Posted by: Leek | March 19, 2019

Eroge in Revisit and Review: Flyable Heart

2019 is a pretty big year in terms of media culture with the Heisei era ending very soon in Japan, but it also is another year where we’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of a lot of classic works. And with today being the tenth anniversary of it’s release, I felt it was only right to revisit Flyable Heart. Little Busters! Ecstasy was technically the first eroge I ever purchased, but I often don’t count it because, despite the adult label, I didn’t really buy it with that thought too much in mind (I just really wanted to play through Sasami’s route). Flyable Heart was the first game I happened to see ads for in Dengeki G’s issues and took the big money hit to pick up (and dropping money on an eroge is not exactly smart when you’re a college student).

So I decided this year I wanted to do a full playthrough of the game again and see if it happened to stand the test of time with a review. And it’s also payback since I probably would have loved to review it back in the day if I had the time.

Good food, family, and friends is all your really need.

Flyable Heart is the third work from UNiSONSHIFT’s smaller label of Blossom that released on this day ten years ago (March 2009 if you’re bad at the math thing). People who were already fans of Blossom or just Noizi Ito in some cases would be happy to hear that Flyable Heart itself functions as a sister work to both Nanatsuiro★Drops and Peace@Pieces by taking place in the same universe as well as the siblings of various characters from these mentioned works being a natural part of the story. While it was released as a full price game at the time, you can at least find the downloadable edition of Flyable Heart for a little under 3000 yen. It might be an early spoiler about my final opinion, but that might as well be robbery.

I’ve only historically played through Flyable Heart in full twice now. I’m generally not one of those people who tends to revisit things too often, especially eroge since it’s more akin to re-reading a book as opposed to replaying a game. I know I’ve gone back and went through certain routes a few times in past years, but it would be safe to say that my mind was fairly neutral going into the game again as it had been such a long while.

Welcome to paradise.

At face value, Flyable Heart seems like a very simple school love comedy as it’s genre would indicate. You play as Sho, a budding teenager who’s only goal in life is to eat as much as humanly possible. One morning Sho wakes up to find that his father has been forgetting to pass along a letter inviting him to transfer to the prestigious Otoriryouran Academy complete with an all you can eat cafeteria. Driven by nothing but his love for food, Sho jumps on the opportunity with no knowledge of the incoming chaos he is about to face in the process. And after being caught in a freak explosion during his commute, Sho begins to realize there is something very off when nobody at his new school is aware of his sudden transfer.

There are six major heroines Sho will have to interact with if you want to unlock every mystery of his new school life situation. Yui is another transfer student who arrived not too long before Sho who, outside of sharing Sho’s enormous appetite, has a strange passion for samurai. Amane is the President of the Ryourankai, one of the two governing student bodies, and serves as the caring but sometimes heavy-handed individual who tries to look out for everyone. Sakurako is the most soft spoken and naive of all the girls and considered one of the two madonnas to grace Otoriryouran alongside her friend Mayuri. Mayuri is the only main heroine who serves as a member of the ordinary student council and is most often seen making sure Sakurako stays out of trouble. Kururi is Amane’s long time friend and fellow member in the Ryourankai. Outside of her hatred of men, Kururi is best known as the mechanical engineer behind Sho’s robot roommate, MAXX. And last but not least, Suzuno is one of Sho’s classmates who is both incredibly clumsy and believes herself to be a ghost.

And those are only the characters with established routes. Flyable Heart has an incredibly full cast of colorful characters who almost all play a rather significant role in at least one or two routes. So while you might not find yourself liking a character at one point in the game, you might find yourself changing your mind in later playthroughs as you get to learn more about them and finding more of the meanings behind their actions. But the main game has enough strange and unique situations that makes it really hard to hate anybody. And even though it is far from necessary to see all the dialogue in the game (even for sake of CG completion), I highly recommend you do so just because a lot of the extra scenes characters get are quite entertaining.

Maybe things are just a little too good to be true.

I feel like the only eroge I’ve reviewed on this blog that actually follows the traditional flag system. I feel like every other game was so simplified and about every single one never had a bad ending either. But, being of it’s time, Flyable Heart has a traditional flag system that will take you a bit of trial and error if you want to see everything (or get with the heroine you want on your first playthrough). So if you love seeing pages full of saves like me, then you’ll be pretty happy with the experience you get out of Flyable Heart. But I do encourage quite a bit of experimentation as the game does enjoy playing with you just as much as you enjoy playing with it.

I think one of the most important things to address about Flyable Heart is the fact it’s a game that really tries to avoid burning you out. The biggest problem of eroge is that you often will play through one or two routes and you just don’t like those remaining characters enough to want to commit. And often the only motivation to clearing those remaining routes is the small potential that there’s a secret route hidden somewhere at the end of the tunnel. Flyable Heart doesn’t do some magic to make you like every character, but every character’s route contains crucial information about the world that you can’t get anywhere else. In fact, the order you clear routes in Flyable Heart can make the game experience completely different from someone else. Unless you happen to clear the game in the exact pattern as someone else, the order in which you receive incredibly vital information will be completely different.

And that is really what makes Flyable Heart such an enjoyable experience. The game itself takes place across a very specific time frame and you’ll end up having a lot of “aha” moments in subsequent playthroughs and in certain routes as you start to piece together all the small things you’ve learned. But just in case you’re on the forgetful side, the gallery provides in depth character profiles that begin to fill with more and more information as you clear the various routes. So they are often worth checking if you happen to forget something or just to learn more, as they often give more detailed explanations about certain events that may not have been spelled out word for word in the story.

Flyable Heart just provides a really well crafted experience filled with small tidbits that you’ll appreciate more and more as you get through the game. And I think the feeling of completion you get from it for unlocking everything the game has to offer is something that doesn’t exist in many eroge. It’s really something veteran players can get behind because sometimes you want a feeling of completion that doesn’t just come from seeing all the CGs lined up nicely in the gallery.

Safety is important.

If there is one thing I can never forget about Flyable Heart, it’s the soundtrack. I’ve always had a huge respect boner for Ryo Mizutsuki generally due to her piano work. And Flyable Heart’s soundtrack is definitely no stranger to that heavy use of piano. I won’t exaggerate and say every track from the soundtrack is a masterpiece, but she really did kill it with all the character themes and truly trying to craft a soundtrack that really reflects the scenario writing. And if you play through the entirety of Flyable Heart, I am fairly sure both the opening and ending themes will find a firm spot in your memories of the game. As for me personally, I’ll admit the soundtrack has accompanied and relaxed me on both long flights and train rides.

It is a little strange going back to talk about the Flyable Heart cast because those who were veterans at the time are retired (or near the point of) and those who were newbies are today’s veterans. But it goes without saying that the casting was filled with nothing but talent even in regards to the male roles. Everyone fits their character perfectly and really gear down when the situation calls for a dramatic performance. Flyable Heart also features a much younger Yui Ogura at the time when she was really making a break for herself, and honestly Yui is still the role I personally identify her with to this day (and not just because they share a given name). Go figure I’m still playing and reviewing games she’s in to this day.

Due to the rather large cast of characters, there is a smaller number of sex scenes per character. Overall, it matches the standard amount you’d get in a full price game, but the standard average amount of scenes you will get with a specific characters is two. But some characters do get less and others get more, so try not to get too upset if your favorite character is an unlucky one (fandisks for the series do exist in case you’re that upset). But all the scenes do come out of natural relationship progression and really sit in good places in the story that they never feel out of place or awkward. And expect your standard affectionate scenes rather than the more exotic play that might come from other eroge. I always feel obligated to say that because I know it is something that attracts people as much as it discourages.

The friendliest ghost you know.

I feel like people probably read through a lot of this review and are scratching their heads because things aren’t adding up. Flyable Heart has every look of a standard setting with standard characters yet I’m talking about it like Sho randomly travels with everyone to Middle Earth to destroy The One Ring. But the fantasy element of Flyable Heart only really takes center stage during certain routes while being almost completely irrelevant in others.

The thing is Flyable Heart just did a really great job of constructing good characters. And it’s not just their backstories, but the small hidden relationships they share with other characters in the story that really adds the spice to various scenarios. But since the game just loves to talk about eating and food, let’s start wrapping things up with a food analogy.

It’s best to look at Flyable Heart like a full course meal with all the routes functioning as separate courses. The individual character routes are great and have tons of spices that make them feel enjoyable and unique. But it’s not until you get through the entire meal that you start to understand why each of these dishes and specific spices were chosen. It’s that moment when you manage to put everything together that you can really appreciate the full course you were given. And that’s really when the feeling of true satisfaction hits.

Overall
As it turns out, Flyable Heart is one of those games that did manage to age incredibly well. I don’t believe there are any eroge out there that you are really required to play, but there are definitely those games that are outstanding examples of specific styles. So if you do enjoy that more over the top fantasy, plot driven game, Flyable Heart is definitely worth going back and checking out if you weren’t around or missed it in it’s time. And with so many well known companies highly active during Flyable Heart’s release period, I don’t doubt that many didn’t get the chance to look in it’s direction.

So maybe try dialing your release range backwards and pick yourself up a copy of Flyable Heart. It’s a game that was incredibly well thought out as a whole and will keep you thinking after you complete just as much as it made you think while playing through it. And while we’re at it, it’s two sister works mentioned previously (Peace@Pieces and Nanatsuiro★Drops) are also damn good games and the price to get them all roughly averages out to the cost of one current day release. I really shouldn’t have to tell you what the better deal is.


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