To Heart Original Soundtrack (1999)


Review by · October 6, 2001

It’s not very often that you find an album like To Heart. On appearance alone, it may seem a little too bouncy, just a tad too happy for the average game music fan, but this dating sim soundtrack is quite a refreshing change of pace from most other OST’s. Although a bit mellow and subdued as compared to the more popular Tokimeki Memorial’s tunes, I found it to be extremely enjoyable, so much so that I consider it up there with my favorite game soundtracks of all time!

I’ve always been partial to the happier, more easy-going melodies of dating sims. They have a charm to them that generally isn’t found on many other game soundtracks. To Heart happily follows this trend. As sound programming for the PSX goes, these samples aren’t anything spectaculer, but the melodies and jazz/fusion-style of the music make it really stand out. And it doesn’t hurt that the songs tend to be catchier than most. “What’s Your Name” is an excellent example of this; I found myself humming it throughout the day.

As such with these games, most of the music is of a poppier/bouncier nature, yet there’s a bit more substance to these pieces than one would think, which adds a lot of depth and texture for a soundtrack of a game based on dating ultra-cutesy girls. Surprisingly, there’s a wide range of emotions attached to this music, as well. “Your Profile” has the feel of youthful innocence while “Sebastian” emanates a jazzy coolness that’s simply fun to listen to. One of the most interesting is “Technical Power” with it’s funky sound straight from the 70’s disco scene; I found myself totally in love with it. Even the most syrupy-sweet pieces are given just enough exposure to keep you from getting overwhelmed.

As for vocals, “Feeling Heart” is a wonderfully sweet song. Even without knowing the words that are sung, you can hear the tenderness in Masami Nakatsukasa’s voice, and it carries the performance. The ending theme is probably reason enough to buy the CD. “To a Thousand Tomorrows” carries with it a subtle sadness that really doesn’t fit the mood for this type of game, but I’m willing to dismiss this for the fact that I haven’t heard a more touching piece in a long time.

One of the first things I look for when buying a CD is the number of tracks on the album. This generally determines average track length, which is fairly important to me. At first look, with almost 40 tracks of music, you would think To Heart would fall into the catagory of “too many single-rotation tracks that are way too short,” but this isn’t the case. What I found great about this CD is the fact that the character themes all last two rotations and are of a decent length. As for the rest of the album, with what sounds to be a definitive beginning, middle, and end on each track, I found myself more easily listening to them than those that rotate in a way that makes the song sound rushed and leave the listener feeling unfullfilled; the album flows perfectly.

So, for the average game music listener, does To Heart measure up? If you’re willing to take a chance on something different, something a tad bouncier with a slight edge to it, then yes, definitely. If you’re looking for a highly dramatic, pulse-pounding experience, then you’re better off looking elsewhere. To Heart is a tricky soundtrack to get your hands on, though. It’s currently available at Otaku for about $35.

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Lucy Rzeminski

Lucy Rzeminski

RPGFan Music has long had a single figurehead running the show. For years, that person was Lucy. Her passion and knowledge of VGMusic was unmatched, and she helped bolster our coverage quite a bit during her time here.