WHERE IS MY HEART / Die Gute Fabrik / Sony PSP
If you've read this site before you may have noted my distaste for Pretentious Indie Platformers w/ Tweest. Yet somehow I got talked into Where Is My Heart off the Playstation Network. It's not as up its own butt in terms of concept as, say, a Braid, but it's still irritating to actually play.
Problem 1 endemic to the Indie Platformer - it's too high-concept to bother explaining how the fuck to actually play it - is with us right off the bat. There's a list of the basic controls on the main menu, but each one of your characters has some unique power that's never really explained properly in-game. This is compounded by the "unique twist" of the design, that each level takes place on one screen fragmented into disjointed frames that are often randomly connected to each other. This concept is introduced to you in the second level by dumping you face-first into a spike pit. What you're apparently expected to do is to creep through each frame, looking to see if the edges of your monster sprite are peeking out of another frame. This is a really obnoxious, slow and tedious way to move about a game world.
Where Is My Heart is asking a lot of you; it's asking you to put up with a lot. This is the central question of the intentionally obscure, opaque, cumbersome platformer - is it worth the trouble? What does it have to offer in return for the investment of your time and patience? The answer here, unfortunately, is just more of the same all along the whole length. I saw another review describe this as "not fun, but a necessary experience." That's the kind of talk that comes from people that don't enjoy something or really even see the value in it, but are afraid to admit it because they think they'll look like an ignorant philistine in front of their peers. Hustler "artists" are well aware of this phenomenon and have been exploiting it to the fullest for hundreds of years in every medium you can think of. To be fair, I don't know that that's what Die Gute Fabrik is doing here; in fact, the game is so minimalist and low-key I think they probably just put it out there without knowing or caring much what the response would be. Whatever the case, I'm a proud barbarian and I'm not afraid to say that this is clumsy and unenjoyable and I have no desire to spend any time with it.