Hazumi (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Thomas Wrobel 15.04.2015

Review for Hazumi on Nintendo 3DS

It's always a strong sign a game will be interesting when it's hard to sum up its genre. EyeCancer's Hazumi on the Nintendo 3DS eShop very much falls into this category. Part puzzler, part platformer, yet not a puzzle-platformer - it's unlikely those that play this will have experienced anything like it before. Is it worth parting with the cash for? Cubed3 finds out.

Hazumi's central challenge is clearing stages of coloured blocks. Use a ball to hit the blocks, and if the ball is the same colour as the blocks, they will disappear. Special blocks will change the ball's colour; others act as teleporters allowing access to areas containing more blocks to clear. Remove all the blocks to progress to the next level. These very simple core requirements define the objective, and as such, it seems at first like a twist on classic block-destroying games like Breakout.

Where Hazumi differs dramatically, however, is in the very direct method that is used to control the ball. Rather than using a paddle or flipper, the ball can be made to go left or right whenever is wished - just by hitting the corresponding button on the D-pad or Circle Pad. This can be done even when the ball is in mid-air. The controls thus feel like those of a platform game. In short, players are not just controlling the ball - they are the ball.

That's not to say full control over the ball is given - it bounces continuously and there's nothing that can be pressed to prevent or influence this. This limitation simplifies the controls, but also makes the game itself quite challenging, as it adds a constant timing element to the player's movements. Initially, this timing element doesn't seem much to worry about - merely by using left and right buttons, all of the blocks can be cleared on each screen. This is very easy to do...at first.

Screenshot for Hazumi on Nintendo 3DS

Perfectly crafted starter levels introduce all these concepts wordlessly, without an explicit tutorial needed. However, it doesn't take long before this relaxed tone vanishes, and as deadly elements like buzzsaws get introduced, suddenly, timing matters. If the ball is not at the correct point in its bounce it might get shredded, leaving a stain of shame on the device that killed it. Death is instant, with no health or lives, but fortunately, respawning is also instant - giving the player very little time to think about giving up. They are right there back in the game a mere split second later, making Hazumi frequently addictive, despite its unforgiving nature.

Completing each stage with different amounts of time remaining results in being awarded a different number of stars. Like many budget games these days, it conforms to the "three stars per level system," and levels can be replayed at any time. While it might seem this is just a nice incentive to replay levels, it is actually necessary to proceed in the game at all. Every few levels there is a minimum star requirement to unlock the next set, and that means playing over the same stages again and again until a three-star ranking is achieved. This sadly results in making the game vastly more frustrating, as it means working a bit too hard to get to see the next handful of levels.

This, combined with the less than slick interface for replaying specific levels, takes away considerably from the game's core enjoyment. Whereas dying many times is acceptable to progress, restarting over and over to get a marginally better time feels a bit petty.

Hazumi also doesn't have much in the way of extras. There is a level editor that allows for creating a sequence of levels, and while this is a nice touch, given that there is no obvious way to share the levels, it feels a bit pointless. Other than that, the game just has a Start button and a long list of levels. However, as there are over 100 of these levels, Hazumi actually has a fair bit of content for its budget price, and it's thus hard to condemn it much for its "barebones" approach. Overall, the game is recommended purchase for anyone looking for a unique puzzler, yet also doesn't mind replaying levels over and over again in order to progress.

Screenshot for Hazumi on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Enjoyment for Hazumi will very much depend on the player's determination. A solid core idea is let down by the repetition necessary to succeed, ensuring for many people much of the content will never be seen. While the determined might get a buzz from completing particularly hard challenges, even then the game never strives to give more than the essentials in any aspect of the game experience. In short, it's a good game that makes no attempt to ever be anything more.

Developer

EyeCancer

Publisher

Gamelion

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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