Knight of My Heart: Henri Spin-off and Sequel Impressions and Review – Spoilers at End

You can find Henri’s main route review here.  This review will focus on his spin-off and sequel.

Henri’s The Suitor is one of my favorite secondary stories from Voltage.  Instead of action sequences, over-the-top dialog, and grand gestures, I found two intelligent people facing real relationship obstacles in a believable manner.  Go buy it.

Henri’s sequel is more of a mixed bag. I enjoy the dialog and secondary characters enough to recommend it, but the main couple really irritate me.

Positives

  • More time spent with Catherine, Isabelle, and Jacques.  I also like the new secondary characters.
  • The intrigue plot ties into the main route’s story, and the two orphans make a reappearance.
  • Word choice again transports the player to a different time, and much of the dialog is amusing.  I suggest you try all the options so as not to miss the funniest lines.

Negatives

  • The wrong sprites appear for Henri in two different scenes.
  • The royal nurse never makes an appearance even though the main route says she will be summoned.
  • The couple’s disagreement scenes feel like forced drama compared to the other stories.  Both the MC and Henri have valid points, but her overly emotional reactions and Henri’s anger didn’t feel like quite the same couple as the main route and spin-off.

*Spoilers Ahead*

    • One chapter in particular had me yelling at the screen.  I was annoyed the MC asks her father to change his mind about Henri’s assignment and equally annoyed that the King does not dismiss his adviser.  In The Suitor, the King and the MC seem pretty close and see each other without other people around to talk about important matters.  I was annoyed with both the MC for being unreasonable and with Henri for being so pushy.  And I was particularly annoyed when I chose the “get out” option and instead got an angry sex scene. I had had enough of these two, thanks. Fortunately, a good scene with the secondary characters follows.
  • For someone who declares “I am the Princess of Valois, someday its queen, Henri, and we live not in some fairy tale kingdom but in a place plagued by difficulties and more than a few enemies,” the MC makes some spectacularly stupid decisions.  She leaves for a public appearance with only one guard.  She throws herself into battle and nearly dies during an encounter that did not require her participation.  She determines to rescue Henri herself when her presence only adds to the rescue party’s responsibilities. Her safety as sole royal heir was important enough to conceal her identity for years, and now she doesn’t seem to give a damn. Later in the story she muses:
      • “It makes me question the motives behind actions I have taken about my determination to put myself at risk despite the very real concerns expressed by Henri and Father.”

      • Do tell, MC. *sighs*

      • She feels more intelligent than this in the other stories.

At least she’s still funny.  Here’s my favorite quote:  “Thank you, Jacques. I will dedicate my next nightmares to you.”  XD

Voltage Entertainment USA’s Knight of My Heart is available on iOS and Android.

 

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6 thoughts on “Knight of My Heart: Henri Spin-off and Sequel Impressions and Review – Spoilers at End

  1. Pingback: Knight of My Heart: Henri Main Route Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free | myladylydia
  2. Thanks for reviewing these. It’s been so long since I wrote them that it was both a nice opportunity to revisit them and a sad comment on my memory that I don’t remember them better.

    I do recall enjoying writing both of these, though I will say that the plot for Suitor was much better developed when I received it. It was right after the long sequel that Voltage USA decided no further sequels would be made for the KoMH game. There was some talk about recrafting the art and the code and re-releasing them. Who knows, they may still do that some day, but for now … no more Henri, Princess, et al. Ultimately, Voltage USA felt their small team needed to devote their attention to more successful, newer games and developing yet more new stuff. I console myself with the thought that this decision made room for Speakeasy Tonight, which I think is a more original illustrated novel in the otome category and is also loads of fun to write … but I do miss the fancy schmancy pseudo-medieval-romance language of KoMH.

    Also, as you note, it was always tricky finding the right tone for the characters in ongoing sequels. I liked the relationship between the King and Princess in the MS and The Suitor too, but then by the time the sequel came around, I needed a source of conflict within the castle besides Henri/Princess having yet another a falling out. I took HUGE liberties with the plot Voltage gave me, so its success or failure is pretty much all on me. What I was trying to do was bring the Princess full circle — from a young woman with a mind of her own who didn’t really know her own power or status to a young woman who was, if not fully in command of all those things, at least fully engaged with them. I realized, about half way in, that I’d lost track of the MC/Henri arc, but with deadlines and such, it really wasn’t practical to go back and rewrite, as I would have done if it were my novel. In defense of my handling of the King in that last sequel: he’d shown phenomenally bad judgement in choosing his advisors in the past, so Lord Boniface was to me a natural extension of that failure and (MILD SPOILER) as you discover in the story, not quite what he seems. Finally, I did not know that this would be the last KoMH story and so probably left several plot threads I intended to pick up in later sequels. That may give the story a sense of open-endedness or incompleteness that contributes to it being unsatisfying to you.

    I enjoyed the supporting characters in my KoMH stories a lot, since they give me a chance to play with theme and contrast. I rather miss Isabelle and Jacques and Catherine and the Princess’s tutor and had plans for Lord Boniface and his daughter and … Pierre (he was the Princess’s old friend from the village, right?). C’est la vie.

    SPOILER ALERT: Back to The Suitor: this was a pretty adventurous story for Voltage at that stage in the development of the American entity, from what I understand, and fairly controversial in the office (or between USA and Japan, not sure). It was an effort to push the boundaries of acceptable material. Another step along the path toward diversifying the cast of these stories, but also appealing to a new audience. I was asked to write Noah (and Hunter) for Intimate Business shortly after this and I assume that was at least partly due to the work I’d done on Prince Aurelian. (Wanted to get back to him again too … ah well … )

    • You’re welcome. I likely would have written a much different review if I had skipped The Suitor and gone straight to the sequel. Henri, the MC, and the King felt so reasonable in the short story that the sequel felt like the amp had been turned up a bit high. Of course, I would have been happy to see the MC ditch Henri, marry Aurelian, and rule her kingdom fairly independently like Elizabeth I with Isabelle as her main adviser so I probably wasn’t the most sympathetic audience to the sequel’s relationship drama. XD

      Yes, I was disappointed to learn White Lies and Knight of My Heart will not be receiving new content. The international politics would have been interesting to explore. I find the nervousness on content for The Suitor and Noah’s route odd. Was it a worry about the rating or uneasiness about player reaction?

      I’m in the process of documenting all the glitches (and good gravy are there a lot of them) I found in Intimate Business and sending the screencaps to Voltage in the hopes they will be rectified. Hunter’s route is by far the worst of the bunch, and I don’t want someone to swear off all Voltage titles solely because their first one is buggy.

      • Thanks for your selfless service on behalf of Intimate Business. If they have to pay someone to do it, I suspect it will never get fixed. 🙂

        As to the “nervousness” … I’m not really in the loop to the degree that I know what that was all about. In my communication with some of the team, I got the sense that there were some pushing for more LGBT-friendly content in the games because I suggested as much. It was hinted that that was something they were working for too, but they’d met resistance so they were moving slowly to make their case: Prince Aurelian and then Noah and, I imagine, some characters in games I’ve not worked on (you’d know better than I on that score). I have a feeling the next barrier is about to be broken, but we’ll see …

        I can see by your reaction to The Suitor that you are indeed not the stereotypical reader/player. The Illustrated Interactive Novel you suggest would be interesting … not sure it’s a Voltage Title, but if Penguin Books ever moves into this format … 🙂

  3. Correction: in saying “I got the sense that there were some pushing for more LGBT-friendly content in the games because I suggested as much” in the post above, I did not mean to imply I was the one to initiate this conversation at the Voltage offices about more LGBT-friendly content in their games. Just an awkwardly phrased sentence. What I MEANT was, I said something in an email about it and was informed that there were others making the same suggestion/working on that front already.

  4. On Intimate Business: I’m a giver (and someone who hates typos and glitches, my current blog not withstanding).

    On more diverse content in the Voltage USA games: I haven’t found any besides your routes, but I certainly haven’t played all of them. Two of the newer Japanese Voltage games have one decidedly gay secondary character, and two main leads who strike me as bi (one hasn’t been released, and the other made me want to punch kittens in the prologue so I skipped his route).

    On interactive books: Some Choice of Games titles come pretty close, but they do not have illustrations and don’t focus as much on dialog. Guenevere, one of the WIPs, seems to meld the diversity of choice and dialog focus well. I really hope Townsend publishes it soon.

    Illustrating a game/book/whatever seems to be a risk. Half the time, when I see a what’s supposed to be a “reward” moment for a player, my first reaction is “anatomy doesn’t work that way” or “I could take him.”

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