LifeisXbox’s Heim review | A solo developer releasing a project they’ve worked on for years deserves our attention for sure. So here we are presenting you Heim, a game by Belgian developer Tom Ryckeboer. Heim is a story-driven indie puzzle adventure game inspired by Norse mythology. You travel from world to world, discovering secrets and abilities, while solving unique, varied puzzles. Follow Ashyr’s journey through the wonderful world filled with lore, mysteries, and gods.
As developer Tom put it himself: Heim is a game for explorers, puzzlers and lorehounds!
Most Memorable Moment
As many might know, Vikings used the stars to navigate and explore the world. Seeing as Heim puts some Nordic mythology in the game, this particular fact was incorporated in the game. In order to discover new islands, you will have to go to a tower and use the stars, a map and a figure to locate them. I absolutely loved that Tom put this in the game because it added an extra sort of challenge to the exploration part!
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Art style | As we all know, the art style of a game can be one of the main factors of attraction. When I first read about Heim and saw screenshots, I immediately adored the art style. I feel like the whole world, including the characters, looks like it’s made out of clay (I think that’s the best way to describe it and it would make sense). There are different islands to explore, each having their own look and feel, but all looking small enough to keep an overview. And since exploration is key in this game (more about this in the next bullet point), you will surely enjoy the art style of Heim to the fullest.
- More exploration | In Heim, it’s all about exploring. Developer Tom even said that if you get stuck, his first tip is ‘try exploring a little more’. Luckily, I’m the type of person that wanders around the map as much as possible before doing something, just to make sure I don’t miss something. Not so luckily, I still tend to not see things because I’m not great at solving puzzles, but hey, can’t have it all, right! Anyway, if you also love exploring a cool setting, you will most definitely enjoy Heim. There are different islands to sail of to, which I personally really enjoyed. Especially since you had to map out their location using the stars first! Besides solving puzzles, exploring will also help you locate Lore Scrolls and Arcane Remnants, which can be quite useful if you want to customize Nor to your own taste. Giving him different outfits and accessories is only a small part of this game, but it’s things like this that really give me so much joy in a game. Of course, reading the Lore Scrolls is great fun as well, if you’re into those kinds of things!
- Inspired by Norse mythology | While I’ve always found mythology quite fascinating, the Norse mythology is probably my favourite. But being honest: Marvel (and more specifially Loki, Thor, and Heimdall) most definitely has something to do with that. Either way, games that are inspired by Norse mythology always seem to catch my attention a little more. You probably know what I’m going to say now… yes, Heim is inspired by Norse mythology. So, if you too are a fan of Vikings (and don’t mind reading a fair bit), Heim is most definitely going to be even more interesting to you!
- More puzzles less violence | Who needs violence and combat when you’ve got plenty of puzzles to solve?! Instead of using weapons and wearing armor, Ashyr uses his magic fute to overcome any obstacle. Even though I’m usually a fan of combining exploration and combat, I did not miss fighting for a single second when I was playing Heim. Using the magic flut to play melodies in order to discover more secrets truly was a fun way to advance. The puzzles mechanics offered a fair bit of challenge but always remained quite fun. Like using Iffrey to get to places, or wield your memory vision to help you solve puzzles. There was also quite a lot of creativity involved. Right from the beginning, you are asked to carve your ownn totem, and compose your own little song, but later on you’ll also have to create potions and more!
- Can you pet the dog? | It’s all about asking the important questions in life. I’m not sure if you know the Twitter page CanYouPetTheDog? Well, this Twitter account has a catalog of pettable dogs in video games. How awesome is that? Seems like they can add Heim to their list of games with pettable animals because YES YOU CAN PET THE DOG. There is even an achievement called ‘Determinism’ that requires you to pet the dog.
- Iffrey | Let me introduce you to some adorable creatures created by the goddess Duri. Iffrey are small hopping rodents with a unique connection to nature. They go nuts for Ambrose food, and when you hold this particular food, they will follow you. Thanks to their strong connection to nature, they will prove useful when you need to grow or recede plants. Unfortunately, these very useful creatures are also what’s probably most problematic part about the game, as developer Tom said himself. The Iffrey tend to fall down or simply don’t spawn, and this causes fundamental problems for the game as they’re often required to continue.
What we Disliked
- Lag | Unfortunately, Heim is one of those games that falls victim to quite some lag. From what I’ve seen so far the second island has some nasty frame drops, but the developer is working on this. He has already reduced the lag a little, but is planning to work on continueing to reduce it. In all fairness, I have not yet finished the game at the time of writing simply because I’m stuck again (I’m really the worst possible puzzle-solver, you guys) so I cannot tell you if it gets worse near the end, but I can tell you not to worry too much about it because the game does remain playable and all. It’s just never fun to have lag in a game, you know.
How long to beat the story | About 15 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 20+ hours
Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂