'To Heart' (Japanese: トゥーハート, Hepburn: 'Tū Hāto') is a 1997 open-world action-adventure role-playing game developed by Drillimation Studios in conjunction with British developer Rareware and published by Namco and Nintendo originally for the Nintendo 64 console, and later by Microsoft and Namco for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox console. The game was released for the Nintendo 64 on May 23, 1997, followed by a release on the Xbox and Microsoft Windows on June 27, 2003.
In the game, players assume the role of Hiroyuki Fujita who has the ability to switch between two realms, the Real World and the Dream World, in an attempt to confess his love to his girlfriend, Akari Kamigishi. Originally started off as a canceled arcade platforming game, the game was transformed from a light-hearted game to a raunchy, vulgar game that contains violence, profanity, and innuendo. Upon release, To Heart received critical acclaim, with praise being aimed for its humor and gameplay. However, the game received criticism for its violence and more mature themes, which became the target of controversy.
To Heart is an action-adventure role-playing game viewed from a third-person perspective. In the single-player mode, the game is broken into two worlds: the Real World and the Dream World. Players assume the role of Hiroyuki Fujita, a rude, abusive teenage boy who must escape his loneliness at home in an attempt to confess his love to his girlfriend, Akari. The two worlds are based on an overworld that the player can freely explore, although most of them are blocked off until certain tasks are completed.
In the Real World, players are given 14 real-time hours (each minute of gameplay counts as 20 minutes, and the Real World day is approximately 42 minutes) to complete any quests the game requires to have completed. Each school day is divided into three segments: Hiroyuki's commute to school, during school, and after school. During any of the three segments and of Hiroyuki's actions, one of these four events may happen:
- Dated events: Occurs automatically during certain points in the game's plotline.
- Affection events: Occurs during certain periods of time only if specific conditions pertaining to a character's affection towards Hiroyuki are met.
- Frequency events: Occurs after meeting a character a predetermined number of times.
- VS events: Occurs if two characters' affection towards Hiroyuki conflict with one another. Conflicts can only be settled in the Dream World, where the player must fight the character Hiroyuki conflicted with.
At the end of the school day, the player can use the remaining seven hours and freely explore the overworld and complete any quests the game requires to be completed. Each quest is accompanied by a character who must have Hiroyuki solve their problem by either solving puzzles, defeating a boss, or finding a hidden object within the scene. Upon completion of a task, the player is always awarded a cash award, which can be used to buy weapons, food to restore his health, and drugs to use on enemies.
In the Dream World, the game is set in a Middle Ages-based world ruled by humanoids and dinosaurs. The Dreamworld has altered structures based on the structures in the real world. Upon entering, Hiroyuki is transformed into his medieval form and fights with medieval versions of his weapons. Players are given 10 "sleeping" hours (approximately 30 minutes of gameplay) to complete any tasks in the Dream World with the same properties as the Real World, but with more advanced mechanics such as platforming and engaging in Touhou-style fights with some bosses.
Hiroyuki's health is powered by a "love meter", which Hiroyuki loses when he takes damage. If the Love Meter drains entirely, Hiroyuki will die and cause a game over (if the player died in the Real World) and will respawn at the last save point. If the player dies in the Dream World, Hiroyuki will respawn at where he entered instead of restarting the game.
The multiplayer mode features five minigames:
- Heart by Heart: A platform game where the player controls a selectable character in one of the thirty static, non-moving levels. The player's objective is to defeat all of the enemies in the level using various attacks within a time limit. The minigame also features a two-player variation, in which the players may compete or cooperate with each other within the game's levels.
- Puzzle de Heart: A Puyo Puyo-style game where the player gains points by forming and eliminating lines of three or more blocks of the same shape. The player achieves this by swapping the preexisting blocks in the game's screen with those in a bank of blocks allotted to them.
- Witch Princess: A side-scrolling Touhou-style danmaku shooter game featuring Serika Kurusugawa in her Dream World form. The player's goal is to progress through a horizontally scrolling level while attacking enemies and dodging their attacks.
- Rubbing Multi/Serio: An icebreaker-style game where the player is given simulated massages by Multi or Serio using the Rumble Pak. This minigame can only be accessed if the player's controller has the Rumble Pak installed and is not available on the PC or Xbox One versions.
- Water Survival: A third person shooter where Hiroyuki and Shiho attempt to shoot each other with water guns.
Hiroyuki Fujita is arrested after attempting to rob a weapon store in order to obtain a gun. However, he is released for lack of evidence. Now mentally corrupted, he decides to grow closer to his girlfriend Akari. Later, he joins the newly-formed Shintoist Province and Scarlet Devil of Team Crimson where he receives a weapon.