You’re standing in an unfamiliar corridor with no recollection as to how you got there or where you were going. All of the color has been sapped from the environment, a black starlit sky hangs above you, and the panels along the walls remind you of a sci-fi movie. To your right, you discover a single black display with two characters glowing bright-white: a backward “E” and a “Y” with a line through it. To your left, a strange circular panel that slides away to reveal a fuse. Now what…
Hiversaires – a title which, like the game itself I have yet to entirely decode – is a unique and compact puzzle game reminiscent of games like Myst or 7th Guest. You’re presented with an absolutely minimal interface from the start, and learning how to succeed is left entirely to you. Sprinkled throughout the black-and-white space station themed structure are vague clues in the form of glyphs, maps, sound panels, and fuses that all must be used to navigate through the maze. There is no tutorial, nor are there even game settings to toy with… Hiversaires boils down to you vs. your environment, and it gets downright confounding.
Learning A New Language
Movement throughout the structure is accomplished by a simple tap on either the left, middle, or right side of the screen. You’ll find no on-screen interfaces or buttons in this game, and your only friend in the bleak, hand-illustrated environment is a pleasant ambient/electronic soundtrack. As you wander throughout the insanely complex (yet tiny) building, you’ll use fuses to power doors that have hopefully been matched with the appropriate glyphs. Panels are strewn throughout the structure that display different glyphs in different combinations with various activation mechanisms… Of course, it’s up to you to figure out how everything works. Hint: It helps to draw a good map.
Big Mystery, Small Package
As simple as Hiversaires is, it’s daunting to say the least… It’s been quite some time since I’ve been royally stumped by an Android puzzle game, and I even had to refer to an online walk-through in order to properly construct this review. Sad, I know. While small in scope, you’ll find yourself moving from room to room, picking up and placing fuses, and setting and resetting glyph-panels all with the aim of finding whatever fate awaits. All apologies for vagueness, but it’s necessary.
The simplistic interface does its job well in general, although many of the areas require you to tap in the center of the screen vs. the bottom as described by the intro overlay. The graphics are stylistic and appear hand-illustrated, and the eerie soundtrack just adds to the mystery of this game. Once you beat the game, feel free and check out the developer’s website for even more confusion (http://xxiivv.com/).
Really, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Hiversaires aside from the fact that it’s a unique and interesting puzzler worthy of your attention. Despite being somewhat small and short (in hindsight), this game will certainly give you something to think about. Taking notes is essential if you want to get anywhere, and expect spending plenty of time running back and forth comparing various doors, panels, and glyphs to figure out what the hell is going on. For roughly $2.50 in the Play store, you’d better be a glutton for punishment to purchase this one. Good luck.