Heart of Tota
Hey, you! Where's your fedora? How can you expect to delve into ancient tombs without a hat? It's just not professional! Heart of Tota is the newest point-and-click adventure game from Pencil Kids, and your chance to prove you deserve to wield that adventurer's bullwhip you have hidden in the back of your closet underneath your Snuggie that you think we don't know about. You play an unnamed, faceless explorer who has landed on an island in search of the Heart of Tota, a legendary artifact inside a gloomy temple. Using your mouse to interact with the screen, solve the puzzles to get the items you need to progress. Pencil Kids continues their tradition of surprisingly sneaky puzzle solutions, so you'll have to explore everything and pay attention to your surroundings in order to proceed.
Pencil Kids has always been known for short, fun games, but in the past have made things a bit too easy with their tendency to point out every hot-spot on the screen. Heart of Tota feels like more of a challenge simply because the only help you get is when your cursor changes as it passes over areas you can interact with. You probably won't ever be stumped for long; if the solution to a puzzle isn't in the room with you, it's usually nearby, so keep your eyes peeled for unusual, um, embellishments. The one thing that feels like its missing, unfortunately, is a bit of character. While it's definitely refreshing to see Pencil Kids step away from the hand-holding area design, it's a bit disappointing to find a complete lack of the strange and interesting characters that usually live inside their games. Heart of Tota could definitely have done with a bit of story or context beyond "you are an adventurer, presumably, and thus enjoy shiny things" to flesh it out a bit.
Heart of Tota will probably take you about half an hour or less to run through, depending on the girth of your adventurer's glands, and earns its rating for a single scene that may make you jump if you're not expecting it. Even without a story, the game is just challenging enough to provide a nice snack to get all your cylinders firing, and comes packaged with a lovely aesthetic to boot. Just remember; real heroes never leave their hats behind.