Tin Hearts review

by on May 16, 2023

Wired Productions has become one of my favourite publishers over the last few years, helping to put out great titles like Arcade Paradise, The Last Worker, and The Falconeer to name a few. Their latest game, developed by Rogue Sun, adds yet another inventive game to the list in the form of narrative puzzler Tin Hearts. I’d had my eye on it for a while. I’m a sucker for an emotional story, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how clever the level design is, and despite some finicky controls, I fell in love with it.

The heart-warming and emotional tale of Tin Hearts follows an inventor called Albert Butterworth. Set in Victorian times, it follows his life as an inventor along with both his wife and young daughter. Although it starts off relatively sweet and happy, the fantastic score (composed by the talented Matthew Chastney) has a sense of foreboding filled with bittersweet and melancholic melodies. At a point in the story, you start to see where Albert’s journey is heading, and without spoiling anything, I’d suggest you grab the tissues.

Tin Hearts’ story is compelling and poignant, helped by the wonderful music, but it is the creativity in its puzzles that provide a lot of its charm. Each stage takes part in a particular place, be it your daughter’s bedroom, the garden, or basement, and new ideas are introduced throughout. You guide a select number of toy soldiers from the box they begin in and to a doorway somewhere in the room. The soldiers cannot deviate alone, so you must place toy blocks in their path to change their direction.

Later in the story, you can take charge of a sole toy soldier and move them around freely to help you get to the doorway at the end, but you’ll need to create a safe space for the other soldiers who are moving around on their own. You’ll be able to use toy canons to shoot down airships or ladders; fly across large areas thanks to pinwheels and fans; bounce on toy drums; and move toy trains that have blocks and drums attached to them, adding to the variety and complexity of the levels. Further gadgets and contraptions become available, too, but I won’t spoil them here, however, get ready to harness that electricity!

There’re different ways to reach your goal, along with secrets and achievements that allow you to replay in order to find them all. Some of the levels are designed across huge spaces, but it’s rarely frustrating thanks to the help you’re given along the way. You’ll unlock the ability to pause, which is a great tool as it’ll show you the soldier’s future path, letting you plan ahead and see where they’ll end up moving to within reason. Forgetting to pause or losing track of your soldier’s movements may happen, but you can rewind back and start from wherever you want.

This help doesn’t make Tin Hearts easy at all. Levels are still a challenge, especially later down the line, but they’re a gift that let you enjoy the story without getting annoyed by the difficulty of the puzzles. As you progress, you’ll unlock memories of Albert’s story, letting you view moments that happened in the room you’re in, or hear letters that have been sent by people that play a role in your family’s fate. I know I’ve mentioned the music already, but it’s such a beautifully written soundtrack, constantly supporting the emotional weight of the story.

As Albert is known as a fantastic inventor, so too should Rogue Sun be for their puzzles. There’re always new ideas added, whether in a new gadget being given to you, or fancy new ways to solve a puzzle. My only issue is that some of the viewpoints are awkward, and moving or aiming the canon and pinwheels can be tricky and slow. Despite this, Tin Hearts manages to become such a pleasant game, and the need to complete a puzzle to get to the next story beat becomes a constant goal. I fell in love with it instantly, and I never wanted it to end, despite shedding a tear or two.

Tin Hearts is inventive in its puzzle designs, and the visuals are brimming with colour and creativity. The music is excellent, and it constantly gets better the more it goes on. I rarely struggled yet was always challenged with each new stage, and despite some awkward camera angles and controls, I never wanted to put the controller down. Story will always be paramount in my ideal game, and Rogue Sun has delivered one that hits all the right notes, telling a moving tale of love and family.


Poignant story
Superb soundtrack
Inventive puzzles
Lovely visuals


Finicky controls
Awkward camera angle at times

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Tin Hearts tells a moving story through a wonderful narrative, smart puzzles, and one of the most beautiful scores written for a video game.