Game Review: Where is my Heart?

For: Playstation 3/Playstation Portable (universal, via Playstation Network Minis)

From: Die Gute Fabrik

ESRB Rating: Everyone

Price: $7

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A traumatic family hiking trip inspired Bernie Schulenburg to design "Where is my Heart?," and what results is a wonderful case of turning a negative into a positive. "Heart" follows the adventures of three monsters lost in the woods and searching for a way home, and at its most basic (on the first level), it's a simple case of running and jumping through a level that fits entirely within the constraints of a single screen.

From there, though, the levels break apart into disconnected panes that form a coherent level but do so out of order. A pane in the top left of the screen might depict scenery that's adjacent to a square on the bottom right instead of right next to it, and you'll need to dance along the edges and use the level design's context clues to decipher how to reach the exit. "Heart" goes from easy to ingenious extremely quickly, and once it gives you the ability to rotate those panels and navigate parallel dimensions in search of shortcuts on the other side, the puzzles become downright devious.

Fortunately, everything else about the game - the adorable 8-bit graphics, the sweet demeanor of the monsters, a sound palette that's minimalist in a way that evokes Apple II-era games - makes "Heart" too impossibly charming to even frown at while its puzzles cerebrally kick you in the face. An understated gem like this stands in complete contrast to the tornado of big budget games that are bigger and badder iterations of the same old thing, and if you're dying simply the play something you've never played before, this one is essential.

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