A demo code was used, with many thanks to Press Engine.
Pine Hearts is a cosy little narrative-adventure game set in the sleepy scenery of Pine Hearts Caravan Park. With an expected release in the upcoming months, developer Hyper Luminal Games and publisher Little Nook has a demo up on Steam.
This narrative adventure is set in a vibrant Scottish park full of puzzles, memories, and cute secrets. And not just any Scottish park: it’s a love letter to Creative Director Rob Madden’s father, who sadly passed away. He has taken his personal story, weaving in the memories and emotions that came from this pivotal moment in his life.
So, grab your virtual backpack, don your hiking boots, and let’s dive into the vibrant world of Pine Hearts!
Arriving by train, I was immediately taken by the visuals of Pine Hearts. Clean, colourful and sweet, with characters that look just a little different. Our character Tyke is a little rotund figure with little arms and legs, the same as everyone we meet. His little face peeking out from under his red hat only has two black dots for eyes and no nose or mouth. Still, the developer manages to convey emotions nonetheless.
You get to choose the game mode, with default controls or simplified controls, to make the game more accessible. The visual mode can be changed too, from the standard colours and aesthetics to colour blocking to key interactibles on the screen.
Pine Hearts Caravan Park
Tyke steps off the train in Pine Hearts Caravan Park, and that’s where the adventure begins. Tyke can’t go anywhere just yet; he has to develop some abilities first. What he does get when he meets Ranger Maddie and her dog is a hammer. Very important, as with it, he can open up a new path and pound on the Standing Stone.
By doing this, Tyke unlocks childhood memories with his father. The scene changes, and the same landscape of Pine Hearts Caravan Park is now littered with children’s drawings. We get to meet Tyke’s father, who shows him another skill: you can push over trees and cross gaps this way.
Time to Meet Others
After the memory is relived, Tyke goes back to the present day in the park. It’s time to meet some other campers and hear their stories. Some have requests for help, one of the most important in this demo is the one where you have to gather ingredients for making a hamburger. Once you have it all, a mini-game triggers, and you have to build a good juicy burger.
Not that this burger is for eating: it’s to get a chance to catch the Gruffumpkin! Of course, that doesn’t happen, but still, the quest is very much worth it, as you finally get a pickaxe to get annoying tree trunks out of the way.
Final Thoughts for Pine Hearts
I’ve had a good time with Tyke. The demo isn’t long, but it plays great. I have played it entirely on the SteamDeck without a controller. So, even though the Steam page recommends playing the game with a controller, you can enjoy the game on the SteamDeck, too.
The visuals are appealing; the background music is relaxing. This is a game for all ages to enjoy, the quests aren’t too hard and still fun to do. I expect, that when we get to see more of the memories of Tyke’s father, Pine Hearts is a sweet story worth telling.
You can find more information about Pine Hearts here.