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access_time June 10, 2021 at 6:00 AM in Microsoft by Cole Nixon

Review | The Wild at Heart

Some of the first and most beloved game titles belong to the puzzle genre. So, its no surprise that it can be hard to find a stand out title. Thankfully, The Wild at Heart by Moonlight Kids offers a delightfully melancholy take on the genre. Set in the whimsical adventures of a runaway, you are tasked with protecting a varied cast of forest creatures. While you’ll certainly have enough tasks to keep you busy, is The Wild at Heart a rewarding puzzle experience?

In The Wild at Heart, you play as Kirby, a young runaway lost in the woods with his friend Wake. Deep in the forest, the duo encounters the Greenshields, a group of forest creatures who, with the help of their offspring the Spritelings, must counteract a darkness taking over the forest. By freeing more Spritelings and helping the Greenshields, you can save the forest. To do so, you’ll have to collect items through solving puzzles and crafting items.

The majority of my time with The Wild at Heart was solving the various puzzles. While these puzzles are linear, the areas are free to explore. The first set of tasks require your blower tool, but when a Spriteling creature joins you, you gain new options. The game is commonly compared to Pikmin because of this, but notes of Animal Crossing and other Nintendo titles are present. Controllers are the preferable medium, but I used a keyboard and mouse just fine. The target audience is all ages, so none of the puzzles are too hard. You can solve most puzzles in just under a minute. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of experimenting due to the games linearity, but it doesn’t distract from the experience. Overall, while not the most challenging, the game never feels unrewarding.

Graphically, The Wild at Heart has a cutesy children’s book style, reminiscent of games like Child of Light. Each area of the forest is expressive, and I paused often to look at the detailed surroundings. The tranquil music helps to add to the aura of a laid back experience. Despite that, the overall feel of the game didn’t grab me, and felt a bit twee at times. Personal taste aside, the game is still graphically impressive.

To its credit, The Wild at Heart is incredibly well polished. During my five hours of playtime, I encountered no bugs or issues whatsoever. The game runs at a smooth frame rate, although the nature of the visuals likely don’t push the hardware much. It’s a game that plays to its strengths with the visual style, delivering a great playing product overall. The controls are snappy and smooth, and its easy to distinguish visual elements.

Though I’m still not a puzzle enthusiast, my time with The Wild at Heart gave me an appreciation for the craft. The level of polish and shine is self evident. Despite at times borrowing a bit too hard from its thematic predecessors, The Wild at Heart demonstrates that a lot of personality and love went into this game. Unfortunately, if the first area doesn’t grab you, adding further complexity to the formula probably won’t change that.

Final Score: 7.5 out of 10

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.

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