A game about friendship, love and technology in a place where bits have replaced atoms.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (182 reviews) - 70% of the 182 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 24, 2015

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Buy Else Heart.Break()

 

About This Game

Sebastian has just landed his first job in the distant city of Dorisburg. He moves there to start his adult life and figure out who he really wants to be. Among a strange collection of people, hackers and activists he finds some true friends – perhaps even love. But can they stop the terrible deeds of the people ruling the city? And who will get their heart broken in the end?

Else Heart.Break() is a reimagination of the adventure game – a fantastic story set in a fully dynamic and interactive world. Instead of rigid puzzles you will learn (with the help from other characters in the game) how the reality of the game can be changed through programming and how any problem can be solved in whatever way you find suitable.

From the creators of Blueberry Garden, Clairvoyance and Kometen, a new and unforgettable adventure!

Features

  • An expansive 3D world, begging to be explored.
  • Many hours of engaging story, set in a meticulously simulated city, with people that feel truly alive.
  • A challenging game where your actions matter and nothing can ever be unsaid or undone.
  • Tons of every-day objects and computers that work and can be modified.
  • A laid-back experience where you can just go to the café and have a coffee whenever things get too hectic.
  • A delicious soundtrack with over 50 songs.
  • No previous hacking skills required.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: 7
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: 7
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.7
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: 10.10
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M or equivalent
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Dedicated graphics card
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Ubuntu 14
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 2.4 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M or equivalent
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (182 reviews)
Recently Posted
FCC
10.8 hrs
Posted: August 28
Facinating systems design tainted by painfully rough game design.

If you are into deconstructing how a game ticks, there are a lot of neat systems to dig through. A surprising range of objects have working source code, even for a game marketed in the programming/hacking genre. The game eventually lets you get away with some really clever hacks, at the risk of letting you dig your own glitched-out grave.

But the plot will only clumsily break your heart if you're invested, or alienate you when you are confused and lost. There are no long-term consequences for your actions on the overall direction of the timeline, where success and failure don't affect more than immediate comments from other characters. Combined with the stiff writing of the dialog, the only successful emotion this game stirred was some kind of Modern Urban Loneliness Experience, where character relationships felt superficial and forced from beginning to end of the story.

Some would say that this game doesn't hold your hand, but I insist that the game consistently gets in your way if you try to follow the plot. A terribly vague in-game map, unclear environment signalling, missing conversation/quest logs, and lack of other modern game design aids makes it abnormally difficult to pick up progress after a real life break. The pacing of the intended story trajectory swings between too slow or too rushed, thanks to the bizzare Sims-style time system (1 real-sec / 1 game-min). Generally I was most engaged when ignoring the story beats, while tinkering with the hacking system (which takes too long to find without a walkthrough or prior knowledge).

As a tool for teaching programming, the in-world immersion approach was both charming and unnecessarily circuitous. I imagine this medium of teaching woud be confusing to beginners, as explanations for the programming language were interspersed between conversations you needed to travel/wait between, as well as spread across several in-game floppy discs. Already having programming experience, I found it more efficient to skim the combined and reformatted manuals on Steam Community Guides. For a beginner, I feel that this game format would be more frustrating than just following an online tutorial like Codecademy.

That is a shame, as the game really does provide an environment where tinkering with the systems in game is an often surprising delight. While conventional web-based tutorials (again, Codecademy) lack a sense of productive agency, at its best this game succeeds in making you feel like a powerful force in its world. If I were to recommend this game to a newbie, I would strongly suggest having a guiding mentor available, one who could provide both programming and plot-unstucking tips. In fact, I imagine this would be a great game to pair-program on, with the downside that the co-pilot would need fairly comprehensive knowledge of both the systems and spoilers.

The lack of modding support is my penultimate disappointment with the game. In a many ways, the extremely open-ended and vast scope of the world is both a charming and frustrating point. It would have been nice to reduce the scope of the mission design into smaller self-contained levels to explore some more advanced concepts and challenges, something along the lines of TIS-100's nodes or Human Resource Machine's levels. On the other side of the spectrum, I wish there was a way to add additional content to the existing world so that the rough edges in the game could be smoothed over for future players visiting this game.

All in all, I really enjoyed exploring this simulation, but would be very cautious about recommending it as a game or teaching tool.

---

(Edit)
Of course I only found out about the GRIMM scripting engine and the accompanying story scripts after I wrote this review as a vent to the ether. While it's probably impossible to edit the environmental designs without access to the original Unity source files, it looks like the story can be edited or even rewritten. It's a bit of a fantasy, imagining a mod that addresses the pacing issues for newbies not already soured on the pacing issues.

I also ran into this 2013 blog post by Erik, worrying about the shared hacking mechanic in Quadrilateral Cowboy:
https://eriksvedang.com/2013/10/17/on-features-and-tiny-computers/

Having been a funny position of playing QC before EH.B() [it took me a long time to force myself to finally play through the latter] it was interesting to see a lot of Erik's points validated. In particular, both games definitely diverged significantly despite having the same "feature" and theme. After binge playing through both games in a row, I feel that QC is a better game for actively missing content, but that EH.B() accomplishes more with the world implementation and potential for cleverness.

If somehow anyone inexplicably reads this and checks out my other review on Quadrilateral Cowboy, they might notice that I complain about QC not supporting real programming as EH.B() does. But ironically QC may be a more effective intro the programming, as it doesn't make most players rage quit in the first hours. I still maintain that QC doesn't have anything as substantial as the systems present in EH.B(), which works for the gameplay but also fails as a way to teach programming before the topic of for-loops is reached (QC side-steps the issue and has no support for looping constructs). It's something I've thought about enough that I was driven to write two back-to-back game reviews, dumping my thoughts for no one in particular to read. (Which funny enough reminds me of a couple characters in EH.B() who write floppy disk notes to themselves, with the comment that they are essentially talking to themselves...)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SpaceHunter
1.1 hrs
Posted: August 23
I may have only played very little of this game but I didn't find a single aspect that could get me hooked. The Art style was hard on the eyes, the overworld was overly and uneccesarily confusing and worst of all the gameplay was exceedingly boring. If you as a developer cannot produce something more compelling than aimless wandering around a boring and confusing environment in the first hour of your game then you have failed on some level. There seemed to be some kind of "hack the planet" vibe going on, hinting at real gameplay from the start but if that doesn't manifest itself in an hour then what's the point?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ravi
18.1 hrs
Posted: August 17
Else Heart.Break() is a unique game that lets you do things that you can't do in other games. As a programmer this game is a dream come true for me. You can hack most of the objects in the game and make them do weird things. Although some knowledge of programming will make your life easier but it isn't completely necessary. Game gives you premade programs at various locations. You just need to find them. This is definitely a must play game if you like role playing game with puzzles. It is a sandbox world too so you can try do things previously impossible by learning in game programming language which isn't very hard. Aside from few glitches my experience with this game is rock solid.

Pros:-

  • You can learn to program by playing this game.
  • Story is short and not that great but filled with lots of puzzles.
  • You can hack the world!
  • Due to sandbox nature of the game more replayability.
  • Very good soundtrack.

Cons:-

  • Loading after entering door take some time.
  • Experienced some glitches in my playthrough (Need to Alt + F4 out of game few times because of this).
  • Save games takes lots of space.

9/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Scales of Fate
2.0 hrs
Posted: August 14
It's possible I'm just a bit thick, but I'm stuck in the opening. I've been told to sell sodas to people and I'm just running around picking up things and putting them in my bag. I've managed to sell one soda and I picked up about four more. I've got no clue what the ♥♥♥♥ I'm doing to be honest. You could make the argument that is my fault, but the game has almost no guiding where I am. I've just been told ot sell soda to people and I'm not having fun when everyone scoffs at it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MygodStudio
18.7 hrs
Posted: August 7
I bought this game because it looks very interesting (and the hacking system IS pretty fun to mess around with) but god I have to say there are so many things done wrong.

1. Afaik, there's only one ending except dying and I wouldn't call it a happy ending either. I found one alternative ending by myself and it's just dying. The story is just so unrewarding.

Also I read that someone has managed to delete Monad and that just breaks the game. How about having an actual alternative ending?

2. Navigation is so hard in this game. The map isn't helpful.

3. Also I found myself not knowing what to do because there isn't an objective in this game even though it's supposed to be a linear story.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
wet blanket
24.7 hrs
Posted: July 21
Else Heart.Break() holds a special place in my heart as a software developer. There's nothing quite like hacking the world around you, making it bend to your will. Unfortunately the game has significant rough edges, and a couple of my playthroughs ended up with a bugged storyline due to performing actions out of an arbitrary order.

Do not buy this game unless you are interested in programming enough to overlook the several downsides iterated over and over again in other reviews.

That being said, this fits easily in my top five favorite games of all time. I give it a sentimental <3/10

EDIT: There is also a phenomenal in-game soundtrack by swedishcolumbia. Please give it a listen, even if you don't end up purchasing the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Below Zero
22.1 hrs
Posted: July 19
Oh, this is a tough one. The review, not the game. It's smart, innovative, and promises a lot of freedom, but ultimately falls flat because of a lack of choice or concequence beyond the single narrative storyline and a fairly uninspiring ending.

If you wanted to learn a little about how code works then it is a fun way to do it. If you already know how to write basic code construts then you're not going to learn anything new (besides the "Sprak" language which is logical and unsurprising) but you might become frustrated (as I did) with a lack of documentation for existing functions. Digging around locations looking for snippets on disks and in other programs becomes tedious when you know what you want to achieve but are stymied by the inability to query an API for the functions it provides. I accept I may have missed something here but it certainly wasn't obvious. So, despite the impressive way it handles user-generated code being run, it remains a short story with a flat ending in a pretty world.

If you are interested in Else Heart.Break() you are likely to read a lot about avoiding spoilers. This is entirely true but possibly because there isn't actually a lot of story to explore, so if you're truly stuck you're going to have to persevere or risk having a good chunk of what few surprises there are spoiled. The game encourages you to explore and try to break things , yet It doesn't matter how you approach the puzzles or what obscure route you use to get to the "end" the scripted segments are played out the same. Regarding the "endings" there are four, but really there are two just reached by different routes, and only one of those two would I really consider an "end", the other is "failure" and not that difficult as a result.

What the game really needs is multiple routes through a larger story, perhaps double the existing handful of sequences, and one of them should really allow you to be the hero given how much you can manipulate. There were quite a few loose ends that could be incorporated in this expansion.

I feel I've been hard on this game and I don't mean to be. It's a very impressive achievement, it's just missing one crucial element - story content. An expansion of the story wouldn't need significant changes to the world or characters, everything else is pretty much there. An expansion would make me play again for certain. It would also benefit greatly from Steam Workshop support. I would love to see what could be achieved with that.

It was so close, and that is frustrating. The developer seems to really care about the game and is still actively patching and supporting it. Many people seem to love it, and I do hope it gets an expansion. For now, get it on sale maybe?
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Maetco
19.2 hrs
Posted: July 16
Else Heart.Break() is a very difficult game to review because of how unbeliavably uneven it is. At its best it is really really great. I played the game in 3 sittings and the reason for the third one was that my selfpreservation told me to stop playing and go to bed. The game is a strange combination of P&C adventure game, puzzle game, coding excercises, choose your own story gameplay and open world sand-box free roaming. That is a lot to handle even for a big developer let alone for a small indie develeoper. And it shows. A lot of the game doesn't really work. And I don't mean bugs, I mean game design.

Pros
+ At its best I felt like a real cyper-detective
+ Even though the city is small, it's filled with interesting and / or important things to discover
+ The city / the background and the athmosphere it provides is surprisingly good

Cons
- The game has the worst beginning I have ever encountered in a video game regardless of genre
- The story script triggers can start to lag behind fairly badly after the player gains a bit of momentum
- The story, dialogue, character choises can get really bad at times

In the end I gave a thunps up because if one can get over the really bad start of the game, is interested in open puzzle solving and / or coding the rest can end up providing one of the most memorable gaming moments for a long time.

Just remember to take paper and pen for notes, you'll be making a lot of them because the game doesn't have journal or anything like it. Need to remember a piece of code, write it down. Need to remember where someone is living, write it down. Need to remember when and where you are supposed to meet someone, write it down. Need to...I'm sure you got the picture.
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TBBle
17.3 hrs
Posted: July 9
Sometimes getting exactly what you want... isn't.

Else Heart.Break() is an adventure game running on a programmable simulation. Conceptually, this is awesome. In practice, it's awesome, but with a side-helping of "whoops".

You're actively rewarded for poking around and exploring, and guidance towards the plot is fairly minimal. On the down side, this means that in my first 17 hour play-through, I discovered two or three key items early on, achieved near-omnipotence, bypassed the *entire* plot after the tutorial and basically skipped-to-the-end.

So full thumbs up for giving me the freedom to completely ruin my own experience of the game. Imagine playing Day of The Tentacle, except that your first Chrono-o-John trip accidentally lands on and kills baby Purple Tentacle. (If you have not played Day of The Tentacle, you should.)

I subsequently had a poke through the data files (based on a recommendation in the Discussion Groups) and although the text is not in English, I now have an idea of how much I missed out on. A lot.

So after a little while to forget everything I now know about the game, I might try a play through where I actually meet some of the promised true friends, and perhaps even work out who the love interest is supposed to be.
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Elfteiroh
58.9 hrs
Posted: July 3
This is now one of my favorite games.

Story:
Liked the story pretty much, even if it was stiff. You can do a lot of things by hacking, yet the story often fail to acknowledge it. And some choices change the immediate discussion, but never the long story. Yet, looking at the story scripts, a lot of flags are thrown up but never used later... So I guess it was planned to be more flexible, but it probably got cut by lack of time/budget.

Characters:
Loved them. I liked Pixie, even if she friendzone us hard and act hysterical at time, but she just feel, right? The hamster girl should get to find it. :( Ivan is basically a jerk, yet I like to dislike him. ;) Etc.
The only negative is that most of them are not developped at all. Would love to be able to interact with them more.

Gameplay:
The hacking part took most of my time I played. I loved to figure out all the different APIs, computers and tools. There is a lot of positively BRILLIANT ideas there. Would love to see an update/sequel getting these tools more fleshed out. Make a screwdriver that can change more stuff, and more deeply. I would have liked a "legit" way to upgrade my Modifier, to get it "legally" leveled up.

WARNING! DO NOT GO TO THE ROOMS "DeleteMeLater", "RatvadersDream2" and maybe one more I can't remember. They crash the game.

Art:
Wow! Very original! I loved it! Seriously, colorful AND somewhat gritty! Didn't think it could really be possible, Or looking good. But they managed! And with such a small team. I'm very shocked! :D

Community:
The community in general is great, but the cherry on top is that the Devs are VERY active in the discussions, often chiming in with hints or taking the comments into accounts for update (possible and real)

Conclusion:
Really... That game has so much potential! I really hope that team gets to make a big update/sequel/expansion to this game. I spent so much time coding in that game (much more enjoyable than programming for my job) that it took me 52 hours to finish... same as it took me to beat most Zelda games.
... And I can see a great potential for modding. Some are trying to do it. Hope to see it getting somewhere.
But seriously. Good job team. Good job.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
18.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
Else Heart.Break() is a unique game that lets you do things that you can't do in other games. As a programmer this game is a dream come true for me. You can hack most of the objects in the game and make them do weird things. Although some knowledge of programming will make your life easier but it isn't completely necessary. Game gives you premade programs at various locations. You just need to find them. This is definitely a must play game if you like role playing game with puzzles. It is a sandbox world too so you can try do things previously impossible by learning in game programming language which isn't very hard. Aside from few glitches my experience with this game is rock solid.

Pros:-

  • You can learn to program by playing this game.
  • Story is short and not that great but filled with lots of puzzles.
  • You can hack the world!
  • Due to sandbox nature of the game more replayability.
  • Very good soundtrack.

Cons:-

  • Loading after entering door take some time.
  • Experienced some glitches in my playthrough (Need to Alt + F4 out of game few times because of this).
  • Save games takes lots of space.

9/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
Facinating systems design tainted by painfully rough game design.

If you are into deconstructing how a game ticks, there are a lot of neat systems to dig through. A surprising range of objects have working source code, even for a game marketed in the programming/hacking genre. The game eventually lets you get away with some really clever hacks, at the risk of letting you dig your own glitched-out grave.

But the plot will only clumsily break your heart if you're invested, or alienate you when you are confused and lost. There are no long-term consequences for your actions on the overall direction of the timeline, where success and failure don't affect more than immediate comments from other characters. Combined with the stiff writing of the dialog, the only successful emotion this game stirred was some kind of Modern Urban Loneliness Experience, where character relationships felt superficial and forced from beginning to end of the story.

Some would say that this game doesn't hold your hand, but I insist that the game consistently gets in your way if you try to follow the plot. A terribly vague in-game map, unclear environment signalling, missing conversation/quest logs, and lack of other modern game design aids makes it abnormally difficult to pick up progress after a real life break. The pacing of the intended story trajectory swings between too slow or too rushed, thanks to the bizzare Sims-style time system (1 real-sec / 1 game-min). Generally I was most engaged when ignoring the story beats, while tinkering with the hacking system (which takes too long to find without a walkthrough or prior knowledge).

As a tool for teaching programming, the in-world immersion approach was both charming and unnecessarily circuitous. I imagine this medium of teaching woud be confusing to beginners, as explanations for the programming language were interspersed between conversations you needed to travel/wait between, as well as spread across several in-game floppy discs. Already having programming experience, I found it more efficient to skim the combined and reformatted manuals on Steam Community Guides. For a beginner, I feel that this game format would be more frustrating than just following an online tutorial like Codecademy.

That is a shame, as the game really does provide an environment where tinkering with the systems in game is an often surprising delight. While conventional web-based tutorials (again, Codecademy) lack a sense of productive agency, at its best this game succeeds in making you feel like a powerful force in its world. If I were to recommend this game to a newbie, I would strongly suggest having a guiding mentor available, one who could provide both programming and plot-unstucking tips. In fact, I imagine this would be a great game to pair-program on, with the downside that the co-pilot would need fairly comprehensive knowledge of both the systems and spoilers.

The lack of modding support is my penultimate disappointment with the game. In a many ways, the extremely open-ended and vast scope of the world is both a charming and frustrating point. It would have been nice to reduce the scope of the mission design into smaller self-contained levels to explore some more advanced concepts and challenges, something along the lines of TIS-100's nodes or Human Resource Machine's levels. On the other side of the spectrum, I wish there was a way to add additional content to the existing world so that the rough edges in the game could be smoothed over for future players visiting this game.

All in all, I really enjoyed exploring this simulation, but would be very cautious about recommending it as a game or teaching tool.

---

(Edit)
Of course I only found out about the GRIMM scripting engine and the accompanying story scripts after I wrote this review as a vent to the ether. While it's probably impossible to edit the environmental designs without access to the original Unity source files, it looks like the story can be edited or even rewritten. It's a bit of a fantasy, imagining a mod that addresses the pacing issues for newbies not already soured on the pacing issues.

I also ran into this 2013 blog post by Erik, worrying about the shared hacking mechanic in Quadrilateral Cowboy:
https://eriksvedang.com/2013/10/17/on-features-and-tiny-computers/

Having been a funny position of playing QC before EH.B() [it took me a long time to force myself to finally play through the latter] it was interesting to see a lot of Erik's points validated. In particular, both games definitely diverged significantly despite having the same "feature" and theme. After binge playing through both games in a row, I feel that QC is a better game for actively missing content, but that EH.B() accomplishes more with the world implementation and potential for cleverness.

If somehow anyone inexplicably reads this and checks out my other review on Quadrilateral Cowboy, they might notice that I complain about QC not supporting real programming as EH.B() does. But ironically QC may be a more effective intro the programming, as it doesn't make most players rage quit in the first hours. I still maintain that QC doesn't have anything as substantial as the systems present in EH.B(), which works for the gameplay but also fails as a way to teach programming before the topic of for-loops is reached (QC side-steps the issue and has no support for looping constructs). It's something I've thought about enough that I was driven to write two back-to-back game reviews, dumping my thoughts for no one in particular to read. (Which funny enough reminds me of a couple characters in EH.B() who write floppy disk notes to themselves, with the comment that they are essentially talking to themselves...)
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
71 of 74 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
63.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2015
I like the game, but at $25 it's at the upper bound of what it's worth paying for. It's got some problems but also has some seriously nifty mechanics that make me willing to put up with the problems.

Pro:
-Very maleable world where the game tolerates you doing very unexpected things

Associated Con:
- The 3rd-person camera is kind of derpy, and doesn't know how to avoid objects obstructing your vision., probably because their positions aren't set in stone You'll have to manually move the camera around a lot to see what's going on.


Pro:
- Does the concept of "the matrix" right. You don't alter the universe by just staring at an object and saying "there is no spoon". You do it by actually having the power to alter the game's scripting code that defines how the spoon works, in-character.

Associated Con:
- It's nearly impossible for the developer to think of everything a player might do to hack the game in-character, and thus you can do stuff that breaks assumptions and makes bugs surface.


Pro:
- Unique gameplay mechanic that doesn't just talk about your character being a hacker, but actually has YOU, the player, doing the hacking, and not in a stupid "movie OS" sort of way, but in a way that actually feels like really programming - you actually type script code in-character, using a scripting language the game invented for its universe.

Associated Con:
- The game doesn't let you get access to this aspect of itself until a few hours of gameplay. The apparent plot at first, the pure "dating sim", is kind of lame. Especially since you apparently are a "salesman" selling soda by literally selling it one can at a time to random strangers you converse with, rather than by, say, selling it by the crate to restaurants like you'd expect. That doesn't seem very viable as a job and feels like the sort of plot intended for an 8-year-old player. But you have to go through that a while before the actual gameplay surfaces and the game suddenly gets a lot more mature and smart than it seemed at first.

Pro:
- You are expected to crack the mysteries of how to do powerful hacks yourself, and it is possible once you are given the tools to get started. The universe's objects behave logically and consistently making it possible to reverse-engineer things to learn the system naturally in-character.

Associated Con:
- The game is VERY vulnerable to spoilers. The primary challenge of the game is learning the names of things so you can hack them, so it probably won't have good replay value unless someone starts making mods that add new plots.
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452 of 638 people (71%) found this review helpful
95 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2015
Else Heart.Break() is heart breaking game.
I have been following this game, now I am dis-tasting this game.
(I finished a game and found all 4 endings and pretty much everything this game have to offer)
What started as novel and seemingly great idea, ended up forgetting one important thing.
Player actions must matter.

Basically what happened:
Game had a narrative it wanted to tell me, problem is narrative didn't fit what was happening or what player was capable.
Game seems to be very rigid, it doesn't change according to your actions, rather then it insists that, this things will happen, doesn't matter if you want them or not.
In the game, I have attained basically powers of god, quite easily.
(Blame playstation, no serious)
And I was surprised at lack of retrain, after hacking computer, which was involved in a mission, I have solved all my problems forever.
Guards chasing after me? Nope, let me just fiddle with my radio.
I want to get to room? No problems, let me just turn my radio knob.
There is a person missing? Nope, let me press this magic button. And here we go.
No hacking tools allowed in casino? No problems, let me just bring my magic radio. turn knob and get my tools.
I need to break in to reach computer? Ha! I have been practically living there already.

And achieving that was trivial to me. (I also later found just outright teleporter, but I am not gonna tell you where)

But game didn't acknowledge most of my actions. It wanted me to follow it's story, without shortcuts(and taking them would glitch out game)
Missing person!? No you cannot teleport them! You need to go to bed and sleep! So they come to you in a dream, only then you allowed to go after them to try to find them! Even if you do find them, you not allowed to tell it to anyone. Until you resolve some problem, which is super easy to resolve. No seriously, game was hinting at it so hard, that it was impossible to miss. (Btw, it is in a title)

I also thought that game have proper secondary quests, but nope.
All stuff which I found out from dialogs from NPC, never was acknowledged.
They like, YOU CANNOT BREAK IN TO THAT HOUSE AND BRING EVIDENCE.
While, I already visited that house and striped it clean of all evidence, but I couldn’t tell them that, or give it.
Since story never anticipated that.

Warning major spoilers below
And biggest problem, this game have no good story to tell. It doesn't have a real conclusion, it sort of bums around and ends. It doesn't show you or tell you about what happens after, or what was consequences of your actions, it just ends.

It is about a guy, who falls in love with a girl and starts to stalk her, so he can get closer, while she friend zones you so hard, that you would be located near by Pluto, it that so far away.
While that happens, there are also token evil Ministry(Empire/Federation/Government, just pick your poison), which acts so evil, according to NPCs.
Player have no way of knowing it first hand for a while, till they use a massive laser to kill your girl's boyfriend, then it's fight to the end! No? Okey.
So there is no real confrontation.
Also he doesn't really die. They just uploaded him to internet Tron style, for some reason. Which is never fully explained. Besides single mention that it somehow involved with generating power.

So in conclusion, game have no real good story to tell, then what does it have?
A sandbox for hacking? Yes!
But is it good sandbox? No!
Problem with hacking the world, is that nothing tries to stop you. Player have no real restrains, and that's a problem, nothing really a challenge. Game will try to feed you narrative locations, but they all pretty bland and pointless, and if anything ruin atmosphere which was very good at beginning of the game. You’ll come across few side stories(Which actually way more interesting then game's primary story), to then nothing.
That's it.
Lot's of game actions also tied to a fact that player have to sleep(that's not required to progress, but if you skip sleep, then you will miss huge chunk of the game)
And most game actions are placed on very rudimentary triggers, which easily break if something goes of script, locking up game.
And you can mess with stuff, but there isn't interesting reactions in the world. Nothing really changes if you hack everyone bank accounts, or if you make everyone fall asleep, or if you make everyone electrocuted. All NPCs will just shrug it off and never acknowledge something weird.
Only way to really mess with them is to hack doors, but that just tends to get them stuck on loops, so that only funny first time.
I routinely broke in to big evil Ministry HQ, just to mess with computers and loot them, which actually did something, it got me send to jail, but since Police was as competent as story writers, they didn't take any of my stuff, so I hacked prison gate and just walked away, just to repeat my shenanigans again.
But nothing got unlocked, I couldn’t tell anyone about it, no new dialogue appeared anywhere.
When Rebels wanted to infiltrate bad guys, I was like I KNOW, but game didn't let me to have my way, it forced it's story.
And when I insisted that I can break in to HQ in ALL dialogue options, game just ignored it, since nothing would happen.

But let me tell you real deal breaker.
There is villain, and that villain is bad(Supposedly, motivations are not clear)
And if you find villain, then villain kills you with magic taser. Though that's on second time you disturb villain, and that doesn't matter how.
So villain will yell at you and tell you to "Get of the lawn! You spoiled brats!", while I twiddle my thumbs on my RETARDIS, which allows me to literally teleport anyone around me to NULL space if I would wish too.
And so I hacked in to villain inventory and stole her taser. Makes sense, now villain have no way of killing me.
Just for me to get killed by standing near villain, because cut scene have no other outcomes.
Like seriously? In game where you allowed to hack world, you forgot to make world to recognize that.
Also before that, I made her stupid sleepy, drunk and corrupted, and she still was threatening me.

In short this game needs to recognize player's action, and it simply doesn't. Yes you can do that, but game have no way offering real difficulty, besides obtuse quest system and poor dialogue trees, which don't lead anywhere half of the time.
It doesn't reward or notices most of your actions. You can stroll to most locked room, but game won't see it, you won't be able to tell evil plan to other NPCs. So what the point of offering dialog options, when most of them token at best?

This game story exists for it's creators and it's sandbox exists for hacking. They don't really work together or recognize each other.

Is this game about hacking? While having lot's of hacking, it isn't recognizing it or rewarding it. So no.
Is it about story? While it have big central story, it never does conclusions on it or gives you any thoughts on the topic. So no.
Is it artsy indie game? Yes. And that's a problem, it could be so much more, but it ended up being so little.
Is it buggy? Oh yes, I kept getting stuck in world geometry, dialogue trees and just glitching out cut scenes and just normal crashing to desktop for a good measure.

Can you enjoy it? Yes, but to a degree. It isn't perfect, or strictly good. It just is. And if anything the longer you play, the more you get disappointed at the end.

Conclusion:
My this year biggest disappointment.
I won't ask for a refund, I got my enjoyment out of a game, but not $25(or $17.5 on sale) worth of enjoyment.
Honestly there is much better game, within ideas, compare to what was presented to us.
Currently it more of a prototype of much better game, it missing to much and what it have is just to little.
This is what it did to me:

loop
var game = GetGame()
if game.IsGood()
Heart.Rejoice()
else
Heart.Break()
end
end
ERROR: HEART BROKE
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109 of 140 people (78%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
18.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 24, 2015
A lovingly crafted monument to urban banality slowly collapses as the foundation of society is eroded away by a despotic cyberpunk conspiracy in this isometric point and click adventure game. Heart.Break() presents the player with a world that is not so much interesting as it is wholly cohesive, much like its obvious predecessors Shenmue and Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Ultimately the line between player and developer is blurred as they receive the power to alter the city of Dorisburg at its most basic structural level, its code. Unlike other programming-themed games, here the player is not expected to laboriously logic out the solutions to difficult computer science puzzles, instead code is used as a tool to circumvent, subvert, and destroy the game itself. Highly recommended to fans of atmospheric adventure games.
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67 of 90 people (74%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2015
This game is pure escapism. Think of Sims or Second Life, if those titles were created by people with an actual artistic flair and a sense of exploration. I enjoy just walking around the town, seeing what people have to say and appreciating the detail that went into each part of the city. Nothing else even comes close to the cool vibes that you get from playing Else Heart.Break(). This will be my go-to chill out game for a long time to come.
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52 of 66 people (79%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Recommended
21.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2015
Only about 6 hours in, but it's already been an amazing experience. Although the simulation of the world is simple, it is just thorough enough to suck you completely in. I actually find myself caring about the characters I meet and 'role-playing' in the true sense of the word. The game is open in a way that few so-called sandbox games are. By giving you the freedom to explore the story, characters, and world, at your own pace, this game achives what many pretenders claim: to make you, the player, an active participant in the game world.

1000/100 would hack my coffee again.
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34 of 43 people (79%) found this review helpful
34 people found this review funny
Recommended
31.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2015
So
if ( you.like("live_simulation") and you.like("coolstorytelling") and you.like(musicLevel.awesome) )
{
do while (money-price>0)
buyIt();
}
else
nevermind();
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36 of 51 people (71%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2015
My Impression:
I love RPGs, hacking, coding, and cyberpunks. I walked into this game thinking, "Man! This game has it all!"

Positive:
+ Great idea
+ Realistic coding
+ Able to hack anything in the game and recode it

Cons:
- Price, I got it on sale for $12, but I don't even think it's worth that
- Starts off very very slow, by the time you get to the actual coding part, you are already sick of the game
- No quest log, often times you forget what you had to do at certain times/missions
- The story is very one direction and has no side quests.
- Some of the things I hacked glitched the game because you have to follow the main story line
- Bugs, getting stuck in world geometry, dialogue trees and just glitching out cut scenes and just normal crashing to desktop for a good measure.

Enjoyable?:
Yes, but to a degree. It isn't perfect, or strictly good. It just is. And if anything, the longer you play, the more you get disappointed at the end. The idea could have been so much more.

It's hard for me to recommend this game with the price tag of $24.99. I don't even think I can recommend it at the sale price of $12.49 with no achievements or trading cards.

4/10

My only hope is that someone takes the idea of being able to hack / code any item in a game and makes a better product than this one. The idea of this game is 10/10, it's too bad the execution is 4/10.

loop
var game = GetGame()
if game.IsGood()
Heart.Warming()
else
Heart.Break()
end
end
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44 of 66 people (67%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2015
You dock in Dorisburg eager to start your new job after moving out from your parents. You, the player, will soon realize that everything in this city is connected and can be modified. You will also meet a lot of interesting people and activists which feeds you story elements.
From the point you dock, you are entirely free to roam the entire city and do whatever you feel like. There is no quest and/or journal system holding you back and you need to find the story-elements and pursue them at your own will.

Programming and Hacking
Everything in this connected city hold a bit of code which you can change. And with this freedom to do whatever you like, you can apply multiple approaches to solve a given problem.
Some very basic knowledge in programming beforehand – or a good willpower to learn something new – is advisable in this game.
The game will of course teach you a bit of programming by talking to NPCs, looking at the ingame manuals you can find and of course looking at existing source code in objects.

Story time
As mentioned, you make the story as you go along and you can also find multiple endings to the game. I feel however, the open and dynamic story element of this game fall a bit on the short side. There were moments when the AI would not let me talk to them about, what I feelt was, key story elements.
The quality of the dialogs also feelt somewhat second-rate.
I also found a few endings to the game, but I still did not have all the answers to all my questions. This begs for some replay value of this game, but I also think endings should give a decent closure.

=Not for everyone=
else Heart.Break() is unfortunately not for everyone. You must have the willpower to pursue stories and the knowledge – or desire to learn and understand – a bit of programming to succeed.
But if you are a bit of geek, enjoy or think you would enjoy some programming and find the thought of hacking the world itself from within to make your ends meet, then this may very well be the game for you.

Full review here: http://www.downrightgaming.com/2015/09/review-else-heart-break/
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