Heart de Roommate

Heart de Roommate. It's by Angelsmile. It's an H-Game. A pretty mediocre one. Even the box art is pretty bland, with just 3 average looking anime girls sitting around in school uniform. Hell, from the cover of the box, you probably wouldn't even know it was an H-Game (no panty or bras showing, no 3 inch nipples sticking out from under shirts, etc.) In fact, after the first 30-40 minutes, I started to wonder if this really was an H-game at all. This review contains spoilers all over the place, but you don't care 'cause you're not gonna play the game anyway.

The gameplay is nothing unique. You watch a situation unfold (and in the case of Heart de Roommate, it can take a good 15-30 minutes to go through all the dialog), and then you're presented with 2 or 3 choices. You pick one, and then watch more story unfold. Repeat until you've beat the game, or got bored and decided to stop playing. For me, it was the latter.

The problem with this games is that I didn't really "want" any of the girls. There's 5 girls you can "get with", though 2 of them are "secret" endings, so really you're supposed to pick among one of the 3 main girls. They all suck. Asumi Hirota is the to HdR as Naru is to Love Hina: She gets pissed at you when it's obviously not your fault, beats you up, and generally mistreats you. Also, she's the "main" girl, in that when you beat the game with all the normal endings, you can unlock the "real" ending, in which you become her boyfriend. Oops, a spoiler. But seriously, it's obvious she's "the one".

Then there's Tomoe Katsuragi, who's the one with the biggest breasts, but also the shy one. That's like anime character design mistake number one. WHENEVER you make a character "the one with the biggest breast", she has to be flirty if not outright slutty (see Kitsune from Love Hina, for example). So this one was a turn off for me too. By the way, although she's "the one with the biggest breast", her chest is only slightly above normal for an anime girl, so you can imagine how unimpressive the other characters are.

The third main girl is Marumu Ogamayama, who's "the weird one". I liked her a lot as a friend, 'cause she's funny. But I don't want her to become my lover. While fun to goof off with, I didn't want to pick her as my final girlfriend either.

The two secret girls are Yoshiko Yagami, your teacher, and Namiki Honjo, your cousin. Yoshiko is not the typical hot slutty teacher you'd envision when a teacher to be in an H-Game. Rather, she's like the teacher-next-door type of thing. Again, not for me. That leaves Namiki, who's persona I like, though it meant going for a bit incest.

The basic plot is you're going to this university, but the male dorm was full, so you end up secretly sleeping in the female dorm. Why? Uh, 'cause Asumi was your childhood friend, and you caught her pissing her pants back in kindergarden, but you didn't make fun of her, so she owes you a favor and lets you sleep in her room. At first they make you crossdress, which I thought meant this was gonna be another X-Change style plot (I liked X-Change) meaning you'd spend time in the girl's locker room, showers, perhaps take female gym classes and have what your partners would think were lesbian encounters, but no. Once you leave the dorm and get to school, you go into a bathroom and change back into male clothing.

And then nothing happens for about 6 months game time, which translates to an hour or two real time. That's right, Asumi basically bitches at you and forces you to cook her breakfast and then a you find out Tomoe has a pet cat, and then your cousin comes to visit (what a sweet relief that is, 'cause she talks the other girls into flashing their tits), but then she leaves and it's back to doing chores again. Seriously, unless you're one of those submissive masochistic guys who liked My Sassy Girlfriend, you'll probably hate Asumi and by transitive property, this game.

Now here's the biggest piss-off for me. At the end of the 6 months, your buddy reads your horoscope to you "The girl you kiss is the one you'll fall in love with" and sure enough, you kiss the 3 main girls. Then on the last day of school, the game asks you "Which girl do you love?" and in addition to the 3 girls, the last option is "none of them", which I selected because I wanted to get it on with Namiki. Well, when you pick that, the game ends. And I haven't saved. So I had to start the whole fucking game over and this time pick Asumi ('cause I really couldn't give a fuck anymore at that point).

So if you actually pick a girl, you get to play the second semester of school. Some new girl shows up, whom I heard you can have sex with, but she can't be the girl you end up with at the end of the game. At that point, I was just so bored with this game I decided to uninstall it.

The one thing I liked about this game is that they made it feel like you were watching an anime. That is, the game is divided into 26 episodes (the first 13 episodes are called "season 1" and the last 13 are "season 2"), and at the end of every episode, there's the traditional preview of the next episode in which you see random seens narrated by one of the female characters whose speaking insanely fast as only the Japanese seem to be capable of doing.

Having to suddenly live with a boy under the same roof; what is Asumi thinking? No way! What am I going to do...? Wait! I just came up with a great idea. The next episode of Heart de Roommate: "Transformation" Yusuke, you look good in those clothes. Tee-hee.

Also, half way through the episode there's a poster style portrait of one of the female characters, and she says "heart de roommate" as if there were going to be a commercial break (though thankfully aren't any commercials).

Music. Well, it's there. The thing is there's a lot of design issues with the timing of the music. As is typical for these type of games, they're using MIDI to play the music, and they use WAV for sound effects and voice acting and such. Well, occasionally, someone will say something shockingly horrible and then you'll hear gothic church music play for a few seconds. This music was encoded as a WAV file, which means while the "This is horrible!" music is playing, you still hear the cheery "Hooray, I'm sleeping in an all girl's dormitory" MIDI music playing in the background. Blame the designers/programmers for that one. The songs themselves are not bad though. The short tune that plays the role of "title theme music" at the beginning of every episode is somewhat catchy, so kudos to the composers.

I think if you're going to play this game, you should approach it as an interactive Bishoujo type game, that just incidentally happens to have some sex/nudity/fanservice in it. That means this is actually more of a "girly game" in which the goal isn't to kill things but to make relationships, that would otherwise be doomed to fail, work. Really, it's more about making the guy suffer doing cooking and cleaning and shit just to make the girl (Asumi) happy. I give it a 2 out of 10.

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1. Leafy Person said:
Heart de Roommate is a really stupid name.
Posted on Mon July 11th, 2005, 2:01 PM EST acknowledged
2. Leafy Person said:
Sorry, pressed wrong key. <p> A better name would be: «Busty, Chesty and Boobsy, co-eds»
Posted on Mon July 11th, 2005, 2:05 PM EST acknowledged
3. Nebu Pookins said:

Quite frankly, I think not only is the name "Busty, Chesty and Boobsy, co-eds" dumb, it doesn't even reflect the game (as I've said, their breasts are quite small for anime characters). Heart de Roommate (where "de" is some grammatical particle in Japanese, something like "location in which an action takes place") seems like an appropriate summary of the plot in 3 words, though it does sound awkward from the perspective of a native English speaker. I heard English is cool in Japan, so they might just throw in English words in the title to make it seem hip.

Probably no more awkward though than when I try to name my games with Japanese names, also mainly because Japanese is cool here in North America.

Posted on Mon July 11th, 2005, 6:01 PM EST acknowledged
4. Ringohime said:

We neither have "Heart" nor "Roommate" in Japanese. We have similar words, but not the same nuance. So, it's titled Heart de Roommate not because English is cool but because that would be the most natural and probably catchy way to express the story line for short.

Posted on Tue July 12th, 2005, 9:38 PM EST acknowledged
5. Leafy Person said:
Now I'm really curious. What could «Heart de Roommate» possibly mean in Japanese that would 1) make more sense than it does in English and 2) be considered catchy enought to create the desire to buy?
Posted on Wed July 13th, 2005, 9:26 AM EST acknowledged
6. Nebu Pookins said:

She's saying that they don't have the word Heart and Roommate in Japanese. It's like when the English use "Deja vu" because there isn't a simple equivalent in English.

Posted on Thu July 14th, 2005, 4:07 AM EST acknowledged
7. Ringohime said:

It's actually quite hard to explain what this means or why we name games and products so weird like this all the time. You would have to be pretty damn familiar with how Japanese people think, and what we tend to like.

The simplest way to explain what Heart de Roommate means is this "It doesnt mean anything." If you use "mean" in the official definition. Like, it makes no sense to use "de" between these words.

Porn games tend to be named this way. Sound a bit catchy, easy to remember/say, and it doesn't show any sexual nuance. Unless it's towards hardcore, most stuff are named with non-sexual words, I think. "Nurse de chu!" or something stupid like that would also be really typical.

By looking at the title, you'll know that it's something about fucking your roommate. That's enough to be said, because you can pretty much guess what other part of game is like, basically.

Even me, a Japanese person often come across Japanese titles or naming of products that doesn't make any sense. But you get the idea what their main purpose is. For me, it's better than very descriptive and boring namings. It's probably not good for foreigners living in Japan who are trying to learn Japanese, though. Must be pretty confusing for them.

Posted on Thu July 14th, 2005, 7:09 AM EST acknowledged

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