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May 2024

Harmony: The Fall Of Reverie

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Don't Nod
Release Date: June 2023


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Switch/PS5/XSX/PC Preview - 'Harmony: The Fall of Reverie'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on May 4, 2023 @ 10:00 a.m. PDT

Harmony: The Fall Of Reverie is a new narrative experience where you’ll play as Polly, an upbeat young woman who can travel between our world and Reverie, a realm where the deities live.

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie follows the story of a woman named Polly, who has returned to her comfortable hometown at the request of her friends and family. Her mother has gone missing, and they need to find out where she's gone. As soon as Polly sets foot in her mother's house, she is whisked away to an alternate world. Reverie is sort of a collective unconsciousness of humanity, populated by godlike Aspirations that represent the goals of humanity. In Reverie, Polly is transformed from a human to a god, Harmony, who can direct the flow of the world. Harmony-slash-Polly must use both her human side and her godly side to figure out where her mother went. She also must learn the secrets of the megacorporation MK when seems intent on turning her hometown into a soulless corporate hellscape.

Like many visual novel adventures, Harmony has a branching plot tree that lets players see the flow of the story. What makes Harmony distinct is that its branching plot tree isn't just a visual depiction. Harmony is gifted with the power of foresight and can see the outcome of actions. You already get some idea of how things are going to play out before you make your choices, rather than gambling on guesses. Choices also have consequences, and you'll need to live with those consequences. Harmony might be able to see the future, but that doesn't mean she's omniscient.

She isn't alone. The various Aspirations of the world exist alongside her, all vying for her approval and attention. When a choice comes up, it is associated with certain Aspirations, and making that choice will earn crystals, which determine the path options that become available further down the line. The choices aren't quite so simple. Bliss, Bond, Chaos, Glory, Power and Truth are the listed Aspirations, and they don't quite fall into a Good or Evil category. For example, one of the earliest choices involves Bliss and Power. A friend of Polly's is thinking about working for the evil corporation that's ruining the city. You can either choose to agree with her idea, knowing it isn't consistent with her personality, or confront her about it and be truthful. Bliss is the nicer option but not necessarily the correct option.

It'll be interesting to see how this will pan out. Based on what the game tells us, each Aspiration is vying to become the central aspiration for humanity and will help shape its future, which is why each one is hoping Harmony will support them. This adds an interesting layer to the narrative, where you have to consider things from Polly's side as well as from Harmony's perspective. If you dislike the idea of a certain Aspiration gaining power, then you might choose an option that you otherwise wouldn't.

Visually, Harmony is a treat. The lovely hand-drawn artwork and intriguing character designs bring the worlds to life, whether human or supernatural. The portraits are charming and have some animation. The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous, and I just love the bright and colorful world.

I'm very curious to see how the final version of Harmony: The Fall of Reverie plays out. It's always difficult to judge a visual novel-style game from a preview because there are so many ways it can end up, but Harmony has the basis for a really engaging concept. I'd love to see if the full experience can maintain the idea of every Aspiration having both pluses and negatives. Harmony's strong presentation and cool concept mean that I'm really looking forward to playing the full game when it releases in June 2023.

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