Important Importables Review: Heart no Kuni no Alice for PSP

August 29, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports Review: Heart no Kuni no Alice for PSP

Section: Reviews, Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, Adventure, Sim

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Heart no Kuni no Alice ハートの国のアリス PSP

Title: Heart no Kuni no Alice
Price: $58.90
System(s): PSP
Release Date: August 20, 2009
Publisher (Developer): Prototype (Quinrose)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero C for Ages 15 and up.
Pros: Interesting take on the Alice in Wonderland story, lots of characters, tons of CGs and events, can control time, two UMDs worth of content, good voice acting.
Cons: Not very import friendly. Art style may not appeal to all players.
Overall Score: 9/10

Hot Japanese Imports followers should already be familiar with the title Heart no Kuni no Alice, since I recently reviewed the first volume of the translated manga adaptation, Alice in the Country of Hearts. That shojo harem manga was inspired by a 2008 PlayStation 2 game called Heart no Kuni no Alice an otome (girl’s dating sim) offering a new take on Alice’s Wonderland trip. In 2009 the game was rereleased for the PSP as a two UMD adventure with more content.

Heart no Kuni no Alice ハートの国のアリス PSP

Alice is dragged down the rabbit hole, arrives in Wonderland and meets lots of handsome, single men.

Heart no Kuni no Alice‘s Alice didn’t fall down a rabbit hole. She was forced down it by Peter White – the white rabbit. He forces her to drink a potion which makes her stay in Wonderland, because he’s in love with her. So now she’s there, and caught wondering what to do and how to get back. She learns that if she interacts with the people of Wonderland enough, she’ll fill up her vial and be able to return home.

This version of Wonderland is made up of different districts, most at war with one another over territory. There is Blood Dupre’s mansion, which houses a Mafia-style group, the Heart Castle, which is home to Queen Vivaldi and her servants, Merry Goland’s amusement park with his workers and crew and, finally, the only neutral area, Julius Monrey’s clock tower. Alice is free to visit all areas, in her quest to form bonds with people so she can go home.

Heart no Kuni no Alice ハートの国のアリス PSP

Lots of walking and talking.

Okay, technically there isn’t any real walking. You’re just moving Alice’s little cursor/indicator thing to the different areas of Wonderland. But I think you get the general idea. Heart no Kuni no Alice is a very straightforward visual novel. You spend your time guiding Alice around Wonderland, hoping to meet and talk to various characters, perhaps even building a relationship with one of them. As you go through the game, you’ll eventually be able to change the time of day to help make meetings easier.

QuinRose games are always known for their unique heroines, and Alice is definitely one of them. She isn’t a typical video game stereotype – she’s stubborn, strong-willed, more often than not a realist and very driven. She’s not waiting for anyone to come and rescue her and is quite forward. She also has a tendency to grab the ears of any character with rabbit or cat ears, even if they’d rather she didn’t. (Which isn’t very polite.) The supporting characters are well developed as well, and though some may fall into certain dating sim “types,” most stand out and have unique and unexpected qualities. The Elliot March (March Hare) and Nightmare characters are two good examples of how interesting the supporting cast can be.

You’ll get plenty of opportunities to see these characters in action, because there are tons of events in Heart no Kuni no Alice. You’ll learn a lot about pretty much everyone, and if you choose to try and follow certain characters’ storylines, you’ll not only learn the secrets from their past, but also more about Wonderland itself. Plus, you’ll unlock lots of CG images you can view later in the gallery.

Heart no Kuni no Alice ハートの国のアリス PSP

If you love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and speak Japanese, go for it. If not, go read the Alice in the Country of Hearts manga.

Odds are, if you’re interested in Heart no Kuni no Alice, then you’re going to love the game when you pick it up. After all, most of the people who know about it enjoy otome games, are familiar with visual novels and enjoy Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or the recent Disney Alice in Wonderland movie. As long as you can read or understand spoken Japanese, you’ll probably love it and spend hours trying to win over your favorite characters. If you can’t understand the language, then you should spend your money on Tokyopop’s Alice in the Country of Hearts manga series instead.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Selfy/TinierMe.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports listed some great video game soundtracks to pick up.

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Full Story » | Written by Jenni Lada for Gamertell. | Comment on this Article »

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