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Review: Where is my Heart?

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game's soundtrack is available! This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)!

Summary of major issues
This is a rather sad and melancholy game; even the spirits you play as cry sometimes.

Screenshots


Preparing to form a totem pole


The Antler Ancestor


A broken world

General Information

Genre:Puzzle PlatformerAge Rating:Children (Ages 6+)
License:CommercialQuality Rating:Good
Played on:Martha & Thaddeus
Available from: Humble Store, Steam
Soundtrack:Available on Bandcamp
Save System:You can pause your game by pressing ESC, though it might be better to just restart the level when you get back. It might be easier to just quit the game entirely, as your progress is saved when you leave a level.

Game Overview

Originally, three spirits lived in an old happy tree. They went about their days feeding it love, and things were good. One day though a mistake was made, and they fed it a dull, dead heart instead of the happy pink hearts. This single mistake was enough to cause their world to shatter, and their home drifted away. This is where the game really begins: now that the world is in pieces, you need to find a way to navigate it and bring the spirits to a new home.

You can only control one of the three spirits at a time, switching between as needed to guide them through the shattered landscape. Most of the time, you have them walk and jump to the next location, but every so often you need to position them on top of each other, creating a totem pole. When standing in the right order above specific blocks, they transform into more powerful forms with new abilities. The Antler Ancestor can jump twice, the Rainbow Spirit can make the landscape rotate, and the Bat King can walk on platforms only he can see. Combining these abilities is a must for completing the game.

Ultimately though, this game isn't all that special; without its unusual screen design, Where is my Heart would be just another mediocre puzzle platformer. In my opinion, the real selling point is the wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack, not the game.

Pros

Unique puzzle mechanics
As the spirits' world has been shattered, so has the screen. This creates a disorienting effect that's like looking into a broken mirror. The bizarre layout of the fragments makes it hard enough to get around, but it's also possible for multiple parts of the screen to show the same location or for some areas to be completely outside of your view. You're probably going to stumble into danger a lot thanks to this.


Achievements
There are a handful of achievements to be earned in this game, a few of which are going to take some work. Perhaps the most unique achievement is called "Cheater"; to earn this one you need to solve a specific level in a way that the developers hadn't intended.


Multiple profiles
There are multiple save slots, allowing several people to share their progress in the game. It's also very easy to accidentally start a new game over a saved one, so be a little careful when you're resuming your game.


Wonderful soundtrack
If you like quiet and ambient music, then you'll probably really like this game's soundtrack. It's basically a collection of chiptunes, but it's slow and dreamlike enough that you might mistake it for piano music that's been sent through a filter of some sort.


Cons

If it wasn't for the gimmick...
To be very frank, the split screen gimmick is the only thing that keeps this game from being uninteresting. Many of the levels aren't very hard, and several would be downright boring if you could play them like a normal platformer.


Concerns and Issues

Very sad and melancholy tone
The main cast has lost their home, so it makes sense that they wouldn't be in the best of moods (they even cry a little from time to time), but their mood is reflected by the rest of the game. The game's color scheme is primarily dull or muted colors, and with the somber tone to the music, everything feels touched by sadness.

Between levels, you're shown a screen with a short phrase on it. Many of these feature depressing or unhappy lines, such as when the Rainbow Spirit introduces itself as the representation of true sorrow.


Magical Spirits
The three characters are forest spirits than can turn into more powerful forms when they position themselves as totem poles. Oddly, these spirits can die if they contact spikes, become submerged, fall out of the level or teleport into something. They'll reappear at the entrance to the level a few moments later, but this is a strange quality for spirits to possess.


Reference to folklore
One of the bonus levels is named after the Baba Yaga, a menacing old woman from Slavic mythology. She is probably best described as an evil witch, though she sometimes when she appears in a story she'll use her magic to assist people. That said, all that appears is her name and the reference that she lives in a "cursed" swamp.