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These Robotic Hearts of Mine Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on November 29, 2011


These Robotic Hearts of Mine
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Narrative tale motivates the player to continue on; entwines directly with the puzzle presented.
  • Easy to pick-up and play.

CONS

  • The full experience hinges on the player engaging and approaching the game 'correctly'; unlocked levels draw away from this motivation.

VERDICT

These Robotic Hearts of Mine is a beautiful and poetic melding of narrative and gameplay, creating something far more inspiring than either could achieve in the process; sadly the game's open format makes it hard to engage completely, meaning many may miss out on (or not care for) this deeper experience.


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When someone says to me "I've just played an Indie game." I must admit my brain almost immediately engages in to its all-too-commonly used 'snark' mode and I wonder what pixel-art coated, chip-tune blaring, low-resolution, and philosophical narrative they could be talking about. Truth be told, while many gamers may make fun of these 'experience' driven titles, they approach gaming as a media in a way that can result in a far deeper sense of satisfaction than simply breaking bricks with your head.

These Robotic Hearts of Mine by Alan Hazelden is a short tale of love and robots played out over a series of puzzles that entwine directly with the narrative. Your task on each of the puzzles is to simply use rotating gears in order to shift and align hearts so they all point upwards. The way in which the game's mechanics mirror the actions of the characters in the story helps to engage the player, making the later stages all the harder to complete; not just because they're more challenging, but because of what they represent in terms of the narrative itself. Should you find yourself truly engaging with the story, the final scene is sure to pull at your heart-strings.

As a concession to the style of puzzle being used, the developer has included two features that help you to keep track of just how well you're going compared to everyone else who has played the game. Aside from a counter indicating the minimum amount of moves required (or rather what is considered the minimum), once a puzzle is solved you're presented with a graph showing your number of moves and an indicator of how many others matched your count. It's a novel feature, if unrelated to the story in general.

Ultimately, These Robotic Hearts of Mine is hard to recommend to most gamers as, much like approaching a challenging poem, it requires a mindset ready to absorb and explore its deeper implications. As a puzzler it will tickle your mind and as a story it's enjoyable, but without each other they're far from the best the iOS platform has seen. Caution is advised, but should you engage fully it's a magical experience to absorb and enjoy.

Screenshots

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