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Hatris

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Released: 1990

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: NES/Famicom

Publisher: Bullet-Proof Software

Developer: Bullet-Proof Software

Submitted by: Shane Galvin

Hatris? Sounds like a Tetris rip-off but with hats instead of bricks dont you think?

Well if that's what you think then you're wrong… because it is not even a rip-off!

Honest, this is a spin-off to the original Tetris game, designed and created by the Great Russian Puzzle Tsar himself, Alexey Pajitnov.

I must confess that I originally bought this game from a bargain bucket in Tokyo for no reason other than curiosity – to see if it actually was a Tetris clone based around hats. However, after giving it 10 minutes of my time, the game has stolen many hours of my life.

In truth, the game's similarity with its forbearer ends at the point of it being a vertical, item-dropping puzzle game with amazingly addictive background music. The aim of Hatris is to stack each type of hat into columns of 5, the hats dropping in adjacent couples. Sounds simple, but the hats are never paired together as the player wishes. Hence the hours of frustration.

Typically of Pajitnov though, Hatris was way ahead of its time, boasting 6 different types of hat – including the classic bowler, the trendy baseball cap, and the timeless top-hat.

I urge everybody to give this game a go: it is genuinely addicitve gameplay at is best, and is guaranteed to make you chuckle.

Unfortunately, the ill-fated sequel that was designed to capture the pet market was never officially released. Catris remains as nothing but a folk tale.