Flyable Heart Review
Flyable Heart is the third game by UnisonShift Blossom, following Nanatsuiro Drops and Alice Parade. A heartful school life love comedy ADV, FH follows mysterious transfer student Katsuragi Shou as he enters a new school, makes new friends and relationships, while learning more about himself and the dream-filled world he resides in.
As mentioned in his introductory post, Zen will be offering his comments on this game since he has also played it. They will be at the end of each section in green.
A small preface for anyone who cares. I will be using Micchi’s format when I write any comments during this review. However I am NOT writing a full review. The important parts were covered very thoroughly by Micchi already so there is no point in being redundant. Simply adding my own comments and opinions is all I shall be doing.
With that being said, enjoy this epic review.
A nice catchy theme and relaxing at the same time. Well choreographed and introduces the major characters. Definitely gives off a dreamy wonderland vibe that pervades through the game.
One day, Katsuragi Shou receives an envelope from his dad containing a pamphlet introducing Ootori Ryouran Gakuen, a private school located on an island, as well as a student card with his name on it. Tempted by promises of free food at the school cafetaria, Shou rushes off to the campus before the entry deadline. Along the way, a fortune teller calls out to him, warning him that misfortune will befall him in the future.
Pressed for time, he hurries off and reaches the long bridge leading to the island where he is greeted by a sign warning of fireworks preparations and prohibiting entry. Suddenly, some guy pops out from the bushes, calling him a courageous hero, and entrusts him with a USB-like device. Following the guidelines in the letter that accompanied it, Shou puts it into a weird-looking machine and accidentally activates it, causing the fireworks to simultaneously explode. Shou feels like he’s falling and he’s blinded by the light. A girl appears before him saying she will definitely save him.
FH has 6 routes with Suzuno’s being opened after completing the other five. The common route is decent length, but not exceedingly long. There are a lot of choices to make, although some don’t increase heroine affection. The pacing is well done and H scenes are placed appropriately (with one exception in Amane’s route).
The scenarios are your typical school life romance… with a slight twist. There’s the standard confession scenes, first dates and events that strengthen their bond. There are obstacles for the pair to overcome, but of course they’ll get through it, leading to a heartwarming ending. However, you won’t understand everything until you play all the routes. FH is like a jigsaw puzzle with 6 pieces (some bigger than others). On subsequent playthroughs, I felt like I was playing a Ryukishi07 work (Higurashi, Umineko) since I was busy keeping track of all the minor details.
I really liked the school events in the common route (battle royale and zombie event). They were really fun to play and reminded me of events from my high school days. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘game over’ and ‘bad end’ scenes. I would really love to attend Ootori; everything looks so nice. It’s nice that the school offers two different uniforms for girls to choose from. The school’s security system is definitely scary. Just like the ofuro. After playing all the routes, I have began to dread a certain day of the year.
While the majority of the mysteries were resolved by the end of the game, there were some elements where I felt more explanation would’ve been better, for example the fireworks at the beginning. I thought the explanation of the ringing telephone was too shallow. Maybe it’s just that I hate ringing telephones and it bugged me so much throughout the whole game. Possibly the scenario writers bit off more than they can chew, but I think overall it was designed well.
There are plenty of references throughout FH. I loved the repeated references to The Wizard of Oz. Sure, it wasn’t fully explained, but I love that it allows the player to think of the connections on their own. UnisonShift also made references to their previous games. The cafe Limelight has the same name as the one that Flora’s family ran in Nanatsuiro Drops. Megumi is the imouto of Shinobu from Peace@Pieces, while Kei is the caring nii-san of Nadeshiko from Nanatsuiro Drops.
Suzuno’s story was satisfying, although if you think about it too much, you might begin to question the legality of the situation. If you did not count Suzuno’s as the true ending, I felt Sakurako’s wrapped up the game nicely, bittersweet as it was. Amane and Kururi’s routes didn’t contribute much to the puzzle, but they were nice even though Kururi’s was a total guilt trip. Mayuri’s was over before it really got started; I didn’t like it. That leaves… Yui. Yui’s route was the best in my opinion, and that’s not only because I like her character. Her route was like a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I was smiling and laughing along with them during the happy moments and my heart ached for them during the sad times. Yui’s lines during one of the last scenes really moved me.
Micchi’s recommended route order:
Mayuri, Amane, Sakurako, Kururi, Yui, Suzuno
Micchi’s route rankings:
Yui, Sakurako, Amane, Suzuno, Kururi, Mayuri
Ah Flyable Heart. Very good game. The biggest appeal for me was the intricate web the writers spun for the plot. Interconnected story elements which for a global understanding rely on the completion of other story arcs. Micchi’s comparison to a puzzle is very apt for this game and is something I would like to see more eroge follow suit with.
Most of the story arcs are interesting and well written. Primarily of note is that there are almost two stories in each route. There is the story that involves the heroine which you are pursuing obviously, but more than that there is the overall story that creates the larger picture. This goes on to explain all the minute details which help further understand the story of the heroine. I found the layered storytelling extremely entertaining and enjoyable. To me it felt almost like hunting for treasure as you try to pick up on the hidden meanings without being given all the required information.
I find that the biggest flaw in the writing and well the various story arcs in general was the inconsistency that led to some routes being far more complete and having a larger role in the overall story. A greater degree of homogeny among the various stories would have been preferred in my opinion. Prevailing among all the others in spotlighting this issue is the Mayuri story arc, which was just plain half-assed. Her route not only contributed almost nothing to the overall picture, but even her own story had no concrete ending. Mayuri’s story just stopped and left all of the major issues established completely up in the air with absolutely NO resolutions. In the end there are only three story arcs that actually explain anything significant. Which in the end essentially means you would understand everything that is going on aside from the individual girls issues by reading half of the story.
Zen’s recommended route order:
Mayuri, Amane, Kururi, Yui, Sakurako, Suzuno
Zen’s route rankings:
Sakurako, Yui, Suzuno, Kururi, Amane, Mayuri
Our courageous hero (as proclaimed by Souryu) is a mysterious transfer student to Ootori Ryouran Gakuen. No one on the student council or school board knew of his acceptance into the private school, but he soon fits in nicely. Shou is your typical nice guy and will always lend a helping hand to those in need. All he thinks about is food and hence, he is easily baited with sweets and food. Starts out living with his father Shigeki.
Shou is a true mysterious transfer student. From the beginning of the game, one of the major points is trying to determine his identity. I still have to say WTF to Shou about what happened during Amane’s 2nd H scene and Kururi’s 2nd H scene. That’s just wrong.
Shou felt pretty meh to me. The main selling point for this character is his bottomless stomach and the comedy that results from it.
Shou’s ‘harapeko sister’ and classmate, Yui transferred to Ootori one week before he did. She’s a simple and innocent girl who loves food just as much as Shou, but she’s embarrassed about it since she’s a girl. Very lively and friendly. Love donuts and chonmage a lot.
Yui’s definitely my favorite character in FH. Her mannerisms make me melt ^___^ But beyond her positive exterior, I am also very impressed with her serious side. I really loved the holding hands and morning love affirmation scenes. Hau~ omochikaeri~! Also, among the greatest mysteries: what’s with the tanuki tail…?
Harapeko Tanuki girl does have some really cute and touching scenes but other than that I found her character and personality a bit boring. In addition I had a problem with her voice, I found myself clicking fast to try to avoid listening to her. I leave this hungry hungry tanuki to you, Micchi.
The council leader of the Ryourankai. She’s very serious and duty-minded. Possesses a lethal kick: usually high kick, but also side kick. I guess you can call her a tsundere. Doesn’t like to show any weakness, like crying. She cannot refuse sincere requests whatsoever. Although she isn’t looking for romantic relationships, she does want to find her knight in shining armor.
Originally, I didn’t think I would like her since I thought she’d be the tsundere. However, she’s not that tsun (only to her brother Souryu) and her dere side is very adorable. It’s fine, Amane! You don’t need to hide it!
I found Amane to be an endearing character with an adorable side that makes me want to hug her. I also thought she would be much more tsun than she really is, and while I do not have a problem with tsun or lack there of… The surprise that she is mostly a shy dere type was rather pleasant.
One of the idols of the school, Sakurako is like an angel. She’s part of the Ryourankai and really close friends with Mayuri. Loves to try new things because it’s exciting, and has a very creative mind. Very innocent and gullible.
A really kind and gentle spirit. She really is an angel that brightens everything up. She’d make a good girlfriend and I was very happy with her route ending.
I really liked Sakurako a lot. Sakurako is the type of character who exudes a calming aura. Her gentle, loving, and sometimes naive mannerisms combined with her very touching story (Especially the ending) makes for a winning character. I have a hard time deciding wether I like her route or Yui’s more.
Suzuno is a self-proclaimed ghost who can only be seen by Shou, Yui and Maxx. However, she can’t pass through doors and walls as normal ghosts can, even though she tries hard to do so. Ironically, she’s afraid of ghosts. Doesn’t talk much and answers by nodding. Almost like an imouto to Shou and Yui.
Really cute loli. I just wanna hug and protect her! ><b
Clumsy loli. To be honest I find almost no interest what so ever in Suzuno nor her route.
Mayuri is the other school idol: she’s smart, she’s pretty, she’s perfect in every way. She’s part of the Seitokai, but also helps out with the Ryourankai sometimes with Sakurako. An onee-san figure that helps with solving others’ problems. Reads others very well.
She’s a bit too perfect for me. I don’t like her personalities that much. I’ll leave the long black-haired girls for Zen.
Mayuri teaches us that the moral of the story is you can NEVER be too perfect. Mayuri is my personal favorite character… Along with almost everyone else it seems. I find her firm and noble, yet brittle personality to be attractive (As is her looong black hair…). However in all seriousness her slightly aloof teasing combined with her caring personality is just plain awesome.
A ‘mad mechanic’ genius loli who doesn’t like men and can be hard to approach. Part of the Ryourankai and is the Ryourankai dorm manager. Creator of #28, Maxx. Very straightforward and does not have interest in trivial things. However, her attitude changes completely when talking to people she likes or respects. Lives off kalorie mates and recharges in the bath.
I feel so guilty. Her fake cute side is scary. *_* I feel so guilty. Her innocent child-like “take advantage of me” side is hard to ignore. I feel so guilty.
Kururi makes me feel guiltier than OJ. For some strange reason she gets more loli the more H things become which is just downright disturbing. Her personality is akin to having a cute little puppy following you around. Which is fine, but I really do not want to do any H with cute little puppies thank you.
Aside from the freaky teacher, the supporting cast fits well into all routes, either as an integral part of the story or for comedic relief. Subcharacters include Seitokai president and Amane’s onii-chan Souryu, vice president Hotaru-chan Kei, genki secretary Megumi, Shou’s roommate and all-purpose robot Maxx and quiet classmate Akira.
Maxx is the best friend one can wish for… even if he’s a robot. I’d cry on my shinyuu‘s chest any day. Souryu is much more helpful than he appears and I appreciated his story. I really like Gumi-chan’s “Sho-kun-san” even though I found her character a bit one-dimensional. Kei is awesome in every way. *nosebleeds*
Maxx is my favorite character without a route. In fact I like Maxx so much he needs a route! Who wouldn’t fall for his shiny, round, smooth, hard metal body... Anyway Souryu and Hotaru chan were great characters as well, their comedy duo had my face in a cramp through much of the game. Gumi was funny at times but a little bit annoying, while Akira made for a good contrast.
I loved all the characters except for Mayuri-sama. That being said… why was she the runaway winner in the chara poll!? Yui is so much better, you M’s!
Simple, Mayuri does not eat more than a starving hippo. How unattractive to have an uncultured girl with an annoying voice cheerfully stuffing her face across from you!
Micchi’s character rankings:
Yui, Amane, Suzuno, Sakurako, Kururi, Mayuri
Zen’s character rankings:
Mayuri, Sakurako, Amane, Yui, Kururi, Suzuno
The artwork for FH were drawn by three artists: Itou Noizi, Sasakura Ayato and Pero. They all worked on previous UnisonShift Blossom titles (actually most of the staff did, including the scenario writers). As expected, all the CGs are very beautiful and vary from playful to sentimental. Some CGs are larger than normal and a panning technique is used during the game to view these. H scenes often start out zoomed in on the HCG and then slowly zoom out for dramatic effect. I had some issues with the eyes and body proportions for some CGs, but overall they captured the feel of the game nicely (complete with sparkles and stars).
The backgrounds are varied, but are not spectacular. I felt there could’ve been more varied tachi-e for some characters. Yui seems to stay in the same pose with only changes in her facial expressions.
There were plenty of SD CGs throughout the game and they are absolutely adorable and hilarious. I especially love the one with Yui freaking out while lying in bed next to Shou.
I must say the artwork for FH was quite impressive. The more subtle shading was rather more enjoyable than hard cell shading. Some of the backgrounds were a bit on the girlish side but the lighting blends and effects were very well done. There are of course mistakes, or bad CG here and there. Minor issues here and there are something that cannot be avoided as long as humans are making the CG and thus cannot be really counted against the artwork. There was nothing that made me feel the artist did a terrible job even when I personally did not enjoy a specific CG.
I also liked the effect that the SD CGs gave the game. The scenes that they depicted usually had an almost sarcastic humor emphasized by the use of the SD characters.
The interface for FH is very pink. The character in the title screen changes every time you start the game or exit from something in the extra mode. You might be lucky and get to the see the teacher. The options are pretty much standard. There are 80 save slots plus one quicksave. I felt it wasn’t enough as I had to conserve them for the last two routes. When you save during H scenes, they will show up in the preview window in mosaic form.
The textbox is decent sized and works well. The borders vary a bit depending on the dialogue. It took me a bit to realize that you have to press the little X button at the bottom right to hide the text window. It’s a bit annoying if you misclick or click after alt-tabbing back, however this can be rectified by assigning it to the right mouse button. When characters are talking off screen, their sprite appears at the bottom left, covering the FH logo which I’m not sure what it’s needed for. I don’t know what the flashing lights on the bottom right are for.
The extra mode includes CG viewing, H scene replay and the BGM player. The CG viewer includes both normal CGs, SD CGs and special tachi-e. In addition, there is a character profile page which keeps track of what you have learned about each character. I found this page very useful when you’re trying to understand everything that happens in the game.
Pink. There is way too much of it in this game. As I am not some blonde valley girl I tend to have a slight aversion to coating everything in the color pink. I feel that pink is not quite neutral enough to use for everything in a game menu. A game like My Little Pony seems more reasonable to overload with pink.
The loathsome color scheme aside, for the most part the interface and system are pretty standard. Characters appearing on the side of the dialogue box while talking was a nice feature that I found quite useful. I would definitely LOVE to see that put in every game. Other than that I did have some problems with that annoyingly tiny X in the corner to close the dialogue box. Nothing else really stands out in the interface for FH, standard functional interface that we are all used to by now.
There are 33 tracks in the BGM mode, 2 of which are vocals (OP and true ED). When you fully complete the game, liner notes by the composer become available. I really like the true ED “もう始まっている、未来。” a lot. I don’t even know how many times I’ve listen to it now. It’s awesome because the lyrics and melody totally match the feelings I had when I finished the true route. In general, the BGMs were really well done and I loved some of the sentimental themes, such as “Sadly Chord” and “Azalea”. The voice acting fit the characters. Yui’s voice was a bit irritating at first, but she grew on me. Suzuno’s is very high pitched.
The BGM for FH were decent but really nothing especially amazing. They fit the scenes well enough to not be intrusive and set the moods effectively. After playing the game for awhile though the tracks all kind of blended together with almost none standing out. Of the two or so songs that stood out among the rest, I personally did not find them to be songs which I really wanted to listen to over and over again.
Voice acting as usual had no major flaws or problems other than my own personal dislike of Yui’s voice.
Each of the 6 heroines has between 1 and 3 H scenes. Length is reasonably short with 2-4 positions per scene. The timing was quite well done as they occur well into the relationship. However, I felt that Amane’s second H scene was extremely out of place, both in timing and location. I also felt Mayuri’s was a bit too long but that may be because I don’t like her character much. I found it moderately funny that Shou always thinks he can’t hold in his inner urges anymore (もう我慢できない) prior to every scene.
Kururi’s H scenes made me feel very very very guilty. Everything was so wrong about it, but…
Flyable Heart H scenes were well done in that they were placed after sufficent relationships were developed. With that said there were a few times where it felt inappropriate to say the least. Most notably among those were the second H scene for Amane as well as Kururi’s H scene. These two scenes were just… well W. T. F. I have no idea what they were thinking when they wrote those. However there were a few others including the second H scene for Sakurako which did feel a little bit awkwardly placed. I did feel that they wrote Shou as being a little bit too aggressive for this type of eroge though. Some of the scenes could succinctly be described as borderline rape.
Mood spoiling issues aside the H scenes were done relatively tactfully and were effective at showing the deepening of the relationships.
All of Micchi’s reviews will be rated by assigning scores out of 10 to each of the following categories: Scenario, characters, graphics, system, sound, and H scenes. Half marks may be given. The scoring is as follows:
- 10 – Absolutely satisfied
- 9 – Among the best, only minor improvements
- 8 – Good overall
- 7 – Average, a mix of good and bad
- 6 – Below average, slightly disappointing
- <5 – Very disappointed
The overall score is a weighted sum (3x Scenario + 2x Characters + 2x Graphics + 1x System + 1x Sound + 1x H scenes) for a total out of 100.
- Scenario: 9
- Characters: 9
- Graphics: 9
- System: 8.5
- Sound: 9
- H Scenes: 8
- Overall: 88.5
Full of touching stories, captivating art and loveable characters, Flyable Heart is a must play for anyone looking for a satisfying romance story. Two thumbs and a kalorie mate up.
- Scenario: 9
- Characters: 8
- Graphics: 8
- System: 6
- Sound: 7
- H Scenes: 7
- Overall: 79
A good solid eroge with an excellent scenario, romantic and heartwarming stories, and characters you will remember and empathize with. This game is not only well worth the time, but something everyone who enjoys a good story will want to play.