I finally finished a game, yay! I was looking forward to Glass Heart Princess a lot for some reason, I think part of it is that it’s one of the few totally new titles in my recent history. And when I realized that there was gameplay other than visual novel style, I was determined to pick it up as soon as possible.
I was able to find a guide for it at love voice, the only one I saw. I really needed it too, especially for Shinnosuke (the butler).
The premise is that you’re an accomplished, lovely, rich student in your last year at an exclusive high school. Everyone loves you, your father dotes on you, you have an otaku maid who’s sarcastic and awesome, and a devoted butler who is willing to go to ANY lengths to protect you.
One summer’s day you’re being served tea in your vast gardens, as you do, when you have a sudden heart palpitation and pass out. You wake up in the hospital and are told that you have a rare disease called Glass Heart Syndrome. If you can’t strengthen your heart against tokimeki, you won’t live out the year.
Luckily, you’ve never been in love, so you have a (relatively) easy way of toughening up your heart – fall in love, go on dates, and train to up your ‘heartbeat limit’ all the while.
The first thing you have to do is pick your partner. The first draft pick is the school bad boy, Karasuma Yuikito (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa), who’s secretly a famous cat burglar. The second is the well-liked teacher, Asahina Tenma (CV: Hatano Wataru), who’s secretly a vampire mafia boss (yup). Your ‘last’ chance, if you miss these two, is Hoshino Kanata (CV: Miyata Kouki), an android from outer space visiting earth to gather data on it. And finally, if you miss all three, you have a chance at the true end, your devoted butler with a gun fetish and mercenary history, Masaki Shinnosuke (CV: KENN). There’s also a hidden character, a much younger ‘betrothed’ – I got his happy end but there didn’t seem to be much to it.
Once you ‘choose’ someone by having Cupid shoot his arrow at you during one of these encounters, you ask them out in various ways and can then choose a date every week. Leading up to the date is your training time, where you can train physically to up your max heartbeats, train in love to increase your love-intelligence (by studying shoujo manga and romance), and rest. At first you have only one activity for each of these categories and the training goes slowly, but you learn more training methods as you go. The only route I didn’t follow a guide for was Hoshino, where I just did one of each activity a week, and that seemed to work fine.
Once you get to the new year, if you’re still alive you then go into the route of the person you have a high enough score with (each date has a score e.g. Excellent is the best, then Sweet, Good, and Not Bad). There aren’t many choices here, but it’s the longest continuous story part.
I enjoyed it, but honestly the routes felt pretty short except for Shinnosuke’s, who I totally think is the true end. His is also the ‘hardest’ to get, since if you date him from the beginning, you don’t get some of his events.
I think the dates, though they’re fun, were very short, especially the beginning ones. There are also random events during the week where you walk home with your guy and discuss things with him, but it was very random – sometimes it only happened once a route. You can choose to visit your tea party friends during the week to get conversation topics, but it feels like a waste if you don’t get to use them (but at least it doesn’t take up a training slot).
Overall Shinnosuke was my favourite. Though they were all fun, his route was the longest and the relationship felt the most real – they even had a lot of backstory between him and the heroine. Even in his route though, it felt a little rushed. I would have enjoyed a longer in-between stage, where he isn’t sure of his feelings, or even after he realizes, before the external drama comes up and moves the conflict outside of the relationship.
I did really enjoy the lightheartedness of the story, and one thing that’s great is the small touches that (really) mostly add to Shinnosuke as a character – he’s had all this special training, and when you get to a certain level sometimes ‘guest’ trainers come on – and they’re all characters from past Otomate games. You don’t see them but they’re fun references. They also show up in the end of his route with their voices, and that’s great – I was wondering why Sugita Tomokazu was playing a bit part as the doctor, lol, I guess they had them fill in some small roles as well.
Also, in each route, you have a special New Year’s dream. In Japan it’s said that the first dream you have in the New Year is lucky or unlucky depending on what it is. Well, in this game, you dream of your guy, but in the setting of an Otomate game – though they don’t say the titles it’s very obvious which ones they are. And then you wake up and see that you were playing a game before you fell asleep
Overall I think this game is fun, but I don’t know if I’d recommend it 100%. There are other games I’d rate higher, but this is quite fun, and the art is great as well.