At first, it’s really easy to fall head-over-heels in love with Hi, How Are You. Its presentation is top notch, and it can easily ensnare you and pull you in with its artistic vibe and amazing soundtrack. The story is sweet and heartwarming as well, but eventually you’ll snap out of it and wonder why jumping on cubes Q*bert-style for an hour makes any sense in this story.
Despite the apparent disconnect between the story and the gameplay, there are still a lot of great aspects to this game. Hi, How Are You is a tribute to artist and musician Daniel Johnston, and his influence flows through every aspect of the game. From the frog-like main character to the enemies and even the soundtrack, everything here is based on the work of Johnston, and the game is much better for it.
Were it not for the undercurrent of this artist’s creations and his amazing soundtrack, you’d currently be reading about a decent 3-D Q*bert wannabe with questionable controls. Instead, this game goes the extra mile, provoking thought and giving the player insight into some of Johnston’s art. Ultimately, your enjoyment of this game will come down to whether or not you’re willing to go through average gameplay in order to advance the simple story and see more of this creation.
A trippy wonderland.
The gameplay is set in a 3D world where you try to move shape-shifting characters through the environment, while trying to touch every square on the floor. If you can do that and make it to the exit, you get a bronze trophy and move on to the next level.
There are also challenge blocks that you can reach, and if you get all of those as well as the normal blocks you’ll be awarded the silver. To get the gold, you have to do this within a set time limit. Playing through the game while achieving just bronze medals should take about one hour, and to get all golds would take probably two hours or more.
The soundtrack, in particular, is wonderful. Three of Johnston’s songs will cycle as you move to new levels. They all fit perfectly with the tone of the game, and are rather good songs in their own right. It’s a great inclusion that adds to the tone of the game, and it’s even more impressive if you consider that they’re performed by Johnston himself. The music adds to the feeling of this being an homage to the artist, and it’s just one more facet in which the artist’s influence shines.
However, many users may feel a little shortchanged in the gameplay department. The default control scheme in this game can be pretty frustrating, so make sure you switch to the control stick version. It’s less interesting than controlling the character by tilt, but it’s far more effective and will save you from accidentally jumping off countless cliffs.
You don’t have to know the artist’s work to enjoy this game’s unique atmosphere. One of the most important things we can say about Hi, How Are You is that for a $1 game, when it was over, we had to stop and think about what it all meant.