REVIEW: Heart Breaker

If ever someone else’s happiness or good fortune in relationships displeased you, developer Random Saturdays feels your completely irrational, alarming hatred, and provides you an outlet. Heart Breaker (80 MSP) has you playing the role of anti-Cupid, AKA a deliberate asshole, AKA the most spiteful cockblocker in the world.

Heart Breaker - Screen

The game is a side-scrolling shooter with a twin-stick setup, with the player slinging arrows at would-be-otherwise couples (harmless squirrels, birds, and smiling, gelatinous blobs) to achieve a high score. You’re impeded in this work by other ‘good’ cupids, floating mines, and triangular-shaped cupid ninjas in full-garb wielding deadly playing cards (see above screenshot if you don’t believe me).

To further your love-wrecking agenda, your special abilities (heavy shot, spread shot, and grenades) are actually powered by the amount of romances you break up. The special meter here is fittingly represented by tear drops. Hit an overly-affectionate target, and watch as the lovebirds explode in a cloud of white picket fences that will never be, kids not being driven to soccer practice, and other unfulfilled domesticated dreams.

Heart Breaker - Screen2

Despite that premise and solid controls, though, the whole thing is too simplified to make a lasting dent. The art is amateurish, and it’s difficult to tell when you’ve been hit. About three minutes in, the screen fills up with so many enemies and projectiles, you’re all but destined to die. Each playthrough is a one-off, an endless run that lasts only as long as you live, with the game not even bothering to record your high score or celebrate your progress. That’s not inexcusable, but… Well, yes, actually it is. For an arcade game with nothing else on offer, it all but demolishes replayability.

As such, Heart Breaker is entirely superficial, with increasing difficulty and more arrow-dodging the only new wrinkles added beyond the trial, which is a ridiculous 45 seconds long. Long enough to form the opinion that it’s just masking the shallow end of the pool it drinks from, though, so you’re completely absolved from any curiosity you might have had to sample it. Don’t be a jerk, my cupid friend. Let love reign.

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Review on IndieGamerChick

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10 thoughts on “REVIEW: Heart Breaker”

  1. @NVO Games: I don’t know. You can’t be too careful. Some indie filmmaker that thinks he / she is the next Spielberg? Late-night infomercials disguised as games (but wait, call now and we’ll -double- your order, just pay separate shipping & processing), or worse, a Scientology recruitment video? There are some very real threats out there. You have to be vigilant.

    1. Heh, funny. For the low low price of $100 per year you too can try to make a custom game to show your video! Yeah… probably better, easier and cheaper to just go with YouTube 🙂

      Of course, how different is this from the text + picture games that some people create? I guess… no video? So less is more in this case?

    2. Pretty much. I’ve reviewed a couple of them. And as I’m sure you already know, there’s plenty of FMV ‘games’ on the channel now. Seems like another rule with a loose definition.

  2. I’m always suspicious when a trial is so short. It strongly implies that if left to run for the full eight minutes the player would either see everything the game has to offer, or realise that it contains less than eight minutes of playability, or both.

    1. Yep, you absolutely nailed it on both accounts, like a prophet. All of the enemies / attacks can been seen in the 45 seconds, and the difficulty spikes about three or four minutes in (lots of arrows and baddies on-screen), meaning most playthroughs will last five minutes. Games like this should not be released for anything more than ‘free’.

    2. Yeah, I was curious about the specific details of that restriction. I understand the idea if your game is an arcade type with very limited design (meaning one level or mode, one specific gameplay type, repeatable), but yeah, for the consumer that’s going to download it, that’s no way to sell your product.

    3. Thanks! Ah, yeah, I should have rephrased that question to mean the specific ‘interpretation’ of the rule. Seems like that could be construed a few different ways.

      I still prefer this line from the ‘Not so evil checklist’— ‘Vomit doesn’t count as excreta; urine and fecal matter do.’ Always gets a chuckle out of me. What can I say, I’m a kid at heart. 🙂

    4. Yeah… 45 seconds is really odd.

      My favorite part of the EC is this : “The game isn’t a game, but only a wrapper for a video or several videos, which is a misuse of Xbox LIVE Indie Games (XBLIG) as a video hosting service.”

      They were afraid someone was going to do that? Seems like a really strange thing to be worried about.

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