I have just started Plundered Hearts. I like the prose already (I even chuckled when it said “Aye-aye!” in response to saving my game). I have no idea how I’m going to put out this burning fuse though, ARGH!
Many people have told me that Plundered Hearts is one of the easiest Infocom games, so of course I couldn’t figure out how to even get off the ship at the start of the game. But I did like the main character a lot.
Yeah, starting the game with timed puzzles certainly was a choice. I spent quite a while wandering around inspecting everything before the ship eventually blew up.
Reports of Plundered Hearts being an interactive romance novel are slightly overblown. There are elements of that, of course (it does appear to be an homage to the historical romance genre), but swashbuckling pirate action is really the star of the show here.
You assume the role of Lady Dimsford, who must save her father from the clutches of a murderous pirate. The protagonist is initially a damsel in distress saved by a dashing pirate, but ultimately proves herself to be the most competent swashbuckler around (outwitting the villains and rescuing her love interest several times over).
The puzzles start and end a little roughly, with some agonizing timed puzzles as the beginning and climax of the game, but the majority of the gameplay is smooth sailing. The writing is engaging throughout (much more so than I expected from a text adventure of this vintage), and the whole thing seems quite polished.
I had a lot of fun with Plundered Hearts, and heartily recommend it to fans of story-forward text adventures.
*CAVEAT: There are some suggestive scenes and problematic game-overs that may trigger some players or run afoul of good taste. You play as a lady among immoral seafarers in a sexified genre, so you can probably guess what that means.
Did you ever play Masquerade by Kathleen M. Fischer? It is not a seafaring game, but it is a romance that contains a lot of similar elements. There is even a puzzle early on that is taken directly from Plundered Hearts.
I have not played it, but I’ll go look for it now!
I too was surprised by the level of violence in Plundered Hearts. I am not opposed to violence in video games, but I didn’t pick up an Infocom game expecting to have the main character be sexually assaulted so hard that she dies.
Maybe it is harlequin romance thing. Maybe the danger adds to the passions. I was just expecting more cartoonish style villainy than American Psycho style villainy.