I’m on a study project to improve my understanding of roleplaying games. To this end, I already have two reading projects, A Game Per Year and An Adventure Per Year. This is the third, with the goal of reading or playing 52 games made in the last few years. Originally I considered making this “A New RPG Per Week” and that’s where the number 52 comes from, even though a weekly schedule is probably not within my abilities.
Glitter Hearts is a roleplaying game about typical protagonists of teen drama who can transform into amazing super heroes to fight evil. It’s built on the Powered by the Apocalypse system from Apocalypse World. Media touchstones are more anime and less Western superheroics.
In the example adventure, characters are high school students who discover the menace of an interplanetary assault on their school. When they transform, all characters become absolutely fabulous, as evident in the cover image above.
As a middle aged bearded dude, I appreciate the inclusion of middle-aged, bearded men in miniskirts and flamboyant makeup in the visuals. Representation matters, y’all!
The fluffy cotton candy aesthetics extend into the design and conflict outcomes. In a nice touch, you can usually talk villains into giving up their evil ways. Violence is not always the answer!
At the end of the book, there are fun variant rules for giving characters combining robot transformations or the power to summon a singular hero in the style of Captain Planet. The robots can also combine into a single giant robot the players control collectively.
This theme is also present in the game’s basic version where the characters have a strong power they can use if they all act together.