Where the Heart Leads Image
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critic Reviews What's this?

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  • Summary: On the kind of stormy night that can change a person’s destiny, an enormous sinkhole opens in the middle of Whit Anderson’s farm. Braving the rumbling thunder and the driving rain, Casey—their curious Golden Retriever—ventures too close to the gaping maw and tumbles in. Desperate to saveOn the kind of stormy night that can change a person’s destiny, an enormous sinkhole opens in the middle of Whit Anderson’s farm. Braving the rumbling thunder and the driving rain, Casey—their curious Golden Retriever—ventures too close to the gaping maw and tumbles in. Desperate to save her, Whit descends into the darkness, and emerges in a realm beyond his imagining. In this strange world, constantly shifting like the stops and starts of a dream, Whit bears witness to the story of his life and gains the power to change it.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Sep 11, 2021
    90
    It teaches us that just because we aren’t saving the world from invasion or conquering some magical kingdom, our choices, no matter how trivial or mundane we think they may be in the moment, are actually quite powerful as they can truly shape the life we are given.
  2. Jul 12, 2021
    88
    Where the Heart Leads falls into a short, unique list of titles that lead you to ponder things long after the credits roll. The narrative holds a mirror to the player, cornering them against realistic in-game situations and forces them to investigate their values. It’s not preachy, by any means, but it uses realism in a way that made me want to get my own life in order. If such was the goal, Armature Games has succeeded through and through.
  3. Jul 15, 2021
    80
    Where The Heart Leads is a terrific narrative game that has you make hard, fascinating life choices on behalf of its characters to create a story that feels your own. It utilises its surreal elements sparingly, instead opting to focus on the realistic personal lives of its many richly nuanced characters. Despite some slight issues with dialogue, menus, and the camera, Where The Heart Leads is a great experience, and a fascinating exploration of issues rarely covered in games.
  4. Jul 14, 2021
    70
    Where The Heart Leads is an acquired taste. For those who demand action from their games, or life and death decision making in your narrative titles, this one won’t be for you. The stakes in this game are family sized, the decisions made at a workaday level and the cast almost ordinary. Even with a few niggles though, some smart writing and plenty of charm create a series of characters you can care for. It’s easy to get invested in their fate and to find the decisions directing their lives challenging to make.
  5. Jul 21, 2021
    70
    Where the heart leads is a victim of its own ambition.
  6. Jul 23, 2021
    65
    Where The Heart Leads is a valid narrative based video game, but it never manages to stand out.
  7. Jul 30, 2021
    25
    All in all, I wish I could say that playing Where the Heart Leads was fun — I was really rooting for it, and hoping it would rise to the occasion. But, regardless of how long I held out, playing this game turned out to be a pretty miserable experience, and one I would have given up about an hour in if I didn’t want to finish it for this review. This game bit off more than it could chew, it seemed, and when you try to say too many things at once, you don’t end up saying anything at all.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 22, 2022
    6
    Where The Heart Leads (WTHL) is potentially an excellent hidden gem, so obscure that I came across it by accident. Unfortunately a criticalWhere The Heart Leads (WTHL) is potentially an excellent hidden gem, so obscure that I came across it by accident. Unfortunately a critical flaw in the game design caused a score lower than I wanted to give it, but I must use my own experience since it's my review.

    The graphics of WTHL are very charming. They are not overly detailed or jaw-dropping, but they convey what the game is trying to achieve well. One key facet is that only your character is drawn and animated properly, while the rest of the cast takes on a ghostly ethereal appearance. This had me scratching my head at first but then became something I appreciated as it really places the emphasis on your character being central to the story.

    Other than that, the camera angles and lack of detail occasionally makes it tricky to traverse some areas but with the familiarity you build up this issue gets resolved quickly.

    The gameplay of WTHL makes for an interesting discussion. Some may argue there is almost no gameplay here and depending on how you define gameplay, then you could be right. Gameplay involves exploring your environment and interacting with objects and people. There's no jumping, fighting or much action other than that. The gameplay here is only there to communicate the story. What we do see is the ability to make choices ala Life is Strange. This may not be everyone's cup of tea but the story can really be compelling so I recommend it on that basis.

    The story of WTHL is the core of the game and what you will remember. I really enjoyed getting to know Whit's background and the development of him and other characters, influenced by your decisions. This is something I am careful not to spoil so it's tricky to review in a game where narrative is key. Some sections of the game did drag on a bit much, though.

    Now I talk about the specific problem I had. In one mid-section of the game I was required to take down some sculptures. I went up to said sculptures and nothing would happen - no prompt or indication, no clue from other characters and despite extensive exploration and looking online, no solution could be found. I may be missing something stupidly obvious, but the game does this a few times occasionally, leaving you adrift to figure things out. This experience may have been unique to me so I'm not going to lambast the game completely for it, but it has prevented me completing an otherwise 4/5 star game.

    Overall, WTHL is a game I'm very disappointed not to be able finish. This speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed the game, so it's an easy recommendation for those who value story above all else. My only worry is the potential bug I found may not be the only one, so I hope your experience was not ruined like mine.
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