Contrary to the Scrooge-like connotations of its name, Humbug is one of the most warm-hearted mobile games I've played in ages.
It's a fairly unremarkable block-sliding puzzler, all things told. But it's been executed with such a straight forward sense of joy and positivity that you can't fail to be charmed.
BahWe've played games like Humbug loads of times before. Swipe to slide blocks around a series of grid-like levels, guiding them to their designated resting point without overshooting or exceeding your move count.
The main twist here is that those blocks are a bunch of bugs. Not cartoony bugs or anime-style bugs or kick-ass ninja bugs. Just bugs, like you find at the bottom of your garden.
This simple, almost naive aestheticl choice makes for a disarmingly serene experience, which is helped no end by some deceptively solid execution. Spiders scurry, crickets bounce around with a comedy 'boing,' and all the while birds chirrup in the background.
Maybe I've played one too many ultra-violent brawler or dark first person shooter of late, but dipping into Humbug feels like the gaming equivalent of a spa break.
Just not cricketIt's not just a benign face, though. Those various bugs each have their own attributes that need to be exploited with a certain degree of skill and planning.
Spiders can move the entire length of a level with a swipe, but they'll tumble off the edge if you don't position another bug in their path - a slow but steady snail, perhaps.
Crickets, meanwhile, can jump over walls and extend their movement range by bouncing on the backs of other bugs. Each level tasks you with figuring out how to use these disparate components as efficiently as possible.
Bugging outLike I said, Humbug's formula is nothing new or even exciting.
I suspect that many players will just blow past this for more exciting, challenging fare, and to be honest I wouldn't really blame them. There's nothing essential here.
But if you're after a momentary break from the chaos of the daily grind - or even your usual hectic gaming schedule - Humbug is like a tiny oasis for your frazzled brain. It's harmless in the best sense of the word.