PSMinis review: Where Is My Heart?

Where is my character? He’s that little antlered fellow, down in that bottom-leftish panel. But also over there, up top. You can see his front half. If I move him past that border on the left, I think he’ll end up in that large panel to the right. I’m really not sure. I’m somewhat confused.

Where Is My Heart? follows three mini-monsters trying to fix reality after a patriarchal tree’s uprooting shatters their world into disorderly panels. The game’s post-Portal focus leans more toward spatial puzzles than platforming precision as simple rooms become unnavigable distortions. The mechanics induce a paralyzing nearsightedness that makes every border feel like a chasm, but the game excels at minimizing player frustration.

The presentation goes a long way. Except for a few wonky shading choices, the pixel-work is simple, clean, and legible. The natural setpieces look lovely and guide players toward understanding the level layouts; drifting clouds, shafts of light, and gnarled roots act as visual tells and world-building scenery. The colors are muted pastels, gentle and calm.

The sound design is similarly laid back.  Ambient noise and ambient music take turns soothing brain-burn, neither overstressed nor overstressing. Some levels play to crickets chirping, others to slowly drifting Eno-isms. The sound design complements players inching between borders and removes unwelcome edginess from the puzzles.

There’s very little direct story, relying instead on player interpretation. Think Limbo: there may or may not be subtext. Writing is kept light, deployed as flavor text between levels.

Where Is My Heart? leans light overall. Your first playthrough should only take about three hours, unless you’re a heart-hoarding perfectionist. The brevity’s a relief. Generally, puzzler satisfaction is directly proportional to prior frustrations and boredom, but Where Is My Heart? doesn’t try to hold players back.

The puzzles are fair, even if they sometimes don’t look it. Whenever I got frustrated, there was a simpler way around. The parts I stumbled over are embarrassing.

Only one element feels unreliable. Each character transforms at points: Brown double-jumps through dark forests as the Antler Ancestor, Gray reveals an eldritch world as the Bat King, and Orange becomes increasingly irritating as the Rainbow Spirit.

Rainbow Spirit’s ability is a smart idea, toying with the levels in a way the other two really don’t. As the Rainbow Spirit, players can shift all the panels clockwise or counterclockwise, which sometimes allows for more sensible arrangements. But her true power is that, if she jumps, she can stay independent of the panels’ rotation and drop into different areas.

Unfortunately, this leads to frequent uncertainty and death. The scattering of panels means she’s sometimes in three places at once, and it can be hard to decide when to flip. Rainbow Spirit is constantly dying, even when she looks safe.

Dying’s not so bad, though. The game respawns characters independently at the level entrance and even lets them keep their transformations. Death is a crucial tactic for dealing with Rainbow Spirit levels, since flipping randomly provides clues and solutions. And though every death is punished with a nega-heart, finish the level to see them drifting gently on the breeze.

Where Is My Heart? is low-stress: my monsters are calm, cool, and collected.

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