Else Heart.Break() is an adventure game where you... hack... stuff. I'm not sure. You play as a newcomer in a strange town, sent there on a job by a soda corporation, and you must... Do your job, I guess? If this intro couldn't convey it, I didn't get into the meat of EHB() at all. After wandering for what seemed like hours in an interesting but aimless town, I managed to stumble into a very cool mechanic, then tried to see if I could get some manner of plot going on, without succeeding. I still think that the ideas in EHB() are really cool and the style pretty nice, but I kinda wish it had been a hacking/programming puzzle game instead.

My few first hours with the game were almost enough to make me stop before getting the hacking mechanic in. I'm not a big adventure game player, the I was just thrown into a seemingly huge city where my character moved incredibly slowly - and the transit system was a joke - and I had no clue what to do besides get to the hotel and then sell soda. No obvious adventure-game-ey puzzles like 'Guy A really needs Item B', no obvious objective and a barely helpful map. Of course I was interested by the weird things that had happened, like when I tried to walk into my hotel room only to be warped to the bathroom (the doors were buggy, see), but I didn't grow attached to my soda salesman, nor to anyone around town.

Then at some point, I got the hacking tool, I forgot how I even got it, it must not have made a big impression on me. Now I could hack certain things, like radios, baguettes and other electronics around town. The coding system seems deep and full of interesting functions you can use to various effects. A cool thing I had noticed is how the soda cans I was selling were transmitting information back to some server and I really hoped the game would pick up from there. Sadly, it didn't. I just continued wandering around, but now I could hack things. I tried hacking here and there to see if something would happen at some point, going as far as hacking people's personal computers with them in the room, but nothing ever happened. I modified a teleporting device so it tried to warp me everywhere, and that was pretty cool, but it couldn't keep my interest.

I really wish that EHB() had been more about the hacking and the figuring things out with that core mechanic, instead of being about figuring out what to figure out. I at least wish that the adventure game part of it had been more straightforward so I could've went to the cool bits and seen what the game had to offer. It's not a bad experience in the slightest, but it didn't feel like it was for me. Real cool hacking, still!

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories3/5, Adventure