23rd Feb2021

Digital Shorts: ‘Hazmat Hijinks’ Review (iOS)

by Phil Wheat

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at retro puzzle game Hazmat Hijinks, which is out now on iOS.

Years ago, back when I was a wee lad, I had a friend that always got the latest tech – especially when it came to video game stuff. In fact he got both the Atari Lynx AND Sega Game Gear, making me very jealous! Though being the good friend he was, plus you can’t play two handheld consoles at the same time, he used to let me borrow his Atari Lynx (mainly because it didn’t have Sonic, which he was addicted to). I say all this not just to waffle on, but to explain how I first came across a small game called Chips Challenge – a launch title for the Atari Lynx which saw you play as Chip, a high school nerd navigating through a clubhouse collecting chips in order to gain entry to an exclusive club – and a game that I became totally addicted too… Especially given that, at the time, I was on a real puzzle-game kick; playing not only Chips Challenge on my friends Atari Lynx but also Head Over Heels on my Commodore 64.

And now comes Hazmat Hijinks.

A game CLEARLY inspired by the late 80s/early 90s puzzler that had me so addicted as a kid, Hazmat Hijinks sees you play as Hanford, a simple scientist who figured out that the “Cleaners” make their money by illegally dumping toxic waste. When the Cleaners break into his house to kidnap him, he wasn’t home, so they took his fox instead… The aim of the game is to rescue your fox using an array of multicolored hazmat suits for protection as you traverse chemical spills, walk through radiation, dodge giant viruses, and ultimately battle the Cleaners.

There are 100 levels to beat, along with some hidden secrets and easter eggs, including multiple endings – giving this game PLENTY (I mean hours and hours) of playtime. Or more if you’re really terrible at puzzles! I jest of course, however Hazmat Hijinks does feature some crafty, sneaky and downright complex puzzles to complete. Most of which involve you pushing bricks, flicking switches and choosing the right hazmat suit for the task at hand – the blue suit allows you to walk through chemical tiles; yellow shields you from radiation; silver provides fire protection and the iridescent suit lights your way through dark levels. But that’s just the beginning! Later levels see you put on gloves to pull objects; putting on boots that let you walk on oil without sliding; using a hammer to open crates and other things. You can even use some dangerous equipment – like barrels of oil – to your advantage too!

Like Chips Challenge, Hazmat Hijinks really rewards patience. There’s a real satisfaction in solving a puzzle – even if it takes you a million tries – and for those who want that little extra finding those easter eggs etc., provides even more challenge… Just beware. Set aside plenty of time to play the game; you can’t just do one level and put it down. It’s THAT addictive!

Hazmat Hijinks is out now on iOS, prices £9.99


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