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Thread: Visual Novel Review: If My Heart Had Wings

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    Senior Member Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna's Avatar
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    Gamertag: Solomore Steam ID: sustainna

    Default Visual Novel Review: If My Heart Had Wings



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    If My Heart Had Wings Review
    "Extend the little wings that fly in this sky highly. The world is filled with so many colors, but without light they can't be given life."
    Available for PC, iOS, and Android


    “Aoi Minase returns with shattered dreams to his wind-swept hometown of Kazegaura. There, atop a hill lined with windmills, he encounters a wheelchair-bound girl, Kotori Habane, and a beautiful, white glider soaring through the sky. Together, they decide to revive the school’s defunct Soaring Club in order to ride the “Morning Glory”, a phantom cloud carried on the wind that blows across Kazegaura.


    This is a tale of youth.
    A tale of boys and girls who loved the sky.”


    Introduction

    This visual novel is the first by the studio MoeNovel, which claim that it is a brand that provides High Quality visuals, cinematics, and a way for people around the world to join themselves. “This is what should truly be called “Visual Novel HD””. In late 2014, it has been released on Steam after being greatly successful selling from its own website, along with achievements, cards, emoticons, and more.

    Story

    This game comes from the perspective of Aoi Minase, who has just moved back to his hometown of Kazegaura after being gone for six years, you meet Kotori Habane, a girl bound by a wheelchair but has a love for the sky, you both then notice a glider flying through the sky above Windmill Hill, and the story takes off from there.

    After your run-in with Kotori, you also meet child-hood friends Ageha and Tatsuya, as well as other supporting characters such as Ma-bou (Short for Masatsugu Tasaky), and other members of the Student Council. When you come to your new home you find that it’s a dorm full of… girls? Seems Aoi’s mother half tricked him into being a dorm-mother (A housekeeper of sorts) to a girl’s dorm, which is also coincidentally home to Kotori, who tends to keep to herself, and avoids contact with others if she can.

    Eventually, you end up running into super repeat student, Amane in a cluttered garage on the school grounds, where you find is also home to the glider you saw the day you met Kotomi on Windmill Hill, you and others become friends, come together, and share the goal of once again seeing the glider fly freely above the clouds, to the dismay of Mr Tobioka, a teacher who seems to want nothing more than to see the Soaring Club permanently disbanded and the glider erased.

    Soon, you, Kotori, Ageha, and the “Legendary Super Repeat Student” Amane, rebuild the Soaring Club and aim to reach the morning glory, a cloud of extreme rarity and beauty. Each character’s route, while built from the same story, have approaches of varying differences to how the story progresses, there are technically six in total, though one is technically considered the Bad End (Confirmed as the Bad End by steam achievements).

    The story as a whole is masterfully crafted; each route rarely feels like it has out-of-place story (The only oddities exist in the Yoru Route, which feels like an Add-on to Asa’s route anyways). While choices are few and far between, it doesn’t really effect the storytelling and it shouldn’t, this Visual Novel was not meant to have dozens of choices per route, it’s simple and clean as a story should be. There are moments in the game that take place from someone else’s perspective while at times this is in third person, there isn’t a clear first person either at those times, which really in a unique way puts them in a spotlight, which gives you an idea what’s going on through people’s heads, and even gives important insight to the story (In Amane’s route its almost more important that the main story itself). Many forms of media already do this quite often but it’s a nice change to see in a VN and gives it a better Anime/Manga feel for those brief moments. For many reasons like these, I feel as though Amane’s route is the definitive to the story.
    Each route does one thing that many visual novels fall at;
    consistency. Each route has a different main heroine involved, but that doesn't remove any other girls from the story, and even in other routes each has shining moments.



    Heavy Spoilers ahead, these are plot points and notes for different routes. They are very long and make up a large part of the review, so read at your own risk.
     
    Kotori’s route is usually the first one to be completed, and unlocks paths towards the other stories. This arc seems to be a mix of all elements shared between the others, it has love, comedy, drama, and the fight for your freedom to fly at the hands of Mr. Tobioka, which is a nice blend of what’s to come. You learn about Kotori’s accident that caused her disability, and that the accident is also the reason for her quiet personality, causing issues for the club, eventually things get worse, as she gets into an accident when she gets hit by the glider when it’s blown towards her by the wind while getting ready to call it a day. This accident causes her parents to take her home, much to the dismay of club members. Aoi will not have her taken away so easily. He gets over his inner demons about his own injury to his leg from his past, and rode his racing bike, not only fast enough to catch up to Kotori’s car, but also convinced her father to let her see the Morning Glory, finally causing his inner turmoil about the past to be left behind and to look towards a brighter future for her and her family.

    Amane's route seems to be half-and-half with the story. Half of the time you’re playing from Aoi's perspective, and the other half you’re playing as if you’re coming from Amane's perspective. During her route you get a better look at some of the events that while not on-screen for Kotori's route still had plot relevance (i.e. the repossession of the glider and why Amane came back). You even get to go through some of Amane's flashbacks and indirectly meet Isuka several times, which is a pretty good touch on an otherwise mysterious person. (Heck, thanks to her she now wears contacts instead of glasses. What, you didn’t know she wore glasses?) We also learn about Mr. Tobioka's past, Tobioka isn’t a bad person at all, in fact he just wanted the students to graduate safely without meeting the same fate as Isuka, in Amane's route you find him before he breaks the winch and he more about the accident that crushed the soaring club prior to the game, thanks to this, they are able to further convince Tobioka and he begins to understand their goals, understands Amane, and apologizes for his wrongdoing.

    Ageha's route takes an almost completely different approach to the story, where instead of you outright fighting against the school for your club, your activities are pretty much underground in disguise of something else; you also get closer to Ageha's sister Hotaru and Kanako. If you like pure hilarity then this route is perfect, it had me laughing almost the entire way through (not counting the serious moments), despite the funny moments however, it has more dramatic moments, and I’d say it even has more drama and awkwardness than Kotori's route at times due to Ageha's inner turmoil at the hand of past memories. At the end, a moment that gave chills in a good way was when Aoi's final flight began, and from the ground Ageha's in-game sprite mouthed three magic words to Aoi in a way that made it seem animated, this was the only time I recall the sprites using this effect, so it’s unique to Ageha’s route.

    Hotaru. Ageha’s sister, also has a thing for you later on in her story, But even still, she has to be the most kawaii character to ever exist. You think Fuko is cute? You haven’t seen anything yet. But she’s determined to make you hers before Ageha.

    Asa, while in the other arcs is sort of a backseat driver simply kind of standing around, is a much bigger part in her own route. The extra story you get about her grandfather is something to add to the story of the visual novel, it doesn’t have as much plot importance as the others. They play the oldest twin game in the book and swap places for a while to the confusion of Aoi and Ageha and to the pure enjoyment of Kanako. Seeing them act like each other and often fail while doing it is hilarious. Though when you’re actually going out with Asa at times it seems just like the typical brother complex little sister rather than a genuine relationship, which honestly is fine as it suits her character.

    The Yoru route is... well if you wanted a harem, you got it. Honestly though rather than a separate story it feels like a what-if DLC for Asa's arc. Basically instead of choosing Asa, you choose neither and end up dating them both at the same time, it ends up being a playful battle against who gets more attention, though being considered the Yoru story it of course leans towards her more than Asa. While I didn’t dislike the story I wasn’t as captivated by it as I was with Amane, Kotori, and Ageha, it seemed more comedy and random driven than heartfelt storytelling. The story over all in the twins route is pretty crushing near the end though, as Aoi is injured during a test so you didn’t get to take part in the final flight, which prior to this story’s completion I felt as the pivotal climax wasn’t the same without him, though I like the different approach.

    The bad ending isn’t actually too bad. Nothing goes wrong in the way that other visual novels would have a character killed off, or just have it end abruptly with the main character questioning life. Honestly this story doesn’t really have a fit for a truly bad ending so having one end as friends with everyone is completely fine.
    There are places in the novel that have been censored for western audiences, such as erotic scenes, adult jokes, and the like, however none of them impact the story too much, however should you feel frisky you can download the English restoration patch, which also has all the other gallery images and features. There are many PG-13 jokes of pretty adult humor that managed to make it in anyways, and each time it’s worth a laugh.



    Music and Art

    Professionals have standards. And MoeNovel set them high, met them, and then surpassed them.

    The Music has different kinds of feelings from Happy, excited, to somber and calm. The music helps set the mood to the already great voice acting, and the visuals are top quality. Each sprite is done many times over for different faces, poses, and reactions with professional touches making them look pristine, even adding special comic like scenes with pictured depicting an action or event in the story which adds to the imagination, who can’t forget a duck in a top hat running out into the halls with a girl’s underwear?

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    Replayability and Completion

    There are six endings, adding to around thirty hours game-play if read at a steady pace, Steam achievements (though they can all be completed by simply doing each route once), and of course, anything steam related like the new live stream feature, Cards, Collectible wallpapers and Emotes, and more. For 100% completion of the game, you get an alternate title screen, as well as the completed gallery which you unlock as you play, containing each unique art, and CG scenes. As well as the soundtrack. Save-states are a major help, and unlike other visual novels, don’t seem to bug out and ignore previous completion, or even future completion of a route, which makes continuing to a new story right away from the first act even easier.




    Though I have not played them, and may warrant reviews on their own, there exists side stories to this one as separate games which have even more unlocks, which are also making their way to the screenshot section of the community hub.





    Verdict - 10/10

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    Positives:

    Inspiring, Masterfully Crafted Story

    Memorable Characters.

    Great Soundtrack

    Amazing Visuals, CG, and Art.

    Excellent length and more than enough content for the cost.

    Steam Support

    Fan-patch for the uncensored versions for adult audiences

    Gallery with collected Art, CG, and Music.

    A duck with a top hat.




    Negatives:

    No Kanako or Hotaru Arc. (Please add one, MoeNovel ;-

    Few translation errors, however they don’t impact the dialogue enough to make them off target and don’t hurt the overall appeal, and are fixed by the restoration patch.

    Final Words and Personal Opinion

    This Visual Novel is not perfect, none are, but this is as close as you can get. This is one of the few visual novels that shouldn’t not only get an Anime adaptation like Clannad, but it deserves one that does it justice. Finishing this review hours after note taking and putting points together, I still have tears in my eyes when I look back. They aren’t tears of joy or sadness, but both. A story that isn’t only emotionally engaging enough to make someone like me, who hasn’t cried in three years aside from one moment in Clannad, cry out of both joy for having the pleasure of reading a masterpiece, and also of sadness that it has to come to a close, is worthy of my first ever perfect score of 10/10. Everything fit together perfectly as if it was meant to raise every bar set by any others. The comedy when present is gold almost every moment. The characters each had their own story to tell, each with their own joy and sadness, and were memorable as they were meaningful to the story. I want a Hotaru arc so bad, she’s just too cute, she’s like the little sister I wish I had. This is the first visual novel to make me genuinely cry and feel for the characters, it sent chills down my spine that I still feel hours later, I just can’t do this visual novel justice no matter how hard I try. With that, I can only say it’s a masterpiece that needs to be experienced to anyone who loves visual novels, and even manga and anime.

    ~Regards

    Solomore.


    Download the demo and buy the game here: http://moenovel.com/imh/
    Buy the game off steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/326480/
    Suggested guide for English Restoration Patch (Works with Windows 7 and 8.1): http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=353268469





    Special Thanks goes to Yoko Littner and Ranshiin for helping me make these reviews possible.
    [/FONT]
    Last edited by Sustainna; 03-07-2015 at 07:10 PM.
    "Used to be named Solomore. Adopted a new Username/Handle. Find me on Twitch! Twitch.tv/sustainna"
    If My Heart Had Wings Review: ~*10/10*~ http://www.animeforum.com/showthread...eart-Had-Wings
    Katawa Shoujo Review: 9/10 http://www.animeforum.com/showthread...-Katawa-Shoujo
    Facebook Page for Visual Novel Fans: https://www.facebook.com/visualnovelfanclub

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    Senior Member Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visual Novel Review: If My Heart Had Wings

    Almost 200 views within the first day of posting?
    I love you guys
    "Used to be named Solomore. Adopted a new Username/Handle. Find me on Twitch! Twitch.tv/sustainna"
    If My Heart Had Wings Review: ~*10/10*~ http://www.animeforum.com/showthread...eart-Had-Wings
    Katawa Shoujo Review: 9/10 http://www.animeforum.com/showthread...-Katawa-Shoujo
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    Default Re: Visual Novel Review: If My Heart Had Wings

    I registed to this forum only so I could like your review You've really had effort doing it and I enjoyed reading it.

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    Senior Member Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna has a reputation beyond repute Sustainna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Visual Novel Review: If My Heart Had Wings

    @Edealuv
    Thank you so much for going so far out of your way to respond, and I appreciate the gesture. Thanks for enjoying the review
    "Used to be named Solomore. Adopted a new Username/Handle. Find me on Twitch! Twitch.tv/sustainna"
    If My Heart Had Wings Review: ~*10/10*~ http://www.animeforum.com/showthread...eart-Had-Wings
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