Game Reviews

Link of Heart

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Link of Heart

Kemco is no stranger to the RPG genre, having successfully exploited the average gamer's love of chunky 16-bit sprites and turned-based battles since time immemorial. Link of Hearts continues the trend, offering a good few hours of entertainment but little to really set the pulse racing.

So much is familiar. A planet in danger, a young hero, and - a Kemco staple - a robotic assistant. The story plays out in the usual fashion, with exploration segments when in towns and cities and an overworld map - complete with a scaling effect reminiscent of Mode 7 on the Nintendo SNES.

In your face combat

Characters gain experience in battles, grow in skill, and acquire items with which to improve their chances in combat. Speaking of which, Kemco has opted for a first-person view similar to that seen in titles like Phantasy Star and Shining in the Darkness.

Visually, it all looks very appealing, although many of the sprites seem like cardboard cut-outs strolling across the pretty backgrounds.

Character design is similarly muted, with each member of the team falling into well-worn stereotypes. The dialogue is clumsy and awkward - another Kemco hallmark - and rarely hits the player with any kind of meaningful drama.

Script doctor required

The one neat thing about the story is that it takes place from the viewpoint of different characters in different locations, which at least gives it a feeling of variety.

Even then, this isn't an especially new concept in RPGs, and the corny script does its best to make each encounter feel painful. Kemco really needs to work on getting its English translations up to scratch.

Despite its shortcomings, Link of Hearts manages to keep its head above water and provide plenty of enjoyment, provided you're a diehard fan of this type of game.

For everyone else, Kemco's output will surely be starting to feel like a stuck record: Link of Hearts doesn't really improve on what has gone before, and actually feels less inspired than some of the company's previous efforts.

Link of Heart

Kemco's latest RPG is a suitably fitting ode to an ageing genre, but doesn't really offer much that hasn't been seen before in the company's previous offerings
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.