What is Hiiro?
After spending time playing a hardcore and edgy action-oriented Furi I was looking for something a little more relaxing. I wanted a game that rewarded exploration and provided a sense of adventure. Thankfully, I discovered Hiiro which is yet another game that has been published by Sometimes You. It is a game that is steeped in the fundamentals of simplistic gaming and delivers a highly rewarding experience through exploration and discovery.
The game opens by showing the player, a red figure, with members of his community surrounding a dying tree that has great significance to the people. This significance is untold to the players. Another member of the community, who I imagine to be an elder, speaks to you (visually no spoken words or text) and shows you an image of a golden cube. You then start off on your adventure. I argue that this sequence is telling you that the way in which to save the tree and perhaps even your community is to collect these golden cubes.
Often times games fall short of the mark when there is a focus on simplicity. Simple gameplay, mechanics, storytelling and design can often create a game that quickly becomes dull. Consequently, I am always a little concerned when I begin a game that bills itself as ‘relaxing’ and ‘easy.’ However, I am open to games of this nature and look for a rewarding experience. I never had to look too far with Hiiro.
The most difficult thing that you will be asked to do is to solve puzzles. This will involve a lot of exploration and the discovery of secrets. The developers have compared their game to that of Knytt which I would describe as being very accurate. Personally, this game gave me a greater appreciation than I previously had for exploration in video games. Although I’ve enjoyed exploring the beauty of worlds such as Azeroth, etc. I’ve never taken the time to appreciate the simplicity in doing so.
I would like to give a nod of appreciation to the simple yet beautiful soundtrack that is the perfect accompaniment to the relaxing experience.
Discovering the Meaning
One of the things that I adore deeply about my experience with Hiiro is that everything is seemingly open to interpretation. What you are able to glean from the game is not necessarily what somebody else will take away. The story is conveyed through the graphical visuals. There are no spoken dialogues or written texts throughout the entirety of the game to explain what is happening.
Due to the lack of text and dialogue, the game is open for interpretation. What you take away from the game is going to be different to that what another player experiences. This is an aspect of the game that I will cherish as I get other people including friends and family to experience the game.
A Word of Warning: It’s Not For Everyone
If you landed on this review page hoping to read about the latest edgy platformer then you will be bitterly disappointed. The game is not for you. Do note, however, the developers make the claim that the puzzles are challenging and rewarding for hardcore gamers and completionists. I believe that you will likely struggle to remain engaged in the game before you ever get there. This is particularly true if exploration is not one of your loves in gaming. There are plenty of games that are for you.
Is it Steamified?
Hiiro has Steam trading cards. However, it does not have Steam achievements. In order to further reward players I would like to see achievements added. The developers could tie them to the inventory pieces that are able to be picked up, the number of rooms entered, etc. Doing so would encourage further purchases of the game and, of course, to play the game
Unfortunately, in my gameplay, I experienced a bug. I climbed down one of the ladders and pressed up to climb back up. Instead, I disappeared completely from the screen. Because of this, I had to close the game. This resulted in the app ‘jontiburzi.com’ remaining open. Consequently, I had to close that before relaunching the game.
I was expecting very little other than a potentially relaxing experience. To suggest that Hiiro provides more than that is an understatement. The game gets my recommendation not only on Gamephasis but to all of my closest friends and family. This is a game that deserves your time and effort. Congratulations to the four developers who took their high school dream and turned it into a reality on Steam.