The great worldbuilding and extensive side quests make this game more enjoyable than I thought.
Release date: 28 Aug, 2020
Rave Heart is a turn-based RPG Maker game that offers up to 6 playable party members and a lot of side quests. It has extensive worldbuilding with planetary travel as its focus. Planets are combined into sectors and inhabited by different races, each with its unique capabilities and culture. You are Klein, a bodyguard of the Erran race’s princess which is about to be engaged to a human prince.
The game mostly uses customized assets with some default ones mixed in. I recognized some assets from this pack although I couldn’t seem to recall the rest. The maps are also well done except for some occasions where an NPC blocks the way to the exit.
Dungeons tend to be short with either a straight forward path or a huge, one screen map with a lot of branching paths that lead to the same place. To be honest, I wasn’t fond of the latter one since it feels more of a maze rather than an actual dungeon. The towns, on the other hand, looks beautiful and unique from each other.
The game sets in a sci-fi setting, where traveling between planets is as easy as driving to another city. The worldbuilding somehow reminds me of Septerra Core, introducing different sectors where each sector has different cultures and appearances. This information might be a lot to take in at first, but the game never forces you to understand them in one go. All of the detailed information is available in some machines that are spread throughout the beginning areas – it was easy to revisit this information whenever I needed to.
Cutscenes are abundant throughout the game – you’ll mostly spend your time watching the cutscenes rather than clearing the dungeons. Despite the static portraits, characters are portrayed well with their unique way of talking. The conversation between characters always gives a smile to my face, especially the side stories that are unlocked at the latter half of the game. Although the ending is wrapped up nicely, some unanswered questions and the mysterious part in the ending can serve as material for the sequel.
Tutorials are provided at the beginning of the game and the game does a clever job in combining the tutorial with the main story. The game also very helpful to its players by providing arrows to denote important objects such as interactable objects, chests, and even quest directions. However, these directions are not available at some point, especially near the end of the game. It might also due to its limitation since the destination is on a different planet, but you might be left confused as to where to go next as a result.
You’ll have up to 6 party members in your party. Each of them has a certain role in the party with their specialty although it might take some time to understand their roles, especially the ones that have several unique skills in their arsenal. Finding what’s each character is best at and finding a proper strategy to defeat enemies in battle also makes the game fun, although the lack of MP regen skills might hinder you from finding those out.
The game has a unique weakness and resistance system which can be seen by how the enemies look like. Robot-like enemies are categorized into Tech types, which is weak to Physical types that is made of flesh. In response, Physical types are weak to Ether types, which are made of spiritual beings. The Ether types are weak to the Tech types, turning it into a full circle of weakness and resistance. It wasn’t hard to remember this mechanic and it’s surprisingly easier to find enemy’s element this way compared to the original fire – water – grass mechanic.
Normal encounters will mostly provide you with one enemy of each type. They aren’t hard to beat although you must be careful with their damage – they still can kill your party members if you aren’t careful. Items are also quite costly at the beginning of the game and the lack of MP regen skills makes it hard to spam your attacking skills. Luckily, you’ll get fully healed after each level up and your party members can level up quickly.
Bosses tend to spawn with normal enemies. This makes all strategies to be similar with a slight difference based on what the boss does. Strangely, I found the boss in the early game to be one of the most difficult bosses in the game since there isn’t any way to heal my party except by using items. The game tends to be not very clear that you’re going to fight a boss though. The early game will give some sort of precaution by placing a healing crystal before the boss room, but the said crystal seems to be gone as you progress the game.
If you are the type that hates story-heavy games, the game surprisingly has a lot of side quests that you can finish. The side quests expand the exploration area by a huge margin, making it seem like you’re only touching a small portion of the in-game universe with the main story. Most of these are just fetch quests, although they tend to come with optional boss fights. It feels like I’m playing a different game with a different focus, especially since most side quests are unlocked at the same time.
Length and Difficulty
The in-game clock states that I finished the game in ~24h. A great portion of my playtime was spent on finishing side quests although there were some occasions where I had to reload my save several times to finish some of the boss battles in the early game. The difficulty isn’t hard once you have a full party and understand their role.
Some texts are hard to read if they are written in italic. The cutscene when you travel to other planets also takes too long to finish.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
The developer did a good job with the worldbuilding – it looks unique and doesn’t feel overwhelming with the amount of information you have to take in. Although the main game put the story as its focus, somehow I enjoyed the side stories more, mainly because it focuses more on the character interactions and funny atmosphere instead of the serious and bland tone. Side quests also provide a different feeling to the game; it’s as if the developer tries to find which style works the best for him. It’s not a bad thing though – I enjoyed them both, and I’m sure you also will if you like RPG Maker games.