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Heart of the House

by Nissa Campbell

Horror
2017

Web Site

(based on 15 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

Destroy the evil at the heart of a haunted manor! As an orphan, you discovered your ability to commune with the spirit world and ghosts. When your uncle Kent mysteriously disappears, you'll embark on a journey find out what really happened. With your trusty companion Devanand at your side, you make your way to Darnecroy Manor, where Kent was last seen. It is...The House.

"Heart of the House" is 360,000-word interactive Gothic novel by Nissa Campbell. It's entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Within the manor, you'll encounter the master, Lord Bastian Reaves; his mysterious servants, Oriana and Loren; and the thousands of spirits teeming around and in this haunted mansion. But will you shatter the power that binds the ghosts to the House, or claim it for yourself? Can love bloom in a haunted house? Most importantly, how will you escape, when the House comes for you?

• Play as a male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, ace, or poly
• Explore the halls of the House, even as they seem to shift before your eyes
• Encounter ghosts, spirits, and echoes, as you search for your lost Uncle Kent
• Fight against an ancient evil or embrace its demonic gifts
• Indulge in steamy, chaste, sweet, or provocative romances, or go it alone
• Exploit the secrets you find for self-serving ends or use them to help your friends
• Defeat your greatest fears in bone-chilling moments of terror...if you can.
• Choose whom you can save, if anyone, from the horrors the House contains

For some, there may be no escape from The Heart of the House.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Gothic horror at its best. Explore the mysteries of a cursed manor, September 7, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

This quite large Gothic horror game reminded me of quite a few games and stories over time.

In its early phases, it has much of the feel of Dracula or the Mysteries of Udolpho (one of the stories inspiring Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey). You are in a small town where a beautiful and sensual Lord or Lady (depending on your choices) presides and where strange disappearances happen, like that of your uncle.

The bulk of the game (15 or 16 chapters, each substantial) reminded me of Anchorhead, or of Udolpho again, or of Curses!, my favorite IF game of all time. A giant mansion filled with odd and horrifying characters and objects (like a mysteriously strong 90 year old butler, or a door wrapped in wrought iron vines that seem to prick your finger no matter how careful you are).

The game overall tends towards 'weird fiction' in the latter half, a genre commonly identified with Lovecraft but which here seems to align itself more with other works such as Algernon Blackwood. There are no cults here, no bizarre combinations of consonants and very little of madness. Ghostly horror is more of a theme.

There are several rewarding romantic opportunities. Like all of Choice of Games' titles, there is a lot of diversity and inclusion, but unlike some games that reviewers have complained of, all of the diversity here is very well-explained and genre-sensitive. After all, a strange manor in a strange town where the owner is known for startling and forward-thinking views is the perfect place for a non-binary character or for same-gender romances, much like the early vampire novel Carmilla, which is even referenced in-story.

Gameplay revolves around choices to be trusting or distrustful, to be physical or charming or spiritual, to investigate more or to help others, etc. There are several layers of mystery, and the game seems very replayable. I'd especially like to replay as a completely skeptical investigator.

There are some questions that I still have, and hope to explore more (especially about a figure you see in the very first chapter).

Overall, I'd say that this game in the Choice of Games canon occupies the same place as Anchorhead in the parser game canon: a long, replayable, evil house horror game that is very popular and basically great for everyone to play.

I received a review copy of this game.

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Heart of the House on IFDB

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Heart of the House appears in the following Recommended Lists:

2023 Alternative Top 100 by Denk
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