I wasn't going to write this review because I never finished HassleHeart. I was putting it off until I developed the skills to get all the way through the short 5 level game, but in fact I only got about half way. I'm writing this review anyway because I don't believe I could ever finish HassleHeart, and I also think it's my place as a journalist to warn people not to buy this game.
Feel free to throw your computer in rage about just how bad I am at games, how this review is subjective and I didn't even give it a chance. I'm sure there are other reviews out there from people who did manage to complete the game so you should probably read some of those. But I want it to be known that I love a challenge. I completed The FireFly Diary and loved it, but this was just too difficult and for no reason.
It begins so promisingly. The cute idea of a robot whose battery is running dry and needs to feast on human hearts in order to keep running was something new and different that I was really interested to play. I actually bought this as soon as it came out sold on the gameplay trailer. The cute pixel art got me sucked in, with a strategy based, simple but effective gameplay made me press the purchase button. But it wasn't long before I realized that it wasn't even worth the $3 I paid.
The first level starts out well. You have a number of different characters which offer different time limits based on the quality of their hearts as you race around to drop new items to attract different humans to feast on. There are some hairy moments as your counter begins to tick down but around 20 murders later you are ready to move on.
Locations mix up HassleHeart slightly, with different areas of the screen made explorable and different types of human to murder. Though now some of the hearts harvested only offer 10-15 seconds of life time and are not stackable (except the coveted Granny) meaning that gameplay is frantic in order to stay alive. The level is slightly longer this time with around 30-40 murders offering you passage to the next location. And while the whole pick up object, place object, harvest organs gameplay is beginning to get repetitive, it's still cute and unique enough to keep me wanting more.
Then the third level happened and I no longer had the heart to continue, literally and metaphorically. Humans will now smack you round the face if you approach them stunning you for 3 precious seconds. They will no longer move towards your baited delights if you are anywhere near them, and often they will simply pass by their selected object frustratingly unnoticing. Now the most common heart that is harvestable in 10 seconds and again is non-stackable and you have to murder around 300 characters to move on to the next level.
Let that sink in. 300 murders means that the cute gameplay becomes mind-numbingly repetitive, the soundtrack which was delightfully retro now noticeably loops after 3 minutes and as items are dropped based on chance, the randomness of you dying after diligently making it a third of the way towards your goal makes you close down the game in anger. That's right after one hour playing just the 3rd level; the closest I got was about a third of the target and that was when I had to admit defeat.
This is not a difficult game in the way Dark Souls is. It is barely skill based and mostly random which unnaturally stretches out the game. HassleHeart could be good, it simply needs more levels, smaller targets/stackable hearts and I would be willing to give this game a second look. But when you are throwing away perfectly good hearts because the timer on them is lower than the heart you already have pumping away, I can't really recommend this game as a skill based game.
HassleHeart is yet another example of a brilliant idea poorly executed and sadly an example of how bloated with low quality content Steam is. Hopefully, the developers will take criticism and update the title, but until then, I can't recommend purchasing it.
I purchased this game and played it via Steam.
What do you think of HassleHeart?
Cute idea, humor and lovely pixel art but the gameplay lets it down, meaning that I can't recommend purchasing.(Review Policy)