Its A Really Cool HO/Puzzle Game!*****
BASED ON DEMO
This is a great game for what it is and should not be approached as a comparable game to what we usually play, i.e. HOPAs. What this game is, is a very entertaining and well constructed puzzle game with a lot of HO puzzles, and 20 other kinds. There is NO adventure play here, but there is a story of sorts that I’m keen to find out more about.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
The graphics are okay. Certainly clear enough, bright enough, the items are all quite visible. I didn’t notice any graininess or rough edges. But it is not art. The main menu page is a implies a certain tendency towards mechanics and electronics, the colours reminding me of “The Matrix”, but the HOPs at least incorporate images from everywhere.
The music is pretty annoying, very upbeat, varied enough, just not what I’d like for background noise while I’m trying to concentrate. There is no voiceover, the Void communicates by way of pop-ups that are very frequent at first, as help and explanations of what is coming are given. Only this first bit is unskippable, after that, comments and tips are all skippable. Personally, I was grateful for them.
This is not an adventure, but you do have a quest. To find out who is really the Void. I have not played or even known about the earlier Clutter games (but I’ll certainly be checking them out now), so I don’t know to what extent this game follows on from them, but clearly we have had previous encounters with the Void.
Our quest is to establish its identity, and also to challenge ourselves and our ways of thinking about games, and find out generally how games are created. This is very interesting to me and even though pure puzzles would not normally interest me, I will be buying this game - largely on the promise of these questions. Answers and revelations are your own, however, the end of each chapter gives us a quote on games.
The first quest for this game is “The Void Speaks”. It is the tutorial game of sorts I guess, certainly there is a lot of information given on how the game works and how to do each style of puzzle. This chapter is filled with very hard matching pairs HOPs. There is a lot to match – up to 50 pairs so far. Also, there are bonus items that are shown only at the top and/or bottom, which require special action. And they are hard because the items are often well hidden, and sometimes only part of one will show from beneath the array of non-list items that can be collected.
These include (so far): letters that form the words of a relevant phrase, coins which go towards additional hints, jigsaw pieces which go towards a 200 piece jigsaw to be solved at the end of the game, and “blocker discs”, which are not removable in the usual way, you must find 5 matched pairs to get rid of one pair of blockers. At the end of a HOP, you will get another type of puzzle to solve. And the next chapter will give you a different style of At the end of each quest, you get the first of 5 answers, only one of which is correct. To find out the truth, you must complete all puzzles and the jigsaw, but you can skip all of them. And you can play them directly from the main menu. So after the first chapter, you could play just the puzzles if that’s what you want.
The number and range of options is amazing. Sliders for music and sounds, choice of 5(!) levels of difficulty, and a total of 15 other toggles for things like blocking pop-ups.
This game is wonderful. I haven’t bought a purely HOP/Puzzle game in years, but I can’t wait to get this one! So ingenious, so flexible. Wow!
I recommend this game!