About Love, Hate and the other ones
As single player teamwork-based puzzle games go, cute is more often than not the way to go. Maybe it's a game about pandas, maybe a droplet of water and a bit of fire, or maybe some geometric shapes who are forced to get along via circumstance but eventually form a touching sort of friendship. All cute! Well, this puzzle platform game from Tobias Bilgeri isn't afraid to call it like it is. Titled About Love, Hate and the other ones, this game has you spreading both love and hate as you order around little critters to help your characters make it to the goal. Be a bully, be the nice guy, you've got to do it all in order to win!
Ok, so even though it's about love and hate and stuff, this is still an adorable game. We just wanted to play pretend for a few moments. Love and Hate are two creatures whose personalities are quite easy to discern. Love simply adores everything he encounters, bubbling warm and fuzzy feelings like some sort of happiness fountain. Hate, on the other hand, has the harsh and cold whisper of abhorrence perched on his lips, and he's not afraid to spread that around. Your job is to make Love and Hate work together, navigating single-screen puzzle stages as you guide them to the big red button at the end.
A small icon on the left side of the screen lets you switch between controlling Love and Hate. Tap where you want your chosen character to go and he'll head out straight away. You don't have direct control over movement, more like a point and click, tap here and they'll go here if they can sort of situation. It seems awkward at first, but you quickly realize it's a much better way to go compared to imprecise touch screen d-pads. When you see little shadowy creatures on the ground, simply tap them to have your controlled character whisper a sweet nothing their way. If it's Hate who's talking, the creature will walk away. If it's love, it will move forward. Later, you'll encounter plenty of "other ones" who will do different things when provoked. By using these abilities you can slowly sculpt a path leading to the goal, a handy undo button ready for your use whenever you see fit.
Analysis: Oh, you charming little game, you! About Love, Hate and the other ones will grab your happiness bone (it's near the sternum) and make you fall for it almost immediately. It's as if the game itself does what Love does so often during play, whispering "I love you" like an ambulatory flan and calling you to play more, more, and more. You won't mind, naturally, and throughout the game's set of 60 stages you'll encounter plenty of smart challenges and tricky situations to work yourself out of.
And how about those visuals, eh? The artwork in About Love and Hate carries a personality of its own, infusing a healthy amount of life into every character on the screen. Hate is more than a bundle of mean, Love is more than a gushing bucket of hugs, and it's all conveyed with a few clever animations and unusual situations. It's extraordinary how much you can bring a world alive with artwork alone.
It's a straightforward game void of crazy bonus unlockables, mini-games, in-app purchases or any of the related fluff, but it honestly doesn't need anything extra. About Love, Hate and the other ones is an extraordinary game you will both love and hate throughout your time together. But... mostly love!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.