Hugo: The Evil Mirror, a Danish-developed title published two years ago, has been brought over by Namco to fill the company's extensive library of 2005 handheld titles. Its title alone is misleading enough: though the game sounds like a platform adventure, it's instead a unique old-school arcade game design. But because the guy's an import from Denmark, no one in North America's going to know who the heck Hugo the troll is beyond the face on the box; at least the gameplay within is somewhat engaging and clever, if just a little loose, repetitive, and a bit on the short side.
Hugo: The Evil Mirror is a basic arcade platformer of approximately 60 levels of exactly the same task. In each challenge, players must leap along platform layouts and freeze enemies with a special ice cannon. Turning enemies into cubes will take them out of commission for a few seconds if left alone, but if you choose to carry them they'll stay cubes for as long as you can hold them. Shattering the cubes by leaping on them or dropping them one or more stories will take them out for good, but they'll return to the playfield if you don't seal up the portals scattered across the level. Once all the enemies have been defeated, it's off to the next level of increasing difficulty.
But as simple as the task sounds, there are little elements that add some technique to the basic idea. Combining cubes will form increasingly bigger bricks of ice, which are heavier to carry but offer much more reward if they're shattered from play. On the downside, large cubes generally hold a beast within that must be defeated after it's freed from its ice prison, something you don't have to deal with by breaking enemy cubes individually. But the bonus for doing this is great: by scooping up all on-screen enemies into a cube and breaking it, you can score important items like a character power-up or, more necessary, a key that will enable you to save the game in progress so you can take a break and record all the collectibles you've scored.
The Evil Mirror in Hugo: The Evil Mirror is only a plot device that never, ever comes into play during the actual action. Essentially, Hugo's been sucked into a shattered mirror, and it's up to his kids to recover each of the three pieces to reconstruct the mirror and free their Pa. But the whole mirror fiasco doesn't really make too much sense in the context of the game design, it's more just a vehicle to create three different areas and a collectible at the end of each of them.
PART 1: Click me
PART 2: Click me
PART 3: Click me