Simplistic and under-designed, but Huerons difficulty keeps it highly playable
Puzzle game design has not always the most original of art forms – you have a set number of tried and tested puzzle mechanics that leave it to the game’s particular skin to create an experience that’s immersive. Huerons, for its positive aspects of being a tricky and rather intelligent puzzler, falls down on the last point. There’s no skin, there’s no soul, there’s not even a false facade that gives it the veneer of being personable. It leaves a game that is essentially a shell, the underbelly of a much better game that will arrive somewhere down the track.
At its core, Huerons is a one dimensional strategy game. You are given a board of circles (Huerons) and you need to merge them together until you come down to just one Hueron remaining. It’s very simple to pick up, but has a steep curve that forces the player into more time-consuming, thought-through gameplay – something that is sorely missing from a mobile game industry where speed and brevity are valued. At least it should provoke more thinking time. Alternatively there’s the Candy Crush technique of mashing Huerons together and seeing if you get lucky. More often that not this technique can work and little strategic thinking is required.
In App Purchases
Ultimately, it’s more about “getting through it” than taking the enjoyment from the puzzle element. There’s little in the way of encouraging repeat play and there’s plenty of putdown-ability, which is not great when your basic financial model is on in-app purchases. And it’s this focus on in-app purchases that is part of the worrying trend of mobile games. The game allows you five hints to help you through any particularly challenging levels you come across. Once your hints have gone, you have to pay for the game again to get five more. When a puzzle game is addictive this is mercenaryish, in a game as forgettable as Huerons, it’s simply a good way to allow people to put down the game for good. Which isn’t really what Huerons deserves.
The game – for all of its failings – is still worthy of attention. The simplistic design is easy to pick up and run with. There’s no pretending it is what it isn’t. There’s no veneer. It prevents you from engaging with the game in any meaningful way, but it also isn’t papering over the cracks, which is something Huerons should be commended for. And simplicity doesn’t equal ease. The game has its fair share of easy levels, but mostly has you struggling. The hints are equally stingy, serving only as a starting point to getting the level on its way rather than giving you the whole solution. You do need them, because sometimes you cannot see the solution that’s right in front of you, and that’s what the in-app purchase model relies on.
The problem is, Huerons isn’t a game that’s going to have you reaching into your pocket either for your wallet or your iOS device. As much as the game wants you to pay up, and has designs smartly tuned to require you to do so, it simply doesn’t have the personability of game design to keep you wanting to come back.
Size: 6.5 MB
Platform: iOS Universal