Tin Hearts Is Magic and Whimsy in a Bottle

Tin Hearts Preview

After seeing a trailer earlier this year for Tin Hearts I realized it might just be a perfect game to try out. Naturally when it was available to try, even just as a handful of levels, I needed to jump into it. If you haven’t heard much about Tin Hearts, from developer Rogue Sun, it’s a first person, narrative driven puzzle game. It’s very cute and relaxing to play and I’m even more excited for its release next month!

Tin Hearts is a first person experience with a simple premise: guide the group of tin soldiers from point A to B. It takes a bit of inspiration from the puzzle game Lemmings but it is so much more than that under the surface. It’s really about a toy maker and inventor of the Victorian era. It’s inventive, immersive and interesting, and all while being extremely well crafted.

Every little detail of the story and every puzzle is well designed with obvious thought and care. Just look around each level and you’ll find perfectly placed toys throughout. The first levels are straightforward and allow you to get comfortable with the controls and overall game design. With these you learn how to interact and move the blocks around to guide the tiny soldiers to their door. After this, each level is a bit more difficult and intricate than the last. Once you think you might have it all figured out there’s a new twist thrown into the mix. The world opens up a little more, and you get glimpses of a larger story at play. What begins as positioning blocks to ensure the soldiers get to their final destination turns into something a whole lot more fun.

Having a Blast

Before long you’ll have the soldiers bouncing off drum sets, setting off toy cannons and using books and ramps as additional guides. And you even get to manipulate time! Fast forward to make the soldiers get to their destination quicker, or slow down and stop time to strategize best. There’s even an option to rewind if you mess up. Each level is anything but boring and I was pleasantly surprised with just how much fun I was having along the journey. In fact, despite each puzzle becoming more and more complex or difficult, they were still surprisingly calming. It might be extra entertaining for Tin Hearts to have a race against the clock game mode. This could add an extra level of difficulty as you try to solve the puzzle even quicker.

The controls are fairly simple and Tin Hearts makes good use of the keyboard and mouse without overcomplicating anything. Unfortunately there are small glitches with the movement or when placing the blocks. I’m just chalking that up to this being a preview build of the game however. There’s no frame rate drops or anything of the sort to worry about. The graphics are charming and whimsical. Paired with the cute animation and calming sound design, Tin Hearts really feels heartfelt and magical. Kind of like a big hug after a long day, or a good cup of hot cocoa over the holiday season. The only concern I have for the full version of the game is that it could become repetitive without enough variety or added elements to keep everyone hooked.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what else Rogue Sun has in store for us with the full release of Tin Hearts. Being able to play in VR will certainly be an extra immersive and enjoyable experience. While there are definitely emotional tidbits throughout the portion of the story I played, the levels didn’t delve too much into the full story. I’m hopeful that we’ll get to see more cutscenes with Albert Butterworth and his daughter. Tin Hearts is definitely a charming and magical puzzler to keep an eye on. If you’ve had a bad day, or are in need of a solid pick-me-up, Tin Hearts is the answer.

*** PC game code provided by the publisher ***