Jan. 28th, 2017

kjorteo: Pixel-style portrait of Celine's face (GOOD.)
If you're not familiar with Hanano Puzzle 2, it's the latest release from Japanese indie dev team Qrostar. If you're not familiar with them, their other work mostly includes Jelly Puzzle and (obviously) Hanano Puzzle 1. You can generally tell it's a Qrostar puzzle game from the following elements:

  • Simple yet effective graphics--never excessively fancy or polished, but they look fine for what they do.
  • Music and backgrounds that change up every few levels so you don't get sick of them. The music itself is more gentle and relaxing than, say, the Bubble Bobble theme, yet still just as likely to be stuck in your head for days.
  • Puzzle rules and mechanics much like the graphics: simple yet effective. 2D single rooms with very basic, easy to understand general rules, usually revolving around having to use "swapping" style controls (think Hatris, Yoshi, etc.) to bring pieces where they need to be to solve the level.
  • Actual room/level/puzzle design by Satan.


For those who've played the first Hanano Puzzle, the sequel is... well, it's 35 more levels of that. It has new music and Pac Man-like intermission animations every 10 levels and at the ending, but don't expect a different experience beyond that. If you're new to the series, Hanano Puzzle is about moving blocks to touch flowers of the same color, at which point the blocks bloom with same-colored flowers of their own in whichever direction the arrow on their face was pointing, thus turning into either 1x2 or 2x1 blocks from then on. (More advanced puzzle solutions involve taking advantage of how the blooming tends to displace things, like putting something on top of an upward-blooming block to lift the object when it blooms, pushing things with horizontal blooms, etc.) The goal in each level is to get all the blocks in the level to bloom. Like any Qrostar game, the objective is simple enough, except for the fact that the level/puzzle designer personally hates you.

hanano-puzzle.gif

I knew I was in for the classic Hanano Puzzle experience when the game's download page included a note that level 7 is solvable. Unless you're Team Ninja, that's generally not a thing most developers have to specify.

In fact, all 35 levels of this game are solvable, though I did get stuck enough to need a hint on the first few moves for two of them (26 and 33.) I almost caved again on 34, but I finally got it on my own right before I was going to. When I did, I actually cackled as if my creation were alive. The last level actually wasn't that bad, but only by comparison.

I typically tend to pass on 3D or physics-based puzzle games because I get lost very easily and just can't visualize anything properly. By contrast, I've always loved Qrostar's games for staying in realms my brain can understand yet still working it out like a mental triathlon. I can't even begin thinking with portals, but I can beat Hanano Puzzle 2. Oh my God, though, do I feel like I just climbed a mountain when I do. I earned this Complete entry.

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Celine Kalante Love

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