Indie games don't have to do their own thing to be successful (just look at something like Prodeus), but Airoheart, a 2D The Legend of Zelda clone through and through, never feels confident in its structure or design when it isn't directly aping Nintendo's timeless series.
The action adventure title tries to set itself apart by introducing a more nuanced narrative to the classic formula. It tells a tale of neighbouring nations on the brink of war, sprinkling a small cast of named characters into the mix as silent protagonist Airoheart tries his best to maintain peace. Anchoring a Zelda-like to a wider story is an interesting idea, but the writing isn't especially engaging, and the personalities are fairly flat.
Airoheart could have doubled-down on the gameplay side of things — attempting to improve on its inspirations — but the harsh truth is that it doesn't match up to its forebears. Combat can be frustratingly finicky in terms of hitboxes and enemy positioning. Puzzles often feel overly basic, or annoyingly vague. Exploration can seem completely unrewarding at times, and the lack of dungeon maps leads to a lot of backtracking, especially later on.
We like the rune system, at least. Instead of lugging around a shed's worth of tools, Airoheart makes use of a magical staff that can be imbued with various runes to alter its effects. Some runes help out in battle, while others are needed to solve specific puzzles, or open the way to a new area of the overworld. It's just a neat way to keep all of your abilities under one roof.
Airoheart's, er, heart is in the right place — and it is an okay Zelda clone overall — but the game's got noticeable flaws. A potential recommendation if you're desperate to play something resembling retro Zelda on PlayStation, but that's about it.