Harry the Fairy has a problem– it seems that all of his fairy friends have been trapped in cages spread throughout a number of underground caverns. In order to free them, he must navigate the tunnels with your help, gathering stars all the while.
This is done in one of two ways: you have a choice of tilting the device (recommended for iPhone users), or using a virtual joystick (recommended for iPad users). But you must be careful, because all sorts of drills, machines, and toxicity fill the underground, meaning that death waits around every corner (though the bubbles granted to you at checkpoints provide an extra hit). As you progress, though, you’ll learn to use the machinery to your advantage. Pushing levers, moving ramps, and opening trap doors with barrels of toxic waste are just some of the skills you’ll need to master in order to succeed.
Harry lacks confidence.
Despite the recommendations, both control schemes work well on the iPhone. In fact, we seemed to perform better with the joystick, though maneuvering Harry by way of tilting the device was a little more fun. Either way, the controls work quite well, especially as motion-controlled games go.
The game possesses a certain charm, albeit a dark one. Harry is a meek hero who is cheerful enough when he succeeds. But truth be told, his basic expressions really remind us of Butters from South Park. In a way, the game has a certain Tim Burton feel to it, complete with a Danny Elfman-esque soundtrack. That isn’t to say that this work rivals any of theirs, but it feels like that is the direction they wanted to go; just check out the trailer to see for yourself. Incidentally, the music lacks more of the upbeat tension that the tune in the trailer provides.
Between the music and some of the backdrops, including all of the drills and toxic clouds filling the underground, the game has a slightly morbid feel– rather contrary to the partying Harry and his fairy friends are having when things get started. We almost couldn’t help but feel that maybe Harry and his friends were doomed to die deep within the earth, but would rather face their fate together than apart. On the other hand, maybe fairies are immune to radiation poisoning?
The 28 stages, spread across four areas, are laid out well, though unfortunately there is a lack of variety. Technically, the areas are called Underground, Caves, Lava Pits, and Inferno, but you could probably group the first and last two together without losing much. In fact, we wound up going from the Underground to the Caves without even realizing we’d finished the first location. They don’t tend to be too difficult on their own, though as with many games, getting all of the stars and finishing with a fast time can increase the challenge significantly.
All in all, Harry the Fairy is a solid game for all ages, despite what few faults it has. It doesn’t quite manage to excel or push the envelope, but it’s not likely to be a title you would regret playing.