REVIEW: ‘Tin Hearts’ Leads To Headaches (PS5)

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Tin Hearts — But Why Tho

Tin Hearts is a new narrative-driven puzzle platforming game published by Wired Productions and developed by Rogue Sun Games. Rogue Sun Games was created by members of Fable’s development team. Tin Hearts has a strong narrative story that’s shackled to less-than-stellar gameplay execution, poor camera angles, and glitches.

The narrative takes place over four acts, following the life of Victorian-era inventor Albert J. Butterworth. His story is told through clues in the background like sketches and notes as well as cutscenes showing crucial moments and relationships in his life. The cut scenes are earned by completing certain tasks on your way to completing a stage. The cutscenes are the strongest part of the game, showing the player how close Butterworth is to his wife Helen and daughter Rose. In a short period, you will grow to care about this family as their displays of affection show you how devoted they are to each other. You want them to do well and for Albert to make the right choices. The pacing of the plot depends on how quickly you complete each stage in an act.

Players have to navigate all of their tin soldiers to an exit to progress through the stage. This is done by manipulating the environment directly using blocks and other objects to control the path the tin soldiers can take. Some rooms have special toy chests that contain skills or tools that players will need to acquire to progress their tin army through the Rube Goldberg-inspired obstacles.

Not every tool needs to be or will be used in every stage. Some of the tools introduced are blocks, drums, balloons, and toy cannons. Blocks are the most common tool used and are present in every stage as they are the primary means to direct your troops. Drums and balloons are used to overcome space and elevation. Cannons can knock things down to create ramps.

Tin Hearts — But Why Tho (2)

The ability to manipulate time is arguably the most important mechanic introduced in the game. You can fast forward, rewind, and pause. Rewinding allows you to save precious time when something you decide to try doesn’t pan out. Instead of pressing recall on the toy box, you can simply rewind just before the disaster occurred. Fast forwarding is great when you know you’ve mapped out something perfectly, and you want to move on to the next major obstacle or end of the stage. Pausing is by far the most important. Players are given this ability quite early, and it allows you to plan how you will get your tin soldiers through the rooms. It’s necessary to pause things because you will need to move tools around to different parts of the stage.

The game does have some flaws. They range from simple annoyance that you can eventually ignore to possibly game-breaking. For example, an update was pushed that undid some of my progress. That’s not to say that will always happen, but it is a possibility. My soldiers would occasionally go through the blocks, which was resolved only by restarting the system which caused me to have to start the level over from scratch. The exit for each stage has the number of soldiers required to progress listed on the exit. The counter reads 0/10, for example, and counts up from there. On several occasions, the numerator stopped increasing. It does not halt progress but can be annoying because it’s a recurring and simple flaw.

Another recurring issue was the terrible camera angles when using cannons and drums. It doesn’t feel like the PS5 controller’s capabilities were considered when porting this over. Even when using precision aiming, it will feel like you’re still fighting against the camera. It introduces new blind spots instead of eliminating them. Tin Heart is also a bit light on accessibility options. However, it does feature an Arachnophobia Mode that allows you to remove spiders.

There was a lot of thought and care put into the narrative of Tin Hearts, so much so that players can probably overlook some of the gameplay flaws. It’s an engaging game when it’s working. However, things like the share button pausing the game instead of allowing you to take a screenshot and the odd camera quirks make it feel like each console’s individual capabilities were not considered for its development.

Tin Hearts was released on April 20th on the Nintendo Switch. It will be released on Playstation consoles, Xbox consoles, and PC on May 16th.

Tin Hearts


There was a lot of thought and care put into the narrative of Tin Hearts, so much so that players can probably overlook some of the gameplay flaws.

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