If iOS games have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is simple. A game that starts out as a few taps and swipes can gradually become a maddening form of torture that gets under your skin and messes with you from the inside. Gee, what could prompt me to be so graphic in my frustration with a handheld game? You’ll have to read on.
Hairy Tales seemed like it would be right up my alley. You drag some tiles around to solve puzzles. I wasn’t prepared for the complications that would ensue when the tiles are hexagonal, and some of the puzzles may require you to change direction in mid-game. I’ll have to describe the mechanics for you to really feel my pain.
Each board starts off with a Hairy (Hairies are a group of folk spirits), in one spot, who will start walking in a certain direction when you tap him. Before you let him walk, you can rearrange tiles and turn the tiles around so that they point in different directions. If one tile has an arrow, point the arrow in the way you want the Hairy to turn. If it’s a fence, turn it so it blocks the Hairy from walking into a deathtrap. Rearrange any free tiles to create a path so the Hairy doesn’t fall off the cliff.
Let me get the simplest agony out of the way first -- most of the tiles are not ones you can move. Each level may only have two or three tiles that can actually be moved around, usually not enough to make a straight path to the end of the puzzle. So you’re going to have to utilize arrows and fences to direct your Hairy, and that’s not as simple as it sounds.
Fences line up with two adjacent tiles, so if you rotate one of those tiles, the fence rotates on that hexagon. If you line them up, you can get a fence on each side of the tile, but that takes some sort of nuclear physics degree to work out the geometry to build a six-sided fence. I’m lucky if I get three fences on a tile to protect my Hairy. Hairy Tales gets way more complicated when teleportation becomes an option.
There’s even more than just the geometry and physics of Hairy Tales. The land is corrupted so the Hairy has to collect a magic stone to clear out the corruption and make a path to the exit. So you’re not only trying to get your Hairy to the exit, you have to pick up the stone first. There are also monsters along the way, so sometimes you have to pick up garlic to ward off the monsters, then get the stone and make a path to the exit. Can you see why I needed a drink after clearing each level?
Each level has three mushrooms you can collect, and you get three lives to complete each one without losing your progress. Trust me, I often sacrificed two Hairies so that the third one can make it home. And screw those mushrooms, I don’t need to three star these levels. I'm just trying to make it out alive.
When you read how traumatized I am by Hairy Tales, you’d think I hate it. On the contrary, this makes it an outstanding game. Hairy Tales is simple enough to understand, but so maddeningly complicated so that you’re addicted to the challenge, and what a challenge it is. Thanks to John Martin for trading me reviews. It’s your fault I'm now an alcoholic, John.