Reviews - Updated on March 31, 2022

Games with the ability to make decisions often deceive us – the impact on the plot in them is minimal, and the ending is chosen almost at the last moment. The developers of Where the Heart Leads seem to be trying to break this pattern, offering a story with a bunch of forks – there are so many of them that the script stretched as much as 600 thousand words.

At the bottom

The protagonist named Whit, his wife and two children wake up at night and see a huge crack in the ground next to the house. The dog guarding the yard was not lucky enough to be right at the crash site – it got stuck somewhere below and cannot get out. Whit decides to save the dog and hastily builds a structure that is a faucet with a tub attached to it. The dog manages to go down and help the dog, but not to return himself. The bath falls down for a very long time, but the hero miraculously survives.

Where The Heart Leads: Обзор

It was obvious, Whit.

This is the only fantastic moment in the game, and it immediately becomes obvious that this is something of a metaphor – after getting out of the bathroom, the character begins to walk through memories. First – from childhood, when he had to choose between helping his father and playing with his brother, then – from adolescence, youth, and so on. Everything is as mundane and realistic as possible – no superpowers and saving the world, ordinary everyday life.

And this everyday life, it must be admitted, is capable of captivating. You become attached to the characters very quickly, and later, when you spent more than one or even five hours with them, they already become like family. We get to know all the characters on the farm: we help our father finish the construction, we try to reason with our brother, we spend time with our future wife, we get to know her mother better. We do not go beyond a small area, but this is not necessary – the developers fit a lot of stories on the location, and after the farm the structure will be the same, only in different scenery.

Where The Heart Leads: Обзор

Brother – that’s another shot.

Where the Heart Leads is a game filled with dialogue. Try talking to someone and get ready to read a lot. Not a single replica is voiced, the characters are impersonal mannequins and are not animated in any way. Their movements are fragmentary, as in real memories. Of course, it’s hard to take all this for more than 12 hours – there are prolonged moments and unnecessary dialogues, sometimes you forget where you are going and communicate blindly with everyone.

When you need to follow someone, it looks like this.

But the choice of answers in the dialogues leads to interesting consequences for which you continue to play. Some will manifest themselves immediately, for some you will have to wait for the next chapter or the final hours. There are a lot of such situations, and it is often very difficult to make a choice. The girl spends less and less time with a musical group and is engaged in art – dissuade her or let her do what she wants? The brother needs a job, but the wife, tired of sitting with the children, also wants to take a break from them in the office – who should be preferred if there is only one vacancy?

There are no unexpected twists and turns in the game, but there are enough cute scenes in which we are directly involved. Here my future wife and I are lying on the ground and wondering what the clouds floating across the sky look like. But with my brother we decorate the town for Christmas and decide whether to do everything according to the classics or let a relative pile something like that. But we are looking for a new room for him – cheap, with dead rats, or expensive, but in the latter case we have to help him with payment. When you start to see the first consequences of your actions, the choice becomes more and more difficult.

Where The Heart Leads: Обзор

Whit is the only character who looks like a normal person.

Mistakes of youth

It’s good that Where the Heart Leads has this kind of variability, because without it the game would not be of interest. The gameplay is a standard walking simulator, only with a top view – the camera slowly turns and in a couple of moments shows what is happening from not the most successful angles. There are collectible items that better reveal the relationship between the characters, but there is already an overabundance of information – opponents of the notes will be glad that everything is more than clear without them.

When once again the dialogue drags on or a piece that is not very necessary for the plot begins, it becomes very disappointing that the developers could not stop in time – they wrote and wrote, supplemented and supplemented. In the middle of the game, you spend about half an hour on conversations in which you don’t even have to make a choice. You immediately begin to think that the idea of ​​impersonal people is not the best, and the camera should not have been so far away, and the lack of voice acting is annoying. At least the English language is simple, but it will be difficult for those who are not used to such volumes of text.

Where The Heart Leads: Обзор

Sometimes you regret not moving the camera.

At some point, you are put in a difficult situation, you make a difficult decision and the game accelerates again. Such episodes are the best in Where the Heart Leads, what the game was created for. And you start to like everything again: the mournful melodies on the piano, the watercolor visual style, even the dialogues make you want to read, no matter how many of them there are. And after a few minutes or hours, you see quite logical consequences of your decisions – you expected some, you were afraid of some. Ultimately, our decisions lead to one of a dozen endings.

There are no mini-games here (do not count the moments when you are asked to hold the “Square” as they are), puzzles too. The local similarity of puzzles is more of a piece of history with obvious clues. In one of the episodes, you need to find the key to the safe, but the hero does not know where exactly it lies; the game suggests all ten places where it could be put, and we just need to check everything. This episode at the gas station is generally one of the most interesting, as we meet several customers there with different requests and choose how to respond to them. But if you made other decisions before it, you can skip it completely and be at the other end of the map at that moment.

Where The Heart Leads: Обзор

Usually there are not so many interactive objects.

It is difficult to recommend Where the Heart Leads: there is a huge amount of untranslated text and a long duration by the standards of walking simulators. And the plot is so mundane that the opponents of everyday life about family problems have nothing to do here. But if none of the above scares you, the game will leave at least some imprint in your soul and even make you look at your own life or relationships differently. It could have been much better if the gameplay had been given more attention, and the writing of the script had not been so much carried away. But even in its current form, it does not pull on the Prokhodnyak.

Pros: Lots of variety with tons of episodes to make tough choices; you quickly become attached to the characters and worry about their fate; nice visual style.

Cons: some episodes are drawn out; monotonous gameplay; without translation, reading so much text can be hard.

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