Harold Halibut review: a retro-futuristic story in stop-motion style

Slow Bros managed to create a unique game thanks to its visual style. Initially, the authors manually made each element using traditional modelling sculpting techniques, and this could not but attract our attention

By: Vladyslav Nuzhnov | 15.04.2024, 16:00

Harold Halibut is a story-driven debut game by indie studio Slow Bros that immediately catches the eye with its style. Each element of the game was carefully handcrafted by the studio using traditional modelling sculpting techniques to achieve a stop-motion effect. There are few games like this in the industry that can be counted on one hand. That's why gg editorial team couldn't pass it up and got the game for review.

The story focuses on a spaceship and the people living on it. It was interesting to follow the events, although the plot doesn't pull stars out of the sky, but at times it felt like you were watching a TV series where everyone is trying to unite for a common goal, so Harold Halibut leaves a pleasant impression. However, the most important thing in all of this is that there is virtually no gameplay in the game. Almost all the time, you have to walk back and forth, talk to people, and only occasionally take part in mini-games. And Harold Halibut will only appeal to you if you like a leisurely story that requires minimal action from the player.



250 years ago, a spaceship left the Earth in search of a planet where humanity can survive. The protagonist Harold, a young assistant to the ship's leading scientist, tries to help her find a way to leave the planet where the ship stopped many years ago, and at the same time understand the true meaning of the word "home". But things get more and more interesting as Harold encounters something that seemed impossible to everyone else.

3 reasons to buy Harold Halibut

  • Stop-motion style, which is very rare in games
  • You love meditative games
  • You have always wanted to become part of the crew of a huge spaceship

1 reason not to buy Harold Halibut

  • You need dynamic gameplay

Harold Halibut

How we evaluate games

Graphics and sound
Meeting expectations
Willingness to recommend
Steam PlayStation Store Xbox Store

Quick transition:

What we learned after the Harold Halibut review

Harold Halibut is an example of the fact that the industry has a lot of untried ideas, especially in the indie segment. This game (primarily because of the gameplay) will not be for everyone, but its style immediately captures you. During the first hours, even the "wow effect" did not disappear, because as mentioned in our review of Ereban: Shadow Legacy, I'm a little tired of the desire of many to chase ultra-realistic graphics. Of course, we need and love such games (hello, Alan Wake 2 and TLoU II), but not all games should be like that. We play to escape from the real world, and a certain element of "fairy tale" should be preserved. And that's exactly the effect that Harold Halibut has throughout the entire playthrough. I just relaxed and enjoyed this game, although I understand that the project is a niche one.

The plot: life on a ship looking for a way home

250 years ago, during the Cold War, something went wrong on Earth, and a group of people created an ark spaceship to find a new planet to live on. However, not everything went perfectly even then, because the ship malfunctioned and went down (fortunately, everything was fine), and now it is an underwater ark where people mostly work for the All Water Corporation, have children, go about their business and watch TV with only commercials.

And this ark is home to a man named Harold Galibut, who is our protagonist and also an assistant to the ship's leading scientist, Jeanne Moreau. Jeanne has become like a mother to him, but at the same time she is one of the few people who believe that even after all these years it is possible to leave the underwater world and find a better place to live, preferably with land.

At first, Harold performs mundane tasks, but one day he meets a representative of a mysterious race that resembles an anthropomorphic fish. From that moment on, the life of the ship is gradually divided into "before" and "after". Perhaps the appearance of this creature is the key to Zhanna's successful plan?

I liked the storyline of the game. Harold constantly has to interact with different characters, some of whom are quite colourful. Each has their own character, a story that is interesting to learn. From time to time, Harold finds himself in funny stories that can make you smile.

The story of Harold Halibut is about life, finding yourself, the opportunity to become better and making important decisions. It is a pleasant and even a little bit sweet story, with philosophical themes such as fear, risk, and love running through it. The game leaves you with good emotions upon completion, where you watch the final credits with warmth in your heart.

Gameplay: modesty is our middle name

This will probably be the shortest description of the gameplay for all the time I've been doing reviews. Gameplay-wise, the game is as simple as possible. Most of the time, you need to walk around different sections of the ship, talk to people a lot, and run errands in the form of mini-games. For example, in the laboratory, you have to break up a stone or pump out water at the right time.

If you don't like this type of game at all, then neither an interesting story, nor cool characters, nor a cool visual style will save you. However, personally, I'm fine with playing something like this.

Harold Halibut is as relaxing as it gets with its gameplay. You wander around the stations, look at everything, interact with everyone, perform not the most difficult tasks, and try to delve into the essence of what is happening on the retro-futuristic ship Fedor I. The only thing I would say is that I would like to see more mini-games.

The technical side of the ark

I played the game on PlayStation 5, and it works flawlessly. It kept 60 frames per second the whole time, I didn't encounter a single bug, and the game never crashed.

Unique visuals and great audio

I try to avoid this word, but the visual style of Harold Halibut is unique. I love stop-motion cartoons, like Coraline in Nightmare World. But there are still more such projects in animation than in games. That's why when I saw the Slow Bros project, I knew I wanted to do it. Absolutely every object in the game was made by hand, and then it was digitised. Because of this, you can't take your eyes off the game at first. You want to see all the locations and all the characters. I understand that this style is quite time-consuming and difficult to do, so I really appreciate such projects. I got aesthetic pleasure from it all, so Slow Bros can only be praised.

There are no questions about the sounds. The characters are well voiced, it's a pleasure to listen to them. The music is also fine. There are calm, cheerful, and even deep and dramatic compositions. Each of them appears at the right time and enhances the player's emotions from the events on the screen. That is why the authors clearly deserve the highest score in the graphics and sound category.

How we will remember Harold Halibut

Harold Halibut will be remembered as a modest but unique game due to its visual style. Slow Bros managed to create an interesting retro-futuristic story that touches on many topics that are familiar to each of us and that we have thought about many times. And if you urgently need a meditative indie game with cool stop-motion visuals, you shouldn't pass by Harold Halibut. Just remember that the game has virtually no gameplay, and this is not for everyone.

Five things you need to know about Harold Halibut

  • Harold Halibut is the debut game by Slow Bros.
  • All elements of the game are created by hand using traditional modelling sculpting techniques
  • The game tells the story of a comic ark that left the Earth amid the Cold War
  • The main character Harold finds an alien race that turns the lives of everyone on the ship upside down
  • There is virtually no gameplay in the game: we walk and talk almost all the time
Harold Halibut
Genre. Adventure
Platforms. PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
Number of players Single-player
Developer Slow Bros
Publisher Slow Bros
Time to complete 10-15 hours
Release date 16th of April 2024
We Recommend

Go Deeper:


The editorial team would like to thank popagenda PR agency for kindly providing the game for review