Harmony: The Fall of Reverie Preview – DONTNOD Delivers a Visual Novel

Human connection can often be as miserable as it is comforting. For instance, the societal obligation of loving and cherishing family can be a compelling vice, forcing you to confront truths and people you’d rather not deal with. On the other hand, there are some who desire to reestablish those types of connections, yet the strife of internally reinforced hesitation can make such conclusions a distant dream.

The DON’T NOD-developed narrative adventure, Harmony: The Fall of Reverie, embraces this concept as part of its premise, focusing on the protagonist Polly, who suffers from an emotional distance from her mother. The two have never been particularly close, though Polly has subtly yearned to narrow that gap despite how hopeless it always seemed. However, with her mother now missing, her priorities have evolved considerably.

When back at her hometown searching for her mother, Polly finds herself transported to Reverie, an entirely different world housing the Aspirations of Humanity. And within this jarring new land, Polly becomes known as Harmony, an integral piece meant to foster the hope of this world’s continued existence. She must choose which personified Aspirations should take Reverie’s helm before its swiftly approaching downfall while managing the search for her mom in her native locale.

This cast division between regular humans and the Aspirations gives the title a genuinely compelling hook that’s only hampered by an overly expository introduction and lengthy tutorials. Regardless, you’re thrown into the thick of things without much notice, needing to make choices determining Polly’s reactions and actions toward others, which then impact her affinity with Aspirations.

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That choice system is the crux of the gameplay here, and even just from the opening hours, it’s evident that there are countless irreversible decisions you must make. Polly’s potential paths and past actions are depicted via an intricate flowchart, also visualizing crystals representing closeness with respective Aspirations.

You can’t undo your choices or go back to see other outcomes; each decision is final. Not only does this design give each story breakthrough more weight, but it also seems to highly encourage replayability so you can see every branch of this emotional narrative. I’m pretty interested in seeing where each route goes and if there are significant differences between them.

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Presentation is another facet where Harmony: The Fall of Reverie excels. The gorgeous character portraits, environments, and animated sequences instill the game with an almost cinematic feel akin to watching an actual show or such. In visual novel-style games like this, stylistic and graphical appeal has become increasingly vital to stimulate prospective players.

So, even for those not accustomed to dialogue-heavy titles like this one, I can definitely see interest garnered solely because of this meticulously crafted presentation. Moreover, the voice acting is terrific, as each voice I’ve heard so far clearly fits their character, and excellent enunciation makes certain scenes more impactful. I’m really hoping this performance remains consistent.

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Harmony: The Fall of Reverie has captured me in its opening segments. The effective emotional premise, choices emphasizing irreversible consequences, and outstanding visuals all contribute to this promising start. Plus, this double-world setup has kept events fresh, so this experience has fired on all cylinders so far. While the introductory tutorials and exposition turned me off, I’ve remained intrigued and curious to see how Polly’s struggles cease.

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC in June 2023.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.