Heartbound by Pirate Software (Review)

TLDR: Heartbound, the second game from the independent games studio Pirate Software is a charming roleplaying game, that delves into issues like mental health and negative thoughts. The pixel art style and bouncy soundtrack make each situation you come across interesting, and pulls you in. If you are willing to wait for the rest of the chapters to release, this game is an excellent addition to your collection.

Heartbound is an RPG-inspired roleplaying game where you take control of Lore, a young man who is troubled by his own thoughts. His sidekick and companion Baron is a loveable dog that helps Lore with his inner-demons. When he wakes up one day, he discovers that Baron is gone, and that it is up to him to save him from otherworldly monsters. As he makes friends and enemies, along the way Lore discovers more about himself.

After playing the demo of Heartbound late last year, I was amazed by the tight controls and story that this game had. Playing the game again delighted me with a wonderful soundtrack that accompanies your quest. Amazing pixel-art locations with different feels and vibes entice you for the whole play-session.

In early access, this game is set to fully release in mid to late 2019. Through weekly and monthly content patches, you get to experience each world as they come out. According to the steam page, Tower Corp, Animus, Muspelheim, and Niflheim are planned worlds. In the game right now is Hometown, Tower Corp, and previews of the remaining worlds.

Tower Corp was very delightful to play through, filled with intelligent quips, and humor from many of the storied characters you meet. It was very polished, but very small. One critique I had with this area was its lack of direction. I ended up looking in the game’s forums for directions to a fetch quest, and I never had any indication of my progress. The lack of an inventory and pause menu was a little annoying, but it wasn’t game breaking.

With partial controller support, I am happy to report that I was able to play the whole game with an Xbox One controller. The game doesn’t auto-detect your controller, so on every start of the game you can select if you are playing with a controller or mouse. This screen can only be controlled with a mouse, but after that you can play without one. I haven’t tested this game with a steam controller, but with the steam controller’s dual trackpads might get past this issue. For mouse free Xbox One controller support, scripting software like Xpadder did the trick for me.

Combat in this game is very different from what I have seen before. Each combat encounter is unique, having you play dedicated minigames to take down each character. The controls feel tight, and fun. One critique however, is the amount of these battles. In my playthrough, battles were flung far apart from each other, and there were very few.

Bugs were non-existent in my playthrough, and the game stayed at a consistent frame rate of 60 frames per second (the game’s locked framerate). This game is very accessible to those with older machines.



    • Processor: 1.2Ghz+
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: This game is locked to 60 frames per second.

This game is also translated into Portuguese (Brazil) and French. Other languages like Latin American Spanish, Russian, and Japanese are planned for inclusion.

The included content took me around 5 hours to complete, leaving me hungry for more. I am very excited for the future of Heartbound, and I am looking forward to upcoming content releases. I wholeheartedly recommend this game, as long as you are willing to wait for more content releases.

If you would like more information about the game, Jason Thor Hall (Game Director), and Bradie Shaye Rehmel (Lead Artist) both stream their development from 12pm - 10pm PST on their Twitch channel. You can also check out their twitter handle @PirateSoftware, and their website at gopiratesoftware.com.