Any game that promises a 'new take' or 'an innovation' is something to be cautious about. Sometimes the game can be good and that innovation can lead games into a new generation, like huge 3D sandbox games stemming from GTA III. Other times it can fall flat on it's face and take out actual gaming, like when quicktime events were first tried out. Haimrik promises some new things, but can they deliver? Let's find out.
You are Haimrik -- a boy in a fantasy world. Think of it as being the medieval era, but with dragons and magically appearing crossbows and things. Working magically with a book, as you read through you interact with what you've written. I know a lot of outlets are praising Haimrik for a story bending on something unique like this, but to me it takes away from the story. You HAVE to play as it's written, with no choice. Hell, you have less a choice in story than you do Pac-Man. There are some twists and turns, but the whole “Play what you read” angle was detrimental, at least to me.
The controls aren't all that complicated. It goes from being a scroller to a side-down to a third-person shooter at times, but controls remain constant. Even in the middle of something hectic, like fighting a dragon, you know what to press and how to use everything. So controls are right.
Graphics are largely gray-scale, but with bright red for blood and some green and yellow thrown in there for certain things. Characters almost look like paper cut outs and move along in a manner almost like Let's Starve. They're fun drawings, and death animations will never get old because of how creative they are. Also, the health bar was creative – it's literally your name, and each hit takes away a letter. Points for creativity there. Graphics like this aren't always my favorite, but it sure works.
Gameplay is both good and bad. It's good in that it can get some pretty intense scenes – anything involving the crossbow can attest to that. Fighting is fine. Even puzzle solving works. But you can't really explore. It's very linear gameplay. Even worse, words describing exactly what to do, like words in a book, appear below you most of the time, so the element of surprise is taken out and you HAVE to do what it says. It's just....disappointing. Frustrating, but also disappointing. The game spoon-feeds you and makes it a playable story and, I don't know, there's something inherently wrong there I couldn't shake.
Oh boy, the music. It's typical fantasy-medieval music, but with a lot of the orchestra taken out. And all the action sequences tend to have this same loop of strings and beats. It doesn't get annoying, but you really wish for something better. Sound is basic yelps and burns and crashes and thing. It's nothing to write home about, but it's not wrong either. It's just there.
I didn't have any issues with the frame rate at all. It ran pretty smoothly. I didn't get any glitches or errors either. There were some long load times, but that was the extent of it.
Overall I'd say that Haimrik is a pretty good game. To me, the innovation of playable story they're going for doesn't work, but it's unique style, gameplay, and creativity make up for it. Any game where you're still playing it longer than you thought you would, and you're not mad, they had to have done something right. Haimrik has that magic – just try to ignore those red word reading parts. They bring this game down a lot more than it should.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.