Studio Élan has released their yuri visual novel, Heart of the Woods, on Steam and Denpasoft.
From the creators of The Waters Above, Heart of the Woods follows an online paranormal investigations team consisting of Tara and her manager and best friend, Maddie. The duo has agreed to spend a month in a secluded cabin in a town called Eysenfeld after a viewer contacted them about paranormal occurrences in the area. Maddie is apprehensive at first, due to how far out it is and the likelihood of nothing being there, but they ultimately decide to go in the end. It soon becomes apparent after a few days there that something is indeed off in the woods around the town and the girls begin to have paranormal encounters, including a ghost girl that Maddie starts bonding with.
Studio Élan has posted character descriptions for the four main characters, as follows:
A part-time manager, part time video editor, and full-time babysitter, Maddie has the thankless job of handling the absolute whirlwind that is her best friend.
She’s professional, meticulous and intellectual; the first person to turn to when a problem needs solving. But when their investigation entangles her in an ancient curse, she's forced to confront phenomena beyond her comprehension, and more importantly, her own self doubt.
One of the world’s most popular paranormal vloggers (according to her), Tara is unfailingly charismatic and bursting with limitless energy. She’s brash, intrepid, and always seeking something new. That often makes her a magnet for trouble: whether it’s from relentless flirting, minor criminal activities or just plain pig-headedness, things around Tara have a tendency to end in chaos.
For the last two centuries, the ghost of a young woman has haunted the forests of Eysenfeld. That ghost is Abigail, a kind and playful soul forcibly bound to the forest as part of an ancient curse.
Two hundred years of wishing for a life cruelly denied to her have led to a feeling of crushing loneliness and one overwhelming desire: to finally have someone to talk to.
A loyal Taranormal viewer and the daughter of Eysenfeld’s mayor, Morgan is...different. When not running her small and mostly empty antique shop, she’s known to disappear into the woods for days at a time. That, combined with her resistance to traditional social standards, has caused her to develop a bit of a notorious reputation in the village.
However, this resistance is not just an act of rebellion: Morgan knows that there’s something sinister deep within Eysenfeld, and she’s not going to stop until she tears it out at the roots.
Additionally, the game features a word count of over 13,000, with multiple endings and a music room, CG viewer, and guest art gallery. The music and backgrounds are wholly original, with character and CG art from Rosuuri and an ending theme from In Love With A Ghost. There are multiple options for accessibility, and the Steam version includes Steam trading cards.
Heart of the Woods can be purchased for $14.99 with a 10% discount until February 22nd at Steam or Denpasoft. The game runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. A demo for the game can also be downloaded from the game's Steam page or at itch.io for free.
You can also follow Studio Élan at their website or Twitter.
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