Haydee Interactive’s debut title is a controversial one due to the questionable design choice of the protaganist. The question is: Is Haydee a good game? Or is Haydee Interactive just using sex appeal as a marketing scheme?
Haydee is a difficult game. A very difficult game actually. The game lacks any hand-holding mechanics and the tutorial is bare-bones, leaving most players solving puzzles and getting through rooms using trial-and-error, resulting in a very large number of deaths. After your first death, you are rewarded with the ‘Welcome to… Haydee!’ achievement; an unpleasant augury of what lies ahead.
Haydee is a third-person over-the-shoulder puzzle shooter game, set within a large complex consisting of 160 rooms. It is your mission to reach the end, but due to complete lack of a plot you aren’t sure why, which is annoying but doesn’t take away from the core experience. The labyrinth is divided into 6 sections, with each one being colour-coded to indicate the main obstacle of said zone, such as the blue zone being filled with water. Almost every one of these rooms contains a puzzle and/or various platforming sections, and in true Metroid style, some rooms require you to backtrack to them later with the necessary upgrades to complete them.
Platforming in Haydee is reminiscent of the old Tomb Raider titles, whereas the combat mechanics are very similar to that of Resident Evil 4. Both feel good and responsive, however fall damage is not to be underestimated in this game, potentially doing large chunks of damage even when falling from a seemingly small height. Robots also dish out ludicrous amounts of damage, and coupled with the limited med kits and saves (which are a consumable item that you find), you’ll have a hard time surviving for long, even on ‘softcore’ difficulty. The limited number of saves, even though it harks back to Resident Evil, will infuriate many players, as it is very easy to lose hours of progress because of one tiny mistake. Oh and by the way, there is no map, so you will get lost.
Visuals and character design
Haydee’s visual style is in the same vein as that of Portal, with its sterile white rooms and futuristic technology resembling what can be found within the Aperture Science facility. The graphics on max setting are very good, but due to the highly stylised nature of the game’s setting you won’t see anything that’s truly breathtaking. Sleek is perhaps the best way to describe the appearance of this game, with its sharp edges and glossy colours. Lighting in Haydee is absolutely stunning. Shadows look damn near-perfect and the glowing red eyes of the robots are menacing and ominous, especially in dark areas.
Now to address the elephant in the room — the character design. Yes, the main character is overly sexualised considering the setting of the game, but it only takes away from the core experience if you let it. Nevertheless, I have narrowed the reasons for this design choice down to four possibilities:
- The highly feminine character juxtaposes the sterile and dangerous surroundings effectively.
- A tongue-in-cheek poke at social justice warriors.
- A protest. There is no shame in the female form.
- A sexy lady would sell the game better.
No one except the developers know exactly why they designed the character in such a way, but if it was number four I’d be highly disappointed. There is not yet an option to change the main character’s appearance without mods, which is a shame as it may lead people to ignore Haydee, or feel uncomfortable playing it around others.
The soundtrack in Haydee changes from area to area, and while being repetitive, I never got bored or irritated with it. It was rather enjoyable actually and went very well with the visual aspect of the game. The sound effects are decent and sound clean, but the weapons don’t have much of a BANG to them. They sound underwhelming and weak, making them not very satisfying to use. Robots sound good, with the lighter robots making cool slicing noises when they attack, and the heavier ones bludgeon you with a heavy thunk. The various clicking noises when pressing buttons and equipping items I found very appealing, in the same way as popping bubble-wrap is.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing this game. There was such an immense sense of gratification upon completing of a really hard area that you just can’t get with many other modern games. The only other game that gave such a feeling of accomplishment in recent memory for me was Bloodborne, so maybe if you’re a fan of the difficulty of the Souls games you might enjoy Haydee. I can whole-heartedly recommend this game to fans of Metroidvanias or puzzle games, but even if not, it’s at least worth checking out — if you can get past the character design.