Tin Hearts VR is brought to us by developer Rogue Son, consisting of former lionhead studios members famous for the fable series, and published by Wired Productions, who also published one of my favourite games of last year, Arcade Paradise.
Tin with some dents
Back in June of this year, Mal published his review of Tin Hearts on the PS5, the flat-screen version of the game. He cited, “Definitely give this one a go if you love a simplistic emotional journey and challenging and clever puzzles.” Awarding the game a platinum award. After talking to him, he felt a VR version would be a great way to experience the game. Hopping in for the first time myself, is it?
Tin Hearts VR is a puzzle game first and foremost, with some light story elements on the side. The puzzles themselves are inspired by games like Lemmings. For a more recent comparison, Humanity. Players will be thrown into levels with two objectives, find the box that the tin men come from and find a way to get them to their destination.
You’ll use the environment to do this, moving drums for them to bounce on or using building blocks to change their direction. You can also rewind and fast forward so you never feel under too much pressure.
Unfortunately outside of the puzzles, you cannot interact with the environment, which I found a real shame after entering a room with many instruments scattered around that I would love to mess around with. Seeing my tin men walking across a massive room as I solved a puzzle was a joy. Following and predicting their movements and paths made me filled with excitement. And seeing that all play out in real-time as you move your head to follow them feels extremely rewarding and immersive.
It’s a shame then, that the immersion is taken out by the frankly, awful controls. The game uses a teleportation-based movement system with snap turn to look, and no way to change this. I would often find myself stuck inside walls and unable to turn when holding certain objects, but only occasionally. This is my biggest issue with Tin Hearts VR that I absolutely hope is fixed come full release.
Graphics and Audio
Unfortunately, the controls aren’t the only negative I found during my small time with the demo, the environments themselves are intelligently designed and detailed but are ruined by the blurriness of the visuals. Thankfully, the audio sounds great with some lovely music and sound design to accompany the puzzles.
Bugs and Glitches
Another negative I had in the demo was the bugs. Funnily enough, I didn’t experience any small ones, they were all game breaking and I had at least one per level. Twice I fell through the map, once my game crashed, three times the Tin Man box became inaccessible, and once I had a black screen. Thankfully as this is a demo I am sure the developers will look into these issues and hopefully come full launch, have fixes in place.
Despite my many issues with the VR Demo of Tin Hearts, I still came away wanting more. I am awaiting the full release of the VR version to decide which version I should play since unfortunately, what should have been a swing and a hit is more of an uncertainty at the moment. The puzzles and their charm kept me engaged and wanting to experience more. But the whole experience was massively disrupted by poor controls and bugs.