Out of all the yaoi visual novels I have played so far, this one is definitely the most light-hearted, but when the other titles I have been playing include Hadaka Shitsuji, Sweet Pool and the most recently added to my collection of yaoi visual novels Togainu no Chi True Blood, well that is an easy statement to say.
All of the games mentioned can be purchased through Steam, though with Sweet Pool and Togainu no Chi you have to go through the publisher’s websites to also purchase DLC to get the games uncensored, but I will tell you more about that when I review those games once I have finished them. Today I am here to write about a yaoi hidden gem on the Steam store that I don’t see too many people within the community talking about. Maybe it is because it is a western yaoi game, maybe it’s because its a newer title, I really don’t know but if you are a fan of yaoi visual novels this is one game worth your time.
Released on Steam on July 23rd , 2019 from developer Ertal Games, who I have written about previously with my review of their free to play yaoi game Blood and Lust which I highly recommend if you are looking for a quick yaoi fix. My Burning Heart is there latest game and tells the story of a young man named Adnan who has had a tough life on the streets of a city under the rule of a Sultan who is captured and becomes a slave and then an unwilling Harem boy when picked up in the market by the Great Vizier as a gift for the Sultan. At the beginning of the game Adnan makes it very clear to the player that he does not want to live the life of some pampered sex toy and depending on the choices you make throughout the game his attitude may or may not change towards this.
There are three characters you mostly interact with within the game. Halim a boy who was raised and trained to be what he is in the palace a perfect little harem boy that will do whatever he must to please his master. His majesty the Sultan Abd Al-Rashid, who has an insatiable for sex and all the good things in life he feels he deserves, but can be very sweet and caring as long as he is obeyed completely. Then there is The Great Vizier, Harun who is a manipulative and conniving man with a hell of a cruel streak.
There are good and bad endings for both Halim and Rashid, there is also a bonus good ending involving Harun . Each route being both enjoyable and slightly frustrating in its own way. The frustration however does not come from the stories within the game as each character is given very emotional and moving stories including Harun which was a pleasant surprise. The frustrating came with making the right choices to get any ending in the game. For my first two playthrough of the games the story just ended about halfway through because I did not have enough of a relationship with either Halim and Rashid. Even if you are aiming for the bad ending (I love angst if the list of yaoi games I am playing is any indication to my tastes) and you have to play nice in the first half of the game to get the bad ends as well, but this was just a minor nitpick and once I figured out the choices I needed to make the game became much more enjoyable. I will also openly admit I had to look up a walkthrough to get the Harun ending, but I am glad I did as it was easily the most interesting and amusing route in the entire game and by the end of it was my favourite route.
When I first downloaded the game it did not have voice acting, but while I was playing an update came out for the game to add voice acting. All the characters are delightfully cast, Halim sounds pleasantly adorable and will crawl into your heart even faster. Rashid’s sultry voice makes some of his cheesier lines a little less cringy (there is still a little cringe for how cheesy he can be sometimes). Harun’s voice was my favourite though his calm cruelty comes across perfectly in the performance and there were plenty of moments in the final stretch of his route when that voice just gave me the best tingles.
One warning I will give for this game is if you are not a fan of media yaoi or otherwise that depicts dubious consent (though it is treated as such in the game and is not at all romanticized) then this game is not for you because no matter what route you choose you will come across this content within the game and one of the bad endings does involve rape so again if this is something you do not feel comfortable with then this will not be the game for you.
Overall though I myself have found this game very enjoyable and it is a fun edition to anyone’s yaoi collection, with a little bit of angst a little bit of comedy and a cast of characters that all grow on you as the story plays out it was a fun game.