else Heart.Break() Thoughts and Impressions
I really like else Heart.Break(). I really do. I have never played anything quite like it. There are other games where programming is part of the central theme (Most notably Double Fine’s Hack and Slash, which I have also played), but there’s something oddly magnetic about else Heart.Break(). I think it’s the weird, oppressive atmosphere that permeates Dorisburg, the city the main character finds himself in after accepting a job selling sodas. I never sold a soda. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could actually sell a soda until I read that you totally can on the internet. Weirdly, many of the dialogue options still exist to try to sell soda even after I got fired from selling soda. Anyway. So, you start by selling soda and (without going too far into spoilers) some Matrix stuff happens which is apparently totally normal and then you can change the code that the world is based on. And then, sadly, else Heart.Break() breaks up with you. It doesn’t talk. It doesn’t provide additional story. It doesn’t do much of anything until you figure out how to beat the game. I really loved the stuff early in the game. The going out in the nightlife. The oversleeping. The relationships. Sadly, it’s all just at the beginning of the game. Once you unlock the game’s central mechanic it also, as mentioned above, it stops providing you much in the way of guidance and the story becomes oddly disjointed. Did I mention that I love else Heart.Break(). Because I do. I’ve read online that some people think it’s bad that the beginning is, basically a dating sim. I actually wish they had carried it through. The game lets you discover it on your own terms, which means some people may well lose direction before they get into the ‘proper’ game of programming. What I like most about else Heart.Break() is the world it builds and so I was super sad when they all but abandoned it halfway through the game. The programming stuff is fun and you can do some really powerful stuff within the game, but I just wish that the story continued forward a little more. But, still, else Heart.Break() is going to stick with me for a long time. The world, early in the game, feels alive and unique and interesting. I just coming back to wishing it was more consistent. I wish it provided some motivation for why you are doing the stuff you are doing. So, I really like else Heart.Break(), but you have to meet it more than halfway. I was willing to do that, but I totally get that a lot of people won’t be able to do so. I just wish you didn’t have to.