Tin Hearts | Windows PC Review
Tin Hearts, developed by Rogue Sun and published by Wired Productions is a first-person, narrative-driven puzzle game. Whilst a relatively new studio, the team at Rogue Sun includes some members from Lionhead Games, who are most well known for their work on the incredible Fable series, so it's fair to say that while they’re a young team, there are certainly some industry veterans in there. Tin Hearts is available now on Windows PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, and for this review, I was playing on the Windows PC version.
Tin Hearts provides an emotive and heart wrenching story of an inventor known as Albert J. Butterworth. Tin Hearts puts you in the wonderful workshop of this brilliant inventor; a workshop that houses a magical and whimsical world all living within his family home. The writers very much took a stance of “show, don’t tell” when it comes to the story telling, which is not a criticism. To me, it appears like the storyline is following the path of an incredibly passionate inventor who begins to move from passion and love to pure obsession that consumes him. There are many secrets at play and most of the storyline felt like it was up for interpretation which, again, isn’t a bad thing. One thing I noticed is that the main character (whoever you control) seems to be ethereal and anyone featured in cutscenes and cinematic moments (such as the trailer) also appear to be ethereal, so perhaps there are themes of loss included in Mr Butterworth's life and these cutscenes are little remembrances of what once was. Each new level will take you to a different workshop with a slightly unique feel which makes me question whether perhaps it's taking you through different periods in Alberts life; if not, it really shows an authentic and tangible variation in his field of work throughout the years.
Your job is to guide a troop of mischievous tin soldiers through the workshop to their final destination. You have to move wooden blocks to guide the way and use magical contraptions to achieve this. There are over 50 puzzles to march your way through that will have you put many different tools and mechanics to manoeuvre your way through the workshop. Throughout the span of the puzzles you’ll be introduced to new tools and mechanics that will both make your life easier and also complicate the puzzle process a little more. The incline in difficulty feels very natural and it works well in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to play the closed beta and initially I felt very confused about my goal and when I worked that part out, I was slightly confused about how to achieve it so my first criticism is a slightly more obvious tutorial would have been nice to save that confusion. I may have just been stupid, who knows. I will say though, despite the initial confusion, I was instantly charmed and instantly fell in love just from the environment alone; but after I worked out exactly what the game was asking of me the love just grew. Aside from my initial hiccup and stupidity, the puzzles were by and large very fair. Yes, many were challenging but not to the point where they began to feel unfair or frustrating which is another huge plus.
In every way, shape and form I felt totally enchanted by Tin Hearts. From the narrative to the environment; everything just ticked all the boxes for me. Visually, the game was stunning and despite every level taking place in an almost identical setting, each level managed to maintain a different feel and despite every level taking place on Alberts workbench, the rest of the world had little nods to the storyline and felt full and rich. Alongside the visuals, the audio design is also excellent. The soundtrack was really gentle and relaxing and accompanied the mellow gameplay wonderfully and really set the tone for the game and immersed me even further. Unfortunately, I dont have the tech available to try out the VR but I imagine it would be a lot of fun. The sound effects and music were very minimalist however that is in no way a criticism, in fact, it simply elevated the gameplay further with its simplicity.
Tin Hearts was an absolute delight and a pleasure to play through. It’s certainly a game I plan on revisiting in the hopes of new levels being added as there seems to be plenty of scope for that. Fans of atmospheric, puzzle games will feel right at home with Tin Hearts. The main game that I likened it to, without a shadow of a doubt, was Lemmings. Despite being such a new studio, it's clear that there is massive quality to be found within the team at Rogue Sun and I look forward to what's to come from them because the calibre shone through repeatedly for me during Tin Hearts. There is no set group of people that I’d recommend it to because it could really be a game that would suit anyone of any taste.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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