The day before, tik-tok....
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The day before, tik-tok....
Oh. My. Gosh.
Just...I have no words. I thought I was in love with this game before but...after that ending...
My hat's off to you arcadekitten!! This faaar exceeded all my expectations! I've been following this game since close to the beginning (I want to say around when Theo's route first came out) and it's such a bittersweet feeling to say that it's done. And what an amazing way to end it! While I suppose the ending could be as seen as "wanting," I don't think that's a bad thing--always leave em wanting more, after all!
I deeply enjoyed this game and am very excited to see what you do next! Also
We really were here for *sweet hearts*, weren't we ;)
Congratulations on bringing HFSH to fruition, Arcadekitten!! Seeing this wonderful adventure inch closer and closer to, and now finally reach its finale, has been such a thrilling experience. The buildup to the culminating duology made the twist all the more spectacular to witness, and its placement in the former of the two chapters created the most wonderful sense of suspense throughout the dance sequence. My heart nearly skipped a beat at the reveal, to the point where I literally got up from where I was sitting, right after the conclusion of the first finale chapter, found the nearest person, and just starting raving about it to them like a madman. I hope that helps put to words how much pure unadulterated fun it was going through the ending! These latest chapters are the very clear culmination of every previous Arcadekitten game, excelling in every facet one could expect after a good few years of experience and improvement. Seeing S.F. reach this point has been honestly inspiring as somebody interested in VN design. Completing HFSH, seeing what can be done and what amazing stories can be told, makes me itch to jump back into Renpy.
Anyways, again, congratulations are in order! The finale was, all in all, something wonderful to behold. I can't overstate how excited this makes me to see what Arcadekitten has in store with Blackout Hospital.
Now, for a more thorough, spoiler-ridden review of the finale....
Again, what a wonderful buildup! The twist is so well-done, and the little hints littered throughout make a second playthrough worth it just so that you can pick up on them. The stark change from the lighthearted menu to the Shyamalan-eat-your-heart-out reveal really pulled the Pathospire exposé together. Not to mention that putting the twist in the former of the two chapters created the most utterly pervasive sense of tension throughout the dance.
It's my opinion that buildup/suspense is really the most important part of a story. It allows the storyteller to act on all the care that the audience should, by now, have for the characters and the plot. And, in that sense, the finale is an exemplar of tension! Going into the dance, I was so ridiculously thrilled, and immensely invested in the story. Everything was leading up to what should have been the most amazing point of the game, the cherry on top, the capitalization on all of that tension....
But that didn't really happen.
The ending is much more of a fizzle than a bang. Now, that's not to say that it wasn't enjoyable. That one issue certainly isn't a heartbreaker, and I still had a lot of fun with Twyla's revenge. It's totally understandable as well---there are a number of reasons to end a story, after all. Following one's heart, moving on to wherever passion takes you, is really important. With Blackout Hospital in the depths of development, I can see why it would be necessary to finish up HFSH, and to focus on something nearer and dearer to S.F.'s heart.
Still, the ending remains a little disappointing. It's disheartening to see Twyla knock us over the head with a bat and put such a quick end to all our hard work. I got to a point where I was so invested in the story, in Vanilla and in these wonderful characters, that I was really truly excited to see their hearts broken. Yet that didn't happen.
I see a lot of folks in the comments here saying this ending is bad, or even that the game is made worse for it. And while I can support wearing your heart on your sleeve and voicing your opinions, I don't think that's really true. The game remains as lovely as ever, and the ending is actually quite a good one. But I can sympathize with folks when they say they wish there was more, just some sort of alternative to make it feel like the player's choices matter.
The heart of the problem seems to be in that lack of capitalization on Vanilla's efforts. Their plan is foiled about as quickly as it was revealed. Everything, from Vanilla's odd little quirks, to the reveal and onwards, was building up to something that just isn't there. Personally, I think this could be solved with even just one more ending where Vanilla actually succeeds. That's more of a suggestion to look into in the future, though, as focusing on that at the same time as Blackout Hospital sounds like a wildly difficult workload.
Oh, and of course, like most other people, I'm finding myself longing with all my heart for some more content with Vanilla and Twyla! I have a suspicion that Vanilla might pop up in some future Arcadekitten games, which would certainly provide an opportunity. I'm not really expecting a romantic heart-to-heart---Twyla seems a little too coldhearted for that---but an ongoing rivalry would be so wonderful to see! And, then again, "flirtatious nemeses" is an often-used trope for very good reason. I, for one, would not mind seeing it fulfilled with Vanilla and Twyla. I mean, what a wonderful dynamic, what with Vanilla's playful nature and Twyla's heart of stone! Ooo, what would you call a ship name for that? Twilla? Vanyla? Ah, but I'm getting off track!
Overall, the buildup is stunningly well-done, the writing is even more enjoyable than it has been in past games (which is saying something) and the artwork is gorgeous. Not to mention that the plot and the mechanics twist the traditional dating-sim VN's framework in such a fresh and intriguing way. The ending is missing something, but in truth, that's the only detractor. Even that one issue is almost entirely negated by how compelling the game is otherwise.
So, yeah, congratulations, Arcadekitten!! HFSH was wonderful, it'll always hold a place in my heart, and I'm so excited to see what comes next!
Alright, how many puns did I get in there? Like, 14? That has to be some sort of record!
Thank you Eskija! It's always a joy to hear from you and your opinions on my games! ♡ (Spoilers below, of course!)
I know that not everyone is satisfied with the ending, which like, bummer! But it was always planned to be this way from the very beginning, and I wouldn't change it just because it's not what people were hoping to see.
I guess I'm pretty surprised by people's attitudes towards the ending. I was pretty satisfied with it (it's why I wrote it after all LOL), but even if I did go with the alternative, I don't really think that would be satisfying either. Even if the protagonist did succeed in their plan, well, where would we go from there? What happens next? Just the knowledge that they're going to do it again? I wouldn't be happy with an ending like that, and hence why I didn't write it. I think "bad" endings can be perfectly satisfying, but an ending like that wouldn't satisfy me at all.
It sucks that many people don't seem all that satisfied with it, but in the end I'm proud of the ending I wrote and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Thank you so much for all your kind words, though! I was always double-guessing myself with the writing in this game, wondering if it was too rushed or sloppy or whatever else, so to hear you enjoy it so much means so much to me!
It really means a lot to me to see how much the game has compelled you, to see how you had to get out of your chair to wanting to revisit Ren'Py...the game is hardly different from a standared Ren'Py game in my eyes but to hear you see it as so much more means so much to me!
I absolutely understand that! Your ending is most certainly your ending. I know that I really enjoyed playing through the final two chapters either way. After a few days with the ending in the back of my mind, and after bearing witness to the spectacular art of Twyla and Vanilla both by you and the wonderful community, their relationship(?) seems to be blossoming into something wholly compelling as payoff for HFSH's story. More and more, the ending is starting to feel like it's the beginning of a new story. I am certainly looking forward to seeing if, and where, that develops.
And I do really love the concept of bad endings being satisfying on their own---I'll have to keep that in mind for anything that I write in the future!
Having so much fun with HFSH right alongside its companion games has certainly been more than inspiring. Aside from Ren.Py, I've also begun practicing art, given how key it is as a component of visual novels. Learning to draw is an uphill battle, but I'm certain those words were repeated by every artist during their first forays into the field. And, with the two-year anniversary for CM coming up, it's the perfect opportunity to get some practice in while also making some fanart for the holiday! Gosh, I am really looking forward to seeing what everybody else draws.
Let the record show that I am ridiculously excited to have more stuff to enjoy! Playing through every game is always such a thrill, and reviewing them is such a lovely way to process the events that just transpired. What a joy all the way around. I'm very much so looking forward to what comes next!
this game was a trip i enjoyed from start to finish. i loved the design, figuring out how to capture each person's heart, learning the lore, and the entire plot around the killer. the episodic updates really helped build suspense.
i can't help but agree that the ending was slightly unsatisfying. all that build-up, only to have little to no payoff. it.... makes sense for this game though. twyla being "the one who got away/playing hard-to-get" leading into the reveal about her being the killer was a really good way to go about it. and to be completely honest, i didn't want to break their hearts. all my hard work to gain their trust, only to choose how to destroy it. a really good twist to be sure. loved the title screen theme and design change. i wouldn't mind if there's a sequel, but if not, i look forward to your next project!
final score: 8.5/10
Omg its finally finished <3 congratulations╰(⸝⸝⸝´꒳`⸝⸝⸝)╯
I loved playing this game and seeing it through until the finish. This was a different type of visual novel but its honestly done so well that I think it deserves more recognition! True, its not a dating sim but friend-sim instead, but that doesn't take away from the story and the writing helps you grow attached to the characters regardless.
Honestly I agree with more people, I loved the twist but not the actual ending itself. It was cool to see the hints from earlier chapters and the MCs behaviour be explained/come together in the end, but getting nearly killed by Twyla with no option to fight back is a disappointing. Especially since previous chapters require certain choices in order to gain hearts, so having no choices matter in the end was a bit of a bummer. I think multiple endings could be cool, but I also wanna acknowledge how hard the dev worked on this and for how long. So if the dev wants to start a new project and leave this one as is, I totally respect it and look forward to their future work! Even with the ending, this is a really great visual novel that if you're hesitant to check it out, give it a try! You might have fun collecting hearts.
I LOVED that ending!
Twlya is so smart I swear. Even though she is a killer, at least she may have the right reasons. Would not be surprised if this was like an old race rivalry thing between the heart-less and the heart-break-eaters. That ending though, I think Vanilla fell in love right there. Her dad watching over her was an interesting thing but not surprising. I loved making all those friends. But I did feel really bad for all the friend's hearts she wanted to break. At least everyone else got their happy ending!
p.s I hope Mary and Reginald get married. And Vasilis and Crowven. Their all very cute together!
Spoilers for Crowven's route!!
First, you have to check out what Vas
shole and Crowven are up to. Then, you have to stick around and see what the Headmistress has in store for the two of you. Afaik, there isn't actually a single instance in HFSH where running away works out well. Once you're in the office, figuring out the right choice is a little tricky, but you have to "admit" that it was all your idea, before telling Aesirel that Crowven had nothing to do with it. Obviously, Aesirel isn't buying it, but this buys you more time, leading to the single best interaction in HFSH. After Theo's stunningly cunning disguise saves the day, you have to tell Aesirel that you just wanted Crowven to like you. This seems to have the effect of convincing the universe to take pity on you, as it should be smooth sailing from there, with the player now being locked into succeeding at the route. Have fun! I hope this helped!
i showed my friend the characters and she thinks mary is adorable :]
also REGI, REGi, regi.
I HAVE A FEELING YOU KILLED Yk
I HAVE PLAYED CEMETARY MARY AND IK YOUR PERSONALITY FROM THAT SO I LOVE BUT DONT TRUST YOU ok <3
also great game, keep up the good work! <3
The game was honestly amazing, I loved all of the characters and enjoyed the storyline. Not to mention the art is adorable too!
Spoiler for the ending:
I absolutely loved the twist. Mc actually doing all of this to break hearts is an amazing concept, but the ending itself wasn't all that good. It was nice, but I wish there were more endings, or at least just one more where the mc succeeds.
It would also be great if we had a sequel full of Twayla's and mc's relationship, whether it be friends or lovers it is interesting, this game truly has more potential than this and I hope that there'll be more to it.
WHAT SECRET CHAPTER IM SO CONFUSED SOMEONE HELP
HELLO I READ FROM SOMEONE U BASICALLY GO TO THE LAST TWO CHAPTERS AND CLICK THE MOTH THINGY ON THE WINDOW
- SPOILER ALERT! -
Loved the game to the fullest! yet the ending was unsatisfactory for me, if there were multiple-- like for example we eat something at the dance to regain our energy and dont convince Jaxter to lay of his duty , we could be able to fight back and see Jaxter helping us but nah!, loved the secert ending of the moth person-- honestly loved them so much i wish there was more of them! I hope there is some sort of sequel to this! ----- Over-all
Overall I super enjoyed this game and the characters- they are all well written and the mystery going on kept me engaged with trying to figure out the secrets of what was going on
As for spoilers for the final chapters
I liked that there were sort of hints that vanilla/Nova wasn't 100% innocent with their intentions. They acted a bit strange which had my mind racing thinking about what could be going on- I enjoyed the twist a lot!!
However the actual ending was a bit boring? None of our choices in the final chapters matter and the sudden shift in tone leads up to nothing. I was almost excited to see people's hearts breaks or see the protag have a change of heart of just something that would make a satisfying conclusion however we just kinda... Leave the school instead of dealing with anything
Overall fantastic visuals and characters and for the most part I enjoyed the story
That... Was... An ending. Honestly wasn't big
Breaking people's hearts. Wish there were more endings where we didn't have to be an asshole to people. Vanilla seems to be able to survive fine without food so I doubt "Eating" is so needed, and it feels like the twist had too much against it beforehand to make any logical sense. Overall, great game 8/10, I'll just pretend that it doesn't have an ending
Like most of the game. Dad & MC relationship was intriguing and funny from the start.
It was interesting having the routes separated by character where MC is forced to befriend one character first. It gave me more time to grow attached to the characters, and to see the mystery / plot unfold bit by bit was really neat.
Most of the routes were fun enough on their own. Definitely wouldn't complain to see them later on. It was nice to see the characters have interest in others beside MC, since a lot of these types of games have characters focus too much on the MC.
After MC interacted with their mother, it was fun to replay to and look for more clues / hints.
I loved MC's twist. The concept was clever, unique, and engaging. I liked MC well enough to be 100% on board on eating the hearts if only to see the ending.
The hints were very well done! Was happy to spot them in the previous routes.
Honestly, there was only one bad thing to say about this game, but it's bad enough to take it down a rating or two.
Wasn't a fan of the ending. Don't like being forced to "lose." Feels like everything up to that point was a waste. :/ It's fine if it's one of multiple endings, but a game where I'm forced to get screwed over isn't something I enjoy. Even if it's just two or three extra slides depending on dialogue choices.
Solid 3/5. Would definitely be 4/5 or 5/5 if Vanilla didn't get their butt kicked at the end. Would have rather had the option to starve to death, or successfully eat the hearts. Or killed Twyla in self defense and get expelled. Pretty much anything would have been better.
To each their own.
i honestly thought if we ate something hefty like a cupcake and/or cake it'll give us energy to fight back, or choose the option to let Jaxter find us if we didn't convince him to stop his duty, that would've been awesome.
AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH I loved playing this!!!!!!!!!!
SO! Romancing people wasnt the point of this game, and we couldnt do that, but I wouldve loved to go to the dance with Theo, until we found out that we had to break our friends' HEARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like, I was hoping we couldve had a chance to rethink things through and decide not to break their hearts, even tho we couldnt even break hearts at all in the end. Even tho it wouldnt be realistic bc we would... starve if we dont break hearts.
I love the concept that is mc's species. Like, mc is probably unsensitized to the concept of love, like that explains why they barely reacted to meeting their MOM. Like, I thought they wouldve thought that their dad was rude af, but no.
Also, was the name revealed at the end the same for everyone?
I knew myself this game's gonna more of friendism, than romanticism, but man.....
THE ENDING IS NOT SATISFIED AT ALL !!!! in a good way. I rly need a sequel, pls. Our MC and Twyla's relationship is so interesting, and I want to dig more into it, no matter it was romance or not. They're just so thrilling OTL
and srly, I've come for Theo, my boy. Even though I knew he is not the one for MC.
My final thought, I rly love MC's mom, wished to see her more ;_; MC's specie made themselves can't express normal love, and all they can do just seeing their mom become depressed...
PLS SOMEONE PROTECT HER, PLS (TOT)
to be honest............ I REALLY WANTED TO DANCE WITH THEO!!!! HE WAS MY BABY BOY
I loved everyone's party outfits! ^_^ Thanks for making the game, it was great!
AHHHHHHHH I HAVEN'T EVEN PLAYED THE LAST CHAPTERS BUT I AM SO EXCITED
(EDIT + SPOLIER
AHHHHHHHHH ARCADE KITTEN WHY MUST YOU HURT ME!?)
Can't believe I managed to find this game JUST as the final chapters came out, that timings almost supernatural. I've made an account just so I could comment on this game because... wow. I'll keep it spoiler free at first, the entire experience was enjoyable. It's clearly character driven so it's a good thing the characters are loveable (minus one imo) and the story progression was fun. I'm glad I found it after everything was released cause every chapter left me wanting to know more. The game itself is amazing, my only complaint being that some of the characters' color palettes are walking embodiments of their pride flags as opposed to feeling like a natural wardrobe. I would have loved to see more subtle badges as opposed to reducing a character's looks to their orientation (A good example is Crowven's wrist band) but the characters are still cute. Other then "It's Not Me, It's My Basement" I'm new to arcadekitten's games but I do know the characters have ties to outside just this game, which may affect some of the experience I had playing the game.
*Slight Spoilers Now*
I'll admit I feel kind of empty at the ending, it was a touch unsatisfying cause I don't know where to go from here. There is a deeper story, I think, but just playing this game leaves you with tons of questions and zero answers. Like what happened to our character, what's with our dad, how does their species work? Did Twyla really just get away with her BS? What is going on! It's a great game but I'm wanting more because I feel lost. I'd still tell people to play it, but not to expect a satisfying conclusion.
Im not joking when i say this is one of the best horror games i've played,im not joking because I MEAN IT. The plot twist is absolutely amazing and the chapters are always so interesting,the characters,the plot,the ending,the writing,EVERYTHING was so well done that it makes you want to keep on playing and playing. I simply- LOVED it,and if you ever make a part 2 i would love to play it. My most sincere congratulations,really,keep up the great work
Is Vanilla true name of protagonist?
(SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T FINISHED THE GAME)
Ah, so I just made a whole account just to ramble about this game!
Okay, so I actually hadn't touched this until today because I didn't want to play it until it was complete, and I have to say that I think it was worth the wait. I had so much fun getting to know all of the characters, and I'm really hope that I can see more of them in your future projects (especially Jaxter and Ollie, they're my favorites)
I wasn't expecting the murder to be brought up so early. I thought it would remain mysterious until like partway through the game. I think it was a pretty well-done mystery, too, although I have to say that I missed all the clues.
I have to say that I did suspect that the player character wasn't on the up-and-up from the beginning, and I was not disappointed by their motivations. And the part where it changed from Here For Sweethearts to Here to Eat Hearts was great (I'm always a sucker for title screen changes like that)
I liked the dance chapter, too, although I have to say that I was constantly vacillating between 'wow, it's so nice that I've made all these friends' and 'Yeeeessss, let's break all their hearts'. Although I guess it didn't end up mattering in the end. Friggin' Twyla.
I have not gotten that secret chapter yet, but you bet that I'll be hunting for it. I could probably ramble about all your games, since I love them so much, but I don't want this to get too long.
Anyways, I'm looking forward to your next game!
Click the moth
Okay, just played the new chapter.
I am in pain.
im just here waiting for the dance chapter what comes out today
i really like this game, and i can't wait for more!
the whole "whodunit" premise of the story is amazing. i have a penchant for games that are thought-provoking and lets the players solve the mystery in the end + bonus points if they come with a shocking plot twist, so this story was an automatic yes for me.
the characters i love the most are theo and crowven. especially the way they interact with one another. they give off HUGE kiss-the-homies goodnight energy and i love that for them.
lastly, i think the best thing that this game offers is how you can present yourself the way you want to, because that's what really got me into the game. i see so little representation for androgynous folks in visual novels (pronouns aside) since most just let us pick between masculine and feminine body types. the dev(s) really nailed this one, so props to you guys :) and the way each character has a subtle way of telling us their sexuality based on their design is nice, too.
i just hope that if this gets ever fully finished, we get to see the MC themselves in the game.
i'm looking forward for more eps. thank you for making this game! kudos <3
spoilers for pretty much the whole plot
I can say with confidence that Twyla was the one who killed Reginald's roommate, just think about it for a second
warm hair has glasses, dressed very proper
the only people who fit this description are Reginald and Twyla currently
on the day of the incident, she told Reginald to be with gunter so she could get into the dorm and kill them without anyone seeing and also so she could blame it on Reginald probably
Reginald got a spare key made for mary so she could get into their dorm, but she lost her key before the incident
mary is dormmates with Twyla so if she didn't drop it or stuff Twyla could've very well have taken the key and that explains the "entered the dorm very easily" part when ollie spoke to the ghost
and also h ow the hell did she know where the murder weapon was when there's no way shed know because they locked the dorm for a long time
ok but real talk the part where theo pretended to be crowvens dad.. IS JUST PERFECT
i love the rest of the but JAXTER.
I love this game and all the characters (excluding Twyla and Netina) and the Crowven's Father scene was funny!
Also Reginald looks like Byakuya Togami and when I first saw Gunter I immediately thought of Gonta Gokuhara!
I would protect all these characters (minus the previously mentioned) with my life
i love jaxter sm omgg
losing my mind rn trying to figure out where i recognize mitzi from... maybe im mistaking her for someone else but i swear i remember her specifically
i think i'm in love with crowven and theo,, the art is super cute and i love how much personality the characters have !! i was so sad to part with the frog though - he was our little buddy :[ and the librarian!! i really wasn't expecting what happened omg- anyways! i can't see what more this game has to offer, i'm really looking forward to future updates <3
I love the game tho the art is so cute
It won't let me go back and change my appearance,,, I've deleted the game and redownloaded it and I didn't even save my progress but it refuses to let me restart the game,, I can't play when they're gonna address me as a girl 😭 I picked it just cuz she was prettier then regretted it but I can't go back 💀
If you want to do that, you have to delete your persistent data. You can find info about how to do that by reading through this forum here!: https://steamcommunity.com/app/429300/discussions/0/458605613403306861/
This game is my heart-stopper
TRY AND CHANGE MY MIND
Literally love this game so much omfg. when I went home from school i would always check for updates sob sob