Legends say there’s a tiny kingdom hidden beneath the leaves where tiny people dwell in harmony with tiny animals. These tiny folk live their lives just like you or I, only they get a little magic to spice up their daily routines. Welcome to the world of Tiny Tales: Heart of the Forest, an utterly charming casual adventure game that’s stuffed to the brim with so many fun features you won’t be able to choose your favorite.
Tiny Tales begins with a soft introduction to the world as seen through the eyes of Max, a miniature inhabitant of the idyllic little village. There’s a lot going on in this place, including giant evil kitty cats and a looming water shortage that may or may not have nefarious origins. But right now Max is concerned with an archery competition in Brie. Once he gets that out of the way, then it’s time to save the world.
The very beginning of Tiny Tales presents what is possibly the scariest scenario imaginable: a talking rat with a moustache who happens to be a tax collector. This gives the game a convenient opportunity to introduce one of its unique features. Instead of just clicking through lines of dialogue, Tiny Tales gives you questions and challenges you to locate clues on the NPC themselves. With Rattus Ratburn, for example, you’ll spot his royal seal and the papers that say “taxes” sticking out of a folder. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to solve, but you’ll appreciate the extra interactivity.
Now let’s talk about spells. Tiny Tales has a creative way to discover and cast a variety of spells, all of which factor in to puzzles you’ll solve. Throughout your adventure you’ll need to hunt for runes drawn on slivers of paper or carved into the environment. Collect them, then check your spell book to see what you’ve got. Flip through the reference pages and combine runes to make the right shape, then pour some powder over top and voila, you’re a wizard! Spells come in handy throughout the game, but the most exciting time is during combat. Yes, combat, a casual adventure game with combat. On some occasions you’ll encounter less than cooperative NPCs who insist on doing battle. By playing what amounts to a short memory game, you can match up runes and cast a spell to cool their temper.
Hidden object scenes come in a variety of flavors, including silhouette lists, text lists, and multi-item hunt-a-thons. They always feature a number of interactive environmental obstacles you’ll need to push and pull around to complete the puzzle, which keeps them from feeling too stagnant. Mini-games are just as diverse as the hidden object scenes, giving Tiny Tales a massive number of diversions to keep you entertained.
Tiny Tales: Heart of the Forest is one of those games that will earn praise from every angle. You’ll love its gorgeous artwork and crisp visuals, you’ll be delighted by every mini-game and puzzle, you’ll grin and laugh with the quirky cast of characters. Even the main game of exploring and collecting items is somehow riveting. Best of all, Tiny Tales keeps things lighthearted without being too cheesy. It’s the perfect game to come home to and play at the end of a long day.