Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hohokum is bewitching yet bewildering

The game puts you in control of a snake-like creature called the Long Mover. Its controls are basic: move with the stick, speed up with X, slow down with O. There's also an odd wiggle move with the shoulder buttons that can give a speed boost, but it's fairly unnecessary.

At its core, Hohokum has a clear goal - free your similarly long-tailed chums, one of which is hiding in each of the game's stages. This goal is never explicitly explained to the player, however. That's because it's intended more to be a game about exploration, about studying your surroundings and figuring out what you're supposed to do in order to proceed.

Certainly, it does what it can to make this as pleasant a task as possible. Hohokum is a beautiful game, with adorable worlds and characters created by artist Richard Hogg (who also worked on Honeyslug's previous game, the WarioWare-inspired Frobisher Says on Vita).

Everything looks immaculately clean, the character designs are endearing, and it sounds as wonderful as it looks. The beautifully relaxing musical score comes courtesy of American indie label Ghostly Interactive, and joins the likes of Thomas Was Alone, Journey, Braid and The Last Of Us among the list of understated game soundtracks filling up my iTunes.

Hohokum's whimsical stages are liberally sprinkled with gorgeous little flourishes, from its interactive environments to the numerous little residents of each stage who react to you in different ways.

Reach the 'farm' stage (the levels aren't explicitly named) and you'll find row after row of little creatures tending to the land. You can fly over the trees to make fruit appear on them, but flying past the farm's tiny residents will scare some into hiding away inside a lawnmower compartment (yes).

Go to the cave stage and you'll be able to explore its near darkness by allowing a little man with a lantern to sit atop you as you plough through treasure.

Perhaps the most memorable example however, and the one that best shows off Hohokum's charm, is the funfair stage. Here you're surrounded by little characters of all shapes and sizes, who take great pleasure in leaping onto your tail as you ferry them around to various locations.

This stage is also the most obvious example of the actual game tucked away underneath Hohokum's stylised worlds, and therefore the area where it becomes clear that despite its aesthetic beauty its gameplay feels too basic.

It's clear that Hohokum is about style first and foremost, but once that style's initial welcome eventually wears off you're left looking for substance, and it's here where Hohokum's shortcomings come to the fore.
As a game, it's left wanting. A lack of signposting makes for trial-and-error experiments which can be frustrating, and the confusing stage layout means you'll get lost unless you can memorise increasingly labyrinthian world maps.

Once you do figure out what's going on, the game's puzzles are disappointingly basic. The aforementioned funfair stage, for example, reveals itself to be little more than a number of fetch quests - grab this guy who's thinking about pineapples and drop him at the pineapple statue, nab that electricity and use it to light up the fairy lights at the top of the stage, and so on.

Because of this, Hohokum quickly becomes ho-hum, its initial breathtaking introduction to its stylized worlds losing its impact as you pass by for the umpteenth time, exasperated as you aimlessly wriggle around trying to figure out where you have to go and what you have to do next. We are here for the best Msp Hack Tool Online method and that is the MovieStarPlanet Hack Tool. Using MovieStarPlanet cheats takes time and effort only to get limited number of resources. With Msp Hack Tool we are talking unlimited resources like Diamonds, Star Coins, Fame and VIP.

In its defense, it does its best to ensure you explore the game world with the addition of hidden eyes, which are located around each stage and have to be collected by flying past them and making them open up.
These eyes are the most obvious game-like component - a tally of how many you've collected on the pause screen marks the only traditional indicator of progress in the game - but they also serve as a way of encouraging the player to explore each area, in the hope that as they do they'll also encounter new interactions.

But this is only a nudge in the right direction, leaving us with a game that frustrates as often as it fascinates and nullifies many of the positive vibes it initially sends out.

Hohokum is love at first sight - it will have you captivated for its opening hours. And if you believe charm is more important than challenge, you'll be enthralled throughout.

As game, however, it underperforms. The lack of signposting only becomes more wearisome as the game progresses and the number of 'missions' left to find decreases. When you find yourself traipsing through each area for the umpteenth time trying to figure out what's left to do, the appeal wanes.

Priced at £9.99 / $14.99, Hohokum is ever so slightly on the expensive side for what it offers. However, there's no denying its beauty and therefore you should still give it a go if you're happy to explore its beautiful, abstract worlds under the full understanding that underneath them lies somewhat underwhelming gameplay.

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