Sometimes we stress about how to create a new, original game concept, but we overlook the execution. Meanwhile, some game developers try to keep their games simple, while focusing on the delivery. This idea is actually basic, and most people would know that even they are not into marketing. Hazumi – a puzzle game – is a proof of how a game is successfully delivered.
Developed by guys in Eyecancer and published by Gamelion, Hazumi is a puzzle game where you control a colored ball to break crystal blocks. There are different colors of crystal blocks, so your ball needs color change by touching the corresponding switch. As you progress throughout the game, the difficulty rises with winds, bombs, spikes, and traps.
On my first impression, it felt like Arkanoid-like games (but without paddle and power-ups). But after spending more time with Hazumi, I found that the game defines its own sub-genre as a puzzle. The difficulty is set right – hard enough to take some tries, but not unforgiving. While some puzzle games let players to skip some levels, Hazumi takes you to different plane of difficulty since you have to finish most levels to move on.
I think the best feature in Hazumi is how they polish the game to the fullest. The coloring is done right, the pixel art graphics tempts you to spend more and more time playing the game, and the retro soundtrack that changes throughout the game fits the mood perfectly. With more than 100 levels to beat, I found just it addictive. Small gimmicks, like that spikes could be stained after breaking your ball, complement the game.
It is not that Hazumi is without flaw; maybe the control would be a problem to some people. It takes time to master ball controlling, since it is not fully following mechanics’ law. You can suddenly drive your ball in other direction using D-pad, so do not only depend on walls to bounce. The level editor lacks online sharing or QR code, so you can only play your DIY level yourself. The interface is somehow a bit clunky, since when I want to abort a level, I have to come back to title screen, not the stage select.
But overall, Hazumi did a great job – at least for me – especially its presentation. It is a simple puzzle, yet well delivered. You may purchase the game on Nintendo 3DS eShop for $3.99.