(DSiWare)

Hints Hunter (DSiWare)

Game Review

Hints Hunter Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Sigh borg

Playing Hints Hunter is a lot like browsing through a book of carpet samples: there may be a lot of them, but it won't take you very long before you've moved on from one to the next. Also, sometimes you come across a really difficult square right in the middle of some comparatively easy ones. Plus there are cartoon robots. Ok, maybe it's not that great of an analogy.

The game presents you with a veritable carpet sample book of fifty-nine cute and amusing but largely simplistic puzzles. No two are alike, and they range from placing characters into a scene from a fairy tale in the correct order to completing a strategy peg game-esque challenge in a limited number of steps.

Unfortunately, most of these require very little thought. One level has you place a pole in a fisherman's hand, then a worm on the hook, and cast your line with clicks and drags of the stylus. Players will soon find this type of placing-objects-about-a-scene task quite familiar when going through this collection, though there are still plenty of puzzles that don't fit this mould. The titular "hints" refer to the fact that while the game never explicitly instructs you to perform these actions, you can use context clues to figure them out. It's a real shame that there are no actual hints to be found, however, which would very much come in handy in some of the more complicated stages. While the especially challenging ones are near the end, the difficulty slope is nowhere near even while leading up to this, and it's quite common to come across a very hard level bracketed by two novice stages.

The controls are another issue, as there's no telling how reliable they'll be from one puzzle to the next. Their simplistic, stylus-based scheme remains generally unproblematic, but as the level designs become more ambitious, they grow increasingly unresponsive and frustrating.

There are just two modes: Challenge and Quick Play. The former has you linearly progress through each stage while the latter lets you go back to individual levels that you've already unlocked. It's a bit odd that while you can save and come back, you're able to do so but three times, which in our opinion serves no purpose besides forcing you to return to the beginning, artificially prolonging your experience. It's also disappointing that in Quick Play you can only see the level numbers and not their titles, which would have been much more useful.

You're scored by the number of clicks that you make, a feature that's somewhat interesting but clumsily implemented as rather than count your moves, the game tracks almost every time you touch the screen, whether or not it makes a difference. Couple this with the previously discussed unresponsive controls and you've got a system that's too flimsy and imprecise to try to master.

There's an extremely limited high score list that's basically useless, not even bothering to keep track of your click count on individual levels, meaning that once a puzzle is completed there's almost no reason to go back and play again.

The presentation is a mixed bag. The music selection is catchy but quite narrow, and after a while the small playlist of short, repeated songs will lose its charm and begin to grate on you. While in-level graphics are cute, cartoony and amusing and the robotic theme works very well, the top screen, alongside your click count and the stage name, features a robot who repeatedly reminds you that "Your objective is to find the key," "Hints are very useful!" and "May be (sic) you should move something." When struggling with a particularly trying puzzle, these ineffectual statements become frustrating taunts that might make you think that may be you should move your DSi very hard against a wall.

Conclusion

Hints Hunter is a fun game overall, presenting a number of puzzles that are varied, entertaining and pretty, but the majority of challenges are far too simplistic. Couple this with an extremely limited scoring system and you've got an experience that won't last very long or provide much of a reason to return. Often unresponsive controls and an uneven difficulty slope seal the deal, making this game a very middle of the road amusement that's worth a download only if you're desperate for casual, largely unchallenging puzzles.

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User Comments (45)

ErrorSupply

#3

ErrorSupply said:

Another on the money review from NL. That damn robot going on about "hints are useful" and "maybe you should move something" ground on my nerves too, particularly during the "Sum" puzzle.

Zach

#5

Zach said:

Thanks all for reading and @ErrorSupply, I'm glad that you enjoyed the review. Thank you for the comment. @EdEN, we at Nintendo Life think that a mediocre game is of low quality no matter the price. If you like casual, unchallenging puzzles and it's worth $2 to get a relatively small collection of them with the faults mentioned in the review, then sure, but that's really up to personal choice.

kirbygirl

#9

kirbygirl said:

A good review--love the title too. ;) So far, I'm enjoying the game at times, but I really wish there were a real hint function. Right now, I am stuck on level 4-10 (Sum), and several others that I know are stuck there too. Zkaplan &/or ErrorSupply, can you offer any helpful hints on this one?

Ariannah

#11

Ariannah said:

Care to share, kirbygirl? Math never was my strong suit. I can't add 2 and 2 two days in a row and get the same answer. How do I get past the Sum level? THX!!

Zach

#12

Zach said:

@Ariannah It's actually a lot simpler than it seems. Took me awhile too, but don't think about summing it up. It's a purposely misleading title, I think. Hope this helps! ;-)

Ariannah

#13

Ariannah said:

Thx zkaplan. Actually, I finally figured it out (okay, I cheated...I looked up the solution to 3x3 number puzzles...) but now I'm stuck on the subtraction one. I don't know what I'm supposed to be looking for. Oh well. :)

BEECEE

#14

BEECEE said:

I played this game for a couple hours and started feeling exactly what zkaplan describes in his most excellent review. The level of difficulty is so uneven as one progresses. Right now I just want to get through it to get my 500 points worth. Anyway, I am actually stuck on 4-6 Burn. Just don't get it. It must be about the controls on this one. Hints anyone? ... THX

EdEN

#15

EdEN said:

I'm considering gettings this since a bit of fun for 500 points is what digital should be all about.

nacl

#16

nacl said:

first, i wanna say i TOTALLY agree with EVERY EVERY EVERY thing written in the review. second, i was completely stuck on the level 4-10 "sum" until i read the ACTUAL hints posted on this site - thanks! (and dont feel bad if you cant get it at first either, i am an 8th grade math teacher!!) third, i am now stuck on the level 5-5 "subtraction" - any hints, anybody?? and finally, for BEECEE stuck on level 4-6 "burn" - think about the name of the level and how you might cause something to do that... (trying to give you a "hint" instead of just telling you what to do... hope that is okay :D)

EdEN

#18

EdEN said:

Downloaded the game last night and have to say that I really enjoyed the first set of levels and look forward to playing one set of levels each day to unwind a bit.

For 500 points it IS fun.

nacl

#19

nacl said:

i figured out the level 5-5 "subtraction" - it has NOTHING to do with math at all - think about the pictures you see... happy hunting to all, and to all a good hint! :D

BEECEE

#20

BEECEE said:

Thank you nacl for the hint. Can you believe I am still stuck? I think striking the stylus like a match .... nope. Keeping it on the light that stays lit the longest .... nope. Is it a gas burner? Are you supposed to blow in the mic? WOW ... nobody else here got stumped by this one. I hope I get it by accident someday unless someone just wants to give it away ;). Still worth the 500 points so far. Can't wait to get to the ones everyone else is talking about above. Have fun, y'all!!

EdEN

#21

EdEN said:

So far I would really like a sequel to this. For $5 it's a very fun game.

nacl

#22

nacl said:

beecee: you know how you always see people in movies trying to start a fire by rubbing a stick back-and-forth... you can do it! i have faith in you! :D

BEECEE

#23

BEECEE said:

Oh my goodness. Rubbing sticks back and forth .... I spent 20 minutes in a Starbucks at lunch looking really strange today. Maybe something is wrong with my gear. I feel really inadequate. I gotta keep trying .... I just gotta .... I will keep you posted. and thanks again for the help :)

BEECEE

#24

BEECEE said:

Somehow this level 4-6 Burn has got me beat. Rubbing the stylus fast or slow has gotten me nowhere. Would someone mind helping me get past this level? Is there a certain number of times the lights should flash? Is there a certain direction the stylus should rub? I think I am going to dig a hole in my screen. I would be forever grateful and appreciative. Thanks y'all!

BEECEE

#25

BEECEE said:

Ok. Nevermind. I just got it. Not sure how but I don't care. Time to move on. Thanks for the clues @nacl. You are the best.

keisha211

#26

keisha211 said:

hello everyone. I am stuck on count now and I have no more saves. I don't want to turn my ds off for fear that I will have to go back about 5 screens. PLEASE HELP!!! I either need to find a way to save again or I need someone (PLEASE) to tell me the 4 digit #. Thank you in advance.

BEECEE

#27

BEECEE said:

Well it is not the same for everyone and it changes all the time .... during play. Hope a hint is helpful .... good luck

keisha211

#28

keisha211 said:

thank you. but how do you go about figuring it out? there is no rhyme or reason to this one.

keisha211

#29

keisha211 said:

I got it, I got it! I kept my ds "on" for 3 days trying to figure this 1 out. Thx for all your help BeeCee. It was only after I read your reply that I got it. :)

sommer1971

#30

sommer1971 said:

ok nacl, or ANYONE, I am so stuck on subtraction. please give me some kind of better hint than look at the pictures. I have looked at them every which way but crazy and I am not far from that! does it spell something? Then do I subtract something or is the hint only part of the title? Hurry or I'll be put into a straight jacket soon....

nacl

#31

nacl said:

sommer: there is the set of pix on the right-side (that what you start with). and there is the set of pix on the left-side (that is what you take away). so, imagine that you made each picture in the set on the right-side out of toothpicks and then SUBTRACT (the name of the level) the toothpicks shown in each picture on the left-side - and whatever is remaining will be your answer - yes, it does spell something, and if you get this you will be well ROUNDed :D - if this doesnt help, maybe you can RING a friend, or eat som PIe on march 14?

nacl

#32

nacl said:

sorry for my errors - here are the fixes: "that is what you start with" and "eat some PIe on march 14" - happy hint-hunting! :D

nacl

#33

nacl said:

for the "count" level, the trick is that your count of clicks has to match the number shown in the window - but how to get it to match, i just kept tapping stuff, and eventually i got lucky... good luck to all!

nacl

#34

nacl said:

beecee: glad you got thru the "burn" level! i hope your DS is hole-less! :D

BEECEE

#35

BEECEE said:

This was an interesting game .... fun and frustrating. Frankly, I was not going to let it beat me and I was also happy to finish and delete. On to other ones now ... trying the American POP Star game now.

sommer1971

#36

sommer1971 said:

Oh nac, thank you! As soon as I saw the word toothpick I knew what to do. I can't believe it didn't occur to me. So yeah, much appreciated.

mollysangel

#37

mollysangel said:

Don't laugh, but I am so close to the end and stuck on the Magnet . I get the ball up and it bumps the top and falls back down. I have not had my DSi that long that is why I am just now playing that game. I thought it would be a cute game. I was not all that impressed, but I am want to finish the game. Thanks

matt10202000

#38

matt10202000 said:

please tell me the answer to level 4-10 sum cause if you don't tell it straight out i'll ......... i can't say

matt10202000

#39

matt10202000 said:

oh and not real helpful zach if it's not about adding it's about nothing because what else is there to do with a bunch of numbers, subtracting? !_!

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