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A screenshot of Pine Hearts showing the campground area

Pine Hearts is in the Running for Cutest Steam Next Fest Demo

Putting you in charge of an adorably dumpy character, Pine Hearts‘ Steam Next Fest demo, which you’ll be able to jump into from Monday, has you hit the ground running. But with this cosy little adventure focused on storytelling, exploration and collecting, running is about the most arduous thing you’re going to be doing.

We mean that in the best way possible. Free of any combat or grizzly stuff, you can simply enjoy existing in the charming, chunky world of Pine Hearts. The demo is short, lasing less than 30 minutes, but it’ll have you exploring a green woodland area, stepping foot into a bustling campsite and ending just as you get to an eerie looking castle.

On the campsite, you can chat to campers and collect various items which may or may not be useful. There’s a suspicious-looking lone camper who wants our help finding burger ingredients, but we’ve also found tent pegs and other bits and bobs. We’d imagine they’ll have a use in the full game, but here, they’re merely filler.

Items you pick up will go in your backpack, but as you go you’ll also find memory fragments. You’ll only need 10 to unlock your first touching memory of you and your father, but you’ll need 200 before you can unlock the next. It seems like these will be key to solving some of Pine Hearts’ puzzles, as well as providing the backbone to the story.

Inside a memory in Pine Hearts
Image: Hyper Luminal Games

Developer Hyper Luminal has put a lot of emphasis on accessibility tools that have been baked into the game and right from the off it’s clear how important this has been for the team. You’re offered simplified controls and colour blocking before you start playing, but wander into the settings and you’ll find tools like high contrast mode, visual toggles, font scaling and more. Our only niggle? It’s worth turning on simplified controls regardless, because the standard controls don’t feel particularly intuitive.

The full release of Pine Hearts is due out in the first quarter of the year, so likely in the next couple of months. If you’re a sucker for a cosy, wholesome adventure game, this is one well worth keeping your eye on — and absolutely give its Steam Next Fest demo a try.

Head to our dedicated Steam Next Fest page for more highlights and previews

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