Happy Hills was a relatively unique idea for the physics puzzle genre when it launched back in September of 2011. Now it’s 2013, and there’s the brand new Happy Hills 2: Bombs Away, which maintains the physics puzzle style of the original. Your goal is to use bombs to blast various blocks off of hills, to make those hills happy with the extra weight finally removed. The sequel introduces 80 new puzzle levels, as a a brand new action mode that sends waves of falling blocks to contend with. The puzzle levels are familiar while being spread across four new environments, and the game also features the levels from the original game, but redone for the latest iOS devices.
The most distinguishable aspect of Happy Hills 2 is that it’s instantly accessible, with a very inviting theme. You simply tap, and drag your finger to position the blast of a bomb, and then release to watch the blocks get blasted away. There’s an indicator before you release your finger, and the levels have a very familiar pattern. That’s looking at the game in the best possible light, but in all actuality it’s a very bland, and repetitive experience. That’s even truer if you have played the original, as all of the levels seemingly blend together. While the game is accessible, it’s exceedingly simplistic making it a very mundane task to keep blasting through the levels. The game doesn’t really deserve the puzzle monicker, as not much thought it required leaving you going through the motions, and there’s not much incentive to keep playing. One bright spot is the action mode, which gives you a quick burst of continuing to blast away blocks that keep raining down in an attempt to earn more bombs as you try to survive.
The structure of the game is also a bit off putting as there are upgrades for your bombs that have to be unlocked, and then purchased with coins rather than just being enabled as you go. Also within an individual level, there isn’t a quick restart button, so you have to go in the menu to restart. It’s a minor thing, but just highlights the poor design structure, which is also embodied by an art design that nearly mimics the original with no enhancements. The controls are also a bit frustrating as they don’t allow for much precision, especially when trying to blast a block into a certain gap to reach the goal of clearing all blocks in a given level. Taken as a whole it’s just a mediocre experience that requires meticulous interaction on your part while going through the same thing, over and over.
Happy Hills 2 ($0.99, Universal) is just like the original, which doesn’t mesh with the standards of the App Store in 2013. It’s a bland experience in most regards making it one to avoid, so that it doesn’t blow up in your face.