There aren't many World War I games out there--especially one that isn't focused on shooting everything in sight. Valiant Hearts is a 2D puzzle adventure that takes place during the events of the first Great War, but instead of thrusting a gun in player's hands, it tells the story of five characters who must deal with the horrors of war. The five protagonists are on varying sides of the conflict and in different roles, such as a cook, nurse, or volunteer. Their emotional experiences eventually become tied together by a single medical assistance dog that follows each character throughout their tale.
Valiant Hearts is a story-heavy, adventure-style game that tasks players to solve environmental puzzles. As Emile--a French cook working for the Germans--you must perform day-to-day tasks, like cooking a sausage stew, by pulling a sequence of switches. As you explore the camp and serve up the soldiers' dinner, the Germans bark orders with simplistic pop-up speech bubbles which translates their audible gibberish. The charming animations, along with the overlaying comic panels used as active cutscenes, give the game a lighthearted feel. But when an enemy attack bombards the German camp, the situation becomes much more dire as Emile attempts to escape the carnage with the camp's rescue canine.
Players can command the dog to help them solve puzzles and use the objects in the environment to get past obstacles. Each character also has a unique ability; for instance, Freddie, an American volunteer fighting in the historic Battle of the Marne, can use his special wire cutters to get through certain barriers. His mission has you navigating a battlefield and trying to dodge machinegun fire, knock out enemy patrols, and destroy enemy occupied bridges with TNT. The game seems to change pace significantly with each character. Judging from the tone the missions have taken so far, the combination of hilarious characters, depressing moments, and an adorable dog is sure to make Valiant Hearts an emotional rollercoaster.
Check out the following slides for more information and images