Daniel Johnston brings us his artwork on his new app game, “Hi How Are You?”. Weird name, it’s not going to strike you as a 3D platformer by the title, but the screenshots make it look like a 3D Frogger. With cutesy graphics and flashy undertones, does it appeal to both children and adults? Let’s dissect this froggy game and see what kind of game Mr. Johnston has for us.
At first glance, the game looks like a children’s game on crack. Flashing colors, hand drawn characters and level designs, and lego-looking blocks. The object of the game is go round and round the levels moving your character over every pulsing block, changing it to a solid color. Once you have changed all the green blocks, you can proceed to the end point which looks like a kiddie pool filled of lava to exit the level. There’s also red blocks that you can move over as bonus points which helps your total score, but is not mandatory. All this must be done before the timer goes out or else you’ll have to redo the entire level.
On my first round about, the game felt cheap and I wasn’t a big fan of the level design nor the concept of the game. I was using the tilt function and I just couldn’t get used to the controls and the whole idea of the game didn’t’ appeal to me. However, I kept playing it and more and more I got used to the controls and then it clicked. Things just got more entertaining and I was having a pretty good time hopping from block to block, avoiding enemies and monsters to get to the goal. Also, after an assorted amount of levels, another chapter begins in your quest and you become a totally different character. You first start off as a frog, but then in the next chapter you are a frog in a shape of a block. Each character functions and maneuvers differently, which adds variety to the game and helps avoid tediousness.
The soundtrack is specially made by Daniel Johnston sources say, and some of the songs are pleasant. Many will find its a refreshing twist to have a kind of folky-indie music playing in the background and it adds a “laid back” feel. Although there were some songs that I just couldn’t handle, they were just too repetitive. Some will like the songs and some will just hate them.
One big gripe I had was that if you, for whatever reason, are in the middle of the level, and you get a phone call, or a text message, or you just accidentally press the Home button, you will have no way to resume your game. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. This is a major feature to have in a “adventure” game and it needs to be mandatory.
Frustrating is all I could say. You have two controlling options. The tilt control which allows you to simply tilt your device to direct your frog’s movements using a joystick. Doing reviews, I usually try both control options. I found the joystick to be much less of a hassle but still moving about the level is still pretty difficult. The camera is placed behind you and is controlled manually with arrow buttons placed on the screen. I’m not too sure if it would help, but the camera is usually automatically follows the character that you are moving. So it’s kind of a different feel.
The tilt function, Having the directional buttons that move your frog left and right and having the stop button right below is a headache. If there is to be an update, I would highly recommend that be fixed because it is extremely difficult having both of those functions being so close in proximity. I recommend the joystick for users who aren’t so good at the tilt function (accelerometer) and overall, it feels like you have more control. The controls are very important to the game because you have to jump and avoid obstacles and there are also different levels in the stages that you will have to use elevators to get to. So, give the controls a little while to get used to because it may take several tries.
What We Liked:
– Soundtrack (4 different songs) and sound effects
– Tilt calibration
– 2 different options for control
– 4 various playable characters
– Achievements and trophies
– 3D Frogger style gameplay
– Good pick-up-and-play app
– Flashy kiddish graphics
What We Disliked:
– A little short
– Inability to resume the level once you exit the app
– Could use another mode or two (Time Trial?)
– Graphics may not grab every gamer
– Controls can get frustrating at times
– Some will love the songs, some will hate them
A weird and strange game to look at, Hi, How Are You breaks down your common conception of a adventure game. It pretty much is a 3D Frogger on crack- the visuals are bright vivid colors as are the bad guys, and the level design is above average. The game is short, controls take a while to get used to, and you can’t resume the level once you’ve left the app which is monumental let down. For a pick-up-and-play app, it doesn’t let down as it lacks depth and alternative modes. But for fans of Frogger or platformers should definitely not miss this one of a kind game by Dr. Fun Fun.