Tin Hearts Review – Time, Tin Soldiers, and Tales
Tin Hearts is essentially a Lemmings-style game, reimagined with the player guiding a set of tin soldiers. At its core, it’s a game about family, human emotions, and relationships, but the gameplay primarily focuses on guiding a set of tin soldiers from one point to the next. We essentially play as an entity in the world of Tin Hearts that can manipulate the background and various objects to forge a path to the next checkpoint. Although the game is tailored for VR, it currently doesn’t support it, with the VR mode planned for a later date.
While Tin Hearts lacks a traditional narrative, it does offer a story told through background clues. We can see the life of Albert K. Butterworth and his family. We mostly learn about his life through clues scattered around the background, such as notes. The game also depicts his life in cutscenes, offering glimpses of his past. It’s an attempt to add an emotional touch to an otherwise static narrative.
Tin Hearts feels like a game aimed at the VR market, but it’s playable with a controller. Like a Lemmings game, it’s up to the player to navigate and help the tin soldiers reach their objective safely. Each level in the game is cleverly designed around the limitations of the tin soldiers, and while the game starts relatively easy, it becomes more complex as we progress. New gameplay mechanics are introduced throughout the game, such as the ability to control time, leading to new possibilities.
Most of the game is played from a first-person perspective, and it’s possible to zoom into objects to get a clear look at the levels. The game starts simply, to manipulate objects like blocks or trains, and then slowly adds more items and mechanics, like the ability to control time. It’s possible to pause time, allowing us to strategize and plan for the soldiers, or fast forward in cases where the soldiers have no obstacles and just need to rush to the next checkpoint. Mistakes can be rectified with the time rewind ability, letting us go back to a specific point and attempt to avoid the mistake.
Tin Hearts was an attempt by the developers to provide a narrative revolving around the daily struggles of a person, in this case, Albert J Butterworth. He is portrayed as a brilliant inventor in the game, who is also the creator of the soldiers that we help navigate. The emotional moments in Tin Hearts are plentiful and beautifully presented throughout the main campaign. Aside from the story being presented in the form of notes, the cutscenes that occur after reaching certain tasks delve deeper into Albert’s struggles, how his wife suffered from an illness, and how his relationship with his daughter was affected due to these circumstances. It’s a poignant narrative that’s offered with a mix of gameplay and cutscenes.
Tin Hearts has close to 50 different levels, however, I struggled to find any replay value in them. Once we go through the main story and see the narrative unfold, there’s no incentive to replay these levels unless we want to try out different strategies. However, the upcoming VR support might open up these levels for replay value because VR can usually enhance and improve the experience. It remains to be seen how robust the implementation is planned for Tin Hearts, but if they can utilize the key aspects of PSVR 2 like the sound, controller, and headset feedback, then it might make the game worth replaying even if we’ve already beaten it once.
That said, Tin Hearts is not without its flaws. The game has launched with several issues that might hinder the enjoyment of the experience. Frequent crashes have been reported when running the game, and the frame rate and overall performance aren’t great either. Tin Hearts doesn’t look like a game that should be demanding. Some general bugs that I experienced included a lack of level progression as the in-game counter was broken. There’s also some loose hit detection when the soldiers end up clipping around objects.
In conclusion, Tin Hearts is a unique take on the Lemmings-style game, with an emotional narrative woven into the gameplay. While it has its flaws and lacks VR support at launch, it offers an engaging experience with clever level design and the addition of time control mechanics. The upcoming VR support could potentially enhance the replay value of the game. Despite its issues, “Tin Hearts” could be worth a try for those who enjoy strategy and puzzle games with a touch of narrative depth.
Tin Hearts Game Information
- Price: $29.99
- Publisher: Wired Productions
- Developer: Rogue Sun
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher