Huenison: What We Think
Huenison takes aspects of a wide range of retro titles – Tetris, Arkanoid and Space Invaders, most notably, with a slew of others peeking through the latticework – and combines them into a fast-paced shooter that demands you to think on the fly.
Timmy Fell Down the Well?
Huenison is bad news: He flippantly takes over the world, and mocks all who oppose him with his tinny synthesized laughter. For those who would challenge him, he’s deliberately left the door open…but to reach it, you’ll have to survive a descent through the fiendish Mind Control Wells.
Each stage will rain down cubes at your ship in one of seven different colors. To eliminate each block, it must be hit by a projectile with the matching hue. Rotate the color wheel on the ship until the correct shot is selected, and let fly. It’s a simple mechanic, but it will really keep you hopping in later stages when the speed picks up. Destroy a set number of blocks within the time limit to reach the next stage.
Should you fail to hit a block before it contacts the ground, it will raise the elevation of that spot by one level. There is a line that crosses the top of each stage that slowly descends, and crossing it is fatal. Miss too many blocks, and parts of the ground beneath you are suddenly a lot closer to the no-fly zone. Completely missing with a shot will result in the deadly zapper line descending slightly as well. Learn to love accuracy!
Blocks That Scatter
Some blocks display patterns on their faces, indicating a power that can be activated by destroying it. There are a bunch of different effects on offer: Some will release a scatter shot that destroys blocks in the path of the spray. Others will become a corner of an area of destruction – strike a second block like this, and its position on the board will determine how large the section will be. Any blocks within are instantly fragged. While you won’t be able to directly take out all blocks, keeping a keen eye out for these boosts will help to keep the number of misses lower.
Chain several successful hits, and your ship will turn white for a few seconds. In this mode, all blocks are vulnerable. “White Wind” stages rain only white blocks, but a breeze pushes them in a direction at different times, which can be challenging if attempting for a high rate of accuracy.
Comma 8 Comma 1 Chameleon
It’s instantly clear that Huenison is a retro-themed affair. The sound effects and music tracks will likely induce flashbacks for anyone who played games on the Commodore 64 – indeed the game is available for both PC and AmigaOS4.
The color scheme is just deep enough to embrace the hues of each projectile type, and tiles and bosses alike presented as slightly varied falling squares.
In fact the tribute to OSes of olde goes so far as to use password saves? Really? I’m all for the preservation of retro attributes, but if you’re going to go so far as to require players to jot down a code to maintain progress, you might as well ship the game on floppy disk. Fortunately, passwords are only 6 characters long, so while it’s not a massive inconvenience, I think the addition of a save file or two wouldn’t have ticked off too many purists.
That Pew Pew You Do So Well
Beneath the 80’s veneer lurks a game with a staggering amount of complexity. Even after a bunch of sessions, I was unlocking effects that I couldn’t consciously attribute to anything I had just completed. It may seem confusing at first, and the subtle nuances make themselves known in time. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Focus on spinning the ship around and let the magic happen on its own.