Plenty of games use hearts to represent life, but none are more iconic than The Legend of Zelda. With the series’ emphasis on exploration, searching carefully for Pieces of Heart in secret areas is part of the fun, and Heart Containers make you stronger as you defeat one boss to the next.
Hearts play a big role in Kingdom Hearts, symbolizing wisdom and power. Kingdom Hearts is the most powerful of all, accessible with a Keyblade. Many of the world’s villains search it out for their own gain. The series is deeply rooted in this mythology, making it an intriguing universe.
This cyborg from Mortal Kombat’s original roster performs one of the most gruesome fatalities. In the original, he reaches into an enemy’s chest and rips out their still-beating heart. In Mortal Kombat 9, he performs the same move then decapitates his foes.
Given by the Outsider during a vision, The Heart guides you toward bone charms and runes. When one is close by, it beats unsettlingly and glows. Its most interesting function is whispering secrets as you squeeze it while pointing it at specific characters.
Playing as a hitman possessed by an ancient demon, you hunt down mobsters while avoiding well-lit areas. One of the main mechanics is eating the hearts of your opponents to increase your Darkness level and powers. It’s a neat mechanic, accompanied by a brutal animation.
While most games use hearts as a representation of health, Castlevania takes a refreshingly different turn. In the series, hearts are often used as ammunition or energy for sub-weapons. You can find hearts by killing enemies or even destroying lanterns.
In Undertale, different colored hearts in battle represent the souls of past humans that came to the world. Each symbolizes a trait, such as the protagonist’s red heart representing determination. The hearts have their own play styles, such as yellow shooting out bullets.
By entering Liberty City’s version of the Statue of Liberty, you come across a strange sight: a gigantic, beating heart is chained to the walls. Outside, you find a plaque on the statue that reads “no hidden content here,” poking fun at the concept of Easter eggs.
In this roguelike, hearts can regenerate health or have varying effects. Soul Hearts act as armor, Gold Hearts grant Isaac money when his final heart is lost, and Black Hearts can damage all nearby enemies. These hearts bring variety and can shake things up when used strategically.
In this top-down roguelike, following the beat is a careful dance for survival. By using the Heart Transplant special item, you can momentarily walk freely without having to stay in rhythm with the music.