by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Oh no, more Lemmings
What do you get when you cross Lemmings with Tribes with a 3D isometric environment? You get Hairy Tales, a puzzle game where you lead a group of cave dwellers from their starting location to their home. Unfortunately, as was the case with Lemmings, these Hairys – as they are known – are really stupid. If you don’t watch their travel path carefully, they’ll simply fall off the edge of a cliff or walk right up to a dangerous character resulting in certain death. It is up to you to guide them away from danger and into the safety of their home.
The game involves moving hexagonal tiles in a way that directs the Hairys to their destination. The tiles can be dragged to other areas and spun around to face different directions. Certain tiles have important properties such as arrows that force the Hairys in a specific direction. Other tiles have barriers or trees that make the Neanderthals turn around and go back in the opposite direction. Other special tiles have portals that jump the Hairys to another portal within the area. The game does a great job of gradually introducing new elements into the fray.
There is enough variation in the tile elements to keep Hairy Tales interesting for a period of time. Tiles containing dangerous enemies that can be removed with garlic breath (you need to collect a garlic first), tiles containing rotating fences which result in the Hairys heading in different directions and others that have spikes that need to be cleaned up are just some of the various elements that need to be factored into your perfect path home. Unfortunately, the puzzle elements do get rather monotonous half way into the second world. Yes, new elements are added, but these really don’t increase the enjoyment I got out of completing the levels.
And that, despite the fact that some of the later levels are fiendishly hard to complete. I normally get a sense of accomplishment when I complete a tougher puzzle in a game, but with Hairy Tales, it was more of a relief that I was getting closer to the end of the game. I must say that completing the boss levels were rather satisfying though.
The graphics didn’t really help too much either. With each level, gamers get three chances to complete that level (well, you can actually attempt the level as many times as required despite the fact that there are three lives shown). At times, I wasted a death just to work out which way the Hairy was going to walk from his starting position or after hitting an obstacle. The isometric view just didn’t seem to work 100 percent of the time. And the rest of the visuals aren’t much better. They do look rather cute in their bright, colourful, cartoon design, but they do seem rather outdated. In fact, they look somewhat like the visual styling from Worms 4 Mayhem, a game released back in 2005. The interface is rather clear though and it is easy to view all the important details for each level. The interface show how many lives you have left in the level and how many of the three mushrooms have been collected.
It is the mushroom collecting and 100% completion of debris cleaning (which requires a special rock to be collected prior to moving over these debris tiles) that add a certain amount of replayability to the game if you’re a completionist gamer. But most of the levels were simplistic enough that a 100 percent record was achieved on the first run.
As well as being a PC title, Hairy Tales is also available on iOS devices, and for me it seems as though the game is much better suited to that style of platform. It’s a game that you can play if you have a spare ten to fifteen minutes. The repetitious nature of the levels (despite the new elements being introduced as you progress) results in boredom if you play for an extended period – but works well if you play in short bursts. The graphics too, are more suited to the iOS devices even though their screen resolutions are bordering on PC quality nowadays. I did like the fact that some of the levels could be completed in multiple paths, and with such a small price tag, I could be more tempted to play it in enjoyable small periods on an iOS device.
Very simple controls and game mechanics.
Game becomes very repetitious despite gradually including new elements.