Hamlet

Mechanically, Hamlet is a uniform point and click puzzle game. However, it expresses itself in novel ways. Its plot is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, and by loosely I of course mean totally, but in a bizarrely spliced-up fashion and with an aesthetically slug-like time-traveller thrown in for good measure.

The hero, more commonly referred to as The Hero, unwittingly injures Hamlet whilst on a research visit from the future. The incident leaves this irrefutably slug-like man with no other choice but to undertake Hamlet’s mission himself, a mission that involves avenging Hamlet’s parents’ death and rescuing his girlfriend, Ophelia. To disregard this mission would be to allow the very fabric of the universe to unravel, and The Hero hates when the very fabric of the universe unravels.

Not only does the game see The Hero drawing on his notable ability to shift around ripped-up bits of paper, it also provides quintessential ‘think outside the box’ challenges. Each level requires you to manipulate the environment in order to overcome it. The necessary manipulations are manifold but some form of abstract thinking usually does the trick. On occasion, a challenge calls for a bit of nifty finger-work rather than the simple application of your grey matter, such as clicking on musical notation resonating from Claudius’ electric guitar during a rock-out session (one of the more liberal interpretations of this classic’s events). These tasks provide a welcome break from pulling out your hair when that rubber chicken just won’t let itself be used.

The animations suitably compliment the game’s conceptualisation. You will find yourself negotiating stylised, peculiar, comedic levels with the most charmingly abstract and entertaining visuals.

Comprised of a mere five chapters, or ‘acts’, the game is extremely short, which, with a £6.82 download price tag, is pretty disappointing. An uninterrupted session could see you complete Hamlet in a single afternoon, particularly if you are a more synaptically-endowed player.

For the rest of us, a hint has been incorporated into each level which becomes available after several minutes. The hint may itself be as frustratingly abstract as the puzzle you require it to overcome, but damn it it’s a hint nonetheless and you’ll be grateful to have it.

For those of you who wish to try before you buy, an hour-long free trial is available here. The full game can be downloaded from the same site. Notice how uncannily like a slug The Hero looks.


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