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Heart de Roommate
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 06/18/2004

Description:
You are Yusuke, a high school student who somehow finds himself homeless. Your parents have gone off and left you with pretty much everything you'll need for your school life... except for board and lodging. You end up sharing a room with your bossy childhood friend Asumi in the girls' dormitory, along with her two roommates Tomoe and Marumu. There is a catch however -- you have to dress up and pretend to be a girl since boys aren't allowed in the premises!

Review:
I started playing Heart de Roommate with no expectations and an open mind, despite having talked to several guys (and even a few girls) who told me that it was a very good game.

For starters, the story's premise struck me as silly, somewhat repetitive (think "Come See Me Tonight"), and merely a convenient excuse to have a guy live in the girls' dorm. Yusuke's parents leave him with only his personal belongings and money to cover his schooling. Yusuke is exasperated and depressed with his situation, but at the same time he is powerless to actually do anything about it because he's a spineless wimp. Of course, since the hero is a weakling, he is constantly torn between two headstrong girls: Asumi, his domineering childhood friend; and Namiki, his equally oppressive cousin. His two other roommates, the sweet Tomoe and the weirdo Marumu don't really have much of a say how things go as Asumi always assumes the role of the leader. Then there's also the kindly teacher Ms. Yagami, who eventually discovers Yusuke's secret but decides to help cover it up from the school administration. These are the five girls whom you can forge a romance with as Yusuke.

In the first half of the game, Yusuke seems to be nothing more than a character to be abused and taken advantage of. Asumi is the personification of one of the worst anime stereotypes: the unreasonably violent girl who falls in love with you (Akane Tendo of "Ranma 1/2" and Naru Narusegawa of "Love Hina" comes to mind). What's worse is, she has Tomoe and Marumu at her command to further contribute to your hardships. Heart de Roommate simply chronicles Yusuke's everyday life with Asumi, Tomoe, and Marumu. His main dilemma in life is keeping his stay at the girl's dorm a secret. Winning the three girls takes very little thought or imagination since all you have to do is be nice to all of them the whole time and then just pick the girl you want to end up with when prompted. Getting Namiki's and Ms. Yagami's paths are a bit trickier but still nothing to sweat about.

Heart de Roommate is presented like an anime series. It's comprised of 26 episodes complete with previews and eyecatches. Namiki and Ms. Yagami's fixed paths come immediately after the 13th episode though. Their stories are really more of bonus endings rather than main story branches since they appear in the appendix section of the game. You can't really pick the two of them out while the story is in progress.

The artwork is extremely cutesy in style. Character designs feature rounded eyes and faces, rosy cheeks, and an overall childlike demeanor. I found the idea of lusting after such juvenile-looking characters nearly impossible to fathom. Sex is depicted rather mildly compared to most bishoujo games. There aren't really any shamelessly graphic penetration scenes I can recall and sex scenes are quite few and far between.

To sum it up, Heart de Roommate is a tediously paced game which felt like an overextended teen soap opera for most part. Playing through 26 chapters was torturous and unchallenging, and a number of them don't even have any bearing on the game's plot. I suppose this game is still above average given the excellent production values, it's just that I failed to enjoy it. I was already wishing it was over when I wasn't even halfway through.

Miscellanies:
Extra features include episode recollections, CG, and music galleries.

Screenshots
Heart de Roommate
Heart de Roommate
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Heart de Roommate
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Review Title:
Heart de Roommate
Released:
2002
Approximate Length:
10-30 Hours
Suitable For:
Adults Only
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Hentai Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Genres:
Comedy, School, Slice of Life,
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