Oh I heard you calling out for me and everything felt right
Just give it time
We have so much time."
Maddie Raines has had enough. After years of serving as manager, editor, and general business-handler for her best friend Tara's popular paranormal vlog channel, she's finally ready to move forward with her own life. But when she agrees to take one last trip with Tara to the mysterious village of Eysenfeld, she's suddenly swept up in a dangerous supernatural crisis that will change the course of both of their lives forever. A strange young woman named Morgan has promised them undeniable proof of real paranormal phenomena, and what she has to offer eclipses anything theyd ever seen before.
However, out of all the strange occurrences the three of them bear witness to, one in particular captivates Maddie in a way shes never been before: the ghost of a young woman. This woman is Abigail, the victim of a centuries-old injustice now bound eternally to the forest surrounding Eysenfeld. Drawn to Maddie in a way she cant explain, Abigail reveals herself to another person for the first time in more than 200 years.
While Tara and Morgan investigate the mysteries surrounding the village itself, Maddie begins to form a bond with Abigail that grows to be more intense than any bond shes felt before. As she learns the truth about Abigails death and imprisonment, she realizes that it falls to her and her friends to break the curse that has ruled over Eysenfeld for centuries. But more importantly than that, it falls to her to finally free the woman she loves.
Heart of the Woods is a Yuri Visual Novel made by Studio Élan released on February 15th 2019. The game is currently available for PC through Itch.io and Steam, with a version for the Nintendo Switch announced on June 19, 2019. A successful Kickstarter campaign was held in October of the same year to fund a patch to add voice acting to the game.
Heart of The Woods provides examples of the following:
- Abusive Parents: Evelyn doesn't seem to care much for Morgan, except as her next vessel.
- Agent Mulder / Agent Scully: At the beginning of the game Tara is a firm believer in the paranormal and Maddie doesn't believe any of it. Maddie starts to believe over the course of the game.
- Came Back Strong: Maddie comes back to life as the Fairy Queen.
- Bittersweet Ending: Two of the Multiple Endings fall into this category.
- Ending 1: Geladura returns to her true Fairy Queen form, and Maddie and Abigal are given normal, living human bodies, but Morgan sacrifices her self to kill Evelyn, resulting in Tara being completely emotionally devastated and deppressed on the train ride home. Maddie blames herself for this due to hesitating to kill Evelyn earlier, and thinks Tara hates her now, but Abigal assures her that she doesn't.
- Ending 2: Geladura sacrifices herself to kill Evelyn. Because of this, Maddie is now stuck as the Fairy's Queen thanks to the agreement they made earlier, and her, Abigal and the Faries vanish from sight without even getting to say goodbye to Tara and Morgan. Tara goes into a grieving spiral and eventually informs her fan base and Maddie's family of her "Death", with the latter breaking off contact with her,while Morgan blames herself for all of this. Eventually they move out of Maddie's house due to painful memories, and the epilogue has Morgan getting accepted by Tara's family and the two of them getting married while Morgan internally thanks Maddie, Abigal and Geladura for making this possible.
- Breather Episode: Chapter 5 is mostly taken up by Maddie restoring herself and Abigail to living bodies and all four main characters reuniting and hanging out at the cabin. After everything that's happened during the last couple of chapters, it's all rather sweet and relaxing, right up until the very end when Tara gets abducted by Evelyn.
- The Casanova: Tara has a bit of reputation and is hitting on people a few minutes after meeting them.
- Cast Full of Gay: All four of the main characters are lesbians.
- Childhood Friends: Maddie and Tara met in high school and became friends than.
- Covert Pervert: Morgan seems like the innocent quiet type, but is pretty experienced. In the optional adult patch, we find out that Abigail fits this trope pretty hard as well.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Abigail, of course.
- Cute Mute: Abigail can't talk to living people so she just talks through hand motions and pointing at things.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The true ending. Evelyn is killed, resulting in Geladura becoming the Fairy Queen again, Morgan being finally free from her abusive mother, the Forest Spirit becoming a tree and Maddie and Abigail being permanently brought back to life. The epilogue has all 4 girls return home, living a happy life together and embracing each other on the beach.
- Family of Choice: A major theme of the game.
- Long-Lost Relative: Abigail is Morgan's ancestor.
- The Lost Woods: The woods around Eysenfeld are easy to get lost in, but if you have the area you want to go to in mind you'll almost always get there. Also returning back home never takes more the fifteen minutes.
- Multiple Endings: There are three different endings (two bad endings and one Golden Ending) based on what choices the player makes.
- Nature Spirit: Morgan has seen one in the woods around the town and seeing it in person is what makes Maddie start believing.
- No Social Skills: Morgan doesn't show much emotion, is often blunt and overly honest, makes up stories about her antiques, and does odd things like knock on Maddie's windows in the middle of the night. Given the social isolation and curses Evelyn has enforced on her, much of it operates as coping mechanisms or simple ignorance.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Towards the end of Chapter 4, Maddie begins to flicker in and out of existence due to the damage to the forest's power when Evelyn forces Morgan to destroy one of the ancestral trees. This is represented by both the visuals and the music suddenly cutting to black and pure silence.
- Really Gets Around: Tara is stated to sleep around a good amount, mostly with fans, although she's totally fine with that. Morgan also has slept with most of the women in the town after she was outed but she doesn't feel as good about it.
- Rightful King Returns: In the best ending Geladura returns as the Fairy Queen.
- Snow Means Death: The snow always gets heavier during the worst possible times, and results in Maddie's death after getting lured out into the woods.
- Take Me Instead: Abigail gave herself up in the yearly sacrifice to save her sister. Her sister was more than happy to let her do it.
- Talking Animal: Morgan claims that her cat can talk.
- Transgender: Tara came out and transitioned in high school.
- Vlog Series: Taranormal seems to be a mix of this and a traditional ghost hunting show.
- Will-o'-the-Wisp: The first paranormal thing they see in Eysenfeld. Maddie is not impressed.