Happenlance PC Review

Happenlance has all the jigsaw pieces but none of the packaging.

By Fragnarok, Posted 01 Nov 2021

Happenlance is a platformer puzzle game developed and published by Phillip Trudeau-Tavara. The game is very immediately inspired by Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy. Players take control of Sir Happenlance, a knight armed with a single long spear, and drop right into a dark dungeon. There isn’t any explanation or setup, and much like Diogenes from Getting Over It, Sir Happenlance must ascend for some unknown reason. But he won’t be alone, as other players may join to help or hinder the adventure.

Happenlance|Phillip Trudeau-Tavara|Getting Over It

Happenlance’s presentation is sparse with no form of a tutorial, introduction, and a rather barebones menu. Upon starting a new game, Sir Happenlance will crash from above, scattering debris-about an underground cave. Those who have never played Getting Over It may be a bit bewildered at what is going on and what the goal of the game is. One needs to make it to various checkpoints, which are either directly above or past a forward barrier.

Unlike Diogenes, Sir Happenlance can freely advance or retreat and can make short hops. However, his main form of movement is pole vaulting with the use of his spear. The weapon is moved via the position of the mouse, allowing a full 360-degree rotation. The exact angle and speed of the spear are what will determine Sir Happenlance’s trajectory. However, due to the blade on the end, one can also use it to pick up items, scale walls, and skewer enemies.

Happenlance|Phillip Trudeau-Tavara|Getting Over It

Happenlance has much more hazards than other Getting Over It clones. Hostile knight will rush in while archers lurk about to snipe players as they climb. There are also plenty of spikes, pits, and lava to worry about. If Sir Happenlance dies during the journey he will respawn at the last checkpoint. This added challenge can both be exciting but also near frustrating. Checkpoints aren’t overly generous and players may find themselves losing dozens of minutes to possibly hours of progress to something unexpected.

Every movement is perilous as obstacles and challenges are won from hard-earned practice or a little bit of luck. It is unlikely that players will naturally pass through a level unscathed with only their acquired skills. Much like grueling games like Dark Souls, players should expect to learn from many failures, with the satisfaction coming from mastering a once seemingly impossible challenge, and then further beating their own personal record.

Happenlance|Phillip Trudeau-Tavara|Getting Over It

Happenlance features two online modes: Co-Op and PvP. The former is essentially the main campaign with a second player joining strictly online. There is no local option as both players can freely move around with their own independent full-screen camera. Players can make contact with each other’s spears and bodies. This allows partners to lift each other and complete levels faster. However, it is also possible to accidentally collide and disrupt the other player’s momentum. In a sense, Co-Op can be purposely turned into a race to the finish.

PvP on the other hand is fought in an arena, where each player gains points by successfully stabbing their opponent. There are a few different stages, including those that contain pits and others that endlessly wrap the world around on both sides, as well as above and below. There are no defined rounds or timers, and both players will need to decide when they are pleased with the current outcome.

Happenlance|Phillip Trudeau-Tavara|Getting Over It

Both modes utilize a very lackluster menu and make no use of Steam’s native interface. When a player hosts a match, they must reselect online mode again to learn their unique room code. Another player can then enter the code to join in. With the incredibly small player base, one will be unlikely to find a random match. It will be much more likely that one will have to organize a multiplayer setup on their own between their friends, discord, or on message boards.

Happenlance doesn’t quite seem like a standalone game to play in complete offline privacy. Everything from its content, gameplay and aesthetic feels like it is meant to be shared in some way. This may include telling friends through word of mouth or being discovered as a little gem on YouTube or Twitch much like Getting Over It did previously. This makes it hard to recommend as a recreational purchase. Instead, one should consider Happenlance if they are looking to make their own reaction videos or stream the game live.

Happenlance|Phillip Trudeau-Tavara|Getting Over It

Happenlance has a lot of very cool concepts, but despite being a finished product comes off as a vertical slice or Early Access game. There is everything included for players to make up their own fun, but no quality of life features at all. Calling Happenlance a virtual toy instead of a video game might be a bit more accurate. Purchasing the game now at its current price of $19.99 USD would be less about enjoying Happenlance itself and more of a motivation for Phillip Trudeau-Tavara to create additional updates or a full sequel.

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed

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General Information



Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Phillip Trudeau-Tavara
Developer(s): Miles Fogle, Phillip Trudeau-Tavara
Genres: 2D Platformer
Themes: Puzzle, Co-Op, Online
Release Date: 2021-10-23

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