In Haimrik, you play as the titular kid who can enter the magical word world by cutting up his hand and writing with his blood. If that's not a weird premise for a game, I don't know what is.
Haimrik enters the world of the book to get exactly what he needs whether he's searching for rare wood to build a tiger cage or a jewel for an outfit worn by the nobility. The game world is set in Estria, a kingdom clearly inspired by the dark ages which was formed after the unification of four kingdoms. The four Word Warriors (Witter, Murdock, Algernon, and the Snake) once held off an invasion of the four kingdoms. Now, Udolf rules the kingdom at the side of the word warriors except for the treacherous Snake. Meanwhile, Haimrik hails from Silisa, a small town that's impoverished under the rule of the new, unified kingdom.
The story of Haimrik is actually quite detailed. The characters are human and that means they have flaws even when their intentions are noble. The best way to make sense of it all is to play through twice. I only beat it once so forgive me because there are some gaps in my memory regarding the story. Warning: minor spoilers are throughout the rest of this paragraph. To the best of my knowledge, Haimrik only wants kindness within the kingdom and he agrees to help the rebellion after the murder of his mother. However, he is flawed because he kills the people in the word world in a variety of disgusting ways to achieve his ends. Soon into the story, Haimrik sneaks into the castle and confronts Witter, a Word Warrior who is also King Udolf's assistant. Witter, after casting a binding spell on Haimrik, tells the story of how he, Udolf, and Maryam helped save the kingdom from invaders. It is here that Haimrik learns that the king isn't just a villain as he was led to believe. Again, there are gaps in my memory so I don't remember all of the intricate details.
If you're like most gamers and you don't care about all the story nonsense and you just want to know what you actually do in Haimrik, I've got you covered. Half of the campaign takes place in the real world, the other half in the (nameless) word world. The real world is where you'll find most of the story dialogue. You mostly do simple tasks like fetching items or going from point A to point B. There are not even any interesting areas to explore. In fact, there's nowhere you can go except for where you're required to.
Conversely, the word world is a place where you solve puzzles by walking over the lines of a book as you pick things up by interacting with the words. For instance, if you interact with the word "crossbow", you'll pick up a crossbow that you can shoot stuff with. The places you go in the word world are places you need to visit to perform tasks in the real world and the lines tell a story that gives depth to the characters and places you see in the real world. Unfortunately, the puzzles aren't that difficult and there's not much room for creativity. You'll have to do stuff like lure trolls over gaps or distract goblins with shiny money while you collapse the cave around them. Like I said, the puzzles are very easy and I was only stumped briefly once or twice.
Haimrik also has boss fights but they're not very impressive. For instance, there's a dragon that you have to defeat by shooting the crossbow at its weak spot. For the most part, the bosses involve simple tasks like dodging hazards, firing the cannon and crossbow, or riding a lion. These might sound exciting but they're really not because the mechanics are so minimal. There's no penalty for death so you can try as many times as you need.
Haimrik has an immersive story but that's really all it has going for it as all you essentially do is solve simple puzzles and battle through minimalistic boss fights. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story and I hope to see more similar storybook-style games in the future.
- + Unique visual style featuring a sepia coloured world and plenty of gore
- + Engaging and intricate story of a dark ages inspired kingdom and its people
- - Most of the campaign only requires basic problem solving skills to master
- - Boss fights have minimal mechanics
- - Poor replay value