One of the best stories told in a game 2011 is told in text against a background with one lonely colour. It is a tale of love, woe, hope and the dichotomy between flesh and metal. It is a game where the story interested me more than the gameplay. I wanted to beat the current level just to read a new frame of romantic, thoughtful and exciting text.
These Robotic Hearts of Mine is a rotating cube puzzle where hearts have to be placed the correct way to light up in red. To accomplish this you tap cogs to rotate it, and also any hearts connected to it. This might sound like a simple idea, but that is far from true. Soon levels start becoming as hard as beating a Rubik’s cube.
Worth noting is that this is one of the few games I have played recently that completely lacks achivements, and online functionality. No Game Center or OpenFeint, and no ingame local achievements.
There are only 36 levels in the game, and as you are free to jump around to any of them the more adept players will beat the game within an hour or two. To me this game took about three hours to beat, and I consider myself a bit middle of the road when it comes to rotating puzzles. Hopefully new chapters can be included in future updates, but it is imperative that new levels include some new texts to keep the special story driven structure.
These Robotic Hearts of Mine has a retro presentation in a minimal fashion. Black or red backgrounds, grey cogs and hearts, and finally red hearts when you place them correctly. This lack of distraction, and general focus on drab grey and dark black gives the red of the hearts more energy. The contrast between the few elements makes the emotional impact greater. The same emotional impact is shown in the sound of the game. A dark ambience combined with heavy clanking gears, and thumping heartbeat when you align them all create a brooding mood.
I am not that excited about rotating puzzle games, but These Robotic Hearts of Mine induce the formula with a sense of meaning. It feels important, and interesting to complete a level. The story, and how it is presented is pure brilliance. If the game had been longer, and had some variation to the gameplay it would have shone even brighter. I can still recommend it as a strong puzzle game with interesting story that is best enjoyed in darkness with great headphones.
These Robotic Hearts of Mine $1.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Alan Hazelden