Do not buy this game. We’ll explain why, but it’s important that we get that out of the way to begin with. Put your credit card back in its plastic sheath, so we can talk with less urgency. Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm is about $10 (including various taxes). For that, you get 30 levels, each taking between one or two minutes. That means you’re paying that cash to experience, at most, 60 minutes of anti-life spent in a glazed state of nothing. Oh, look: they’re vomiting blood from radiation sickness. You’ll feel nothing. No shock, no mirth, because the developers have got absolutely nothing right.
Your mission is to get five characters from one side of the linear, trap-strewn map to the other. The maps look nice enough, and there are a variety of locations, but they’re all fundamentally the same, lacking any sense of progress or innovation. You can’t control the characters, but you can intervene. Melt snow and scare the friends into a run with Fire. Blow things up a little bit with Nitro. Freeze your friends and block pipes with ice. The rest of the time, just click anything that’s flashing. That’s it. Thirty damn times. This is an under-featured Flash game in a paper mask.
The video you unlock – your grand motivation – is a badly encoded kick in the face, reminding you how wearisome the original cartoons were. Whether Steam should act as a rubbish filter when choosing which games to fire at us is a different issue. This is a shockingly overpriced web game made offensive by its Mature certificate, when it could only prove challenging, or of any interest whatsoever, to a seven year-old. This isn’t even an issue of prudishness, as we’re an advocate of pornography, condoms and Viagra being made available in primary schools everywhere. This is a matter of not being dishonest, cynical cash-grabbers surfing the misplaced kudos of a shit cartoon, and slipping an expensive game to the public before any reviews register on Metacritic. Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm makes everyone behind it look like absolute bastards. We can only hope the subtitle doesn’t imply there’s more of this vomitous guff in the pipeline. Charmless Lemmings, crossed with a dreary take on Little Big Adventure. It’s shit. Can we take the ball gag out now?
Aug 13, 2008