Heart. Papers. Border. initially attracted my attention through its vibrant and colorful visuals. The retro-futuristic world being created by Jovian Industries looked inviting, exciting and ready to explored. Once I started learning more about what Heart. Papers. Border. was, it all started to make more sense; An optimistic game casting you as a travel blogger exploring the world of Heart, Heart. Papers. Border., which is now on Steam Greenlight, explores the idea of travel, immigration, and borders in a hopeful way, and has a great foundation to build on.
You are a freelance adventurer who wants to experience everything planet Heart has to offer, regardless of the inherited privileges determined by the country of your birth.
You travel to learn, and as you pay a closer attention to what each country has to offer, you gather wisdom that you channel in a blog that grows in popularity. Eventually you come to grasp the power of your influence: where you pass, things change faster to the better, and locals that you have met increasingly demand openness from their governments. You have always been an optimist and dreamed of a completely border free world, but as you travel, you realize your influence into actually living to see your dream come true – that of living in a world without borders!
The gameplay mechanics of Heart. Papers. Border. are very simple in the current Pre-Alpha state, but have a lot of potential. The game begins by filling out your multipass, and planting you in one of the provinces on the planet Heart. In each province, you’ll be able to visit a number of landmarks, which teach you a random number of hashtags. You then assemble these hashtags into a blog post before publishing, which in turn grants you more followers.
However, as is the way of the world, all this cost money. It costs Units (uN) to travel to landmarks, apply for visas, travel to other provinces and each province has an effect on your daily income and expenses. Balancing where you want to go, how much you want to make and making sure you visas are renewed on time has a surprising amount of depth. The only thing I am really hoping for at this point is some specific goals. You increase your total money and follower count in the game’s current form, but there is no next step. I am eager to see what we’ll be working towards as the game continues development.
One thing that blew me away in the game’s current state is just how much backstory and lore there already is in this world. Each province has a description of it’s culture and political structure, and each landmark has a full description about its history or attractions. This information is forced down your throat, but presented in your digital guidebook/notepad. There’s a lot of very interesting stuff in there, and I can only imagine we’ll get more as the game grows.
As I mentioned earlier, Heart. Papers. Border.’s artistic direction is fantastic. It’s bright, colorful, and full of life. Due to the use of color, it all feels very alien, but not so alien that you can’t easily understand what is what. All of the depictions of the attractions in game are fantastic, and many are a pseudo-reflection of many of Earth’s attraction.
It should also be mentioned that the music in Heart. Papers. Border. is phenomenal. Composed by the Retro Brothers, it bright, happy and electric, pairing perfectly with the game’s colorful aesthetic and optimistic message to create a game that just feel happy about traveling the world.
Words only go so far, though, and we recorded our playthrough of the pre-alpha version of Heart. Papers. Border. if you’d like to see the game in action:
If you are intrigued by our take on Heart. Papers. Border., or like what you’ve seen here, please consider voting for the game on Steam Greenlight. There’s been a bit of a flood of game’s on Steam Greenlight recently after Valve’s recent announcement, and it’d be a shame to see truly original games like Heart. Papers. Border. be passed over.