It’s been a while since my last post on the visual novel If My Heart Had Wings, and with a big announcement for March coming tomorrow (I’m really excited!), I thought now was the perfect time for the next.
As with any visual novel, If My Heart Had Wings is based on several different routes. In IMHHW’s case, there are five routes in total but you probably wouldn’t guess it when you start the game. In fact, when I started playing, it seemed that there would be two, maybe three routes. The two that seem obvious in the early stages are that of the game’s poster girl, Kotori, and childhood friend, Ageha.
No one is going to argue with me when I say that to begin with Kotori is thoroughly dislikable. Of course, she can justify this and later on things become clear, but you can forgive me for first going with Aoi’s childhood best friend, Ageha.
Ageha’s personality is cheerful and bubbly, she’s also a bit a technical nerd so often explains to Kotori (and us) principals of the glider’s production and flight processes. Aoi’s romantic relationship with her doesn’t particularly start of well however after he elects to hide the true extent of his cycling accident from her. Ageha will confront him about the subject in the common route and it might just seem as if you’ve got away with it, even if you choose her route: unfortunately, this is not the case.
As Aoi becomes more and more interested in Ageha, she becomes more and more distant from him and for much of the route it does feel as if he is chasing her firstly to confess his love and then to get her to do something about it.
In truth however, this is not the most enjoyable 10 hours of game play. While, in theory, the ‘hard to get’ tactic is a good one it just doesn’t make any sense in this incarnation. MoeNovel’s translations for this route are atrocious (and unfortunately the fan made patch hasn’t done much to improve it) which doesn’t particularly help, but it’s generally pretty difficult to work out what is actually going on.
There is one section mid-route where the girls, led by Ageha, make it appear as if Aoi is interested in going on dates with as many girls as possible. This ranges from being set up on a date with dorm resident senior, Kanako, to being escorted to school by Ageha’s younger sister Hotaru. It seems that the aim is to distract the teachers from the Soaring Club activities in favour of Aoi’s newly discovered appreciation of the opposite sex – I think.
If the translation was better maybe things would make more sense but as it is this middle section is dreadful and becomes incredibly tiresome to play.
The end of the route does pick up however. I’ll come back to the 18+ moments in bit, but the ending to this route is fairly satisfying. The romance concludes satisfactorily and in keeping with Ageha’s character. The secret that has been kept from Aoi is revealed, and is totally sensible. It also adds some context to going on’s with Ageha when you play the other routes.
I will say that Moka Choko who voices Ageha does a great job in this route and in all others, though it would probably fairer to her to say she gets a better chance to show off her talents in the other parts of the story (again, apart from towards the very end of this route).
A note on the 18+ aspect
I realise that not everyone will want to play with the 18+ patch enabled but for those of you that do, I’ll give you the run down on what you can expect from this aspect of the VN in each route.
For Ageha, expect a lot of sex.
If you’re offended by the hentai aspects of VN’s but still want as complete a story as possible then I recommend you play Ageha’s route without the patch and then add it afterwards.
The thing with Ageha’s route though is that essentially the relationship is a friends with benefits kind of thing – final resolution aside. This is an aspect you won’t get without the sex scenes, but also something that might become a little tedious if you have them.
The other aspect to the patch is supposed improved translations, but to me it was still awful so I can’t recommend it for that.
TL;DR – if you want the most complete story, play with the sex scenes and if you want the most sex scenes, play Ageha’s route.
Some final thoughts
Ageha’s route was the last one I completed in If My Heart Had Wings and to be honest it was a little disappointing. The overall story telling was still reasonably good and I learnt a bit more about gliders, but the romance aspect was severely lacking up until the final hour or so. In addition, the middle section of the route is very muddled which isn’t helped by the fact that the translations (with or without the fan made 18+ patch) are sub-par.
After Ageha I moved onto Kotori’s route, so that is the one I’ll tell you about next in the next IMHHW article!
If you’ve played If My Heart Had Wings, let me know what you thought about Ageha’s route. If not, have you played any other visual novels where a route has left you disappointed after a really promising start?
Thanks for reading! 🙂