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The Wild at Heart on PC
It is not every day that you are able to find a modern game that manages to improve on the formula of a classic. That is seemingly what developers Moonlight Kids have done with the help of Humble Bundle. The studio’s debut offering of The Wild at Heart is a pleasantly surprising affair, a blend of gorgeous art direction, charming moments and an intoxicating score, held together by enjoyable puzzle-solving and innovative use of its adorable Spritelings.
Following the adventures of a dynamic duo, two friends who have found refuge in the Deep Woods, The Wild at Heart tells a tale of a hidden realm, magical creatures, fantastical guardians, and of course, a stygian evil waiting to be unleashed upon the world. The premise can be quite familiar, as most adventures with kids tend to become. Yet, Moonlight Kids has approached The Wild at Heart with nuance and freshness that makes it worth the 15-hour romp.
The Stars of The Wild at Heart – The Spritelings
An adventure like this would not be complete without some additional help. Enter the Spritelings, The Wild at Heart’s version of helpful creatures that are key to your progress in the many levels of this reimagined Metroidvania. Whether you are looking to get into new areas, solve puzzles, or even fend off the monsters of the night, the Spritelings are always there for you like the most dependable of friends.
With a max cap of 60, an army of Spritelings can be launched at obstacles and be allowed to work their magic. The Wild at Heart features a variety of Spritelings, and the game makes it easy and intuitive to switch between the different types for the purposes of puzzle-solving. Even if you happen to lose them, seeds can be used to hatch more Spritelings. You just have to make the effort to find the right shrine to do so.
Players will definitely have to keep in mind how the different Spritelings work in the Deep Woods. The deeper you head into the game, the more The Wild at Heart opens up in terms of abilities and solutions. It is not that the game is overly challenging, it just helps with the process.
The Spritelings are not your only option either, with gear and equipment adding another dimension to your adventures. Resources can be gathered up before being turned into useful items such as bombs and other equipment. Once you have managed to craft something, the recipe stays unlocked for easy reference as well. It is this pair of pillars that constantly drives the exploration in this Metroidvania, continuously opening up new routes through familiar areas, inviting even more surprises along the way.
A Different kind of Metroidvania
The Deep Woods is an avenue of excitement and adventure throughout the entire experience in The Wild at Heart, with myriad secrets and hidden passageways just waiting to be uncovered. It definitely satisfies those with a curious mind and an incessant appetite as a completionist.
The way the game is structured definitely helps as well. While some may prefer the more traditional Metroidvania experiences of an interconnected world with different paths, The Wild at Heart does it by breaking things into more distinct levels.
As you unlock more Spritelings and equipment, you will be able to head back to any particular level to do more exploring. Rather than having players potentially wandering around and getting overwhelmed, the more straightforward gating in The Wild at Heart is much appreciated for those looking for some help and have less time on their hands. The fact that the Deep Woods remain infinitely charming with its many denizens and atmosphere also helps plenty on this front.
However, it is vital to mention that it is not always going to be lighthearted and easygoing when it comes to your time in The Wild at Heart. As night approaches, the danger increases as well. Nightmarish monsters will begin prowling the Deep Woods, and while your Spritelings can hold their own against the creatures of the night, it is in your best interest to retreat to camp and rest.
The night can arrive too quickly sometimes, but it is something you will get used to eventually. Between charging forward to the next discovery and the pain of losing your lovable Spritelings to combat, this delicate balancing act only serves to enhance the emotional aspects of The Wild at Heart’s story.
A Tale Worth Experiencing
At its core, The Wild at Heart is not exactly groundbreaking when it comes to mechanics or even its story. What it does, however, is elevate those familiar elements into something it can uniquely claim as its own. Sure, the Spritelings may remind one of the Pikmins, and the story of our runaways may be standard teenage affairs, but Moonlight Kids have put their heart and soul into this game, and it shows.
The Wild at Heart is a stunning escapade that is brought to life with beautiful hand-drawn art, delightful uses for its Spritelings, the interesting characters from start to end, and a place worth revisiting constantly with the Deep Woods. If you are in search of an indie game that is full of charm, life, and an intriguing mystery to keep you occupied, The Wild at Heart is the perfect adventure for you.
Reviewer: Jake Su | Award: Editor’s Choice | Copy provided by Publisher.
- Amazing art direction.
- Intriguing story.
- Interesting premise and characters.
- Spritelings are a joy.
- Getting more Spritelings can become a chore.
- Night can arrive too quickly.
May 20, 2021