Harold Halibut Review – IGN

With the vast majority of video games being meticulously crafted by human hands, Harold Halibut takes this concept to a whole new level. This vibrant, narrative-driven adventure showcases intricately hand-sculpted characters placed in highly detailed miniature sets, digitally scanned, and skillfully animated in a 12-hour interactive stop-motion film where players take on a starring role. However, beneath its striking stop-motion surface lies a deeper experience, set in an oceanic alien world. I initially came for the unique art style but stayed for the captivating cast of characters and an engaging mystery filled with warmth and humor.

Harold Halibut unfolds a couple of centuries in the future on the FEDORA, a spaceship that escaped Earth during the 1970s Cold War era and subsequently crash-landed on a remote ocean planet. The FEDORA is now under the rule of the somewhat dubious All Water Corporation. Players step into the shoes of Harold Halibut, a hand-painted handyman who works as a lab assistant in the ship’s science division. Initially, players engage in mundane tasks like cleaning and maintenance, but a surprise encounter with an alien being sets Harold on an intriguing adventure.

Harold Halibut’s charm shines through with his humorous disapproval of the local water tube transport system and his penchant for singing silly songs while carrying out his duties. Born and raised on the FEDORA, Harold’s sense of wonder when exploring the alien world beyond the ship mirrors that of the player.

Ship happens

The subaquatic world of the FEDORA is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson-created version of BioShock’s Rapture. Each area feels like an interconnected dollhouse exhibit, complete with imperfectly painted props and characters clothed in knitted fabrics. While the environment begs for exploration, the level of interactivity is limited outside of Harold’s early tasks and a few arcade games.

Despite its appearance as a point-and-click adventure, Harold Halibut differs in gameplay mechanics. There are no inventories to manage or complex puzzles to solve. The majority of objectives involve interacting with specific characters to progress the narrative. This does lead to backtracking through familiar corridors, highlighting some issues with responsiveness.

Though the gameplay may lack variety, the interactions with FEDORA’s residents are entertaining and add depth to the story. From quirky quadruplets to a charismatic muscleman, each character brings something unique to the table. The humorous and sentimental dialogues encourage players to engage with the world and its inhabitants, fostering a sense of camaraderie without relying on traditional game mechanics.

Harold Halibut’s journey takes unexpected turns, leading him to explore the depths of the FEDORA and beyond to a vibrant underwater alien colony. The story is heartwarming and adventurous, maintaining its whimsical stop-motion style throughout.

Harold Halibut’s journey is heartwarmingly wholesome, full of intrigue and a sense of adventure,

Despite its enchanting world, Harold Halibut lacks additional content upon completion. While there are some behind-the-scenes clips available online, a more in-depth look at the game’s development process would have been appreciated. Slow Bros. missed an opportunity to showcase the inventive design that brings Harold Halibut’s world to life.