After the worldwide success of Tetris, creator Alexey Pazhitnov had the unfortunate task of topping it. With major companies breathing down his neck, Alexey released several more games in the "Tris" franchise, including Welltris, Wordtris, and Hatris. Unfortunately none of these games even came close to matching the perfect design that was Tetris. These "sequels" were too difficult, not very exciting, and easily forgotten. In the end they came off feeling more like cash-ins than real puzzle games, and in an industry full of good puzzle alternatives, there was not enough room for games like Wordtris.
Of these Tetris follow-ups it was Hatris that got the most play on consoles. Released on the Game Boy and NES, Hatris also found its way into arcades and the TurboGrafx-16. If you've played Tetris (or really any other puzzle game ever created) then there's no reason for you to waste your time with Hatris. This is an example of a good idea taken to the point where it becomes completely unnecessary. It's almost as if there were people in a large boardroom that said, "Tetris is making us millions, how about we do the same thing with hats." And they did ... and it sucks.
Hatris involves two hats falling from the sky. It is your job to match up enough of these hats (which include top hats, beanies, crowns, dunce caps, etc.) in order to make them disappear. Some hats take up very little room whiles others (like the top hat) will take up more space than you would like. You can switch the direction the hats are falling in, but you will always need to drop the hats together which can lead to some sticky situations.
The main problem with Hatris is that it's not much fun to play. The pacing is extremely slow and it takes forever to lose (even if you want to). The game is simple and easy to play ... it's just not as addictive as Tetris. Actually, the game isn't addictive at all, you'll be hard pressed to think up reasons to play this game over any other puzzle title.
To make matters worse, the graphics are extremely bland and the backgrounds could have used a little detail. Some detail. ANY DETAIL! It's just so boring to look at, if the pace doesn't put you to sleep then the overall look will. The hats are dull and have very little detail, most of the time you'll be forced to look at a blue background and six different heads.
Hatris is certainly not the worst puzzle game on the market, but considering that this came from the guy that brought us Tetris; this can be considered a serious let down. This idea feels more like a mini game than a stand alone product. I can't imagine anybody enjoying this game enough to want to own it on any game console, not even the TurboGrafx-16. This should have been a sign of bad things to come for Alexey Pazhitnov. Perhaps he should have stopped after Tetris.