Jul 29, 2015
If one must know, Zero Punctuation: Hatfall is a story of loss and redemption. Sometimes, folks get really attached to headgear, and this game tells the tale of a dude driven mad by loss.
At first glance, one might be a bit dazzled by the sharp yellow background; we don’t get a lot of colors, but that is okay, as the game works with the color contrasts within. Visually, it works.
The basic premise is uber simple: there are hats falling, and the idea is to position one’s white digital figurine underneath it, as perfectly as possible so that the hat lands on his head. To help accomplish this, there is a marker on the ground that one needs to ensure that our hat hero — let’s call him “Yahtzee” (Well, done, Ben!) — is in the middle of to ensure the had lands on his head. If one is successful, the level is passed, and the player moves on to a subsequent level; failure elicits, well failure, and ones has to restart.
Now, it’s the way the game eases into difficulty that makes it pretty compelling. The developer craftily adds on elements that add some complexity with regards to getting the job done, and these are usually of a visual nature. For instance, the circular marker that allows the player to know where to position the figure? Yeah, one can find it shrinking in diameter, which can be disheartening when one finds that the figure is not smack dab in the middle. Then, as one progresses, there are other tricks, like other moving figures and markers, which can create a situation where visual acuity is exceptionally important. The tricks and hazards get harder the further that one goes.
Points-wise, it’s a simple game of accumulating hats, and unlocking stuff. It is the consummate arcade thriller, in that it puts a lot of emphasis on hand-to-eye coordination and twitch reaction to pull out. There are subtle variations to the gameplay, and ways to earn free hats, as well as to spend them (on stuff like boosts).
For folks who want a quick challenge that has a clear comedic component, this one does the deed. The side-games alone are worth trying to make the hat thresholds, and it’s perfect for in-house bragging rights contests.