on Jul 09 by Shadocchi
If My Heart Had Wings is one of the latest visual novels to be officially localised and released in the west. Winner of the 2012 Moe Game Award and third place winner of the 2012 Getchu Bishoujo Game Award, If My Heart Had Wings follows the story of a group of high school students and their goals in the Keifuu Academy Soaring Club.
If My Heart Had Wings is the story of Aoi Minase, a boy who returns to his hometown after a cycling accident forced him to retire from competitive racing. He starts his high school life anew at Keifuu Academy, where he stumbles upon the Soaring Club. When the student council threatens to demote the club, practically forcing it to close, Aoi gathers his friends to save it. From there, they set out to build a glider to ride a rare cloud called Morning Glory.
For those of you who may not ordinarily play this kind of game, If My Heart Had Wings has a very slice of life anime atmosphere, though its not without drama. Dialogue is fully voiced and there are many event graphics that illustrate particular scenes, so you won’t always be looking at the same character images. The game spans a number of hours (an estimated 30 hours if you complete each route) and is something like an extended slice of life story where you can experience the day-to-day lives of the characters. In-depth knowledge of anything Japan, or glider-related trivia for that matter, isn’t really required, so you can jump right in.
For others who have played any kind of Japanese visual novel before, the game is not much different in execution. As said on the official website and in my interview with MoeNovel Producer, Fujisan, the game has been cut to the core plot of characters aiming for the sky despite the difficulties they face. In this sense, If My Heart Had Wings is more welcoming of a new, perhaps younger audience, but this doesn’t mean it actively works to exclude more wide-read players. While many may chide MoeNovel for their decisions, this release is still an effort to get visual novels recognised in the west as a storytelling medium, and not simply a form of porn. Whether this can be called successful is up to the community.
The 720p graphics really give the game a sense of serenity when there are scenes featuring the windmill-topped hills and bright blue skies. It also allows the character sprites to be a little more active, zooming in to show how close they are. Semi-large 3D models are used to show the glider (and paper planes) and can be quite obvious against the 2D art but aren’t badly rendered. If My Heart Had Wings’ strong point is definitely in the detail and quality of its art, as the music is suitable but not quite memorable and the story can take a while to start up.
If My Heart Had Wings potentially opens up visual novels to a new audience with a well-presented slice of life story with a cast of appealing characters. The 720p graphics show a lovely amount of detail and, combined with fully voiced dialogue, allow you to experience the everyday lives of the Keifuu Academy Soaring Club with ease.
If My Heart Had Wings (Windiows only) is available for download through Rice Digital’s very own store for £18.99!