Heileen – What Mysteries Do You Hold?

Which one do you want to kiss most?

This is certainly one of the strangest demos I’ve ever played. Heileen is a Manga-style conversation-em-up that tells the tale of a young 17th century girl, Heileen, setting off on a voyage with her Uncle Otto to visit the new world, the Americas. Accompanied by her best friend Marie, she immediately catches the eye of one hunky sailor, John (hello!), before the journey even starts. Sexy romance!

And throughout I’m constantly thinking: this has to become about showing their pants or slapping each other at any moment.

For the longest time, it seemed like it might just be a straight romantic fiction, with the affections of John (that’s me!) fought for by the women on board, and so forth. It really held out, suggesting that was definitely going to be the case, with its wry conversation choices letting me direct the action but never toward anything seedy. Static cartoon images, occasionally swapped out for one with the person crying, or laughing, were never going to provide a roller-coaster thrill ride, but at least it was all spelt correctly.

My surprise cameo appearance

Heileen even received her first kiss (from John, of course) without things becoming too peculiar. Well, that’s not quite true. Like a fairytale, it was with that smacker that the madness unfurled, as suddenly Heileen hated John (look, what can I say?) for being a slag or something, and then stormed off in a huff for apparently three or four weeks. As we rejoin the action, out of utter nowhere, Marie is now coming on to Heileen, they smooch (okay, I clicked the conversation option for smooching), and then she’s over the side of the boat and about to die. END OF DEMO!

Seriously, that’s a demo. Lure you in with promises of being peculiarly respectable, and then go completely batshit crazy before throwing out a proper cliffhanger. If every demo ended with a character hanging from the side of a wooden boat in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, you’d definitely be more tempted to buy the game. Even with this pile of nonsense, as daft as the whole thing obviously is, I can’t deny the temptation to see whether Maria cops it, or if in reward for my saving her she might show me her boobs.

Saucy.

I’ve still no idea if it was going anywhere naughty. Nothing on the game’s site gives you any suggestion that it would be. It all looks perfectly innocuous, described as “a 17th century visual novel”. But then it also doesn’t even mention it’s about kissing everyone on board. The demo’s here, and the full game is £13 from here.

28 Comments

  1. Sahagin says:

    Let’s cross our fingers for a 17th century sex-em-up.

  2. Springy says:

    Judging by how these games normally go, if you don’t choose to save her, she’ll be grabbed by a betentacled fiend with a twitchy eye who enthusiastically begins to violate her in a rough and ready fashion.

    If you do choose to save her, she’ll be grabbed by a betentacled fiend with a twitchy eye who enthusiastically begins to violate her in a rough and ready fashion. But there’ll be about a hundred lines of dialogue sandwiched in between.

  3. Andy`` says:

    My little taskmaster friend Google says… link to winterwolves.net

    Probably worth reading before getting too heated about the possibility of pixelated boobs. Or more tentacle stuffs…

  4. Valentin Galea says:

    My question to the world is:

    If you can draw sexed up ladies like here depicted, is it wrong to masturbate to your own work?

  5. Valentin Galea says:

    +1 bring Edit mode back!

    Not that I would know how to draw like that… but I sure want:)

  6. Smee says:

    My money’s on a sex-em-up. In game shops in Japan I saw many, many adverts for forthcoming “talk em’ ups” that looked absolutely fine and perfectly innocent on the front page (space aliens! robots! princesses! swords! law courts! basketball!), but turning the flyer over would reveal a myriad of steamy screenshots decorated with those cute little black boxes.

    This looks like the game version of that.

  7. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Oh, snap. Aim for the Heileen x Marie ending, John.

    Anyway, if it’s not advertised as an adult visual novel, so it might just be an actual talk-em-up. I know some people expected Narcissu (Google it if you must) to dip into that side of things, but it was completely clean. Except for the fact that it made grown men blubber and sob, but that’s another thing entirely.

    So, hey, if it’s not advertised as an erogame, I strongly doubt that it is. There do exist pure, no-naughty-stuff talk’em ups in the visual novel genre, strange as though that may seem to curious onlookers.

  8. Adam says:

    except two girls & a guy are attracted to the female lead character, so it’s probably going to involve lots of situations, just clean pictures.
    Shame *rolls eyes*

  9. Chris R says:

    In the first picture, the red head looks like a guy… it’s ruining my day! MAKE IT STOP!!!

    The red head in the last picture though…. have my babies?

  10. MeestaNob! says:

    (contemplates donating just to see RPS review)

  11. mashakos says:

    Valentin Galea says:

    My question to the world is:

    If you can draw sexed up ladies like here depicted, is it wrong to masturbate to your own work?

    I can draw like that. I asked myself this same question, well… it was something along the lines of having infinite free porn that can be destroyed without regrets. So I did a little experiment *cough*. The answer is um, IT IS VERY WRONG.
    It feels really dirty, like wanking over your sister.

  12. mashakos says:

    damn lack of edit!

    I wanted to add that I was 15 at the time, the appropriate age for “curiosity”.

  13. Monk says:

    “over 4500 screens of dialogues”

    This kills the game for me, even if it did sexed up somewhere.

  14. Alarik says:

    Ah, those inane attempts to ape Japanese VS never grow too old. Apparently.

    I wonder why they didn’t choose their own visual style and opted for this pathetic apery, really.

  15. Duoae says:

    “MeestaNob! says:

    (contemplates donating just to see RPS review)”

    I’m up for that! Hey, Mr Walker – give us a shout if you’d do it!

  16. phuzz says:

    What with the pictures in the article, the side bar deciding to give me pictures of Sporn and the comments I feel a distinct need to go have a cold shower.

    Oh and I think the correct phasing might be Hentai or Non-H (meaning pr0n and safe respectively).

  17. yns88 says:

    Christ, the protagonist looks like a douche bro supreme.

    Also, English Visual Novels are never good. (Except perhaps Katawa Shoujo, those girls are just so d’awwww)

  18. emichan says:

    the protagonist, who is female, looks like a ‘bro supreme’? is this some phrase i’ve never heard before or what?

    there don’t seem to be any pictures in it at all except for the character portraits and backgrounds, so probably not worth it.

    alarik – the same reason the Japanese pathetically aped Disney, perhaps?

  19. Klaus says:

    ‘slag’, I figured what this meant but I still keep my thesaurus open when I come here. All these British idioms keep my mind sharp.

    “It feels really dirty, like wanking over your sister.”
    I honestly, have no idea how this feels. But my stomach hurts now. A tad.

  20. Alarik says:

    emichan: Hmm, no. I wouldn’t use those words in that case.

  21. Monele says:

    Having helped as a tester on this project, I can confirm that there’s no sex that I’m aware of. And it’s still fun, yes.

    Also,
    “I wonder why they didn’t choose their own visual style and opted for this pathetic apery, really.”

    Are you speaking about the drawing style or the interface/presentation? If the former, I don’t see how this style “apes” the Japanese. I see influences, yes, but it’s not a carbon copy nor a pale imitation. It’s just its own style. Blame an artist for drawing what they like :).
    If the later, why go with a different interface? For the sake of being different? Because only japanese are allowed to do that? *shrugs* I don’t see the point of limiting oneself like this.

  22. malkav11 says:

    Yeah, most visual novels are erotic (or were in Japan – there’s one or two that came to the US with the naughty bits surgically extracted for whatever reason), but certainly not all.

    I confess that I tend to find them inexpressibly tedious without random nudity every so often, though.

  23. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Alarik:

    The Japanese-influenced pop aesthetic has seeped into just about every corner of the civilized world. In nerdier circles especially.

    There’s no need to begrudge anyone, especially if they were raised on Japanese pop ephemera as much as they were Western. And some people have more exposure to the former than the latter.

    But honestly, the Visual Novel genre is a decidedly Japanese branch of the Adventure Game concept. While it would certainly be novel–pun intended–to see a visual novel in a pop-culturally-neutral style (realistic, perhaps), there’s nothing strange about seeing a Visual Novel made by Westerners adopting the general visual cues and form of the genre’s origin.

    After all, if one intended to make a visual novel, knowing precisely what a VN is and what country tends to produce such works, one would have to be an anime fanboy/girl to start with. A Westerner without a love of Japanese nerd culture would have settled for a more traditional form of Adventure Game.

    tl;dr– Your complaint misses the point entirely. And landed somewhere in Timbuktu.

  24. FreezerBag says:

    Wow, exposition much?

    Without the promise of disproportionately sized boobies and unlikely sexual parings, I’m not sure I can really build up the enthusiasm to read through this turgid nonsense.

    Still, pirates!

  25. Monk says:

    I don’t mind the style, at least it’s not like the majority of Japanese visual novels that I’ve seen, where most girls look like 8 year olds.

  26. Bloo. ^_^ says:

    I actually downloaded the demo of this game. A real cliffhanger at the end of it… tempted me to nearly buy the game. But yeah, the graphics hardly change and I assume it would get really boring eventually, so I dont think so… The storys ok though and- although there IS kissing in it, (no visual of it, by the way. Just them telling you its happening.)I dont think it goes much further than that.
    Still, if someone DOES buy the game, feel free to comment on whether the endings sucked or not….

  27. LaBelle says:

    I purchased the game after the demo’s cliffhanger. Much to say – that’s the only real bit of excitement in the story.

    Even with three different endings, the overall theme is the same. The characters don’t really change their dialogue no matter if you brown nose them or treat them like dirt. Even with well drawn characters, their movements/poses, and clothing hardly change (except the final scene for a few select characters). If the character falls down or does an ‘action’, their frame merely moves (like Lora did in the demo). NO other drawings to supplement specific chosen events and etc…[so basically no reward for making a different choice]

    To be frank, this is not worth 12 pounds, or 19.95 USD. I expected a lot more variance in the storyline and a longer game. I’d get that from a game that’s HALF the cost and twice the entertainment, with no obvious grammar mistakes.

    ps: there is no sex or nudity later on in the game. Just simple fan service of seeing the main character in her nightwear and Lora showing off some skin. That’s not a problem for me, but it may be a deciding factor for others.

    My score: 3/10

  28. leyla says:

    You should check the latest game, Bionic Heart. That is much better than Heileen, with 24 unique endings and it’s also fully voiced.
    Surprised that RPS didn’t even cover it with a simple news, since is one of the most interesting games in last weeks.