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Video Game / Heartbound

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"You got this."

Heartbound is an upcoming RPG made by indie game studio Pirate Software. Its pixel art graphics and aesthetic are frequently compared to games such as Undertale and EarthBound.

A young boy named Lore is awakened one night to find his dog, Baron, has gone missing. His home has been ransacked, the forest behind his house has been wrecked, and a mysterious man named Binder appears to try and help Lore find his dog. However, there's a little more than meets the eye. Lore just wants to rescue Baron and go home... But he may not be able to.

More information about the game can be found here, along with a free downloadable demo.


Heartbound contains the following tropes:

  • A Boy and His X: Lore cites Baron as not just his pet, but his best friend. When Baron goes missing, Lore makes it his mission to find him.
  • Abusive Parents: Lore's home life is not a pleasant one, with a verbally abusive father and rarely-present mother.
    • It's heavily suggested Lore's mother is The Alcoholic, from a large box of beer cans sitting in the corner of the living room. Upon examining it, Lore says that he "wish[es] she would quit already."
    • An eerie example with Lore's dad: When he tells Lore to take out the trash, his dialogue 'glitches', changing from "hey kiddo" to "hey moron", and the polite "would you?" disappearing.
    • In Tower Corp., it is revealed through a flashback that Lore's mom is the abusive one, and his dad was actually trying to protect him all along.
  • An Axe to Grind: An old woodcutting axe can be found in Lore's front yard and later in the Dark World, which, if picked up, Lore will use as a weapon.
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  • The Battle Didn't Count: The first encounter with the Barghest in the woods plays out the same whether Lore wins or loses.
  • Canine Companion: Baron. Although it's unclear whether Baron can actually talk, he and Lore frequently have full conversations, sometimes even in Lore's dreams.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Pretty much half of what Lore encounters could be described as such.
    • The Barghest, a giant purple crab-like monster that Lore fights in the woods.
    • The Artifact, a floating, single-eyed, sapient, verbally abusive tome that Binder has Lore fetch from outer space.
  • Interface Screw: Occasionally, text will 'glitch' to be reworded or replaced while the dialogue box is still open. It's unknown what the story reason for these occurrences is, or even whether stylistic or literal.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: Lore starts the game in his pajamas. While Baron recommends he changes clothes, it's possible to ignore this suggestion.
  • Playing the Player: The most minor of changes, such as whether or not a player flipped a light switch, will affect dialogue and make some elements appear or disappear. Others are entirely random.
  • Recurring Element: Books. The save points are books, the (suspected) Big Bad is shaped like a book, and Lore's mysterious mentor is book-themed and named Binder.
  • Simple Staff: If Lore doesn't pick up the wood cutting axe, his weapon defaults to a big stick.
  • Slasher Smile: Lore's "dark" look hides his eyes in shadow with a large smirk across his face.
  • Starfish Language: Two of them. The one spoken primarily by The Barghest is composed entirely of variations on a simple circle, while the one spoken primarily by Binder is mainly composed of orthogonal lines.
  • Talking Animal: Baron appears fully capable of speech. Whether this is in Lore's head or is Baron actually talking is unclear.
  • Tennis Boss: Fighting the Barghest requires Lore to reflect one of its attacks by hitting it with his weapon.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The only time Lore directly attacks the Barghest with his weapon is by throwing it at the monster, which causes it to be lodged in its eye.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The battle system requires various different types of action commands, including dodging attacks, a memorization mini-game, and hitting projectiles back at the enemy. Successfully completing the commands is the way to damage the opponent.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Binder's coat features diamonds. The pattern remains the same even when he moves.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can set Lore on the "dark" path by feeding Baron garbage and throwing out the dog food. Baron will immediately notice the change in behavior, and sadly sulk to Lore about it. Later, when Lore finds Baron's collar, instead of vowing to find Baron, Lore promises "blood for blood."

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