Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Hatris (PC Engine)

According to Wikipedia, Hatris was created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1990. As well as being on PC Engine, it was also released on NES, Game Boy and in arcades. Like his most famous game, Tetris, Hatris was a falling stuff puzzle game, the "stuff" being hats of various styles, such as wizard hats, crowns, etc. At the bottom of the screen are six identical heads on to which the hats land. Stacking five identical hats on top of each other makes them disappear. Near the top of the screen is a line, which when crossed by a pile of hats ends the game.
The game itself is fine. Unfortunately, that's the greatest compliment it can recieve. While not great looking, it's not particularly ugly, while there is music it's so bland, it's barely noticable. The idea is executed perfectly, and there are no frustrating flaws in any part of the game, in fact, it only commits one crime of game design. The most important one: it's very, very boring. There's no tension, reaching higher levels complicates things by adding more varieties of hat, but still, even when all six stacks of hats are reaching the game over line, you don't feel any motivation to try harder, and once you've reached game over you don't feel as if you've lost anything or that you could do better next time, you just find yourself thinking "oh. it's over." This isn't helped by the fact that even if you start on higher levels, your game is probably going to last at least ten minutes before you're even close to getting game over.
Play it once or twice out of curiosity at the unusual concept, and to see the sort-of wierd graphics, but that's it. This is a well made, but very dull game.

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