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Effing Hail

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Rating: 4.3/5 (188 votes)
Comments (42) | Views (8,398)

PsychotronicEffing HailIt's time for massive property damage! Indulge your secret (or perhaps not-so-secret) desire to smash skyscrapers and spy satellites with the power of your mind. Effing Hail, brought to you by Jiggmin and Greg Wohlwend (Dinowaurs), takes place during the worst hailstorm in history, and you are the unseen power behind the devastation.

I understand if you're hesitant. After all, it's normally a mighty challenge to take down a skyscraper with nothing but hailstones. But it's not quite so hard if you build a ball of ice 35 meters across, and then fling it.

Hold the mouse button to produce an upward current of air. Hail will fall freely from the outer atmosphere, and your job is to catch a hailstone with your updraft and keep it aloft in the moist air as it gathers mass. Once it reaches sufficient hugeness, try to steer it at your target. To crush the house in the opening scene, try a hailstone about the size of a house. Then, if you're like me, giggle hysterically.

Analysis: It may bring back memories of such exercises in mouse-driven destruction as Pillage the Village and Defend Your Castle, but to gravely understate things, Effing Hail has its very own character. To begin with, the indirect way you guide your icy death-spheres home makes this much less like a glorified update of Whack-a-Mole, and much more like a game of skill.

It would already be a pretty terrific game if all you did was drop improvised asteroids on buildings, but it's so much better than that. The first time you heave a stadium-sized hailstone at an orbiting satellite is a revelation. Airplanes, weather balloons, and pedestrians all demand different tactics, and the solid physics engine makes the whole thing feel like recess in November.

I predict the combination of simple controls, wanton destruction, obsessive fans trying to form the largest possible snowball, and the slightly off-color humor will make Effing Hail into a cult hit; but as an application, it could be more complete. The mission-based timed mode is the only way to play. There's no sandbox option to let you smash things up freely, and I want one. Also, at the time I'm writing this, there's no way to restart a level, or turn off the music and sound effects separately, or even pause. It's strange for a game that looks so good to be missing basic interface functions.

Speaking of the graphics, they're fantastic. Everything looks like it was cut and pasted from a weather diagram, complete with little airflow arrows around the airplanes' wings. The look is a work of genius, right down to the detailed newspaper article that serves as your Game Over screen, complete with an authentic-looking chart that catalogs your destructive efforts.

Effing Hail: it's effing brilliant. Aw, there I go giggling again.

Play Effing Hail


Denita TwoDragons April 9, 2009 7:43 AM

Oh. My. Gosh. I have insurance adjusters coming out in a few hours. Why? A hailstorm trashed the heck out of the west side of my house a couple weeks ago. It's a mess of broken windows and fist-sized holes smashed into the vinyl siding.

So here comes a game that is so freakishly appropriate, it almost made me fall out of my chair. This, folks, is why I just can NOT believe in chance or irony.

I am soooooo gonna be playing this while I wait today... Noting like a little reciprocation, folks!


Tobberian April 9, 2009 8:20 AM

Nice, but no sound effects because of unstoppable horrible music torpedoed the game here.


I found the best strategy was to

forget about making one gigantic hailstone. Instead, hang out near the ground and when hailstones ricochet off the ground, use the wind to push 2 or 3 pieces back up into the air. They'll always come back down, and be growing all the time.

Keep doing this as often as you can. You'll never make a 35m stone, but you'll have 3 or 4 15m ones flying around at all times and dozens of smaller ones that are still sizable to do enough damage, constantly chipping away at the objects.

samalakar April 9, 2009 9:15 AM

Denita, why can't you believe in Chance or Irony?
It is just coincidence that you played a game that has to do with a natural disaster that befell you a week before. I'm sure there are many other games you have played recently that haven't reflected important events in your life, and many people who have played this game without having suffered hail damage recently.

And why can't you believe in irony?

Reciprocation, though, I'm all for that!


Funny, a Hail storm just passed through a few weeks ago damaging hundreds of cars, roofs, and windows.


It's very pretty, but the time limit makes the game far too short.


On the main screen, there's a speaker icon. Click that, and it mutes the game.

Anonymous April 9, 2009 1:00 PM

For some reason the screen size for this game doesn't fit my screen. And I'm using 1028x624 resolution.

Anyone else having this problem?

[Edit: The height of the game is 700px. -Jay]

coolpilot April 9, 2009 1:02 PM

Played it on Kongregate instead.

Great Game. Ballon Level is hard, though. There is way too many of them.

[Edit: I had no problem connecting to Jiggmin's site. -Jay]


My favourite tactic is:

"The Meteor Shower"

Focus the wind on a tiny snowflake, sending it far above the top of the screen. It's tiny, so it'll only take a few seconds to make it rocket upwards.

Do the same thing on lots of other snowflakes, and half a minute later all those flakes come back down, much bigger and very fast.

They're too big and fast to be controlled by now, but there are so many of them that together they'll definitely cause some mayhem. They'll also leave behind some medium-sized stones that you can use to clean up the survivors.

zxo's method is probably more efficient, but I think mine is more dramatic. :)


I was having trouble finishing level 7 of this game until I tried Albert's method. Oh wow was that SO MUCH FUN! I was (and still am) literally laughing out loud as 15m sized hailstones came hurtling back down to Earth.

Albert's method seems vastly more efficient even though there's no guarantee that the hailstones will hit anything. It's just the sheer quantity of doing things that way (and the little amount of time needed) makes this a far superior tactic than anything else.

Creating large hailstones is time-consuming, and zxo's method of getting semi-large hailstones around the bottom is nice, but doesn't help against planes, weather balloons, and satellites.


Oh, by the way, I ABSOLUTELY SECOND the want for a "sandbox" un-timed option. WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT!


I just can't get over the noise the weather balloon makes when it pops. It makes me lol every time!! Good game.


Typo in one of the tags on this post: "gwohlwend" should be "gwohlwen".

[It's the other way around, actually. The tag and his last name both should have a "d". - Psychotronic]


Super fun game, but it is absolutely killing my hands, worse than any other game in recent memory for some reason.

Fuzzyevil April 9, 2009 6:04 PM

I love this game. My method of choice is the already mentioned "fling as many small balls up as possible" method, and it works great. Leaves a little to be desired on accuracy though.

Pixelated April 10, 2009 12:55 AM

I love this game! So addictive, so strangely humorous, and gives you that menacing, satisfied feel.

Pixelated April 10, 2009 1:25 AM

Oh, and I also agree about the sandbox mode, the game is a bit too short, but I've already played it three times.

Also, is it just me or is that music really, really fun to listen to?

Oh, and what's the biggest hailstone you guys have made (even though I followed Albert's method too)? I got 58 m, on the first level. The 'secondary' stones were so big the second level ended almost as soon as it started. :P

Meteor Man April 10, 2009 1:26 AM

Biggest I've made so far is 59m. Anyone top that? =)


This game was a lot of fun, and it looks great, too. I agree that it would be nice to be able to control music and SFX separately, although personally the music didn't bother me.

If the designer is reading this, I would like to join the chorus above: please make a sandbox mode!

OK, now I'm going back to play some more.


I can't connect to the Jiggmin one (the page loads but no matter how long I wait the flash file doesn't load and I can't load the SWF alone). Can someone point me to another version?


I once managed a 68m stone, thanks to the first house destroying itself with no effort from me, which added some extra time.

I like starting the game from the beginning and seeing how much I can overkill that house.
My best so far is 1657 damage.


Dear Psychotronic,

Your reviews are wicked awesome.

Some guy on the internet


Ha, so much fun! I agree: Sandbox mode would be great. I do love the music--it's utterly cool in the face of massive destruction. :-D

For those of you having trouble loading: I found (using Google Chrome) that although the game loaded, the progress bar didn't make any progress. I opened it, waited a few minutes, saw no progress, hit refresh, and instantly jumped to 15% loaded. Waited a few more minutes with no progress, hit refresh, and instantly came to 98% loaded. A few seconds later, I refreshed again, and the game came up immediately. Try that.


I still haven't beaten the entire game, but here's my tactic/strategy that seems to be working:

In the first 30 - 45 seconds, take Albert's Meteor Shower method: Blow tiny hails upwards off-screen and wait for them to return. If they come in at a slower or more horizontal trajectory, blow them up a second time; if they're coming in more quickly or vertically, let them be the first assault.

After about 45 seconds, you should have your one-blow medium ones and second-blow slightly bigger ones coming down. After this, make all your blows opportunistic: Only blow upwards slightly bigger pieces that are already either drifting slowly or heading upwards anyway, and blow them back off the screen. You'll create some fresh ones in the meantime, but this process will get you a supply of more massive earth-crashers for the endgame.

Especially watch for balls that hit airplanes, satellites, and balloons, or that have settled motionless on planes--they're easily blown back off the screen. Additionally, when you get a really big one come down and hit the ground, the pieces fly back up at a fast trajectory--catch them when they're still going fast and you can make them "bounce" up nearly as fast as they came down. And when they come down again, rinse and repeat.

In the last 30 seconds, stop bothering trying to blow things off-screen--you won't get them back in time. You also aren't able to be likely to herd incoming big ones to hit things; those will be a crapshoot. In the last bit of time, focus on getting bounced-off-the-ground hails to do damage to flying items from beneath; I've taken down many satellites and airplanes by helping along a big bounced hail.

Anybody else have any time-management techniques? I'm still tweaking this formula but I think I'm getting there.

Anonymous April 10, 2009 5:23 PM

The plane is impossible to take down, so the game ends up pointless.

[Edit: The plane is indeed possible to take down. -Jay]

Hail to the chief April 10, 2009 11:37 PM

I'll throw in another vote for sandbox play. My big question is how people get scores in the 60,000s! I just set my personal best of 19,428 (thanks to some tips from the JIGgers) but I can't even imagine doing 3x better than that. Anyway, one of the more enjoyable flash games I've played in a while.


Am I the only person to think "wow, this would be SO MUCH FUN on a multitouch/touchscreen computer"?


It's easy. Can't get a lot of points (like 15k+ average), but a little addicting. 15+ to destroy balloons, 20-ish to destroy planes, 30+ to destroy satellites. Largest hail I could get to is 56. Once you reach 52 or so, the hail won't stay afloat.


I would love a sandbox, untimed mode. Being able to play with hailstones and see if you can get them the size of a house without a time limit would be teh awesome.

Also I love the music. It reminds me of Royksopp.

Anonymous April 12, 2009 1:13 AM

JIGuest: From the sound of things, I think people with choppy/slow computers are at a disadvantage on this game... I had a VERY hard time with the plane as well... most frustrating


It seems most people, including me, can't seem to break 20k. Probably the best thing to do is get through the lessons quickly in order to get into the free-for-all part.


I managed to score 35,277. I had 4 minutes of free for all time :)


I am, quite frankly, upset. There I was on the 1st level, enjoying myself making a 35m hail stone, when I run out of time. I just wanted to cause mass destruction with 1 hailstone! Is that so much to ask? Why don't they make a timed story mode finishing with an enormous alien invasion plus everything else (balloons, satellites, planes, everything)or something, AND a free play mode, with just loads of stuff to destroy for those of us (i.e. me) who just want some chaotic destruction in our gaming? I can't help but think it is not just me who wants such a free mode. Then perhaps this fantastic game could be played for a lot longer. I find that once I find my limit, the level I cannot beat, I just give up. Free modes are unlimited fun!

P.S. Sorry for the long post. I just feel quite strongly about this.


WOOHOO!! I broke 23k!! Free-for-all strategy:

I use the meteor shower technique where you propel lots of small flakes up off the screen at high speed and have them crashing down a few seconds later but a lot bigger. I try to limit it to propelling about 3-4 flakes at a time so that the wind isn't so spread out among lot of flakes.


Speaking of irony, I am playing this game in the middle of a freak hailstorm. O.o

jasonz777z April 14, 2009 6:58 AM

Woohoo! I got a 71m one!
Well, actually it was a 69 one, it bacame a 71 just before it hit =D

Mr. NomNom July 18, 2009 10:52 PM

Woo! 74m! I absolutely have no life! It's really hard to get one any bigger than this, because the hail just falls through your wind cursor thingy. Great game, though. =D


the plane is *not* impossible to take down, nor are the satellites.

douglasadamsreborn January 19, 2010 10:56 PM

How do you get the satellites?


They pushed her


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