Harmony: The Fall of Reverie takes Don't Nod's choice-driven style and animates it

Much of the Don't Nod 'Life is Strange' style formula is present in Harmony: The Fall of Reverie, but the developer's latest sports a noticeably different style.

Don't Nod

What if the aspirations of humanity all dwelled in an alternate dimension? What if that dimension was in danger of collapse? That's the idea behind Harmony: The Fall of Reverie, the latest adventure story from the team at Don't Nod. It's one of the studio's first outings as an independent entity and it's one that seeks to expand on many of the ideas that it has become known for, including choice-driven gameplay and memorable characters.

The main difference between Harmony: The Fall of Reverie and Don't Nod's previous titles is a gorgeous hand-drawn art style. Many of the game's cutscenes feel like a cartoon come to life. It's a style that persists through the game's dialogue sequences and menus with many of those dialogue instances fully voice acted. Harmony immediately strikes the player with a sense of personality, as opposed to stories like those in the Life is Strange series, which took some time to establish themselves.

A dialogue sequence from Harmony: The Fall of Reverie.

Source: Don't Nod

First revealed back during the February 2023 Nintendo Direct, Harmony: The Fall of Reverie tells the story of Polly, who returns to her old hometown in search of her missing mother. She soon falls through a strange gateway into another dimension, one that houses various incarnations of the Aspirations of humanity. Polly quickly discovers that in this realm called Reverie, she is actually the aspiration known as Harmony, hence the game's title.

The idea is that Reverie is falling apart and if it collapses, humanity will go down with it. It's up to Polly/Harmony to help save it by solving the mystery of her missing mother, standing by her community against a dangerous megacorporation called MK, and also progressing through the Augural, which is a nexus of key decision points. Players will interact with various characters and venture back and forth between the real world and Reverie. Depending on the choices they make, they'll lean closer to passing rule of Reverie off to a single Aspiration. The catch is that in making some choices, others will be closed off for the rest of the story. With her clairvoyant power, Harmony can gain a peek at what each choice might lead to, but whether to commit and pursue that path is ultimately up to the player.

The Augural in Harmony: The Fall of Reverie

Source: Don't Nod

Without spoiling too much of the narrative, there were some fascinating twists over my first few hours with Harmony: The Fall of Reverie. What's most interesting that I couldn't even dive into them all if I wanted to, simply because of the variety of ways that the Augural can unfold. For most players, the story will be different and that Aspiration that they gravitate towards may likewise contrast with another player's experience.

I've had almost a decade to get familiar with Don't Nod's style of choice-driven storytelling. Harmony: The Fall of Reverie delivers more of it, but with an eye-catching new animation style, capable voice acting, and an even greater emphasis on choice. Whether the endings will prove satisfying remains to be seen, but it should be fun to find out. Harmony: The Fall of Reverie will release on PC and Nintendo Switch on Thursday, June 8 and arrive on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S on Thursday, June 22. PC users who want to check it out early can check out a new demo during this weekend's Steam LudoNarraCon event.

This preview is based on a limited pre-release Steam code provided by the publisher.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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