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Design Hero Studio

Madmen meets Phoenix Wright. You must learn how to work with the creative team of all kind of creatives and accountants to deal with deadly clients in chapters of an... read more

Design Hero Studio Preview

Author: Sean Rehbein
14-Jul-2017

Category: Preview

Navigate your work place, overcome your rivals, and find romance in the millennial visual novel, Design Hero Studio! With beautiful art and lots of player interactions, Design Hero Studio promises to be more than just a click-to-advance visual novel.

Design Hero Studio Preview
Having departed from college, you are now free of the tracks that have guided you for almost 20 years of your life. Now what? That's the tone set at the start of the modern millennial sim, Design Studio Hero. You play as a design school graduate, fresh into the world of your career and no idea where to go or how to start. The only jobs that'll take you pay in exposure bucks, and the generation prior to yours seems to detest yours and blames all the world's woes on it. Following a winning entry in a design contest, you're contacted to work as an intern at a prestigious New York design firm, Jagger & Jones

From here on, the game starts proper, putting you into the roles of a male or female 20-something, fresh-faced and eager to work. Design Hero Studio plays out like a visual novel with more interaction than most in its genre. If the demo is an accurate vertical slice, at least, then you'll be making decisions within your day to day job that affect your relationships and place at the company. It's always nice to see a visual novel that allows some more control over your character's path and allows for opportunities to succeed and fail, rather than following an aggressively linear story.


True to the genre, you'll be meeting a handful of individuals who can become both friend or enemy, depending on how you choose to interact with them. Some may even become more than friends, if you play your cards right. Certain sections of the game come with three hit points, which act as your allotted mistakes you can make before you hit a game over, although there was one mistake that lead to the loss of two hit points instead of one, so be careful.

Customization doesn't just stop with the story, either. Both your character and your work space can be customized throughout the game. The things you can buy for your desk are extremely time locked in this generation, or even just this year. Up for grabs are Funko Pop toys, a Nintendo Switch, and even a fidget spinner, all of which under assumed identities to avoid copyright claims. And yes, you will actually be fulfilling design jobs within the game, choosing colors, fonts, graphics, etc. for your clients. There will even be online leaderboards and contests for these designs.

Design Hero Studio Preview - Your avatar can be either male (see here) or female and will be customizable.
At the moment, the writing is somewhat lackluster, and its presentation littered with grammatical errors. There's not much to say just yet of the plot, as all that's really available is the introduction, brief as it is. The primary means these characters express themselves is through the art, at the moment. Almost as important as the writing is the art in a visual novel game. The art and character designs are what drew my attention to this game in the first place. There's likely someone for everyone to love and someone to hate.

What's available in the demo isn't much, acting as a proof of concept rather than a true vertical slice. As the game develops, hopefully the flaws that exist now turn out just to be rough draft errors rather than consistent issues. There's a lot of promise here, based on the artwork and interactivity the player as with the game. What will make or break it will be the writing and most importantly the characters. Visual novels heavily emphasize character interactions, so if the characters here end up being underwritten and/or annoying, then the whole experience is failed. However, I am hopeful that this game will prove to be a high quality Western visual novel for the modern age, and will be one I will be paying close attention to.

Design Hero Studio Preview - Ruby is one of your co-workers, and currently my favorite. 
You can try out the demo for free and follow the progress on Akinaba's site. Be sure to keep an eye out for their Kickstarter, slated to release on July 23rd.

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