 30, she will grant you a wish, and this will trigger the end of the game.
Much of the game comes down to spamming jobs. Jobs are completed by random dice rolls, and you must balance your character's work life with an appropriate amount of rest. Jobs earn you money which allow you to train skills, visit exotic locals which also increase skills, and pay taxes. The game indicates that if you have no money when it is time to pay taxes, you go to jail. Sometimes, random events such as bandit attacks will dramatically decrease your available currency, and at other times, you'll have the option to be charitable to a customer at a loss of money but with a reward of stat increases. While many of the stat increases feel arbitrary, they are actually beneficial -- depending on your career goal. If your career goal is outside of one of the stat categories, it is a good idea to ignore those options which pump unnessessary stats and focus on reaching your goal. If you are interested in a potential spouse centralized to one career path, then you will also be spamming that career to win their heart. Once your love interest confesses their attraction to you and you move in with them, you can navigate the game in such a way that you no longer have to visit that career option but still end up marrying them.
After the first playthrough or two, you'll have the hang of the game. It is a delightful experience initially, but the fun wears down with necessary stat-pumping and job-spamming. I found myself clicking through all options as quickly as possible to get to the next random encounter, where I would hopefully progress the relationship I had been fostering. There's a lot of charm and terrific artwork to Spirited Heart, but the $20 price point feels unfair. This is a $5 experience and no more, so if you are interested in the romantic notions of a charming young girl, you will be well-advised to wait for a bundle or sale.