These hills will make physics puzzler fans happier than other gamers.
By Ned Jordan
Happy Hills is a physics-based puzzle game where the object is to make the hills happy. These particular hills act more like icebergs floating on water than the granite-based heavyweights we're used to seeing, and the reason that they're not happy is that they are being weighed down by mean, frowny-faced blocks. Armed with a limited supply of bombs, your job is to blow the blocks off of the hills so that they can bob up from under the weight of the blocks and make them happy again. To use a bomb, just hold your finger on the spot where you'd like to place it and the game will pop-up trajectory arrows showing you the direction in which the blocks affected by the blast will fly. You can use the arrows as a guide to fine-tuning your bomb placement as the game will allow you to drag your finger to adjust the bomb's position. You clear a level by removing all blocks from the level's hills, but bonus stars are awarded if you can eliminate the blocks completely in addition to moving them out of the way.
At first things are relatively straightforward; blow the blocks off of the top of the hills and let them pop up again. Things grow more complicated as you keep playing, with the addition of different types of blocks and environmental constraints that will force you to put a little thought into where you need to place the bombs and in what order. For example, sending a wooden box through a small fire will cause it to catch fire, and if it happens to land on other wooden boxes, well, they'll be burned to a crisp and eliminated without the need for another bomb.
Happy Hills is strictly for those who enjoy physics-based puzzlers, but it probably won't make many fans of the genre's top ten lists. The problem is that the difficulty of the puzzles is all over the place. You might struggle with a puzzle that has no margin for error, only to find that you can complete the next two without much thought or any trouble. Part of me thinks that the particularly hard levels were inserted at key locations to drive sales of the 'golden bombs' that will clear a level for you. In spite of all of this, there are probably enough enjoyable levels here to justify spending ninety-nine cents if you're a fan of physics puzzlers.