I've just spent several hours of my life sucking at tiny windmills, smashing up glowing veggies, and crafting curious contraptions in The Deep Woods. All the while gaining power as I gather the ingredients to design an army of sprite minions. Who wouldn't want one of those?
This is The Wild at Heart, an ethereal, hand-drawn puzzle adventure game from Moonlight Kids. It's a game that elicits feelings of Alice in Wonderland, and focuses primarily on friendship and childhood escapism.
Its art style reminds me of Song of The Sea, the 2014 animated movie. That coupled with its ASMR-worthy SFX creates a feeling as if swaddled by a comfort blanket, as you're ushered into this strangely nostalgic world by a compelling cast of oddball characters.
Akin to the Pikmin series, it involves hatching and throwing small, fantasy woodland creatures at your unsuspecting enemies. You pick through the undergrowth to solve the simple logic puzzles dotted around, while enhancing your abilities to reach areas you couldn't before.
Sounds like your standard puzzle adventure, right? But the game's script has really brought this 2D world to life with little injections of surreal humour and a plot that doesn't grow samey.
Some of the story's elements might feel overdone—like avoiding the darkness because evil—but it feels a conscious spoof of the genre. Your character is called 'Wake,' a small boy who's wandered through a tree portal, for crying out loud.
And with the devs rolling out updates called things like the 'oopsies' patch, and the dialogue featuring little wibbly text animations, I feel like the developers definitely had my humour clocked. This is one for the weirdos who are ready to explore some deep-seated childhood pain and maybe have a little cry, in a safe and cozy space, with some good (if slightly creepy) friends.
It's worth a buy if you're up for some cute, nonsensical adventuring, and you can get it now on Steam for $24.99 (£19.49). And remember what we always say… "The dark is bad."