I tend to enjoy visual novels that jerk around with my emotions. Please make me laugh and cry. Make me angry and most of all, make me horny. Hero’s Harem Guild v0.1.2 (HHG) did almost all of that for me. This free-roaming, quest-centred visual novel is about a male character who, after getting separated from his family (if you have the community incest patch), finds himself running a guild full of beautiful, strong, and dynamic girls who only have eyes for the MC.
HHG uses “Koikatsu” anime style models that look good. The images are clear and the animations are very well done. The environment is immersive with time of day influences (day, night shots) and indoor, outdoor, city and forest settings. The user interface is very customized and mature. It feels professional and you almost can’t tell it’s a renpy game.
Adding to the depth of the game are a number of animated still images. These are animations that are basically a single image, but have animated aspects such as character eye’s blinking, or environmental effects (moving water, smoke, etc). I’m a big fan of this style of animation and understand how much work and time is involved in creating these.
As a whole, there are a lot of characters to keep track of. However, because of the diversity of each character, and the fact that the characters are gradually introduced over time, keeping track isn’t that much of a problem. Each character looks unique and has a unique personality and back story. Many of the backstories provide the emotional source of the game. I felt like I really cared for each character as I explored their unique story lines.
There is, however a downside to having so many characters: it takes longer to develop them. Some characters, for example the cat-masked beach babe Sunny, have far fewer events than the other girls. The girls that are introduced later in the game (as far as most interactions go) Elizabeth, Leticia and Ari, also have fewer events as well, but this is to be expected for a game still in development. In contrast, since you can interact with Sunny from nearly the very beginning, the lack of events is almost criminal (#RedHeadEventsMatter?).
Warning: grind ahead. Even if you avoid large parts of the grind by using community cheat mods, there are still days worth of game play. There’s a lot of content here. There’s a bit of management (acquiring money, sending your girls on missions to gather resources) but mostly it’s clicking around to the different locations at different times of the day to “unlock” events for each girl. You can focus on one girl at a time and make this faster, but there are “group” events that require other girls’ events to be unlocked before you can proceed.
I admit that many aspects of HHG served as inspiration for my own games. Narissa, a big breasted demon for example, helped influence the creation of one of my own characters. A demon anti-hero? Yes please! There are also a number of parts of the main story that really provoked emotional responses. In particular when the MC gives up to go home, the reunion and the latter interactions between Narissa and the MC. There’s also a good amount of humor in the game. I literally found myself laughing at interactions between the girls and the anime-style facial expressions. I really wish more visual novels provoked the range of emotions HHG does.
I’m sure I missed a lot since HHG is such a deep and well done game. Let me know parts of HHG I missed and which parts you liked in the comments below. Also, who is your favorite character and why is it Sunny?