Hi, How Are You (iPhone) Review

Jason Nimer
In Short
Hi, How Are You shows that a good idea with great execution can get even the smallest of games to the top of the pile.

Even though I carry my iPhone with me everywhere, I've found myself playing games on it less and less these days. I guess the PSPGo has stolen some of the device's thunder, and aside from a round or two of Space Invaders: Infinite Gene, my iPhone has become a device used mostly for reruns of American Dad and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Just as my interest in the platform was nearly gone, I had the pleasure of reviewing Hi, How Are You from Dr. Fun Fun and Smashing Studios. Bigger developers take note THIS is what an iPhone game should be. It's fun in both short bursts and longer sessions, controls like a dream and it is weird beyond all get out. Infinity Gene, consider yourself replaced at the top of my iPhone games list.

Hi, How Are You has a very basic game design centered around the iPhone's accelerometer. You tilt and tap the device to move a crudely-drawn frog around a 3D, multileveled playing field, and your only objective is to walk over every section of a level while avoiding enemies. You can go for bonus squares or faster times, but essentially it's you and a frog walking and jumping around a series of stages that get more diverse and complicated as you progress through the game. That's it. How can such a simple design garner such a rave from me, the guy who had given up on the iPhone's ability to compete with other handheld gaming devices? It's all in the control and style.

And that style is so very bizarre. Everything in the game looks as though it is some of the better artwork to come out of a hipster magazine or fourth grade classroom. The opening "scene" consists of a small white frog who is approached by a girl and turns not into a prince, but just some guy. Then, out of nowhere, Satan's head appears and re-frog-ifies the guy and pushes the girl off-screen. It's a setup we've seen about a million times before, but never like this. Everything looks as though it was drawn with crayons, and the static scribblings emit the same charm as, say, a Hot Water Music album cover. When I first started, I hadn't even played the game yet and I was already in love.

The style carries nicely into the game itself. Even though the levels and frog are rendered in semi-3D, the backgrounds and enemies retain the charmingly strange 2D coloring book look, and that makes the surroundings a joy to take in. If you can remember drawing a picture in elementary school, you can imagine what this game looks like.

Hi, How Are You's other main draw is the tilt-based, yet stunningly precise control scheme. If you've played an iPhone game, you know the fury that can erupt from a mis-calibrated tilt and touch setup. Sega's launch title Super Monkey Ball was public enemy #1 with this fault, and few have managed to nail the concept since. This game does it with flying colors, perhaps better than any game to appear on the iPhone since the product's first days. Controlling your frog is easy and intuitive, and the game takes into account the natural tilt of the screen when playing, something so many others have missed. Even if you've never played an iPhone game or any game with movement based controls, you'll be flying through levels in no time flat.

I mentioned earlier that there are bonuses to go for and times to beat, but just getting to the end of the game will take a while. There are a good number of stages before you make it back to Satan's head (over 20, if I remember correctly), and there is enough variety that you'll still be interested when you approach those last stages. All the extras are just gravy. There is even a way to interface with the social networking site Facebook.com, but considering I don't have a Facebook page and never will, I didn't have the opportunity to test this out.

Hi, How Are You is a weird game with a strange title, but easily one of my favorites on the platform and one that everyone should take a look at. Bigger developers with endless budgets may craft the top selling and most talked about games for Apple's system, but this one shows that you don't need tons of cash, an advertising budget and a monstrous staff to create a fantastic game. Hi, How Are You shows that a good idea with great execution can get even the smallest of games to the top of the pile. Download this one today.

Final Rating: 96%

Transmitted: 4/25/2019 10:10:16 PM