I’ve mentioned my fear of puzzle games before. Where Is My Heart?, a port of a Playstation Mini game that preceded developer Die Gute Fabrik’s Sportsfriends compilation, threatened to break my tiny mind as soon as the core concept was introduced. Each level is a single screen, fractured so that one fragment on the far left might lead to a platform in the top-right corner. Four characters must make their way to the exit on each level and each has a power that can be unlocked at specific times. One of them transforms into something that looks a bit like a cartoon tooth with wings and has the ability to rotate the elements of a level, rearranging them into their proper order. As I shuffled the screen, my brain scrambled like an egg.
It’s not actually all that complicated, at least not up the point I played to over the weekend, but I struggle with spatial awareness at the best of times so I’m going to take a step back and leave this for more stable minds than my own. One of the first levels has four segments lined up side by side, the first leads to the third, which leads to the second, which leads to the last – or something along those lines – and I sent many tiny creatures plummeting over the edge of the penultimate section because there’s a ‘concealed’ jump.
Does that make sense? It didn’t when I was doing it. Or, really, it did make sense but I couldn’t prevent myself from acting on what I saw rather than on what I should have been seeing. The skill is to reconstruct the image as it really is instead of acting on how it appears, finding connections by skirting at the edge of each section, and it’s a skill that I either need to practice or give up on entirely. I’m all in favour of admitting defeat sometimes.
I like the game though. And even though the trailer is as twee as a cupcake performing a soul-searching accoustic set about a cloud that looks like a cupcake, the game has a sinister edge. Or at least I sense one – I’m sure the trees chew with a grimace that suggests they have bones stuck between their peggy wooden teeth whenever they swallow a forest spirit.