Developed by Expressive Gamestudio, Lie In My Heart is a 2019 interactive visual novel with autobiographical elements about a man who loses his ex-wife and copes with both the loss of his son’s mother and how he and his son deal with it.
Autobiographical games are probably the hardest to talk about. After all, its someone’s life so there is no right or wrong to the story. Lie In My Heart is a cause and effect sort of story where the decisions made will affect the story. Its primarily a visual novel which means that there is a lot of reading. However, it also gives dialogue choices which will effect the outcome of the event as well as some timed actions, which probably will also have an effect by the end. At the end of each chapter, there will be a little note that pops up saying how many choices the player made that was the same as the real story. Of course, this leads to many ways to play the game again if the story intrigues the player, giving achievements of finding the complete path that the developer took or on the other hand, seeking out the completely fictional one as well as finding perhaps the good ending.
As a one-sitting sort of game at about an hour or so in length (depending on reading speed), it paces itself quite well. There is reading but choices are also quite frequent as well as having some other actions to do. Its a neat little game that tells a rather poignant story about loss and mental illness. There are some trigger topics here so its not a suitable match for everyone or for people who are more sensitive to these topics. However, this has the autobiographical elements so makes it more real as well. Just like games like That Dragon Cancer, Lie In My Heart will be aim to make its players think a little. Games like these are reliant on how it connects with its players and that varies to the person.
Lie In My Heart is a small game with a big heart to share their own story and experiences. The art style looks like hand-drawn like sketches with colored pencils. The music is paired very well with the story at hand. There isn’t a lot of shortcomings in the game mechanics either as everything is responsive. The choices in dialogue sometimes feel slightly odd but then, it might be done in a deliberate way to emphasize emotions and such with the punctuation (like exclamation points). Some of the reaction bits are very rare and its not very apparent what to do at first (but not hard to connect the dots). However, visual novels, especially ones interactive to a certain level is on rails so perhaps one thing here is that it may say x number of choices were similar but its easy to lose track where those choices were as it always felt less. The replayability here gives room to try again and its a quick game to play through even though, the themes here are heavier.
Bottomline: Is Lie In My Heart worth a playthrough? Absolutely. Is it something to play over and over again to discover the different endings even if its quick to play and has a poignant story? Maybe not (at least for me).
Lie In My Heart is currently available on Steam as of today (October 4, 2019).
*Key provided by developer*