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Video Game / Heartache 101 ~Sour Into Sweet~

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Heartache 101: ~Sour Into Sweet~ is a freeware customizable Dating Sim created by flowerthief, previously known for Idolcraft.

One day at school, Nameless Protagonist (well, his default name is Kazuhiko) agreed to a bet proposed by his childhood friend Miki, following a conversation regarding their respective skill (or lack thereof) at finding someone to date. Under the conditions of the bet, the two of them would be given 101 days to find and hold onto a significant other. If either of them were to succeed at these criteria while the other failed, they would be considered the victor.

Working toward the goal in order to prove himself to his friend, the protagonist meets many girls.

The game can be acquired for free at

This work provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Stats go up to 100. While raising these stats to max value will continue to increase the affection bonus from talking to girls, it is still possible to max out affection levels within the time limit without doing so. The other uses of the stats are storyline attribute checks (which never require values higher than 50 in the core game) and giving advice to girls (which will have a 100% success rate somewhere between 50 and 60).
  • Accidental Pervert: Protagonist is subject to this often. Ranging from accidentally catching a glimpse of Tsubasa's panties when she falls over to falling and landing on top of Miki if an early Athletics check is failed. Riho witnessed the latter, and presumes he intended to land on Miki.
    • Riho herself becomes one later, when she accidentally grabs Protagonist's crotch area trying to catch a pen rolling off the table.
  • Always Second Best: While she never displays anything other than love for her sister, Riho feels that Shihoko is better than her at everything.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Tsubasa, who works out the solutions to already-solved cases given to her by her father as a form of training.
  • The Bet: One of these kicks off the plot. The protagonist and Miki each bet that the other can't get a significant other within 101 days.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Hinami's brothers are very protective of their little sister, as the protagonist will discover the hard way if he attempts to court Hinami.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Early on, Miki claims to have a boyfriend. This turns out to be a serious exaggeration.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Chocolate Lady, who's apparently somewhat aware of how unrealistically small the in-game world is, and expresses her displeasure of the random generator that forces her to walk around town and share her always sufficient supply of chocolates with strangers every day.
    • The random encounter with the drug dealer has him and the protagonist talking about the stats, with the former claiming his stats are on the 4 digits and the protagonist claiming they only reach 100
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Tsubasa at studying. Although she is capable of scoring high grades, she often skips school to do detective work.
  • Brown Note: Requiem of Surrogation.
  • Broken Aesop: It's entirely possible to call out Shihoko for flirting with all the boys after she's agreed to become exclusive with you... while dating up to six other girls, including Shihoko's little sister, at the same time.
  • The Casanova: Shihoko is a gender flipped version. Surprisingly, nobody seems to take much issue despite her not being a guy, outside of the time she was told to choose between two people and told them both individually that she chose them because she wasn't used to them not being okay with it.
  • Catchphrase: "Hold your horses!" for Hanami.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Protagonist and Miki
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Riho will become this if both her and her sister Shihoko fall in love with Protagonist. It reaches a boiling point when, after Shihoko acts affectionate and clingy towards Protagonist right in front of her, Riho throws the lunch she made for her in her face and runs off. And then later on after that, Shihoko tries to take Protagonist into the locker room to make out. Riho reacts by dragging Protagonist outside of the school, pinning him to floor, and slightly undressing in front of him, threatening to tell her sister about this event if he goes into the locker room with her.
  • Competition Freak: Miki always wants to compete with Protagonist over trivial matters.
  • Covert Pervert: Akari gets more and more funny ideas the more she likes the protagonist. Goes way over the top after she falls in love with him:
    Akari:I got another pillow.
    Protagonist:You what?
    Akari:Another pillow. There's room.
    Protagonist:Another pillow?
    the protagonist:For what? know....
    Protagonist:I don't know.
    Akari:When you sleep over.
    Protagonist:Wait, "there is room", you said?
    Protagonist:So...there is room for the other pillow?
    Protagonist:So then both pillows are being used at the same time.
    Protagonist:In the same place.
    Protagonist:In your bed.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Somehow they have to make it moral for the protagonist to take Keika from her boyfriend. Specifically, her boyfriend Shoichi turns out to be a gambling addict who spends Keika's money on pachinko machines, and he no longer loves Keika, resulting in the two of them breaking up. The protagonist can then date Keika guilt-free.
  • Drugs Are Bad: There's a drug dealer who will offer to give you a special pill that boosts all of your stats considerably. The downside? The withdrawal is absolutely painful — a few days later, your stats start randomly dropping, sometimes to the point where you're actually worse off than you were before taking the pill.
  • Devoted to You: Chiemi to the protagonist.
  • Easy Level Trick: There are lots of bonus items and features scattered throughout the game that give Protagonist an extra edge in boosting his stats or his chances with dates. Probably the most famous of these are the chocolates, which are handed out by the ridiculously meta Chocolate Lady.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Keika tries to bribe other students in the class to get them to date Miki. It doesn't work, and the protagonist calls her out on it.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Keika's default expression has her eyes closed, though she does open them up in some of her other portraits.
  • First Girl Wins: Can be both true and averted depending on your choices.
  • Freudian Excuse: Riho starts off on the worst terms with the Protagonist, but as time goes on, it's rather obvious that she has an inferiority complex over her School Idol sister, Shihoko, which has led to her becoming an utter Workaholic to make a name for herself. All this does is stress her out even more and leave her a rather cranky mess when the Protagonist first meets her.
  • Game Mod: One of the features of the game is that it is relatively easy for people to create images, profiles, music, and stories for their own characters and add them to the cast.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Miki is supposedly the childhood friend of the protagonist, but they begin the game on "Neutral" terms. Either the game felt the need to make it a tad more difficult to romance her, or the vitriol between them has created a genuine divide.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Shihoko and Riho are almost a textbook example.
  • Genki Girl: Hinami is full of energy. Miki and Shihoko can be rather energetic at times, as well.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Riho.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The Protagonist and Takuya evidently have this dynamic, being the guy that interacts with you the most throughout the game. He also appears as a rare space on the board where he'll invite the Protagonist to hang-out after school. These hang-outs offer sizable stat boosts.
    • For the girls, Miki and Keika also have this going on.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Literally every male character in the game. Only the girls have character portraits, though Takuya has a sprite on the progress board.
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: If you choose Akari's route, Keika only set her up with the protagonist because Keika thought Akari would be so unsociable that the protagonist would lose his bet with Miki over who can get a significant other first. If the protagonist does manage to win Akari's heart, then Keika actually causes the protagonist to win his bet with Miki instead.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Sure, it's supposed to be a dating game, but out of the male characters shown (Takuya, Masashi, Yoshinori, Hiro, Shoichi, Freddy and Sammy, and a few others), most of them only appear in one or two scenes. The closest one to even becoming a Recurring Extra is Takuya, and he fades out of prominence extremely quickly.
  • In-Joke: The dev team has made a habit of referring to the Content Creation guidelines as an object of worship, cracking subtle(or not at all subtle) dirty jokes out of context, as well as blatant references to the Might and Magic series and various bits of Japanese pop culture nobody but them ever understands at every opporturnity, both in the game and especially on the forums.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Riho starts off not a fan of the Protagonist, but can warm up to him as time passes. It's rather obvious that her usual unfriendly demeanor comes from a combination of both being stressed out from constantly overworking herself, and feeling like she's trapped in her older sister's shadow. She's much friendlier in a casual setting.
  • Joke Item: The top. Purchasable from the convenience store for only 200 yen, this item can only be given to Tsubasa or Hinami (technically, it can be given to anybody, but everybody else considers it to be a bad gift, and thus there is no benefit to doing so)
  • Love Triangle: Downplayed, but if Hinami and Akari both have high affection for the protagonist, there are some events where they both want the protagonist's attention, though it's downplayed as they're very nice to each other about it.
  • Loving a Shadow: Chiemi.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Keika accidentally subjects the protagonist to this when he's teaching her to swim, pushing him under the water when she thinks her boyfriend is around.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never made clear whether the ghost of the dead composer that appears to Akari each night is real or simply a hallucination.
  • Medium Awareness: The Chocolate Lady knows that she's an NPC in a Dating Sim, and thus gives hilariously fourth-wall-breaking advice and commentary which leaves poor, Genre Blind maincharacter confused.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The protagonist needs a girlfriend to win his bet against Miki. Keika (Miki's friend) agrees to arrange a meeting between him and Akari to help him out note . Her intent was that Akari would prove to be so antisocial and unapproachable that any time the protagonist spent with her may as well have been wasted... up until the protagonist actually manages to get close to Akari.
  • Not What It Looks Like: While racing against Miki, the protagonist trips and falls, landing on top of her. Miki's classmate, Riho, was watching at the time and concludes that the protagonist meant to end up on top of Miki.
  • Oblivious to Love: the protagonist to Miki's.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: the protagonist
  • Prone to Tears: Chiemi can easily burst into tears whenever she's overwhelmed or her feelings are hurt.
  • Returning to the Scene: In Tsubasa's second Mystery, the perpetrator knocked out the owner of a jewelry store, stole only his ATM card, withdrew all money from his account, and then returned the scene to plant the card back on the victim. This prevented the nature of the crime from being discovered until the victim was released from the hospital
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Keika comes from a wealthy family. She also has a personality occasionally bordering on Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
  • School Idol: Shihoko is the most popular girl at school and is idolized by both genders.
  • Secret Admirer: If you visit certain locations on certain days, people will come up to the protagonist and hand the protagonist notes from a secret admirer, thanking the protagonist for events the protagonist cannot recall. The notes later turn out to be from Chiemi.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: the protagonist and Miki
  • Shout-Out: Of course I knows the hacker.
  • Shrinking Violet: Akari.
  • Sibling Triangle: Can happen with Riho and Shihoko.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Chiemi.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The only major differences between Shihoko and Riho's designs are that they have different haircuts, and Shihoko's bust is larger. They even have the exact same "Lovesick" expression. It's a wonder the Protagonist didn't realize they were sisters sooner.
  • The Spock: Tsubasa is the embodied logic.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Shihoko. Subverted. While it first appears to be this, Shihoko is actually looking for ways to deflect her trainer's advances without getting on his bad side.
    • Takuya mentions at one point that he seriously fell in love with a teacher from Australia, but this isn't really expanded upon.
  • There Are No Therapists: Played with. Akari is being treated by the school counselor, but it soon becomes clear that he's out of his depth since he's an academic counselor, not a psychological one. She's also receiving treatment from the local hospital. She refuses to take the medication because it doesn't help one bit, and soon she stops visiting altogether.
  • Those Two Guys: Yoshinori and Hiro, two guys in the Protagonist's class who he tends to overhear talking to each other. They'll occasionally appear after school to ask for a favor from you. Neither of them are very pleasant people.
  • Tsundere: Miki and Riho both, though Riho is a surprisingly traditional example of this trope. After initially hating the Protagonist, she can grow to befriend or even fall in love with him.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Most of the game is a Visual Novel/Dating Sim. The school day itself is a kind of Board Game-like challenge, with dice-rolling and items that move you a certain number of squares. The Protagonist's part-time job as a janitor requires the player to beat a level of either Pac-Man note  or a Stealth-Based Mission.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: Riho, propagating that the protagonist is a creep.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Protagonist and Miki.
  • World of Jerkass: Most of the boys are perverts or all-around jerks, many of the girls are cold to you when you first meet them, some of them actively attempt to sabotage your chances of winning the contest, and the Protagonist himself is far from a saint regardless of player input. Shihoko and Hinami are about the only truly good figures you encounter throughout the entire game.

Alternative Title(s): Heartache 101