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.
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.
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.