From the Californian studio, Team Bapy, comes Heart of Enya, a hybrid between a turn-based tactical RPG and a visual novel. You play as Willow Wisp, a campfire spirit who guides and help a group of adventurers to fight the Frost that surrounds them and their hometowns.
Winter is coming
Heart of Enya is settled in a world surrounded by Frost, a team of different characters with different motives will join forces with the Willow Wisp to defeat Frost forces before it is too late. Aside from this, you will know more about your characters, their feelings, their motives…even their sexual orientation. The characters of Heart of Enya represents part of the LGBT collectives, there is a couple of girls, an androgen man and a boy or girl who doesn’t define his or her genre.
The game alternates combat with visual novel parts, after every fight, you will have narrative parts where you will discover the story, the team background, the character’s feelings and other stuff that allow you to know better the story and companions.
Defy the Frost
The combat of Heart of Enya is turn-based and tactical. Developed over the classical grid, you have your team, the enemies and some breakable obstacles, which you can use in your favour. You start with three characters, and you will get your last companion during the story. Everyone has their role in battle: Raina is the fighter, he deals melee damage with his sword and can hit two tiles from his position; Soleil is the mage, she has long-range and area attacks which needs one turn of charging; Bapy has extra movement and can create snowmen to block enemies advance, and move obstacles and enemies. Finally, Lua is the tank, she has melee attacks and can move enemies and obstacles, but her main skill is that she receives less damage from attacks.
When you advance on your story you will obtain new abilities, and in the end, you will have the option to enhance them with fire and generate more damage, the burn ailment, which paralyses enemies for one turn, or it causes a bigger displacement of obstacles and enemies. Every character has an HP (health points) indicator, and when you reach a certain point of the story will obtain an FP (fire points) gauge, which determines the number of times that you can power up your attacks with fire.
Before fights, you can make soup. You have several edibles to choose from, each one will power up a character’s HP or FP, and you can select up to three. This adds more strategic points to the game, choosing the ones that fit better with your strategy. For example, I usually powered up Raina health and Soleil fire points, varying the third aliment depending on the moment.
Enemies are an army of ice blocks with different skills. The most frequent are the ones with melee attacks, but there are ice blocks with ranged and area attacks too. You have a determined number of ice blocks to defeat, it is not mandatory to do it, but if you kill all of them before the final boss, this fight will be easier, receiving a couple of achievements during the process. They have only a life gauge, and they cannot cause you status ailments. Finally, the boss, Absolute Zero, has a unique design, and he has range and area skills and one special where he makes a temporary clone, who will attack you too.
There is no game over in this game; you can always flee from battles. When a companion dies, he will lose his attack capacities, and he will have five turns to retreat, or he can receive five damage points, every received attack will subtract turns to flee. Also, if the count reaches zero, your team will be forced to flee. Besides, before this happens, you can take off your injured character and continue the fight with the other team members.
Score & Other stuff
The soundtrack is good but short. There are only three tracks, one for the visual novel parts, one for the fights and the other one sounds when one of your characters is defeated and has to retreat from battle. The graphics are pretty and hand-made, and they transmit a warm feeling when you see the narrative scenes. Also, each character is well-differentiated from the others. Every aspect of the game has a tutorial, but in the part of the battle, they are too many, because half of them are tutorials. There are only five main battles stages, plus the tutorials, but you can repeat them as you wish. If you go for the achievement of kill all the frost forces, you will have to manage your battles carefully. The game has achievements (steam), it is free, and it is worth a try. It took me four hours to complete it.
Overall: 7.5. Heart of Enya it’s a nice mix between visual novel and tactical RPG that touch LGBT themes, and it delves into the background of your team. The tactical part is good too, every character has their role and skills, and with the obstacles’ mechanics, they made space to try different strategies. It’s free, and definitely, you have to try it.