There are about a gazillion puzzle games out there on the App Store these days, with new ones coming out every week, so getting your game noticed takes some doing. Along comes Hairy Tales, from Crescent Moon’s indie label Forest Moon games. It’s a cute game with a unique look and clever gameplay mechanics. That just might be enough to get it some time in the spotlight.
The game is a sort of 3D, top-down version of Lemmings. You control super shaggy forest spirits celled Hairys, who attempt to bring back order and light to a world that has been corrupted by evil forces. Your trolls wander around their world, gathering life-giving mushrooms and energy crystals that destroy the foul presence affecting their home. Along their travels they encounter other more evil spirits who want to stop the Hairys, and they sometimes have to fight against the land itself, which has been so tainted that the forest will try and stop the woolly eco-warriors.
The problem is that the Hairys aren’t very bright and have a tendency to walk in a straight line. The world of the spirits is made up of hexagonal blocks, and there are all kinds of ways to help you steer the not-so-smart Hairys around these strange looking lands. There are directional arrows that will send the Hairys in whatever direction their pointing, teleporting pools, fences, bouncy trees, hammers to smash rocks, and cannons that not only shoot at your enemies but will also change your direction. You can even move certain parts of the landscape around and arrange the paths to a certain extent, in ways that will help you get to where you need to go.
The puzzles are all really clever, and the ways you go about solving them are a whole lot of fun. We really liked the fact that there seem to be more than one way to solve the puzzles. That kind of flexibility is rare and adds to the feeling that you’re playing something unique and creative.
In fact, any complaints we have about the game are fairly cosmetic. The boards can sometimes be a little too huge. We tried the game on both the iPhone and iPad, and even on the iPad there are some levels where you can’t see the whole stage. You can pinch and move the board around, but this isn’t ideal when the puzzles get more complex and things become more intense. Also, some of the land blocks have little arrows painted on them indicating a direction, and from time to time they can obscured by whatever is on them. Again, you can flip the blocks around to see the arrows, but when timing and speed are crucial, this can be a pain.
Hairy Tales is a simple but smart game. The puzzles are clever and engaging, the world is a lot of fun to interact with, and the game has a unique look and sound to it. Add some really inventive boss battles and over 70 levels to play through, and Hairy Tales is a game that will test your brains and reflexes in a shrewd new way.