Logic-puzzlers are one of those genres that, while not quite on the fringe of.. wait, I’ve done this already, right?  Well, HACOTAMA is a logic puzzler, but it’s more in the style of Sokoban, which you would know as Boxxle if you were into these types of games in the early 90s and had a Gameboy, or possibly Shove It! if you had a Genesis.  It’s one of those “push the blocks into the designated spots” games. But this one actually has a twist that is worthwhile: it’s a 3D game, one with some really cool gravity effects.  Of course, none of that really matters if you’re non campus mentis and your time is better spent playing the latest twin-stick shooter.

In HACOTAMA (don’t forget to scream the name when you say it) you play as your avatar and have to roll balls onto shiny little light thingies.  The hook here is that your avatar walks off a ledge, it just sticks to the ledge and the board rotates with you.  Also, instead of pushing the balls, sometimes you stand on top of them and “walk them” into the correct spots.  Your character progresses one square at a time and you can’t fall off the ball your standing on, so it actually plays smoother than I thought it would.  There are forty levels, many of which are breezy, tutorial-type stages.  A couple of the later stages offered some brief head-scratchery for me, but for the most part the solutions are obvious and it’s just a matter of figuring out how to go about it.

HACOTAMA looks really good, with bright and colorful graphics.  But there is a trade-off, because the frame-rate can get a bit choppy on some levels.  Fighting the camera is the biggest pain in the ass in this game.  There’s no free-camera option, so all manipulating is done with the bumper buttons, and it limits your visibility greatly.  This also can sometimes obscure exactly which block a shiny light thingie is hovering over.

I liked HACOTAMA, but I recognize that this genre isn’t for everyone.  The cute graphics might lure in some people who aren’t fans of logic-puzzlers, but they won’t stick around once the game’s difficulty ramps up.  No matter how much it’s dolled-up, it’s still pretty much just Sokoban.  If you’re a fan of that, you’ll like this.  If you don’t, you won’t.  I do appreciate the very unique take on the nearly thirty-year-old formula that is offered here and so I give this my personal thumbs up.  Of course, years of heavy gaming have mutilated my thumbs into gnarled, wretched, stump-like appendages from which small children should avert their eyes, less they be traumatized.  I guess it’s not all that good an endorsement.

HACOTAMA was developed by Heloli

240 Microsoft Points have their avatar decked out in a Princess Allura uniform that can form the Blazing Sword for the sake of fucking with the canon in the making of this review.

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

3 Responses to HACOTAMA

  1. “years of heavy gaming have mutilated my thumbs into gnarled, wretched, stump-like appendages from which small children should avert their eyes” – You do have a way with words.

  2. Pingback: Adventures of Lolo, Aesop’s Garden, and Crystal Hunters « Indie Gamer Chick

  3. Pingback: The Chick’s Monthly Update – May 2012 « Indie Gamer Chick

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