The Indie Shelf

The Indie Shelf: “Valiant Hearts: The Great War”

Hello everybody! For this edition of the Indie Shelf we have a newly released puzzle-adventure game called Valiant Hearts: The Great War.



Developer(s) Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Engine UbiArt Framework
Platform(s) PlayStation Network,Microsoft Windows,Xbox Live Arcade
Release date(s) PlayStation Network

  • NA June 24, 2014
  • PAL June 25, 2014

Microsoft Windows &Xbox Live Arcade
June 25, 2014[1]

Genre(s) Puzzle adventure

The story of crossed destinies and a broken love in a world torn apart. All of them will try to survive the horror of the trenches following their faithful canine companion. In Valiant Hearts: The Great War, the lives of all these characters are inextricably drawn together over the course of the game. Friendship, love, sacrifice, and tragedy befall each one as they help each other to retain their humanity against the horrors of war. The game is inspired by letters written during the Great War and has four characters on the battlefield help a young German soldier find his love in this story about survival, sacrifice and friendship.

Taking place between 1914 and 1918 during the outbreak of World War I, the characters must make their way across the war-torn battlefields. Each character can solve a different set of puzzles, such as Emile using a bone as a makeshift level, and Freddie using wire-cutters to bypass dangerous obstacles.

The game’s art style is resembles a hand-drawn, comic book style. With exaggerated character designs to create contrast to the war-torn environments.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Valiant Hearts: The Great War is significant in many ways. It not only gives us a rewarding and engaging way to see the horrors of war as it pertains to this particular likable cast of characters, but it also educates us on one of the most significant events in history. Ubisoft Montpellier could have just delivered a good game and called it a day, but they went above and beyond the call of duty to add context to the proceedings, and that is quite the commendable effort.

The animation hums with personality, giving heroes a distinctive shamble or a muscular onward stride. Where other games have tried to bring war to life through realism – like Brothers in Arms or the early Calls of Duty – or through dark fantasy, like The Darkness, Valiant Hearts does it through artistry and suggestion. If anything, it makes it all the more shocking, and perhaps less prone to the usual WWI clichés. Sure, we get the mud, the machine-gun fire, the trenches, but this is more a game about smaller, human moments than about waves of men being thrown over the top to die.

It’s not always effective. Valiant Hearts’ biggest problem is that the gameplay can be pedestrian, no matter how imaginatively it’s visualised. With no inventory system as such the puzzles are often limited to moving objects here and pushing levers there, digging through spaces, rotating wheels or distracting guards. If you thought the puzzles in Broken Age were disappointingly simple, then you might not even consider Valiant Hearts’ puzzles to actually be puzzles. The highlights involve the dog, who’s used as a sort of remote helper, going into areas where your hero cannot reach or can’t be seen. Even these, however, won’t have you scratching your head for more than a minute.


  • Beautiful animation.
  • Creative Backdrops.
  • So much pathos!
  • Historical facts.


  • Heavy handed narration.
  • Some tiresome and not challenging puzzles.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10

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Brandon Stuhr

Who am I? Just some guy who decided to start writing on the Internet years ago and now operates his own brand and site. Owner/Operator of Modern Neon Media, I make all kinds of niche content to suit my interests at the time. DIY Enthusiast, Brewmaster extraordinaire, and avid freak for geek culture. Follow on my socials for a more "on" version of me.

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