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Cozy new Metroidvania has Dark Souls design but a heart of gold

New cozy indie Metroidvania game Pine Hearts is out now on Steam, taking you through a puzzle-filled adventure with a touching story.

Pine Hearts - A young boy wearing a red hat and holding a stick waves his arm in the air joyfully.

The best Metroidvania games have typically focused on combat, but highlights like the masterful Tunic and the recent, excellent Animal Well show how successfully the format can work when it leans more towards puzzle design rather than action. While both of those still involve a fair amount of peril, now, from indie developer Hyper Luminal and publisher Little Nook, comes Pine Hearts, a cozy new story-led adventure game that’s just arrived on Steam.

Setting out on a trek through the eponymous Pine Hearts caravan park, protagonist Tyke will meet plenty of new friends, reflect on his childhood memories in the park, and pet plenty of pups as he explores. Perhaps best likened to a Metroidvania game, the story-driven adventure of Pine Hearts focuses on puzzle-solving and item-based progression, which Hyper Luminal says draws inspiration from classic Zelda games and the interweaving level design of Dark Souls.

Narratively, Tyke’s journey through the park is a comforting tale, but also one that deals with the loss of a family member – although the approach is very much a tender and thoughtful reflection on love, life, memories, and family. Hyper Luminal calls it “a heart-tugging love letter to all those who have experienced loss, offering a comforting refuge in which players can reminisce on treasured memories.”

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Along with its gorgeous Scottish-inspired scenery and a cast of charming, cheerful characters, you’ll get up to all manner of activities. Hang out with your newfound companions, help gather supplies to set up camp, find tools to help you explore further into the forest, and perhaps even go on the hunt for a mysterious monster.

To help everyone enjoy Pine Hearts to the fullest, it also includes extensive accessibility options. You can turn on helpful tweaks such as simplified controls, color blocking and high-contrast modes, font scaling, and of course full control remapping on either controller or keyboard and mouse.

Pine Hearts is out now on Steam. There’s even a 10% launch discount available for the first two weeks, so expect to pay $17.99 / £14.39 if you buy it before Thursday June 6, or $19.99 / £15.99 after that. Head out on your next big adventure right here.

Alternatively, solve a multitude more head-scratchers and test your knowledge and intuition with the best puzzle games on PC. If you love spotting a superb surprise from a smaller studio, here are the best indie games, where you’ll certainly find plenty such delights.

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