Developer: Yamago
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

In Yamago’s new title, kids play as Hilomi, a joyful little girl who’s got a passion for taking photos of the whimsical creatures surrounding her. The first few levels serve as a step-by-step tutorial meant to familiarize the player with the world.

IMG_0512Younger children may appreciate Hilomi‘s steady pace as it teaches them how everything works, but for audiences of a slightly more mature nature the introduction will likely feel a bit too long since most things can be figured out almost immediately. The artwork and animations are great. From menus to actual gameplay, everything fits well within the theme, making it immersive and easy to lose track of time.  

Hilomi creates a welcoming, familiar atmosphere for little girls who can relate (even slightly) with the protagonist. However, this also brings up a bit of an issue since the game may be a little too focused on this specific niche. That’s not to say that anyone who isn’t a cheerful little girl will dislike Hilomi; many other types may enjoy playing it as well – just not as much and not for so long. By “others,” I am of course referring to puzzle-platformer fans who will be more interested in the title’s actual gameplay mechanic. The developers at Yamago have created a polished game with interesting an strategic (albeit not overly challenging) gameplay.

IMG_0511Once the level begins, Hilomi starts moving automatically (though I should say “skipping”) and it’s up to the players to effectively change the environment around her and guide her towards the creatures who seem to be waiting for her to take their photo. It takes a while before determining the right way around actually requires some thought and a bit of planning, but when it does, the game becomes all the more likable. Players may freeze the water, create bridges, dig tunnels, etc. There is no timer, but players have only a limited number of moves they can make per level. In order to capture a photo of every animal and get a perfect score, all of the moves will need to be spent just right.

In the end, Hilomi is a cute and charming platformer, with 100 levels spread across five different worlds to keep kids playing, but it seems to have been designed for a very specific demographic. And to those that don’t fit within it, many of the game’s strengths may become somewhat irrelevant.


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