Blending together a touching first-person narrative with the puzzling vibes of Lemmings, there’s no doubting that there’s something uniquely captivating about Tin Hearts. After launching exclusively on the Nintendo Switch last month, it has now brought its fantastic toy-filled puzzling adventure to even more platforms.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Tin Hearts tells the heart-warming story of toy maker Albert J Butterworth and his family, with events unfolding around you as you complete the game’s puzzles. It’s a clever form of storytelling that pushes the narrative forward in a natural manner befitting of the puzzle-solving, with it hard not to find yourself pausing from the action to see events unfold. With time ever passing through the family, you’ll quickly find yourself fully invested in seeing their everyday life and the changes they go through. It’s nice.
That being said, there’s no doubting that the puzzling of Tin Hearts really is the star of the show. You know how I said it has the puzzling vibes of Lemmings? Well, that’s apparent immediately, with the player having to lead a small army of toy soldiers to their goal. You don’t have direct control over the soldiers though, but instead have to place or manipulate objects in their path to lead them along. And if you don’t? Well… you can expect to be left with a few broken toys.
It’s a clever idea that’s made all the more enjoyable thanks to the wide variety of things you can do and objects you can utilise to affect the toy soldiers’ path, each of which you have to actually find in the environment before you can use. Whilst placing blocks to alter their path is effective early on, using things like balloons to make your soldiers float, drums to help them bounce, or cannons to clear obstacles adds a more creative twist to the formula, whilst you’ll even get to control a toy soldier to interact with objects to help clear a pathway later on. There are even hazards to watch out for along the way, with each fitting in perfectly with the game’s wonderful world of toys – if you ever found a Jack in the Box creepy in your younger years, you’ll hate them here…
“The gameplay loop of leading the toy soldiers manages to stay refreshing thanks to all of the many different creative ways you can assist them, whilst the puzzle design itself will really force players to think things through carefully if they want to succeed.”
It makes for an experience that requires a LOT of trial-and-error, though it never feels frustrating thanks to the fact that you’re able to control time. Make a mistake? Rewind time to set things right. Want to quickly think things through with no stress? Pause time so your toy soldiers aren’t at risk. Want to speed things up? Move things forward so you’re not left waiting around. It’s a useful mechanic that ensures players aren’t left constantly re-playing levels when things don’t go their way, whilst it also helps keep boredom from kicking in when left waiting for your toy soldiers to reach the end of the level. With more intricate mechanics getting introduced as you progress through the fifty-plus levels, it’s something you can expect to use a lot of if you hope to succeed.
The only caveat is that it could arguably make the game feel too easy at times, with your mistakes never really punished. Again, referencing Lemmings, there were plenty of times where not reacting quick enough or making a mistake could see you fail a level, but that consequence of danger added to the tension. Tin Hearts is missing that, with it instead offering a more relaxed experience. Some players may prefer that (I quite liked it and found that it complemented the narrative-driven elements of the game), but others may wish that there were higher stakes to be found.
Still, it didn’t stop me from finding myself captivated by Tin Hearts from start to end. The gameplay loop of leading the toy soldiers manages to stay refreshing thanks to all of the many different creative ways you can assist them, whilst the puzzle design itself will really force players to think things through carefully if they want to succeed. And when everything does click into place and you get them to safety? It’s super rewarding. Plus, I’m a big child at heart, so seeing all these toys used in imaginative and fun ways always brought a smile to my face. Add to that the wonderful presentation of the game that makes its world a joy to be a part of and you’ll quickly find yourself won over by Tin Hearts’ whimsical escapade.
Check out some screenshots down below:
That being said, I’d be lying if I said the game didn’t have a few small issues. For one, the camera could be a bit of a nuisance at times, with it hard to get that perfect angle to see everything you need to in some of the more complex levels. I suffered a couple of crashes when playing too, and whilst they weren’t consistent, it was a bit annoying when they occurred in the middle of a puzzle. These aren’t massive problems, but things I noticed when playing.
Tin Hearts Review
Tin Hearts is a wonderfully crafted puzzler that’s unique, clever, and tells a heart-warming story to go along with its cute toy soldier escapade. It mixes together a variety of puzzling mechanics in a creative and whimsical way, whilst the way that everything ties into the use of toys always kept a smile on my face. And sure, the time manipulating mechanics mean that the stakes aren’t too high when leading your toy soldiers on their way, but they don’t stop the game from feeling super rewarding when you finally solve each tricky conundrum.
Developer: Rogue Sun
Publisher: Wired Productions
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch