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A jam entry

What Are Hearts?View game page »

A game in which hearts are more than just health.
Submitted by ODD_OLIVER with 19 hours, 59 minutes before the deadline

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Visit What Are Hearts?'s game page


CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score

Ranked from 24 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

How does your submission match the theme?
Hearts are no longer just representing health. Hearts now represent inventory slots and bullets.

Third-party resources
I used Unity (Game Engine), Visual Studio (C# code) and Microsoft power point (sprite creation).

Oliver Morrison ( me :D )

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I loved the idea, it's pretty damn interesting and it makes hearts nearly omni-purpose, which is a theme I like a lot (So much so we made our jam game all around near-omni-purpose mechanics!), and it's allright to not focus on aesthethics that much, specially since the visuals aren't like, horrible, they're just simple.

But you've got a few game design issues there, mainly level design and the fact therea re no checkpoints. It's kinda frustrating to wait for health every time, and the second level kind of frustrated me a bit too much. Not because it's hard? but mostly because it takes too much time and it's kind of annoying, but you already know that, and that's a HUGE step towards an even better game!!

I overall liked it a lot though, uses the theme really well in my opinion!

Very creative way of re purposing a health mechanic. Nice job.


Thanks  ^_^

This game has a really great mechanic that I haven't really seen before in a game. I like how you use hearts as a way to combine all of these different puzzle mechanics. From opening doors to shooting bullets, everything is connected. I'm surprised by the amount you are able to squeeze out of this one mechanic. My only main complaint is the amount of waiting that you have to do to heal, especially in the late game. Other than that, this game is excellent. Amazing work!


Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you liked the game :)

Healing is much faster in the update that I am currently working on :)

Interesting, requiring certain amounts of health for passing thru locked doors. Perhaps this could be expanded to using health as a currency in general.

Right now the collisions seem to simply subtract your velocity, which causes a stuttering effect - collision events could be used to align the character pixel-perfectly.


My basic idea when I started was to make hearts do as many things as possible. Currency was one of the things I came up with, but the issue there is you'd need something to buy and healing hearts couldn't be automatic anymore :)

The collision is handled automatically by the game engine and I have little to no clue how to improve it, unfortunately. I'm looking into it though :)
Thanks for playing ^_^

Interesting puzzle. I didn't realize that health regenerate until I read the comments so I was stuck in that room in the top right of level 2. 

The one thing I would improve are the controls. They weren't really satisfying and seemed unnecessary to the puzzle solving since the spike obstacles weren't the most interesting obstacle. I feel the game would work better with grid space movement.

Anyhow, I really like the idea, good job :)


I'm currently wondering about grid based movement, but a lot of the ideas I plan to implement later might not work well with a grid based movement system.... we shall see

Thanks for the feedback ^_^

If level 2 could cover only 2 doors/ keys, it would feel better. Then move current level 2 to level 3's slot and current level 3 to level 4's etc. It wasn't entirely clear that health recovered when staying still. Despite those 2 complaints and the mechanics are clever, simple, and engaging!


Yeah, level 2 is certainly too big a jump. In fact I would argue that there needs to be many level between it and the first level. I plan to fix this soon :)

Only realized later on what the mechanic was (red doors open when HP matches, yellow doors open when enough keys are had and uses up keys), feel like the challenge spike in level 2 was a bit too much though. Agree with comments below that a digital grid based movement would help things as the hitboxes on the spikes seemed a bit too big for comfort. Very interesting mechanic though and taking a hit to progress seems like something unexplored much in games!


Thankyou very much for playing ^_^

Grid based movement is being considered..... but I'm still not sure. I'd like to avoid it if I can..... 
Level 2 has a lot of issues and you'll be happy to know that I'll be doing the level design from scratch when I revisit this ^_^


This game is a very interesting puzzle game that definitely builds onto itself very well. The addition of a different ways to use and manipulate your hearts is really cool. The level design is also put together well for the most part. I enjoy how each level made me think in a different way. It was very stimulating. However, there were several instances where the level design felt more punishing than rewarding. My particular problem is with level 2. There was a section with 2 rows of spikes and a small cap in the middle (featured in the bottom left of the screenshot). Until I figured out I could run over both without being damaged by both, I constantly would stop in the middle, and would have a tiny pixel on one of the spikes and would keep dying. If you were to make the "invulnerability frames" more noticeable (the player flashes) and extend the invulnerability frames a half a second, then that experience wouldn't of been so grueling. I think I played level 2 10 times. Also, in the screenshot, if the player picks up a key before he gets to this key in the locked room, it becomes impossible for the player to pick up that key. It may have been intentional or just an oversight, but either way, it's really annoying to be forced to play a level completely over again (especially this one since i found level 2 to be the most frustrating) just because he picked up a key in the wrong order. Other than those complaints, this was a really well designed puzzle game, good job!


Thankyou for such an incredibly in depth comment ^_^ I've had someone speak about the key problem before. You don't actually need to restart, but what you do need to do is a little unclear. If you shoot, you can clear your inventory of keys (in doing so you send each key back to the place where it was originally collected) and then you are free to collect the keys in the right order. This mechanics is perhaps a little unclear. Ive made a note, so when I revisit this game, I will look into a way of showing this to the player.  I think that will require a crafty bit of level design ... we shall see.

I'm very glad you liked it and if you have any other ideas I'm all ears :D


Oh!!! I seee! That is an issue :/ Thanks for showing me ^_^

haha! yeah, it's not an issue on the gun level (although i didn't realize that until after i reset level 4) but it is an issue here.


Once the game jam is over I will fix that :)

Cool game! It took a while at first to understand that the hearts are used as inventory, and that the hearts are regenerated when standing still. But once I got hang of it, the game had some really interesting puzzles. This game clearly needs some polish, but it has potential. A suggestion is to use a grid-based movement. There were plenty of times where I unintentionally went on spikes and had to restart the level. I would also like to see smaller levels that fits on the whole window.


I am caught between partly wanting to have hundreds of tiny levels and partly wanting to turn this into a metroidvania. I think I might make a metroidvania where each little puzzle fits on the screen, but they are all part of a much larger scale puzzle. What do you think to that.
I thought a lot about grid based movement and I'm still not sure..... but I'm not sure how else to improve movement and collision....ideally (thinking about the direction many of my ideas are going in) I think I want to avoid grid based movement? maybe?.... We'll see.
Glad you liked the game though :)

I think the game concept could suit the metroidvania style of game very well :)


Had to admit, I was pleasantly surprised~ You truly took advantage of this mechanic with very clever puzzles! I didn't figure out that I could refill health by standing still, but after that, it was pretty interesting~ This definitely has lots of promise, well done!


Well this was heart warming. Thankyou very much :) Did you manage to get through all the levels?

Yeah, I did! There were a few times where I got myself stuck and had to replay the level from the start, so that was a tad frustrating. Especially the parts where you pick up a key, only to find out that you SHOULDN'T have, as the next area forces you to lose it! Besides the few hiccups, most of the levels were pretty well-designed, teaching the player what happens without needing text, like when you pick up the last heart. I really respected that!


It's possible I missed something, but I tried to make sure that there was always a way to escape a room or regain a key. Often it's a case of losing health to get through a door or two or losing health to drop a key (so that you can pick them up in a different order) :). 

That's the odd thing: Sometimes, upon losing health and holding keys, the key doesn't drop and is lost forever. Not to mention, there's a danger of dropping keys over spikes and being unable to pick them up because you'll never have full health (although this doesn't happen in any of your levels).


Ah! There's the issue. I never made it clear enough in the game, but if you lose a key it reapawns where you originally found it :)

Ooooooooooooooooooooooh. Well, then it's all hunky dory on that end, then! But yeah, that sounds like an important thing to let the player know~

I really like the idea of using health  as the main mechanic for puzzles, all though it was boring having to wait for all of you hp to regen later on when you had 4+, it would be better to have it give your hp back faster the longer you wait.

Something like the first heart takes the normal time to regen, but the next take something like 1/4th of that to regen and so on.

Fun game though!


A very good suggest. It's something I didn't really consider till after I've submitted it. The pace of the game definitely needs improving.

I found the mechanic to be interesting however movement was a chore. It was slow and then the collision check happened after the movement rather than before. So if you collide with a wall it stops you dead and then you have to stop moving and then try again. Unity has a great collision system, you can even lock rotation so everything always remains aligned. So the movement mechanic was frustrating but the game mechanic was compelling and I could see it be used to very good effect.


Thanks for playing ^_^ Did you give each level a go? (there's a level select feature if you wish to skip).  I've been thinking about your feedback for a while and wondering "why is everyone saying the movement is slow? Seems fast to me... Any faster and I run into things". I understand now. I forgot to normalise the diagonal motion, so my habit of moving diagonal has been making me faster.  I've also been playing with a small screen whilst everyone has been playing with fullscreen (which again makes it feel slower).  I've tried in fullscreen and my god it's horrendous I feel you aren't going diagonal.  I'll be sure to fix that when I revisit this! ADDED TO THE LIST!! ^_^

Honestly, I got frustrated after a couple levels because it took so long to get to the point I was at in a level then I got stuck and was forced to die so I gave up. This goes back to the movement mechanic being very slow and having annoying collision detection.

Developer (Edited 1 time)

Yeah, I'll be working on that for the next few weeks :) but I'm not updating anything till voting is over (not even movement speed). I have a long list of things to fix and I can't wait to upload an updated version where all those things are fixed ^_^

Level 2 is probably the worst as far as design goes. 3 and 4 are a lot shorter and 4 has a gun ^_^

Nice Theme Ideas but its just eh, not a puzzle person, not bad but i feel like thats the problem with a lot of devs


Thanks for the feedback. I'm very much a puzzle person. This wasn't actually originally meant to be a puzzle, but once I'd made the basic mechanics I didn't have long to make levels, so it either had be an action game with no action or a puzzle game. I'll probably add a little more of other genres as I develope the idea later, but there'll always be a bit of puzzle in there :)