Harold

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Harold review
Murray Lewis

Review

On a wing and a prayer

Divine Intervention (cntd)


You can also use your powers to wreak havoc on your opponents; cutting ropes as they go for the swing, toppling them off narrow beams, and literally pulling the floor out from under them in an attempt to give Harold a chance to catch up. There are some fantastic animations here, and it adds a touch of Whacky Races-style violence to the whole proceedings.

Unfortunately, it also means there's a heck of a lot to be thinking about, and that's Harold's main flaw. While each race is split into a number of single-screen challenges, each screen often has several interactive objects. To get from one side to the other at a decent speed often requires a breathlessly intricate sequence of controller twiddlings, with the slightest mistake leading to Harold's untimely demise. It rapidly becomes nearly impossible to keep track of everything happening on-screen as you juggle protecting Harold, activating shortcut paths, and interfering with competitors.

The end result is a game which will require several restarts just to finish any given level, let alone if you want to stick with it and go for gold. But while it might be the game's biggest flaw, this could also be its biggest draw. Harold pulls no punches, and players looking for a real challenge will find that this more than makes up for the otherwise slim selection of levels. Going for first place in every race is a hard-as-nails feat reminiscent of the golden age of the platforming genre, and I imagine it will keep a dedicated player busy for some time.

The Face of an Angel


While the difficulty level might be punishing, the presentation is extremely pleasing to the eye, so you'll at least have something nice to look at while you tear your hair out. Harold features sumptuous traditional-style animation which calls to mind some of Disney's best film releases from the 1990s. It's no surprise, then, that some of the Moon Spider art staff were reportedly plucked from illustrious studios like Dreamworks, Pixar, and Ghibli.

This high quality continues through the sound design, with the music and voice acting all top quality, although the 'helpful' voice prompts, such as those which congratulate you for finishing a level, become an inescapable nuisance rather quickly.

Platforming fans will find this game difficult to resist, as Harold draws you in with gorgeous visuals and accessible gameplay. But be warned once you're in, it turns up the heat. The hazards come thick and fast, and getting onto the top of the podium in each race is not a challenge for the faint-hearted, but if you can manage it you'll have more than earned your wings.

7.9

fun score

Pros

Excellent challenge for dedicated players. Gorgeous animated style. Unique concept.

Cons

Requires superhuman reflexes. Small number of levels. Gamepad-only controls.