I've wanted to increase the number of puzzlers on AtariCrypt - if only to make myself look far more intelligent - and Unheart is one such title I've been meaning to feature for far too long. It was released back in 2014 for the Silly Venture party by Masters of Electric City and is based on the original PC game Heartlight which happily mixed Sokoban with a dollop of Boulder Dash to produce a riveting and refreshing brain teasing challenge.
You are a dwarf who enjoys digging his way through caves looking for love hearts and, once all are collected, he can exit the level and proceed on. Sounds easy but there are numerous rocks which could fall down to block your pathway or, worse still, give you a head-crushing knockout blow! You might even come upon a bomb as you crawl through the soft soil but, be careful, because these will detonate when impacting something hard, like a wall or rock. Heck, there are even balloons down here that can float upwards potentially pushing whatever gets in their way...
The graphics are simple, yet superbly detailed with gorgeous colour and a status bar displayed in overscan so we loose no play area! Music is breathtaking and totally suits the game and style, it's only a shame there aren't more tunes. Controls are easy peasy - use the cursor keys to move the little fella. However, under emulation, I did sometimes notice a glitch where my little man would try and run away from me, thankfully I never experienced this on my own ST. If you ever find yourself trapped by a silly mistake, remember where you went wrong, and then hit the ESC key which causes our dwarf to humorously explode so we can restart. Also featured is a level-skip function which allows us to bypass mind-destroying levels with the option of coming back to them later (yeah right).
I'm not so sure Boulder Dash fans will love this game but Sokoban addicts will adore it. The difficulty level generally remains constant throughout - high - with only its cunning map designs causing the most intense problems to overcome. Thankfully, with unlimited retries and the ability to (temporally!) skip those troublesome levels, this is a game you will love playing for many hours. Unheart is hard but fun and a distinctively brilliant puzzler.
- A download is available from Demozoo which also links into Silly Venture and more.
- I made a video recording, but one which promptly ends at that killer level, which I must now try and beat!