Hayfever is a game in which you both harness the power of sneezing and try to curb its harmful effects. Playing it well involves both patience and dexterity by the bucketload.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how to have patience and dexterity. Only you can summon those qualities in yourself. But what we can do is give you a general overview of the challenges and elements you’ll encounter in the early stages of Hayfever, and pass on our (very) hard won insights.
How the game works
Hayfever is a puzzle-platformer that uses a unique allergy-based mechanic. Pollen both allows you to sneeze or forces you to, depending on how much you take on. Sneezing propels you in the direction you’re pointing the joystick or D-pad in.
In the first instance, pollen comes in the form of yellow clouds. Pass across one of these clouds and you’ll take on a dose of pollen, represented by the first bar (green) on your pollen meter filling up.
A second dose fills the orange bar, and a third fills the red, at which point a giant red pulsating warning exclamation mark appears at the end of the gauge.
Why? Because if you take on one more dose of pollen you’ll sneeze automatically, and shoot off in the direction you’re pointing. In most cases, this is unwelcome. In many it’s a disaster, as you barrel uncontrollably into some spikes or whatever.
The different bars on the gauge, meanwhile, tell you how far your sneeze will propel you when you hit the Y button, with each increment resulting in a greater distance.
You can sneeze without taking on a cloud of pollen, of course. That’s how pollen works. There’s a little blue light at the edge of your gauge, and whenever it’s lit you can do an extra big jump by sneezing.
And you can extend your jumps by sneezing after jumping, effectively giving you a double jump. These jumps can be extended ad infinitum by collecting pollen in midair, and certain sections require you to do this.
Yellow isn’t the only color, pollen-wise. There’s also red pollen, which comes in smaller and more intense clouds. Pass across one of these and you’ll sneeze instantly, meaning you need to approach them with caution. If you’re not pointing in the right direction, you could end up with a faceful of spikes.
You’ll also come across rainbow pollen, which gives you as many sneezes as you can handle but only for a few seconds.
As you make your way through the first season you’ll come across enemies that produce pollen, sometimes to your advantage and sometimes not. There are giant plants that belch out yellow pollen indiscriminately, and scarecrows that hurl red pollen right at you.
These can be a nuisance, since getting hit with a cloud of red pollen when you’re not counting on it will generally result in your death. But there are certain sections where you need to harness the pollen being chucked at you to reach a particularly high platform or jump over a large obstacle.
Hints and tips
- Try to work out the sequence of directional presses you’ll need when you come across a string of chevrons and red pollen clouds, since it takes a little while for each press to register. Hasty presses will get you nowhere.
- Hayfever is about avoiding pollen as much as it’s about collecting it. If you’re struggling with a sequence, try to work out whether you need to go into with more pollen in your tank – or less.
- Hayfever is as much a puzzler as it is a platformer, so if you find yourself stuck at a particularly tricky sequence, try to stay calm and approach it like a problem to be solved rather than a maneuver to pull off.
- That said, sometimes you just need to bring your A game, dexterity-wise.
- As well as the letters that you need to collect, there are secrets hidden throughout the game. To find these, look out for stuff like pollen clouds drifting upwards out of the screen or gaps in the thorny barriers.
To help you on your way, here’s a couple of diagrams showing the locations of secrets.