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Puzzle games are often a genre I avoid, but after playing Tin Hearts, my mind on them may have changed. The blend of an emotional storyline, matched with a toybox setting has potential, but hopefully, it won’t get to the point of it being repetitive outside the context of a demo.
Tin Hearts is a promising puzzle title
In the game, you are leading a group of toy soldiers to a goal, like Lemmings moving from space to space. However, in this 3D take, you’ll need to find blocks to help alter their direction. Knowing exactly where the soldiers will be redirected is the challenge, and once you’ve figured it out, it can be satisfying.
You can flip each block around vertically or horizontally, and you’ll be provided a location where you can place it down. Once the block is down, the soldiers can move in the direction you’d like. It’s a simple premise, but it works as a fine moment-to-moment gameplay loop. Tin Hearts may be too basic later on in the game, but the developer has mixed it up by adding intentional gaps, bouncy jumps, and bumps in the environment.
Part of what makes a puzzle game works is a steady progression from beginning to end. So far, Tin Hearts features that prominently. The puzzles, in the beginning, teach you to play the game, but as you finish level by level you’re progressively getting challenged to a fair degree as you learn the mechanics. It’s similar to how Super Meat Boy tests your skills and makes the gameplay a fun, yet learning experience.
Something else that’s hugely compelling is that you can move around the room, finding the objects you need in hidden areas. It’s not a plain 2D shot and creates a more dynamic experience. However, it would be good to get a reset button of some kind that takes you back to where the soldiers spawn.
It’s entertaining to see the soldiers marching their way to victory as you slow down, speed up, or pause the action like a VHS remote. The graphics are simple, but they illustrate the tone Tin Hearts wants out of its game. It has a magical quality to it as it tells the story of a toy inventor and his daughter. As time passes, the environment changes, giving you context to the inventor’s life at this point in life. It’s a great storytelling device that may pay dividends as the narrative unfolds.
Overall, Tin Hearts is a game you should keep an eye on. The time-bending mechanics, clever design, and promising story make up a propitious title. Let’s just hope the puzzle format doesn’t get stale. It will be released on the Nintendo Switch alongside the PC version later this year.
While you wait, you should take a glance at our preview for another promising indie Sea of Stars, an RPG adventure that takes place in the same universe as The Messenger. 2022 will likely be an amazing year for indie games.
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An experienced freelance writer, Chris has a vast knowledge of the gaming medium. With a Bachelor of Communications degree, he hopes to elevate his writing further. His favorite games are Kingdom Hearts, Beyond Good & Evil, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.