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Harold Halibut

harold halibut game


Release Date

ESRB Rating




Bob Hoose

Game Review

Harold Halibut is a stop-motion, point-and-click narrative adventure that gamemakers Slow Bros. took more than a decade to develop. And between its Wes Anderson-like feel and its Claymation-style visuals, this leisurely paced game has been stirring up quite a bit of interest.

The game takes place in a spaceship at the bottom of an alien planet’s ocean. At some point in good old Earth’s timeline, humanity comes to the decision that existence here is not sustainable. Be it because of an environmental crisis, political upheaval, or whatever, Earth sends a representative gaggle of people to another planet to keep mankind alive.

Some 250 years later, the self-sustaining space vessel, Fedora 1, crash-lands on a water-covered world and sinks to its ocean floor. Problem is, they’re stuck. Oh, and they receive a message from back home that good old Earth is A-OK now. The folks that stayed behind worked the worrisome problems out. (Good luck, Fedora 1!)

Gamers play as Harold Halibut, a hapless handyman/lab assistant who trundles about the huge spaceship fulfilling simple tasks, working through mini-game challenges and talking to the ship’s inhabitants. Harold’s shipbound neighbors have reconciled themselves to life as it is, but Harold and the ship’s lead scientist, Jeanne Mareaux, strive for more.

Are they really just trapped in this ark-like ship, Harold wonders? Or is there a way to repair things and go to a drier place? And for that matter, are they all alone? Or is there more life down here than they suspect?

Ultimately, gamers move Harold through his story as he begins to ask existential (and sometimes surreal) questions about life and choice, and what constitutes happiness or success.

This is a single-player game that doesn’t require an online connection.


There’s a handcrafted beauty and detail about Harold Halibut that Claymation fans will definitely appreciate. The game can at times feel like you’re reaching into a wonderfully crafted doll house to play out Harold’s story. And that story can be very introspective and thoughtful.

This game also lets gamers move forward at their own laid-back pace. There’s no all-consuming or driving objective to the story that will suck away someone’s time. Play has a very casual feel about it.


That said, Harold Halibut sometimes feels so ploddingly casual that gamers may lose interest. Conversations can become diatribes at times. And the story’s humor is so dry that it can almost make you wonder if it’s actually humor at all (ala the above-mentioned Wes Anderson-like feel).

In that vein, characters can give off a very passive-aggressive attitude toward fix-it guy Harold. Language in those conversations includes the words “d–ned” and “d–mit.”


“Quirky” is a word that readily comes to mind while playing the Claymation-like Harold Halibut. That sense is so prominent that younger players may be left scratching their heads. But for the right sort of gamer, fix-it man Harold totes some charming tools in his character-driven toolbelt.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.