Publisher: Amanita Design
Developer: Amanita Design
Release Date: 10/28/2021
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I personally love short indie games, especially if they can deliver something pretty crazy in at least one department. A great story, fun gameplay, or crazy visuals which Happy Game delivers here. There’s no story really, no dialog, no pretense. You just play as a ball-shaped headed kid who goes to sleep and has nightmares about three of his favorite toys. Each toy needs to be rescued and falls under one of three chapters.
The first nightmare is about the boy’s ball. He gets beat up and it’s taken from him and you use just your mouse to drag the boy around and manipulate objects. Pushing, pulling, twisting, rotating, and anything in between is the name of the game here and the only gameplay element. Every single screen is something completely new and it’s either gory, crazy, scary, weird, or creepy. I never got bored looking at this game and the few puzzles that got thrown in were quite fun as well. The game is never complicated or requires using your cerebral jelly, but manipulating certain objects a certain way is how you solve the few puzzles. The second toy is a stuffed rabbit and the third is a dog.
I can’t describe the game and give a clear vision without you playing the game. It’s just so much fun to look at. The game’s strongest point is the visuals here as every step of the way something new is presented. From pulling apart toys to revealing creepy things inside, murdering various oddly shaped creatures, helping other creatures, pulling eyeballs out of skulls, and the list goes on. There’s so much here in just one hour that I have to applaud the developers for giving us so much content and diversity in such a short period of time.
The game is also full of a lot of atmosphere. Most of the game is in black and white to emphasize blood and gore. There’s really creepy music, the boy grunts a lot and cries and shouts but never speaks. The facial expressions on every object are very detailed. This is a moving piece of horror art or even a hand-drawn haunted house ride if you will. Very rarely did I not know what to do or couldn’t figure something out. Maybe two or three scenes are a little obscure, but eventually, I did move on.
Sadly, there’s zero replay value other than to just experience the visuals again. It’s incredibly short-lasting maybe an hour, but it’s a very entertaining hour. It’s hard for me to score these types of games above an eight even if they are amazing because there’s the issue with the length and there’s almost no gameplay and usually zero stories or character development. These types of short indie games are mostly visual treats or just a quick fast-food type experience that’s rarely as endearing as games like Journey or Monument Valley but are just fun enough to warrant your time. Happy Game is by far one of the most visually striking games of the year and sadly it’s going to get looked past due to these negatives that most indie games get bashed for. I’m not personally bashing Happy Game for its shortcomings as it’s not trying to provide you with some of everything and presenting a mediocre package. Its strong points are worth noting and playing for and that’s just fine.