Game Review: Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm
Released: June 25th, 2008
Developer: Stainless Games, Ltd.
Publisher: SEGA of America
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)
ESRB Rating: Mature
Website: Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm
The Happy Tree Friends, the flash animation from Mondo Mini Shows has finally come to the Xbox Live Arcade. The seemingly cute cartoon animals who oft suffer very violent deaths have garnered a cult following on the internet. Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm doesn’t disappoint in carrying the torch of violence and cuteness as you attempt to take them through many different dangerous obstacle courses. As you take them through these obstacles courses, the purpose for you is to guide them to safety so they can live on for another level. Of course, if you wanted, you could send them to their deaths over and over. After all, you are in control.
The graphics in this game are not the worst seen from an Xbox Live Arcade game. The backgrounds are highly detailed for each zone that you play through. The colors are varied but at times can make it hard to see the objectives for completing the level. The digital recreations of The Happy Tree Friends are very faithful. Laughs ensue as signs show of their abuse if you are unable keep them from harm.
The sound and music in this game is not the strongest point. The music is light and playful but easily forgetful. The sounds effects are relevant when certain actions happen. The Happy Tree Friends scream and cry as they see fire or are being defiled by level obstacles. Truthfully, sound and music are not major factors in this game experience.
Gameplay was very lackluster. It follows a general formula of Lemmings or Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Help your “men” from point A to point B without losing anyone. Solve the obstacle puzzles to complete the level. If you are able to get everyone to the goal quickly then you will score more points. The difficulty of each level was pretty easy. Few of the levels were frustrating but easily defeated by simple trail and error. I believe this game had much more potential if they tried to add innovation to this genre and added a bit more polish. The AI of the Happy Tree Friends was horrible at times and could potentially exasperate the player.
The controls were pretty simply to use in theory. However, at times, if the cursor was just a pixel off the lever or button then nothing would happen. This happen more often than it should have. I believe the controls should have been much tighter given this game’s genre. The controls to scroll through the level to preemptively turn off the obstacles were very slow at times. In most cases when I did this, I would freeze the Happy Tree Friends so I didn’t have to worry about them getting killed while I worked out the rest of the puzzles. Overall, more work was needed to fine tune the controls.
This game has no multiplayer feature whatsoever. This type really doesn’t work with any sort of co-op or competitive multiplayer. The only LIVE feature this game has is an online leaderboard. As for replay value, the only reason most people would have to reply a level is to get a gold award to reach the next zone or for achievement hunting. Once all of the achievements have been obtained, there is little reason to load this game.
Given all the issues experienced in this game, I could not see value in this game being 800 Microsoft Points. I feel that game should have been much more to be worth that price and should have priced lower in its current incarnation. Even if the AI and controls were not issues, the game is too easy and can be completed in about 2-3 hours. This game is simply overpriced at the moment.
The game was fun but it suffered from many flaws. If these issues were resolved then it would have been a much better experience. At the current price of 800 Microsoft Point, I would highly suggest taking a look at the demo before purchasing this game. The biggest redeeming factor of this game was the exclusive cartoon for completing the game. It paid homage to many old video games. If you really like this game genre then there are better games out there for challenge and value.
Alex’s Bottom Line
Truthfully, if you have a DS, Mario vs. Donkey 2: March of Minis might be a better use of your hard earned gaming cash. However, if this game’s price was reduced to 400 Microsoft Points, then I could recommend it for quick gaming thrills and achievements.