If you’re familiar with the visual novel format, you’ll know that usually, before anything substantial really starts happening in the plot, you are introduced to the story and characters in ‘the common route’. If My Heart Had Wings does not stray from this tried and tested formula, and it is it’s common route that I’m going to talk about here.
If My Heart Had Wings is a lengthy VN and it’s common route reflects that. Although I listen to all of the voice acting, I consider myself to be a pretty fast reader but it still took me around 12 hours to complete. There aren’t many decisions to choose from throughout the game generally so you only get three choices before Aoi’s choice of heroine is decided (unless you finish Kotori’s route and then you get a fourth).
Earlier I said that often the common route doesn’t contain much in the way of plot, right? Well If My Heart Had Wings is slightly different here – although the plot in this part of the game doesn’t directly affect the route you end up choosing, it is really important for the story as a whole.
The unique selling point of this VN (that is: flying), is most heavily focused upon in the common route. And it doesn’t take this lightly as characters go into great details learning the fundamentals of flight and aspects of glider design and construction. We’re also introduced to the legendary ‘Morning Glory’, a cloud formation so beautiful and important that several high school students would dedicate at least two years of their lives to it. The focus on flight and the air might seem a little tedious to some, but then I’m not sure why you would consider it in the first place if you weren’t willing to invest at least something in the magic of flight.
Two of the heroine’s for the game are only introduced very late on and thus feel a little thrown in – I’ve yet to play through their routes, but so far I can only imagine that the Kazato sisters were only included as an act of fan service for less plot driven readers. That aside though the other three females are well fleshed out in this common route. The development of Kotori’s relationship with Aoi and Ageha throughout this part of the VN is essential regardless of which route you go for (though obviously most so for her own). The seeds for Ageha’s route are sown without forcing her upon you – but then she is the archetypal childhood friend so what were you expecting. Amane’s route is harder to guess from the beginning but I got the impression this was what the developers were going for, particularly as her route isn’t one you can choose on your first play through.
Overall, the common route of If My Heart Had Wings, is a great set up for whichever of the five (six if you fail them all!) routes you elect to play afterwards. I wouldn’t have been all that disappointed if the game had finished at the end of the common route – besides the fact that everything points towards more happening afterwards.
So far I’ve completed Ageha’s route and am maybe four or so hours into Kotori’s so will be writing about them soon! If this type of article is something you enjoy leave me a like, or if you have a suggestion on other articles involving visual novels that you’d like to see me write then of course let me know in the comments.