Pine Hearts Logo
Pine Hearts Icon
Pine Hearts

Developer: Little Nook

  • Price: $19.99
  • Release Date: May 23, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    A pretty cozy mix of exploration and puzzle solving that comes together quite nicely

    One of the things that the Switch’s overall vibe seems to invite is an abundance of cozy games of all types. Whether that’s in the form of a laid-back simulation, a story-driven experience, or a compelling adventure of some sort, we’ve been blessed with some great indie titles in this generation. Pine Hearts feels like it’s in a similar vein to the likes of A Short Hike and Haven Park, with a focus on exploration, but in this case it adds a bit more of a light RPG questing feel to the mix.

    You’ll play as Tyke, who has returned to the Pine Hearts Caravan Park after a long time away. While there, as you continue to explore the park and complete mini quests for the people you encounter you’ll be hit periodically with powerful memories. In general, this is a pleasant journey, most of the time requiring that you very carefully explore every nook and cranny of the park, in search of secrets or whole routes you may have missed or been unable to get to the first time you encountered them. In a bit of a Metroidvania-ish nod, you’ll continue to find new and helpful tools that will allow you to reach new areas, so you will need to make mental notes of spots where you can use those new capabilities in the future.

    By removing anything resembling a threat, whether some sort of enemies or traps, there’s absolutely a very chilled-out vibe to everything. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some frustration at times when you’re unable to find a spot or turn you may have missed, holding up your progress, but the removal of urgency or anything that would set you back further does help to keep things low-key for the most part. I think there may be a minor flaw in the degree of freedom you’ll have, since it isn’t unusual for that to burn some of your time when you can’t tell where you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to do next, but if you find the setting and general style of play to be pleasant that isn’t the end of the world either.

    All in all I’d say how well the game works will depend on your expectations to a degree. While it may have much in common with some other cozy games on the system, in general this is a less linear experience and that may or may not be a plus, depending on your tastes. As I mentioned before, there’s an element of the Metroidvania experience here where you’ll see plenty of spots that require equipment you don’t have yet, and you’ll need to keep those spots in mind to return to and further explore. It works out, but since you’re able to roam into some areas you’re not ready for yet, there are times where your freedom can come with a price of wasting your time as well. Still, it absolutely has some charm and at least dares to be different.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Good [7.9]

Nindie Spotlight

. All rights reserved