Review – HACOTAMA

Hacotama, or, to give it its proper name, HACOTAMA, is a puzzle game from Yo1 Komori Games, developer of the quite pretty shmup Prismatic Solid. 

They’ve outdone themselves somewhat, with HACOTAMA, which is just utterly gorgeous.

Normally graphics aren’t relevant to a game’s quality and that’s the case here, but it would be ridiculous not to mention them when the game does look this impressive. The screenshot doesn’t really do the game justice, and it has to be seen in motion to be truly appreciated. Blocks in the background float around, objects in the foreground are sharp and crisp, but it’s the balls that really make it. Made from coloured glass, they reflect light and moving them around or just watching them as the background moves around them is quite stunning.

Jaw off the floor, is the game any good?

Yes, in a word. Or four. It’s a puzzle game, in which your aim is to use your avatar to roll the balls in the level onto some glittering points. You can see a couple of those on the left side of the screenshot there.

Gravity works from the centre of the structure you’re on, and so you can walk all around the blocks with no risk of falling off, and the balls operate in the same way. Pushing balls moves them precisely one block away, and if you push one off the edge of a block, it will roll around the structure and stop on the next face. There are a few more quirks to the gravity that are explored in later levels.

Aside from pushing balls, you also have the ability to ride them. You do this by clambering on top of one, holding the A button, and moving in the direction you want to go. You’re limited to not being able to go over the side of blocks when doing this, however. The A button is also what you use to push balls, and it’s an incredibly simple control scheme that even the most stupid person will grasp in seconds.

The most stupid person probably won’t want to download the game, though, aside from to marvel at the graphics. While the tutorial and beginner levels don’t offer too many problems, getting into the intermediate levels things start to ramp up a bit, and the advanced levels are really very difficult indeed. There are 40 levels in total, and it will take quite some time to figure them all out – even if you’re not stupid.

It’s nice when a unique puzzle game comes around. Sure, we’ve seen Sokoban a million times before and half of those on XBLIGs, but to see it in 3D in such a well presented and easy to play way is really rather lovely.

HACOTAMA is available now for 240 Microsoft Points.

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