Tin Hearts Hands-on Impressions

Tin Hearts Hands-on Impressions

By  Allie - 23rd Jun 2023

Bounce and glide into a whimsical toy-filled world.

Tin Hearts Hands-on Impressions

The former Fable developers that now make up Rogue Sun have dipped back into their roots of fun fantasy adventures by creating Tin Hearts, an immersive narrative puzzle game that is nothing short of magical. Boasting an abundance of charming gizmos, gadgets, and tiny tin soldiers, the whimsical Butterworth house offers intricate obstacles to overcome and detailed environments to explore. You’ll also find heartfelt memories in each level, unfolding an emotional story piece by piece as your toys march, bounce, and glide to their destination.

A House Of Dreams

A House Of Dreams

When it comes to real-life inventions, the best I can do is fold together a semi-working paper aeroplane, but playing as the ghost of genius Victorian toymaker, Albert J. Butterworth, is a good reminder that your wildest dreams can become a reality; that is, if you let your imagination take the reins. The Butterworth family home is the best evidence of this — Albert’s creations range from colourful balloon machines to interwoven electrical devices, transforming each room and hallway into a magical space, which you’ll see as you make your way through Tin Heart’s four acts: The Attic, The House, The Basement, and Redemption. The more you progress, the more things change, and you’ll return to the same rooms to see them full of new toys that Albert has invented over time as well as other small environmental clues that tie in with the story.

Pave The Way Forward

Pave The Way Forward

On top of its well-crafted setting, the charm of Tin Hearts stems from its clever puzzles and retro Lemmings-like gameplay where you guide a select number of tin soldiers to a small glowing door at the end of the level. Each puzzle begins when you open a small box from which the toys will emerge, but the problem is that they’ll just venture forward in a straight line until you manoeuvre items in the environment to change their direction. Whether you’re in a hallway stacked with moving boxes or a workshop full of prototypes and sketches, creating safe routes for your toys from point A to point B is a fun process of trial-and-error as you place triangular wooden blocks, shoot toy cannons, move pinwheels, and more to make sure the soldiers are always following the right path. Overall, it’s challenging yet not inaccessible to newcomers of the puzzle genre; the optional hint system will always help you move forward if you ever need a nudge in the right direction. 

Perhaps the best part of Tin Heart’s gameplay is the versatile abilities you pick up along the way. Early on, you’ll learn how to manipulate time, allowing you to fast-forward, rewind, or pause. Maybe you managed to get nine out of 10 soldiers to the exit only to realise you lost track of one that fell off a table — just rewind to fix the broken pieces and try again. Or you’re certain you have all your wooden blocks placed correctly and you’re waiting on the slow-marching soldiers — fast-forward to progress to the next level! Out of the three functions, I will say stopping time proved to be the most useful, allowing you to see the path the soldiers will take, which helps you move items ahead of time before playing out your solution. 

The combination of design, aesthetics, and fun mechanics make each puzzle engaging to play, and it’s always satisfying to guide your soldiers safely around hungry jack-in-the-box toys or across the chasms between shelves. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel like it would be fun to be a toy soldier rather than the ghostly apparition in charge of keeping them moving, and it seems like the developers had the same thought. You’ll reach a point in the game where you can possess your own tin soldier, interacting with Tin Heart’s 3D world on a more intimate scale. As long as you make sure the rest of the toys will march in a safe loop, you can explore the levels as you please, experimenting with the items at your disposal and finding creative ways to overcome obstacles.

Unravel A Heartfelt Tale

Unravel A Heartfelt Tale

Not only will you be solving clever puzzles throughout each act, but you’ll also witness memories Albert has of his family; these brief visions often appear when you use a particular invention or when your soldiers pass by something special, like an old bike or dusty piano. In the beginning, each scene is picturesque, brimming with peace and joy. You’ll see Albert’s wife Helen filling the house with soothing violin music and his daughter Rose playing with her growing collection of toys. Without spoiling anything, there are sadder yet heartfelt memories unveiled as you progress, leading you down this family’s touching tale. It’s all complemented perfectly by the poignant soundtrack from award-winning composer Matthew Chastney, as well as the excellent voice acting all throughout. 

Overall, Tin Hearts is a great puzzler to dive into. With achievements, secrets, and alternative solutions to uncover, the game rewards you for replaying levels and experimenting with its inventions. This is the perfect title for seasoned and new players of the puzzle genre who love whimsical settings, emotional narratives, and, of course, toys.

Overall, Tin Hearts is a great puzzler to dive into. With achievements, secrets, and alternative solutions to uncover, the game rewards you for replaying levels and experimenting with its inventions. This is the perfect title for seasoned and new players of the puzzle genre who love whimsical settings, emotional narratives, and, of course, toys.



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