Harold Preview – PAX Prime

By Nick on

About Nick

Founder and co-host of Cast of Thrones. Say hello on twitter. @rbristow

 

Suddenly, out of  no where, a brand new game emerges! Not just another game in one of the many established genres, a brand new type of game. On the surface, Harold appears to be just another 2D racing game, and while the goal of finishing first may be the same, the roles are reversed. Instead of controlling the racer, you are playing the course, making Harold one of best surprises of PAX Prime.

You play a guardian angel in guardian angel school. Think Harry Potter in terms of the story. The final test is to help a randomly selected human win an obstacle course race. Lucky you, you get the worst racer of all time –  Harold. Using your guardian angel powers, you’ll have to guide him to the finish.

While playing, you can encourage him to jump, shoot lightning at him to speed him up, and manipulate the course to Harold’s advantage. The other part is making sure the other runners don’t quite make it. The one limited power is the sprint, this requires you to use what is essential Harold’s life. If you take the risk you can make him run the whole course, but if you fail to save him once after depleting it, Harold will not respawn and just die.

In order to win, you will need to jump back and forth setting up the next obstacle to make sure Harold can make it. This is pretty varied based on the obstacles Harold must face. There are suspension bridges for example – you select them and hold up on the stick making the bridge go tight. As Harold moves over it, you can flick it down to send a wave, pushing him along. Not being able to control the character, I didn’t think the skill ceiling would be that high. I figured, once I got the hang of the controls setting up each obstacle would be a piece of cake. First of all, I was wrong, it is very challenging keeping everything in line and when the developer took the controls, it was like magic. He was jumping back and forth, setting traps, cutting ropes to have Harold fly past obstacles, and finding amazing shortcuts. Most of all, the game looks extremely fun and impressive when you know what you’re doing.

Every level has a “real shortcut.” This shortcut shows a quick fully animated cut scene showing how Harold hilariously makes it through. I have been assured that getting these shortcuts is no easy feat. They often require split-second timing and taking them is usually a risky decision. When you do make it though, you save a bunch of time and you get more excellent animated cut scenes.

The animation in the game is truly top notch. Some of the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. After Disney shutdown their studio in Florida, Harold’s developers scooped up top talent – and it shows. Everything in the game looks gorgeous. The current plan is to release Harold on PSN and Xbox Live. The game was originally developed for the DS though, and would probably work really well on a tablet. *HINT *HINT

You can look for the game in early 2013.

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