I know I left it round here somewhere…
Where Is My Heart? by Die Gute Fabrik starts in a pastel coloured 8-bit pixel world, in which a family of monsters live quite contently in a tree in the woods. However, one unfortunate day they lose their home and it is up to the player to guide them back to their contented lives.
This PSP mini game involves carefully guiding the three monsters through each of the complex stages by moving each monster to the nearby exit. Whilst this all sounds fairly simple, the 8-bit puzzle platformer then mixes things up completely by splitting each level up into separate panels, which is no big deal in itself. Until the game shuffles these panels and places them back onto the screen in a different sequence. Head hurting yet?
These tiles represent stages of your journey and the player has to try and work out where on the screen they will appear if, for example, they move to the right. It’s like trying to work out a jumbled up puzzle of tiles before you even start to negotiate the various platforms, pits and other puzzles in each level. You may start in one tile walking to your right, but may appear in the tile below you to the left. It’s a very complex and muddled environment and you’ve got to work out how it all fits together. You’ll find ledges that are out of your reach and blocks that constantly prevent you from moving forward.
At the end of the day, you are not just controlling one character, but three, one of which I could have sworn was laughing at me everytime I died. Reaching high up ledges may require you to stack the characters on top of each other and, using a special transforming block, each of the characters can transform and develop a special power. The brown character is able to double jump, which is very useful on more lengthy jumps to ledges, the grey character can transform into a bat, which is able to see undiscovered ledges and the orange character can turn into a rainbow spirit, which brings a whole new level of mind-bending craziness as they can actually switch the order of the panels. Using the L shoulder and R shoulder buttons, the panels rotate and the Rainbow Spirit can actually hover outside of the panels and enter whichever platform the player rests on. If however, the panels stop rotating and there is no where for your Rainbow Spirit to land, it will fall to it’s doom.
A lot of the time it’s about rearranging the tiles, and your head, in the right order, pretty much like thinking ahead when playing a game of chess. It’s quite frantic and tests your logical thinking to a great degree. Levels need to be approached with a cautious attitude, as it is too easy to foget the order and simply run to the next panel containing the exit, only to fall to your demise because you had forgotten about the messed up order of the panels. Sometimes the levels are difficult to grasp, but it’s hard not to get drawn in by the cute factor of this Mini title. At times I felt like quitting, because it seemed so complicated, but I didn’t want to be deterred from getting those creatures to their home. The biggest hurdle in this game is grasping the mechanics and seeing how it works. Once you’ve done a few puzzles, you will slip into a different mode of thinking and things will become easier, until the next twist is added, that is.
The game does give a satisfying feeling of accomplishment on completing levels, but the levels are hard and test every cog in your brain. If you’re a real puzzle solving kind of person, then let this game test your skills to their limits. Despite the complexity, it is difficult not to love this game with the cute pixel graphics. Hard, but witty and enjoyable!