capsule review

Harold's Hills

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Harold's Hills

Harold the Homeboy picks up where Santa left off in this free sequel to the popular Icy Tower casual game. In this simple, addictive, and fun game, you guide Harold's toboggan down an endless slope, picking up gifts and dropping them off in the chimneys of snowed-in houses. The more presents you pick up before a drop off, the more points you get. But each present picked up makes your sled go faster.

You can also get points by bouncing off tree stumps like a pinball (points which multiply with more than one adjacent stump), but rocks and full-sized trees will wipe you out with one hit.

Controls are a simple left-right arrow key scheme. The instructions say that the down arrow controls your speed, but I didn't find that the down arrow had any affect on gameplay whatsoever.

Graphics are simple 2D and charming, and the multiple "Yeah!" sound effects when you pick up a present are cute. However, the music is grating and is better when not present. Harold the Homeboy is freeware, hence the publisher's name: Free Lunch Design.

Finally, it's nice that they ask permission, but Harold's Hills joins other apps such as WinAmp and Java by installing a toolbar to your Web browser. Someone clicking through without realizing the "recommended" Free Lunch Toolbar is the last step will get their default search changed, their default homepage changed, and many other irritating changes to Web browser functionality. Be sure and uncheck the toolbar at the end of installation; if you accidentally install it, it's easily uninstalled by going to Control Panel -> Programs -> Programs and Features (for Internet Explorer) or Tools -> Add-ons -> Free Lunch Design Toolbar -> Uninstall.

Other than that minor irritation, Harold's Hills is worth a look.

--Steve Horton

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Harold's Hills

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