Visual Novel Review: The Hepatica Spring by Gallium Games

 
 

The Hepatica Spring is a quick, cute visual novel about finding love and happiness, whether through romance or friendship, during the Midsummer festival. You play as the owner of a hotel in a fantasy land, but when you and your friends discover political machinations afoot, you’ll have to stop them, and you just might grow closer in the process.


The Hepatica Spring - Promo image showing the three romanceable characters. A man with shaggy gray hair holding a dragon-dog, a fashionable red-headed woman, and a masculine-presenting person with long dark hair and glasses holding a book.

Official Description:

The Hepatica Spring—a beautiful bath hotel perched on the shoreline.

As the hotel’s owner, you keep things running smoothly with your colorful crew in a calm, peaceful life.

The magical night of Midsummer approaches, and the king himself plans an appearance at your hotel! Before you know it, you’re flooded by a sea of sparkling new guests from all over the land. An enchanting mix of fresh romance and exciting gossip fills the air, and the thrill of Midsummer’s festive dance grows ever closer.

Soon, however, you realize not everything is as it seems with the king and his men. In this magical land of fairies, trolls, and glittering illusions, who can you trust to help you find the truth?

Whether you decide to join the shy, ingenious Leif, the charming nomadic bard Vendel (and his drog Digby), or the fabulous fashionista Phyllis, you know your quiet world at The Hepatica Spring is about to turn upside down…

More Info:

You can get more info and download the game on Steam and itch.io!

Long Review:

This is a quick visual novel, but a cute one!

All three romanceable characters are sweethearts. And they all have their own struggles beneath the figurative masks they wore, pain or doubt they don’t let show. I especially love Vendel! I was delighted to realize he’s a troll, and that he has a TAIL! He’s so adorable and charismatic and sweet and has this hidden sadness and loneliness that made me feel for him. But like I said, I liked the others too. Phyllis is kind-hearted and gracious. Lief is a bit obsessive about their work, but a sweet, passionate person.

The romances felt a bit rushed since the game is so short, but still cute enough to make me smile and feel the warm fuzzies.

I also really like that you can choose romance or friendship, so that you can see all the routes in a way that feels genuine to you. And whether you choose romance or friendship, you still get the same story and the same happy ending, just the relationship is different.

There are three routes (one for each romanceable character), and though they share the same intro, the rest is different. They have the same general plot problem that needs solving, but the way you discover and solve the problem is different. So there’s not much repeated text, which is nice.

The only choices are which character route to go with, and whether to make it romance or friendship. But that’s ok, this is a visual novel that’s about getting to know the characters and experiencing a story with them.

The fantasy setting is fun. Not much world-building, but there’s magic and trolls and faeries, and I enjoyed the little mentions of how they use magic in their everyday lives.

The music is perfect. It really enhances the emotion, whether it’s a cutesy butterflies romantic moment, a serious emotional connection, danger, etc.

The character art is lovely (though you only get art for the main three and one other), and the backgrounds are pretty. There’s also a CG to unlock for each route.

It took me 1.5 hours to finish my first playthrough and about 45 minutes to an hour each for the other two. About 4 hours total when you add in going back to see the friendships endings and whatnot.

Overall, quick and simple, but cute with pretty art, nice music, and characters who are sweethearts!

*Source/Cost: I purchased this on sale for $4.49 on Steam.*

Screenshot of The Hepatica Spring of Vendel saying, 'I don't suppose you've got any rooms left?'

Short Review:

– Characters are sweethearts
– Romances a bit rushed but still gave me warm fuzzies
– Only choices are which character route and romance or friendship
– Music perfectly suits mood
– Lovely art with 3 CGs
– A quick but cute visual novel!

Accessibility:

(May not include everything)
– Not accessible for blind / visually impaired players and screen reader users.
– Can turn off screen shake.

 
 
 
 

Talk to me!

Have you played The Hepatica Spring?
Do you like having the choice between romance and friendship in visual novels?

 
 
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