Yesterday I was going to the store to get a chocolate bar. I picked out my favourite chocolate bar and, mouth already watering, handed it over to the cashier.
“That’ll be £2.34.”
I went into my pocket and pulled out my money, but realised I was 4p short! I searched and searched but could not find any extra money. Disappointed, I decided there was only one solution, so I ripped of my arm and handed over to the cashier.
“Is that worth about 4p?”
I walked out the store one arm short but with the chocolate bar I had always wanted.
The moral of this story is that if something is good, it’s worth losing a few limbs for. And that certainly appears to be the motto of the protagonist in Pursuit Of Hat, a darkly comic platform puzzler by author Anton Rogov. (Armorgames profile)
You play as a pale, potbellied creature (sounds like me!) who jogs around a beautiful landscape of pillars and platforms with the sole objective of getting to a top-hat placed somewhere on the level. The art style fits smoothly with the silliness of the title; all curves and bright, positive colors. The animation is smooth like the landscape – and the characters animation is particularly charming, it is a joy to watch him bounce around in time to the jaunty music made by Alexander Ahura. (Take a look at that link, I listened to some of his tracks, and they are pretty good.)
Puzzle-wise, this game is a treat. The idea is that you remove limbs and use them to hold down buttons or weigh down platforms. Losing limbs makes it harder to get around: without your legs you cannot jump as high; without your arms you cannot grab platforms; and without your torso you are just a rolling head and can’t really jump at all. Physics puzzling comes into play a bit, limbs may need to be shot out of cannons, or dropped from high platforms, or collided in mid-air. The gameplay therefore involves striking a balance between the desire to move around and the desire to actually get to the hat.
The act of removing limbs is made to seem harmless with the use popping FX and animation. It is more like pulling the arm off a LEGO figure than off a person, and is in fact mildly fun to watch the beige buffoon use his teeth to pop off his last arm, before hopping onto his head and kicking off his entire body, leaving but a head that you can then roll around the landscape in all it’s decapitated glory. Abandoned body parts are left to the whims of physics, however, and physics is a cruel mistress – kefeks are sometimes lost by pure accident, because a leg didn’t fall quite where you expected or two objects collide in mid-air and cause chaos.
The levels are intelligent and not too difficult (though I did have to go to the walkthrough a few times!) there are only 20 levels overall, and I am kind of thankful for that, because the levels never stop being inventive or clever. The novelty of the situation never wears off.
Pursuit Of Hat is a game that gels together perfectly. The whole game is meant to be fun and silly and there is not a single thing that does not reflect that: The colors are bright and vibrant without being overpowering, the shapes are smooth, the animation jaunty, the concept clever, the music hilarious. This is a game that is meant to be fun and funny and it does both of those excellently.
Who even cares about limbs anyway?
BOTTOM LINE: A funny, silly, masterpiece of a puzzle-platformer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph, or Lawsome, as the internet folk call him. He spends a lot of time making games, most of which fall apart or don’t work and are never published, but the few that survive can be found on his account at Yoyogames – http://sandbox.yoyogames.com/users/Lawsome1997. He has strong opinions on games and can hold his own in an argument, if you tell him that COD MW3 is the best game ever he may bite your head off.