The following brief review of Haiku Journey by Brian Donohue originally appeared on 28 March 2007 at http://www.dailyrevolution.net/2007/03/morons-with-bats-and-geek-wednesday.html. That site is no longer online, but the content is archived here.
Game Corner: We don’t do this sort of thing very often, but I’ve found a couple of games that are worth recommending. I play when I’m waiting for something to happen inside me that will get me writing. The game takes me out of that semi-panicked, worrisome mode of consciousness most commonly associated with writer’s block, so that after an hour or so, I’m ready to flog away at the keyboard with a reasonably clear head. Try it sometime.
Anyway, I found a terrific word game over at Big Fish: it’s called Haiku Journey (for the two or three BeOS fans among you out there, that should strike a chord), and it reveals what a production team must be required to create one of these games. They obviously needed poets for the actual haiku that comprise . . . the puzzles of the game; researchers to deliver the history of haiku that appears throughout as you pass between levels; graphic designers and artists for the lovely panel artwork; wordsmiths for writing the rules to the various word puzzles; and of course some kickass geeks for writing the code to make the whole thing work [not to mention musicians to write the soothing music]. The game loads a bit slowly on my Wintel box (a Gateway P4 1.3GHz with 640MB of RAM and an nVidia GeForce 128MB video card), but after a few minutes of loading the graphics, sounds, dictionaries, and file caches, the game appears and runs smoothly from there. And take it from a fellow who’s a fairly adept word geek: after a dozen levels or so, it starts to get fairly challenging.