Himeno Kyouko is the perfect daughter of a rich family. She's beautiful, smart and admired by everyone, but she does have a weakness. She's 100% inexperienced in love. During her last summer vacation in high school, Kyouko suddenly collapses from a mysterious disease called "Glass Heart Syndrome". If her heart rate gets too high, her heart will stop beating and she will die. There's no specific cure for the disease, but Kyouko's maid and the doctor come up with a wonderful idea—she should rehabilitate her heart by falling in love!
Glass Heart Princess
Glass Heart Princess (website)
Age Rating: CERO B / 12+
Date of Release: December 20, 2012
Voice Cast: KENN, Suzuki Tatsuhisa, Hatano Wataru, Miyata Kouki
While the premise of the game might sound cliché, Glass Heart Princess makes up for it with the fun "heart training" system and the actual execution of the plot. It doesn't follow the same template for each route, so the result of Kyouko's training is different depending on who she ends up with. At the beginning of the story, Kyouko needs to find a man to fall in love with. Of course it's not an easy task for her, but eventually the cupid will come down to shoot her with his arrow of love. Literally. This is called the "Fall-in-love Flag (FLF) Effect", and it's your entrance to get into a guy's route.
Shoot the arrow when prompted, and Kyouko will ask him to have a date with her. The order of the encounters is Yukito → Tenma → Kanata. This means if you don't trigger the FLF Effect during the encounter with Yukito, you will move onto Tenma's event. Now if you ignore the cupid for all three encounters, the game will force you to choose one of them. This is necessary if you want to enter Shinnosuke's route, which is slightly trickier compared to the others. In order to get into his route, you have to choose a guy via this method and date only him until November. If you're doing it right, a new date will appear for Shinnosuke and you can start his route by taking that date.
Speaking of dates, let's move on to the training and date system! The game covers the time span of three months, which are then divided into weeks. For each week, Kyouko can do three heart-training activities and a date by the end of the week. There are a lot of activities you can choose from, and each of them help raising her parameters: "HB-Limit", "L-Int" and "Image". HB-Limit is Kyouko's HP, so the higher it is, the more endurance she has. If your HBM goes beyond the limit during dates, Kyouko will pass out and you will get a "broken heart". L-Int is Kyouko's level, which is necessary to take higher-ranking dates. As the name suggests, Image is how people think of Kyouko. Your choices during dates and events affect her image, and you can head towards two different directions here.
- Cute → Sweet → Fairy
- Cool → Beauty → Venus
Each guy has different image preference, so you can experiment with Kyouko's image to find the one he likes. Your initial image is Normal, which stands between Cute and Cool. As you do more training, you will unlock more activities and some of them can help boosting your image too. For example, baking sweets increases your cuteness while flower arranging enhances your cool image. Shinnosuke's physical training helps increasing your HB-Limit, and Satsuki's mental training raises your L-Int. Resting lowers your HBM, so it will be further away from the maximum limit.
As you do more dates, eventually a special date will appear in the selection menu. It might look the same as the regular ones, but this special date will end with a "LEVEL UP" result. This happens when the guys start growing feelings for Kyouko as well, thus taking their relationship onto a higher level. You can continue doing dates until around the second week of January, where you will be taken into the actual route. This is where the main story takes place for each guy, and there are no more training or dates beyond this point. It's pure visual novel until you reach the ending.
For the characters, Glass Heart Princess offers five love interests to choose from. Yes, you read that right. There are actually five capturable characters in this game.
Masaki Shinnosuke (CV: KENN) is Kyouko's loyal butler, who is really strong in combat but also has a dorky hetare side. Karasuma Yukito (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa) is a transfer student in class 3-B, and is well-known as a delinquent among all the rich students at school. Asahina Tenma (CV: Hatano Wataru) is the school nurse who can do anything, ranging from taking care of sick students, substituting teacher for any subjects, or even growing his own vegetables. Hoshino Kanata (CV: Miyata Kouki) is a mysterious boy who falls from the sky, and it's pretty obvious that he's… different from everyone else. The last character is a secret, and I'll keep his identity hidden since it's a cute surprise. All the characters in this game are charming, and the cast did a great job bringing them to life.
Now for the visuals! The visuals of Glass Heart Princess are really colorful, clean and pretty. The game has a lot of parodies, and seeing them illustrated as CGs makes it even better. The character sprites have a LOT of expressions. The good-looking ones, the adorable ones, the comedic ones—they have everything! In some events the game also adds in motions for the sprites, which brings out the mood even more. As for the user interface, Glass Heart Princess has a lovely pink and white color scheme with cute icons to boot. It gives the game a lovely feminine touch which complements the romantic theme really well.
Last but not least is the music. The game has a wonderful selection of BGMs, ranging from the soothing ones to the comedic ones, and each track enhances the mood perfectly. The opening song, "Steel Your Heart", and the ending song, "Koiiro Miracle", are really good too. Personally I really love the ending song, and I never skipped the credits roll just to listen to it. Also, the game version of "Steel Your Heart" ends with the English phrase "YOU ARE COOL!" While it might sound funny at first, the phrase is extremely catchy and gives the song a unique charm to it. If you love Glass Heart Princess' music as much as I do, they're going to release the soundtrack soon. The opening / ending single CD is already on sale too, so always remember…
YOU ARE COOL!9.0 As much as I want to give Glass Heart Princess a 10, I have to take one point off because the main portion of the individual routes is rather short. But that aside, the game is incredibly fun. Otome games with stat-raising elements can be really tedious to get through, but it's really nice and easy in this game. The chibi icons, animations and cute bonus events make the heart training part so entertaining to do. It's not hard to raise (or even max out) your parameters, and the game doesn't burden you with strict requirements either. Glass Heart Princess also has a very good balance of romance, drama and comedy. Each route is light-hearted and fun, but when the time comes, it will strike with intense, action-packed scenes and adorable romantic moments.
Overall, Glass Heart Princess is a fun, light-hearted game with charming characters. As I've mentioned above, the game has a lot of parodies—ranging from famous movies to Otomate games. A lot of characters from Otomate's past titles make a cameo appearance during training and dates, and it's such a nice bonus. Especially if you have played some of those titles before. I also feel that most of the endings leave a room for a continuation of the story, so it would be really nice if Otomate ever decides to make a fandisk for this game.