I’ve come to know Winter Wolves as one of the few indie developers trying to emulate the feel of Japanese visual novels in western-developed games. We’ve covered another game by them, Bionic Heart, published by Tycoon Games in the past, but a more recently updated title from them called Spirited Heart recently caught my attention.
Winter Wolves describe Spirited Heart as a "life-simulation game," which is essentially a dating-sim with role-playing elements. You start out by creating a female character who can be either human, an elf or a demoness. Following this, you’re thrown into the sim depending on what starting location / lifestyle you choose. Your options are: farmer, general, artist and noble. You can then choose to take up a job. What jobs you can take up depends on your race and location, since each one has different requirements (although, apparently, the demoness can be a maid, so that’s one fetish taken care of). Jobs also help upgrade your character’s skills, which eventually enables you to take up more advanced jobs later in the game.
The interesting thing is, Spirited Heart takes place over a course of over 10 years of your character’s life. As time goes by, you’ll run into potential partners for your race. Each of the six partners (two corresponding to each race) has his own personality and will react to you differently, depending on your race, which makes for some nice variety. Also, if you grab the add-on pack (which is free if you bought the original), there’s a bunch of additional sidequests — like performing a task for the goddess of your race before you hit 30 — and tweaks made to the overall system.