Harmony: The Fall of Reverie Preview - Aspiring Toward the Best Choices

#HarmonyFallofReverie aims to be more than just another choice-driven narrative. Find out why in our hands-on preview.

Published: May 4, 2023 1:00 PM /

Previewed By:

Harmony The Fall of Reverie Harmony Standing in Front of Aspirations While Holding Necklace That Lets Her Go to Reverie

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie has left me in a difficult position few other games could hope to accomplish.

This isn't to say it's done something bad or failed to live up to the reputation of its developer Don't Nod. In fact, it's managed to impact me in a way few other titles have in recent memory. After only a handful of hours spent with a preview build, it has me excited to dig into everything it has to offer once the full version is ready for release. I want to see every narrative twist it's hiding behind its different scenarios and choices and to play through it as many times as it takes to do so.

As a result, I've been torn on whether or not I want to dig into every scenario one can experience in the preview build or hold off until I can play through the full product. Which, at the very least, shows that Harmony: The Fall of Reverie is a promising new IP, and could serve as a new standard-bearer for choice and narrative-driven titles.

For proof, one needs look no further than the general plot. Following the disappearance of her mother Ursula, medical researcher Polly returns to her hometown to unravel what happened and why. Once there, she discovers a necklace that allows her to enter the world of Reverie, a land inhabited by the godly Aspirations that guide and are shaped by the choices of humanity. These deities are desperate to stop the collapse of their world following an enigmatic disaster, and have put their hopes in Polly - or as they call her, Harmony - following her mother's failed attempt to help them. How she failed though, and where she is now, remains a mystery. 

Polly must then work to uncover the full story of what happened, weighing her choices in the real world against how they'll affect Reverie. How she decides to try and find her mother in the real world, and who she aligns herself with to do so, could lead to either prosperity or devastation for both realities. 

Harmony The Fall of Reverie Polly in Reverie Talking to Aspiration Bliss About How Choices Impact World
Each of the Aspirations in Harmony: Fall of Reverie are designed and behave according to the aspect they're tied to.

It's a wild concept, but is presented in a way that's easy enough to follow. Bolstering this is the game's writing, which flows smoothly and colors the world in a way that makes each new dialogue exchange or exposition drop a joy to follow. Characters speak and behave realistically, making conversations and conflicts that sprout up more believable even as the game goes into more fantastical concepts.

As for the gameplay, it's deceptively deep. Though Harmony: The Fall of Reverie may present itself as a visual novel with some extra bells and whistles, it quickly reveals that the player has a wealth of mechanics to juggle and make use of. Most of them revolve around the Augural, a map that allows players to see the available paths they can go down based on their decisions.

Players move along the map by interacting with different nodes that represent the different choices they can make, and each node can be linked to aligning with or empowering different Aspirations. Choosing to be direct and forceful with someone Polly needs to question may lead to a stronger link with the Power Aspiration, whereas taking a softer approach can result in obtaining the trust or guidance of Bliss or Balance. Each choice can likewise be blocked off based on how often the player has aligned with a certain Aspiration and how many Crystals tied to them one has collected, narrowing the decisions they can make.

These decisions in turn affect which outcome Harmony: The Fall of Reverie players will experience by the end of a chapter, and block off potential endings that otherwise required making different choices throughout the map. I wound up siding more with Power and Balance during my initial run of the first few chapters by pursuing a plan for finding Ursula in which Polly led her friends in a wide-reaching plan that sought to help more than just herself. This led to Power and Balance gaining more dominance in Reverie, and they were then able to utilize this to uncover a new Aspiration that was otherwise inaccessible to me.

As a result, though, I was blocked off from an outcome that could have seen Polly learn more about some of her closest allies and couldn't gain the advantages that would have brought to later events. This led to the Bliss Aspiration losing influence in her world, and to Polly having less of a tie to her moving forward.

Harmony Fall of Reverie Augural View of Choices Made and What Player Can Choose Next
Certain choices can lead to players obtaining Crystals assigned to certain Aspirations. This in turn allows them to unlock different outcomes tied to a given aspiration.

On top of all this, one also has to consider the specific attributes and effects tied to choosing certain events. While some choice nodes are fairly straightforward in what they offer, others can re-open past decision trees or allow the player to see how one decision track will turn out. This can upend what would otherwise be a simple black-and-white decision, and can result in players adapting their choices less to a specific narrative path and more to one which best serves their long-term goals.

Though I initially planned on continuing to make choices aligned with Balance and Power, siding with Bliss through my choices in later chapters proved more advantageous in terms of what I could find out and prepare for via the Augural. This led to my making Bliss more powerful within Reverie later on, and to a scenario which I wouldn't have experienced if I'd gone the less tactical route.

If this sounds like a lot, that's because it is. All of the different mechanics in Harmony: The Fall of Reverie can be a bit overwhelming at first, but the game does a good job of explaining them all and allowing the player to wrap their head around them gradually. Once they do grasp these mechanics, they'll find the title makes some of the less accessible aspects of choice-driven narrative games more manageable. I was able to carefully analyze each choice I wanted to make without being outright spoiled on the outcomes and had a better understanding of what might occur thanks to the way each decision was tied to supporting a given Aspiration. 

Needless to say, Harmony: The Fall of Reverie has plenty of promise and potential. While some of its gameplay mechanics can feel overwhelming at first, even a small section of it manages to stand as a top-tier new offering from Don't Nod and should definitely be on the radar of anyone who enjoys engaging narrative experiences.

TechRaptor previewed Harmony: The Fall of Reverie via a Steam code provided by developer and publisher Don't Nod. The game is scheduled to release in June of 2023.

Previews you can trust: To ensure you're getting a fair, accurate, and informed review, our experienced team spends a significant amount of time on everything we preview. Read more about how we review games and products.


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Keenan McCall, a Staff Writer for TechRaptor
| Staff Writer

Keenan is a freelance video game journalist and writer who has been playing games for as long as he can remember. From the original Pong all the way up to… More about Keenan

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Harmony: The Fall of Reverie
Don't Nod
Don't Nod
Release Date
June 30, 2023 (Calendar)
Visual Novel
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)