North American gamers missed out Tales of Hearts when it debuted on the Nintendo DS back in 2008. Bandai Namco isn’t making the same mistake twice. The Vita remake, Tales of Hearts R, is making its way to our shores.

Tales of Hearts R stars Kor Meteor, a lad who’s just started training to use his soma, an ancient weapon. Kor's grandpa is teach-ing him how to be responsible with it, but not without a few laughs along the way. From the get-go, the two have a great dynamic, bantering back and forth with Kor calling him “gramps.” Kor can use his soma for healing or destruction, and his grandpa warns him about being able to withstand his emotions and use it with care.


Kor doesn’t find a reason to use his soma until he comes across a mysterious girl, Kohaku Hearts, who washes up on shore. Kohaku was separated from her brother after they tried to escape an evil witch. When Kor tries to help her, an accident occurs that causes Kohaku’s heart to break into pieces. Now he must make things right by going on a quest to collect each missing fragment.Heart and emotion are a huge part of the storyline and even play a role in the battle system. Kor can build up five of his soma’s attributes: fight, endurance, sincerity, belief, and mettle. You also unlock bonuses by building up neighboring attributes evenly. If you can’t decide how you want to build these skills, the game will make suggestions for you. So far, battles play similarly to other Tales’ action battle systems, with free run and the ability to jump or dash to  avoid  attacks.

My biggest takeaway from Tales of Hearts R  is that it’s self-aware. The game knows it’s a bit cheesy and isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself, and that’s refreshing. I just hope the journey isn’t predictable and takes its premise of exploring emotions to an interesting place.