You know one thing I have noticed these days about stories? They are always really complex and confusing. Why can’t things ever be simple? It always goes something like — bad guy is not actually the bad guy but is a good guy who was manipulated by who you thought was the good guy who is actually the bad guy but he isn’t the true bad guy because the true bad guy is actually you. I think I just wrote the best story ever and I claim full credit for it. If you use it, make sure I get credit.
Anyway, Hiiro is not that kind of game. The story is more like this: Oh no, the tree is dying! Go collect yellow boxes! BAM. STORY.
I love it. I’m serious, I really love it. Nothing complex. No insanely long tutorial. Just one screen change where they show you everything you need to know about the game and then you have full reign to explore. And explore you shall, my friends. Oh man, this is a game about exploration. Exploration and collection. It’s that simple. Collect everything, solve the puzzles, and save your tree.
Hiiro is a 2-D platform game that focuses on ambient exploration and puzzle solving. It was developed by four guys: Jon Tiburzi, Ben Harvey, Philip Gibbons, and Marc Cuva. Before I continue, here’s a question for you four; how hard is it to just make up a studio name and get it registered? I mean seriously, just off the top of my head, The Four Horsemen, Nameless Gaming, What Were We Thinking?, Pancake Studios, Cookie Productions, Joshua Is Awesome And Totally Did Not Steal This Idea From His Editor.
In any case, these four developers started making this game back in 2009 and completed it in 2015. You have Marc Cuva who only did it for the first summer. You have Philip Gibbons who worked on graphics, programming, conceptual work, and is the creator of the original draft of the game, I believe. Then, you have the two other people who did nothing.
Just kidding! Mr. Jon Tiburzi is the one guy who spent six years or so on this game. He’s main programmer, and the heart and soul of the entire game (his words, not mine). Mr. Jon Tiburzi, mad props, sir. This game is awesome.
Lastly there’s Ben Harvey, who is the music composer, debugger, and Mr. Tiburzi’s sidekick (again, not my words).
The game starts off simple enough. You are a red…thing. I honestly don’t know what to call it. I refuse to call it Hiiro. Let’s call it Red Bald Thing (I don’t know if it’s a male or female so to be polite, I’m calling it a thing). So, you do not control RBT for the first minute or so. Instead, the game opens with an intro cut scene where some other Bald Thing talks to RBT with a death skull. Then it talks about a yellow box, and Red Bald Thing goes away and falls to the…Earth? Tutorial begins. It lasts about 30 seconds. In fact, if you want to, you can ignore the tutorial and run away, free to explore. It’s wonderful. I ran around finding yellow boxes everywhere and sometimes, I had to try to figure out how to get to those yellow boxes.
There are so many places to explore in Hiiro. While playing, I was reminded of Shadow of the Colossus simply because of how much this game emphasizes on exploring its world. And the best part? You cannot die. Nope, you simply cannot die. Did you climb up chains to the very top of a mountain or floating island and want to get down quickly? Just jump. Speaking of jumping, you can double jump too. Definitely helps with getting to certain places! There are also no upgrades or anything to purchase. All the materials you need to solve all puzzles are there for you. The world is HUGE. Playing is like exploring Myst where you have to try to memorize where everything is. I’m terrible at remembering where things are so I just blindly stumble everywhere and try to solve all the puzzles in one area before continuing on. However, every time I think I’m almost done, there is more! Sweet!
Not only is the world fun to explore, but it’s also pleasing to look at. Every detail in Hiiro seems to have a purpose. I never got tired of looking at anything, even as I became semi -frustrated trying to solve some puzzles. Not once did I think: “Shoot, not this place again…” Instead, I just thought, “Huh…how the heck did I get here??”
One thing I have yet to emphasize is the music. It’s so peaceful, and transitions well between locations. At least, that is the impression I am getting. I will admit that I have this game on in the background, just playing its music as I mindlessly write this review. I’m dead serious. Well, not dead serious…I’m pretty sure I’m still alive. Yep, still have a pulse. But seriously, this music is fantastic.
So what is the final verdict? Get. This. Game. Especially if you like puzzle solving and exploring. Hiiro is something that can just put your mind at ease. It is what I will play to relax and calm down after a stressful meeting with the man-in-charge *cough* editor *cough*. The controls are great and I have no complaints in that department. Graphics are simple but beautiful, and the music is absolutely phenomenal. Hiiro is nearly perfect. Why isn’t it perfect? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Mr. Jon Tiburzi, HOW THE HELL DO I GET THIS GAME OUT OF WINDOWED MODE?!?!
**A review copy of Hiiro was provided by The Hiiro Team.**
Graphics: Visually, Hiiro has a very simple design but it works very well. Nothing seems out of place and every new area is another chance to explore!
Sound: The best part of this game really. The music is still playing in the background as I write these final thoughts. The game has a truly relaxing soundtrack.
Controls: Practically no problems here. You might encounter minor issues such as missing ladders and chains when you thought you hit them correctly. I wish I could customize my controls but alas, I cannot.
Fun Factor: Definitely a ton of fun. Constantly trying to solve new puzzles and explore new areas. This game could take a long time for those who insist on finding all the easter eggs and hidden pieces too.
Story: Simple. To the point. No fuss. No voice acting. And it WORKS.
Final Rating: 9.5/10. A nearly perfect game with half a point taken off for my not knowing how to maximize the screen.
If I could cuddle with this game as it sings its lullaby to me, I would.
About The Author
Joshua is an avid gamer who does not know what he is talking about. Half the time, he just puts words together and somehow they make some sort of sense. It is very possible that he doesn't even exist and is in fact, a coalition of...things that get together and bash on a keyboard in the hopes that some sort of intellectual article gets formed.
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