Pine Hearts

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Pine Hearts review
Camrin Santchi


A Heartwarming Hike

Pack Your Supplies

It's almost funny how 'climbing a mountain' is almost a genre of its own in gaming. It's a simple goal and can make for a multitude of gameplay types like puzzle, exploration, platforming, or some combination of the above. Getting Over It, Celeste, Bread and Fred are all examples from the past few years, and now Pine Hearts joins this grouping of adventurous indie games.

Gamers take the role of Tyke, an enthusiastic and adventurous little guy who is off to climb to the peak of the mountain overlooking Pine Hearts park. He isn't exactly prepared for the trek though, armed with only a journal and a large but conspicuously empty backpack, so the local Ranger won't open the gate leading to the peak for Tyke until he's got the tools that he needs. And thus, Tyke sets out into the environs out and about, helping those in need and trading favours for items that will prove helpful on his climb up the mountain.

Charming Vistas

The different areas in Pine Hearts are varied in appearance, but they all have their charm, from the cozy campgrounds to the rocky shores and sandy beaches, and even an overgrown castle. Each area has at least one bench for Tyke to sit on that will zoom the camera out, allowing players to take in the sights as they please or potentially get a lay of the land for exploring. Along with differences in lighting and scenery, the music shifts for each area as well - making these small areas feel individual in their own right. This can make transitions at least semi-jarring in some places, like the world suddenly becoming much darker when moving from the campsite to the castle, but the stark shift isn't environment ruining by any means, and helps distinguish the areas.

Journalling Your Journey

In Pine Hearts, your initial tool of the trade is Tyke's trusty journal. It has a map of the areas and helps keep track of the items you collect and even some of the quests you are given. This 'Quest Log' is not the most helpful, however, since it will only discuss 'main' quests that will aid you in your journey up the mountain, rather than keeping a list of other favours that Tyke will pick up along the way, such as collecting firewood to cook marshmallows as an example.

The quests that Tyke undertakes in Pine Hearts provide blue teardrops, which are used inside the Journal to unlock Memories. These Memories give us more context about Tyke, and also help unlock specific traversal mechanics. So if you don't see a path forward, helping with odd jobs around the currently unlocked areas can possibly open the way. The results could be either a new tool or a new mechanic Tyke recalls being able to use in exploration, both of which are activated by an input on the controller or keyboard when near an object that can be interacted with. With some of these quests not being logged in the Journal, it can be a bit confusing, but just wandering and talking to people is enough to at the very least be reminded of a side quest that you may have started before getting side-tracked by another.

What Awaits At the Summit?

With how short Pine Hearts is, players should be able to make the trip to the summit after only about three or so hours, give or take a little bit for exploring the environs or potentially tracking down the last few items to complete a quest. With no time limit, health, or other stakes that could endanger Tyke's trek up the mountain, Pine Hearts makes for an enjoyable and short experience that players may find themselves revisiting in order to take in the delightful sound design and beautiful art. The only complaints this reviewer had during his time up the mountain were only minor inconveniences at worst, and don't take away from the enjoyable experience of this game. If you're a gamer that enjoys short but enjoyable journeys, then you may be interested in climbing to the peak of Pine Hearts.

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fun score


A Delightful, if Short, Adventure with charming visuals and sound design.


Quest Log is nonspecific, map can be somewhat confusing at times