Review – Happy Game
My introduction to Amanita Design was back in 2018 when I played Chuchel. It was a silly little game that was more of an interactive animation than a true point-and-click adventure. Even though it was an overly easy game, I still found myself really enjoying it and eventually it became one of my children’s favorites. So when I saw Amanita Design’s newest game, Happy Game, which took the art style and gameplay of Chuchel and gave it a horror twist, I knew I was in for something special.
The premise of Happy Game is that you are a young boy who falls asleep and enters a nightmare world. Amidst the horrors is a toy ball that brings him great happiness, but it always seems to be just out of reach. He keeps chasing after the ball and is brought further and further into the realm of terrors. Can you guide the boy through the land of nightmares safely and make him happy again?
Just like Chuchel, Happy Game is a point-and-click adventure that’s best described as an interactive animation. You’ll move the protagonist through numerous challenges and obstacles that are presented in different sections like chapters. Where in Chuchel you were a fuzzy little monster chasing after a cherry that was constantly being snatched away from you, in Happy Game you’re a boy chasing after his ball. The entire thing is presented without an extensive narrative or any real dialogue, which reminded me of Limbo or DARQ, especially due to the macabre nature of the game.
My biggest complaint with Chuchel was its lack of any sort of challenge. While Happy Game still won’t require you to be a genius to solve its puzzles, the difficulty has definitely been increased for the most part. Yes, there are still plenty of sections that will have you simply clicking on something obvious in order to progress, but there were actually a few places that had me stumped for a moment. Because of this, Happy Game kept me much more engaged than Chuchel.
As I mentioned above, the art design of Happy Game is very much the same as Chuchel, only given a gruesome makeover. I absolutely loved it! Somehow Amanita Design was able to make a game that was simultaneously disturbing, grotesque, and adorable. My only issue is that occasionally the images looked a bit too stretched, like they decided to take a small image and expand it to fill the screen. The result are a few images that have a noticeably lower resolution that distracts from a normally gorgeous game. And yes, I am aware that I’m calling a game featuring decapitated bunnies and hideous monsters gorgeous. What can I say? I’m a sucker for all things ghastly and grisly.
The sound design in Happy Game is wonderful. Once again, there’s no real dialogue, but like in Chuchel, there are some cute nonsensical mutterings. The sound effects are well done, with there being some truly visceral sounding gore effects as heads get snapped off and creatures ripped apart. However, the soundtrack is what shines brightest though. The melodies range from upbeat and whimsical to dark and foreboding. The lighthearted tunes especially provide a beautiful juxtaposition between the childlike imagination and the horrifying display surrounding you.
I highly recommend Happy Game, especially if you’re looking for something creepy to play around this time of year. As someone who really enjoyed Chuchel and loves the macabre, Happy Game feels like it was tailor-made for me. It might not be a very long game, only taking about two to three hours to complete, but it’s an inexpensive game and well worth your time. Happy Game is extremely creative, and somehow is equally grotesque and charming. I adored every second of it.
Happy Game features the same art style as Chuchel, but with a horror twist. Most of it is gorgeous, but there are certain sections where the images look overly stretched and lower in resolution.
This is a point-and-click adventure that is more firmly in the “interactive animation” camp. It provides a fair amount of challenge without being unnecessarily difficult.
The soundtrack fluctuates between happy and whimsical to dark and foreboding. It sets the stage perfectly for the unsettling nature of the game.
Fun Factor: 8.5
This is the perfect game to play around Halloween. It’s creepy and disturbing, yet somehow still adorable.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Happy Game is available now on PC and Switch.
Reviewed on PC with an i7-9700k, RTX 2070, and 16gb of RAM.
A copy of Happy Game was provided by the publisher.