World War I remains one of the most historically significant events of the last century. It literally shaped the world we live in today, and yet, there is still so much we don't know about it. The folks at Ubisoft are attempting to share the perspectives of those who endured the global conflict, in Valiant Hearts: Coming Home. This is a 2D narrative experience that has the elements of point-and-click adventure but with a quicker pace than the genre usually offers. Playing through the game will have you completing tasks, solving puzzles, and interacting with numerous characters. Take note of each chapter, and you're likely to learn something about history.
It all began with Valiant Hearts: The Great War and the story continues hoping to see the end of this conflict in Valiant Hearts: Coming Home. After a recap and some setting up, the story resumes following the lives of a handful of characters. Each is involved with a different part of the conflict, with several being from different countries, and filling a certain role. You'll follow the stories of a new recruit, a hearty soldier, a brave medic, a sailor, and a pilot as their stories intertwine. The narrative covers each of their journeys, and the conflicts they endure and participate in during the latter part of the war. Only you can see whether or not they'll make it home.
War is not an easy topic to cover and it needs to be done with a lot of consideration. Valiant Hearts: Coming Home manages to do this while making it accessible. The 2D graphic art style has a friendly and stylized look while retaining the right amount of grittiness. The more time you spend with these characters, the more you hope they make it through. The controls are consistent throughout but they feel different depending on the circumstances. I felt a noticeable shift in feel between walking around an airfield and walking through sunken wrecks. Even though the true brutality of the event is significantly toned down, it still has a definite impact.
This is a game that makes it so you don't want to fail. There aren't many situations that put you at risk of multiple restarts, but there are many opportunities to make mistakes. Whether it's trying to play on key or applying a bandage to someone's arm, you want to do your best because you know what's at stake. The variety of events and interactive elements has a good mix of puzzling-solving, exploration, timing, and action. It's a relief to succeed and pushes you to keep going in hopes of reaching a happy end for each of the characters.
Narrative games fit well on mobile phones due to being catered toward limited inputs, but mistakes can still be made. This is most notable in Valiant Hearts: Coming Home with rendering. There are several moments in the game where the setting does not properly load. It's very jarring since they're all a harsh purple-pink colour, and some of them block areas you have to interact with in order to progress. Then there's a slight issue with how the game reads certain inputs when climbing and moving around transition spaces. Just remember to be very deliberate in your swiping to ensure you don't keep hopping on and off ladders, boxes, or in and out of doorways.
Valiant Hearts: Coming Home is a 2D graphic narrative experience about guiding several people through World War I. It combines an appealing stylized appearance with the grittiness of war without losing sincerity and a nice range of interactive gameplay. It needs some touching up in terms of rendering parts of environments and less sensitive controls. However, those are small issues compared to the knowledge and emotion that Coming Home embodies.
If you're looking for similar experiences, take a look at the best point-and-click adventures on Android, and of course, the best point-and-click adventures that you can play on iOS.