Puzzle games come in many different forms. Some, like “Lemmings”, task you with guiding a set number of creatures to the goal area by assigning them tasks…tasks that serve to both navigate them around the environment and prevent them from committing suicide. “Hairy Tales” is similar in that regard but has a personality all its own, making it one of the oddest puzzle games I’ve played recently. Before we take a look at this game in further detail, I’d like to thank Ricardo J. Méndez for sending me a free review copy.
The main menu is fairly simple and straightforward, allowing you to select a level and adjust game options. There is only the one profile, but you can select any level you’ve reached thus far. If you have a family member or a friend who wants to try out the game, you can start them out at the beginning without difficulty. Who knows, perhaps they’ll help to complete a level that you weren’t able to do! Your game options cover your basics like screen resolution, graphics quality, fullscreen toggles, and sliders for music and sound.
The game starts you out slow, introducing you to the game’s features a little at a time. This is a welcome feature, seeing as how I have very little to draw from in terms of games that are similar to “Hairy Tales.” The game is broken up into three areas, each containing twenty-four levels. The last level on an area contains a boss that you’ll have to defeat, which can be extremely challenging. If you’re like me, it will take a lot of thinking and trial and error to beat them and the level. Reflexes are important as well, as you’ll sometimes need to move or rotate a hex you previously used.
While the playing field changes level to level, the goal is roughly the same. Your Hairy starts off on a hexagonal space and must reach the goal space safely while carrying a blue stone, which you pick up along the way to clear corruption tiles. In order for him to do that, you’ll have to move the hexes around and account for what’s on them since he moves in a straight line until confronted by a modifier. Some spaces are plain in that they allow the Hairy to move across it freely, while others change the direction he’s walking in and other various effects. Early levels introduce you to things like directional arrows and fences, while the later levels introduce you to pickups like hammers and garlic. You’ll be able to arrange the level how you like before you begin your Hairy’s journey, but once he starts, you won’t be able to stop him. You will have three lives however, just in case your first attempt doesn’t go as planned.
Each level contains mushrooms that you can collect and contaminated ground that you can cleanse, though addressing these things appears to be optional. If you’re a completionist, however, you’ll want to keep trying different combinations to fully 100% a level. The level select menu keeps track of this for you, in case you get fed up and want to come back to a particular level later to address the mushrooms and corruption you missed. You’ll also be given the option to skip a level and move on to the next one, and this feature can be implemented as much as you want. You could, in theory, keep skipping levels and even the final one to unlock the next area. I wouldn’t recommend this approach however, especially since one level often prepares you for the next. Skip ahead too much and you may be at a loss as far as what to do on the level you decide to play.
All in all, “Hairy Tales” is an excellent puzzle game that will keep you occupied for a while. Some of the later puzzles will serve to frustrate you, a feeling that is quickly replaced by a sense of satisfaction after an “aha!” moment. As a board game enthusiast, I can see some parallels between this game and others like chess in that they promote critical thinking…that is, they force players to think ahead and plan out their moves in advance. “Hairy Tales” WILL make you think, and if you’re into puzzle games at all, you’d do well to check out this particular one. Currently, the game is going for $4.99 (as of 11/29/12) and in my opinion, is well worth it. You’ll get, at the very least, a few hours of play time out of it and you can expect to add even more time to that if you’re someone who MUST 100% every level. There isn’t a demo available and I believe the game would benefit from having one, even if it was just a collection of five levels from the three different areas. Still, five bucks won’t be missed as much as say, sixty should you not care for it…but I have a feeling that most puzzle-goers will find this game to be an interesting diversion at the very least.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Hairy Tales” by visiting the following websites:
You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:
You can view video play sessions here: