Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hanna in a Choppa

Hanna in a Choppa is, shockingly, yet another game that I started before it had badges, although unlike Splitter, which is still badgeless as of this writing, it got badges before I had even finished the game, so my early adoption was rewarded. Hooray! Anyway, Hanna in a Choppa is not a particularly original game -- you fly around doing things in a helicopter -- but it is charmingly and deftly executed, and is overall an entertaining little diversion.

As I mentioned, and as you probably could have guessed from the title, you fly around in a helicopter. Your task is, nominally, to reach the flag at the end of the level; sometimes this is simply a matter of navigation, but often times it requires whimsical tasks like cutting hair, herding sheep, or performing a rescue at sea. By themselves, the levels are pretty easy, but the trickier tasks are completing the level "very fast" or "perfect" (which requires that you don't touch any of the walls or floors), which can be quite challenging (and annoying, in some cases). The game, as you might be able to guess from the above tasks, has a pretty light sense of humor, and is quite bright and cheerful throughout. There are a few references to other games -- a World of Goo reference sneaks in, and there is the (sadly seemingly obligatory) cake borrowed from Portal, too.

The default control set is simply "press an arrow key to make the helicopter go in that direction", which occasionally, when executing more demanding maneuvers, can cause the helicopter to pitch annoyingly (you can also rotate the helicopter yourself, but this isn't always reliable). It wasn't until the end of the game that I discovered that you can also activate more realistic controls (namely, up arrow propels you in the direction that the rotor is facing, and to move in a different direction, you have to rotate). Mouse controls also exist, but I couldn't really get them to work well (which is fine; I prefer keyboard anyway); while I appreciate the diversity of control schemes, more notification of their existence would be nice. The interface is clean -- I especially appreciate the little icons in the lower-left corner which illustrate whether you are still eligible for receiving a perfect or very fast, so you know when it's worthwhile to keep trying or give up. One thing that could be clearer -- it is possible to crash the chopper (er, choppa), but it's not clear if this is only caused by very high-impact collisions, or if several lower-velocity impacts could have the same effect, since there's no damage meter or anything available.

The game also has a very distinctive style. Although the graphics themselves are pretty simple, the game uses a black-and-orange color scheme which lends a very bold air to the proceedings, and the graphic design is definitely quality. The sound effects and music are both on the cute side, occasionally tending towards the twee; as is so often the case, the music is pleasant in the background when things are going smoothly but can often drive you crazy if you're stuck on one particular task. The game is also not quite glitch-free -- if you manage to get through the game without getting yourself or an object stuck in (or pulled through) a wall, then you ended up a lot better than me. Still, the game generally runs smoothly.

While there isn't much to the basic game mechanics, the diversity of tasks that you are given adds a nice variety to the game and prevents it from becoming repetitive and tedious. It definitely doesn't overstay its welcome -- it won't take you long at all to do the 21 levels in the game, and even trying to get all of the perfects and very fasts, while certainly not a trivial task, is not the exercise in frustration that it can so easily be in a Flash game. Overall, it's a game you should enjoy playing.

1 comment:

ToastyKen said...

Yeah, this game was utterly charming in its presentation. :)