Hairy Tales [Game Review]

Hairy Tales
Developer: Arges Systems
Platforms: iOS: $1, Mac: $3, PC: coming soon
Rated: n/r
Content: Nothing objectionable, unless brainless hairy fairies occasionally falling to their doom off a flat world somehow offends you.

As further proof that the most interesting game mechanics are now being developed for mobile systems, I offer Hairy Tales, a weird and wonderful little puzzle/action game.

The tile-based world of the hairy fairies is being gradually overtaken by a creepy crud. In order to save their land, they need to collect mushroom and get to the portal at the end of each level. Problem: they’re not to bright. They’ll walk right off the edge of the floating world, miss everything they need to collect, and run into any monster on the board unless you steer them right.

The game is a combination of tactical tile laying and quick response. Arrows, fences, portals, triggers, and land tiles must be move or turned in order to direct the hairies along the safest path. To clear up hazards and slime, and complete a level, they need to pick up gems, and to defeat monsters, they need to collect or trigger certain attacks.

If this was just a standard path-based puzzling game, it would be tricky enough, but the tiles often need to be moved on the fly. This adds an action element, as you quickly reposition a tile after a hairy has passed over it, creating constantly shifting board configurations. For lack of a better phrase, the action gets hairy pretty quickly, requiring pre-planning, quick thinking, and dexterity.

All you really need to do to finish a level is collect the crystal and take it the portal, but clearing all the slime away and collecting all the mushrooms adds a nice challenge and element of replayability. Unlike a lot of app store puzzlers, this one doesn’t hold your hand past the first couple of levels. As you get into fighting foes, it’s up to you to figure out how to use the canon or eat garlic in order to make your breath bad enough to knock over a monster. It’s not an easy game to play well, but rewards patience with good gameplay.