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10 June, 2005

Visit Hapland

I like puzzle games.
Released in February, it's not brand new, but I've just discovered 'Hapland'.  The format is a cartoon image (Flash), in which most features are clickable.  The objective is to control the activities of stick men, cannon, bells, windows, etc., in a precise sequence, to eventually open a portal.  I started by clicking on everything to see what it does, (though some elements do nothing unless a precondition has already been fulfilled), but then one has to reset everything and discover the correct sequence.  It's very easy to get a vital lever trapped under a rock, or forget to open a window allowing the person inside to hear a (one-use) bell, or blow up a vital man (oops).

The puzzle is frustratingly unforgiving. My one criticism is that there's no 'undo': any one error ends the game, and one has to restart from the very beginning. As a couple of events rely on precise timing, this can be annoying, especially as it took me 3-4 attempts to get the timing right for the very last stage, meaning I had to repeat the whole puzzle to return to that point each time, without even knowing whether I was doing the right thing anyway. It's not too bad; the completed sequence takes about a minute to run through, so repeating it doesn't take too long.

It took me a couple of hours to solve, over most of this week, but I hear that the sequel, 'Hapland 2' is more intricate, events require tighter timing, and some of the clickable elements are barely large enough to spot. I'm looking forward to it!

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