Review: Bonic Heart

No, I did not have my heart replaced by a machine. If I did, I’d go for one of those cool turbine ones, since turbines are inherently awesome, as jet engines are turbines. it would be like little jet engines in my body.

Before I digress too far, Bionic Heart is a hybrid of a visual novel and an adventure game. It has an enormous amount of possible endings, and it seems like a sequel is in the making.

First off, the plot. You start by taking in a damaged robot girl, who is actually more of a cyborg, as she seems to have an organic brain in her body. You then go about trying to solve the mysteries related to her, and how she came to be, all the while forming, maintaining, or losing relationships along the way.

The characters include Tanya, the aforementioned robot girl, Helen, your girlfriend, although you may be engaged. I was never totally sure based on how the plot progresses which it was. You also have your friend Tom, who works at the same company as you. It also so happens that the company is responsible for creating Tanya.

It really is hard to really get a good review of this game, mainly due to the plentiful endings and possibilities it has.

Let’s take a look:

Luke never meets Tanya
Luke tries to shoot Tanya
Jealous Tanya kills Helen
Tanya kills Luke
Luke becomes a robot
Tanya kidnaps Luke
Tanya is arrested by police
Tanya had a soul too
You escape to Mars
Luke ends his life in jail
Luke and Tina prisoners
Luke is killed by Julia
Tanya is a serial killer
Tanya loves Luke
Bionic… hearts
Richard’s menace
Julia the fortune-teller
Luke marries Tanya
Luke the great scientist
Luke’s sacrifice
A new dawn
Mark & Julia
Not an illusion
Happy Ending

Yeah, quite a lot of possible endings, some of which are very hard to get.

Onto my complaints. The voice acting is really bad. Voices don’t really seem to fit with the characters, and the actors seem more like they are reciting lines from a script then they seem like they are actually involved in the story. Keep the audio off, the voices really fail to bring the characters to life.

My biggest complaint is that it seems to try to railroad you down one path. Helen and Tom seem to be having an affair, and while you can influence the relationships and cut off ties with Helen and build them up with Tanya, the game still makes Helen stick around, and somewhat subtly tries to get you to keep Helen around.

It isn’t just the relationship that is going nowhere that it starts as, and Helen doesn’t get characterized as really clingy to Luke in particular, but more attached to the idea of marriage. frankly, I wish the game had let you make the choice without trying to get you to go back on it.

The other issue is the major number of endings. Just depending on the playthrough, characters can vary pretty wildly between game plays, resulting in one time a character is altruistic and helpful, and another time revealed to be a mass murderer.
I have no problem with a character who is a mass murderer but repents and tries to change, I have no problem with someone who is just nice, and I have no problem with someone who is a serial killer. The problem is when they change between being one of those things depending on you you interact with them. By saying one sentence instead of another, the character becomes Hitler instead of Mother Teresa.

I think the game would be best if they consolidated the endings. By cutting out a bunch altogether, and combining several into each other, they could really build up more character complexity. If a character is revealed to be a mass murderer one game, and a repentant person the next, why not combine the two, which means in one playthrough, we can see both sides of the character, giving us a grater appreciation for the character, and giving the character much more depth. they could do a much better job of bringing the character to life if they just added the depth.

On the really cool plus side, it is available on Android tablets.

My other concern would be with the sequel if it gets made. How will they consolidate all those endings into the new story? They could make the new game have you load the chosen ending from the last game and start from there, but that is exceedingly complicated. They could try and do a reboot. They could also just say that the story pick up after ending x, which means that anyone who didn’t get ending x, yet was happy with the ending they got simply failed to get the ‘right’ ending that allows the next story to begin.

None of those options is really appealing.

Score: 3/5

Pros: Functionally good. The combination of adventure games, mystery, and visual novel works well enough here. Tablet functionality. Good story basis and an interesting plotline.

Cons: Bad voice acting. Simply too many endings. Lack of any real character depth created in any one playthrough. Some endings are obnoxiously hard to get. No real interest that keeps the layer wanting to see what happens next is created. Tries to railroad you throughout the plot.

You can get it from google play or other online websites selling it.

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