Harold Halibut review

by on April 19, 2024
Release Date

April 16, 2024


When games are creatively different than most, and take along time to see the light of day due to the arduous creative process, you want them to succeed. Harold Halibut has been meticulously crafted, where plasticine character models have been made and then digitised, then animated in heavily detailed sets in an effort to do something unique in the video game spectrum. The main problem is how slow it can be in parts. The story and the character relationships are engaging, but certain back and fourth trips and a lack of interactivity can hurt the otherwise interesting elements of it.

You play as Harold Halibut, who’s big heart and slightly dim persona made it easy to find him endearing. Looking like Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men, Harold goes about the Fedora, a ship trapped in the oceans of an alien planet after an incident involving a solar flare 50 years prior, and completes menial tasks like cleaning graffiti and unblocking filtration systems, while conversing with the colourful cast of characters that make up the population of the ship. Sometimes I laughed – quite a lot actually – and other times I felt something. The writing is often charming and sweet, even if most of the residents treat Harold a lot worse than they should.

The Fedora is linked by a tube system where you get flushed away from one district to the next. The environments are stunning and intricately detailed, rarely skipping a beat when it comes to feeling real. It’s like Bioshock if Wes Anderson was responsible, both in the look and feel of the world and the slow nature of its narrative. You either love The Grand Budapest Hotel or you find it dull as dishwater, and Harold Halibut has a similar issue. It doesn’t help that there’s little to interactive with in the ship and on other places you venture to later in the game.

Much of what you do is travel from place to place, delivering message after message, interspersed with the few minigames of fixing or cleaning something. I found the majority of fun taking place in some of the more interesting conversations, but there are times when it begins to drag and you find yourself wanting to skip certain dialogue sections, which in all honesty isn’t a good element of the writing. But despite it all, there are moments of genuine heart and connection. Harold Halibut is an unlikely hero is a world filled with monotony, but there’s something beautiful in that.

The slow nature effects everything you do. You kind of mope through the halls and corridors, and across areas with little spring in your step at all. Conversations come about when you travel from one end of the Fedora to another, and there’s a lot of this unnecessary travelling. It take along time for anything of note to actually happen, and this slow burn will probably put a lot of people off before they get to the good stuff, however, when the story does start to pick up and certain secrets start to be revealed, there’s just enough mystery to keep you meandering across the ship.

The hand-crafted characters and their animations are a sight to behold. You can see the blood, sweat, and tears in every move of the lips or swing of the arms. I was in awe of its aesthetic, of its detail, and I never got bored of just how incredible it looked. The voice acting is good overall, but there does seem some dissonance between some of the line delivery and the characters interactions with each other. Regardless, there’s some great storytelling when you get past the initial few hours.

Harold Halibut is far from bad, in fact it’s rather wonderful in parts. The story gets better further in, and many of the conversations are interesting to listen in on. Harold is a likeable character who just wants to do good, even if a little thick. The animation is spectacular, forever blowing your mind when thinking just how much effort has gone into making it. There’s so much beauty in the world and it’s a shame there is little interaction to be had, but there’s a lot of heart and charm in every facet of it, giving you a reason to want to keep playing.


Gorgeous art style
Charming protagonist
Interesting story


Slow paced
Quests involve lots of back and fourth
Some interactions don't feel authentic

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

There are some great moments in Harold of Halibut, even if it takes a while to get going, and the art style is stunning in every way.