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Haimrik Review

Haimrik is an out-there mixture of puzzler and platformer that requires you to think on your feet. You will use words to overcome obstacles, but not in a corny, the-pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword kind of way; you will literally use words to forge tools and other useful items with your unique powers. If you like word games like I do, this sounds really cool.

ONCE UPON A TIME

Haimrik loves books, being a scribe, and one day he happens across an unusual one. Circumstances reveal the book to have great power when blood spills over it, which is convenient, because when that happens, suddenly everything starts going wrong. Haimrik is just trying to do the right thing, but before he knows it he's in the midst of an adventure that reveals things about his past he never knew. Story is definitely present in this title, which is how it ought to be, given that this title is geared toward (and about) those who love words.

LIGHT-HEARTED VIBE

The developers, Below the Game, let their sense of humor show in Haimrik. Everything contributes to a light-hearted feel, including the over-the-top gore. Dialogue is sharp, characters are memorable, drawings are hilarious, and solutions to problems can be entertaining. The plot starts off seemingly predictably, with the male protagonist trying to win over the affections of a beautiful woman (or at least make her less mad at him). But the developers poke fun at the stereotype while they simultaneously use it to their advantage. You play as Haimrik — who, despite being the "hero" of the title, isn't particularly good at anything. He bumbles along and somehow saves the day (with your help, of course) in unexpected ways, and with unexpected twists and turns, which helps keep your interest.

GAMEPLAY

Mechanics aren't explained as well as they could've been. While it's made clear how you forge items out of words, the fact that you can combine more than one item is completely unmentioned, which causes a few moments of unnecessary confusion. In addition to this, gameplay isn't perfectly polished. You might find yourself having to repeat a level multiple times even though you solve it correctly because the timing of your exit can be extremely finicky, or something like that, which can be frustrating.

THE LOOK & FEEL

Luckily, the levels are varied enough that you should never get bored by them. Forging-items-from-words levels are interspersed with platformer levels, chases, and battles. New complexities are introduced all the while, but you may not enjoy all of them, as some feel more like a divergence from what the title does well than anything else. The graphics are quirky and accomplished throughout, with adorable animations and enough differences to not feel reused.

WORD GAMES

When solving the word puzzles, I love the fact that there is usually more than one solution. However, I personally found the difficulty to be a bit too easy because there were so few words that you could forge items from, eliminating most of the guesswork about what the solutions must be. If there had been more items you could make that were red herrings, then finding a correct solution would feel more satisfying. While the developers did go a bit of the way towards creating a challenge, it isn't enough for people with good problem-solving skills. This game isn't for kids, either — there's too much gore — so that can't be an excuse for making it so easy.

MESSAGE

The message hidden inside Haimrik is to be kind. You're reminded of the power words have over other people. Maybe you can't literally forge weapons out of words to hurl at people in real life, but that doesn't mean that your words aren't damaging all the same. This philosophical consideration, paired with the pleasant humor all throughout gameplay, is what helps minimize the few issues that cause frustration. All told, it took me five hours to complete Haimrik, and although I do recall several unpleasant moments, I also recall moments of satisfaction, laughter, and appreciation.

6

The Verdict: Good

Haimrik is at least unusual (in a good way), despite its flaws. Many components are solid, such as the graphics, story, mechanics, and at least a few of the puzzles. If all the puzzles were a little more difficult and made a little more sense, a lot more could be forgiven — alas, you'll have to face the foe nobody ever wants to face: tedium. If you can get past that, you'll have a lovely few hours with Haimrik and his friends.

Tiffany Lillie
Written by
July 20, 2018
Published in Action

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With her English degree from the University of Toronto* hanging on the wall, Tiffany is ready and willing to help sentences in need. (Sometimes all she can do is make them comfortable before they're deleted.) Her hobbies include trying to survive in Don't Starve: Together and designing 3D houses in Blender to upload to the virtual world of Second Life. Originally from Canada, Tiffany says "about" strangely sometimes (but it sounds nothing like "aboot") and thinks Seattle is a vast improvement in weather conditions compared to Toronto. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy and Writing & Rhetoric. She believes thinking helps writing and vice versa.

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