Whenever we played British developer Honeyslug’s latest game Hohokum at conventions and the like, our biggest issue was quite simply explaining the experience to others. What exactly is the vibrant title starring a multicoloured worm all about? Is it art? How do you play it? Heck, what do you even do? Having spent significant time with the release, we’re still not convinced that we can accurately answer all of those questions.
The first thing that will jump out at you upon booting up the cross-buy release is its striking marriage of art and audio. The soundtrack consists of new and old tracks from indie label Ghostly International, with artists such as, er, Com Truise and Tycho lending some stellar sound waves to the largely laidback experience.
But it’s the art that’s arguably the star of the show: with lots of bubbly round shapes and excessively bright colours, it creates the sort of imagery that will stick with you long after you’ve finished playing. Even more impressive, though, are the vast array of different styles on display; from polka dots to an aquarium preserved within a gelatinous green bubble, the title surprises with every warp hole that you wriggle through. It’s truly a treat for the eyes.
And it really does pair well with the audio selected: the synth-driven electronic music orchestrating the on-screen action with ease. Unfortunately, the playing of the game is where it falls short, as it’s all a little too minimalistic for its own good. In short, you control the ‘long mover’, and hidden within the world are 15 of these other wriggly worms. In order to collect them, you must “complete” various scenes – although there’s no way to ever really know what you need to do and why.
This means that you’ll spend most of your time in the game floating past all manner of creatures and objects hoping that something will happen. If you’re lucky, then you’ll get a hint at what you need to do in order to progress; if you’re not, well, then you’ll need to keep trying until you figure it out.
Granted, the environments are gorgeous enough that it by no means feels like a pain trying to decipher what you need to do, but if you’re looking for a more traditional game experience, then you’re going to quickly get frustrated here. The thing is that the title’s purposefully obtuse in order to promote experimentation, so you could theoretically blast through it using a walkthrough, but that would sort of break the immersion. However, in its current guise it’s just far too ambiguous, and could have benefited from providing a little more feedback.
Through the three or so hours that it takes to complete Hohokum, you’ll almost certainly fall in love with its impeccable art direction and genius audio pairing. Sadly, in the gameplay realm, this wriggle-‘em-up doesn’t really have enough direction to make it truly engaging. The title’s at its best when you meander through its oversaturated scenes without purpose, but that means that it’s not recommended for everyone.
It seems that all games lately get 6/10 on Pushsquare
@KomrathDE : your point being ?
@KomrathDE There's a lot of average games coming out.
This sounds a lot like Journey, but without the overinflated hype. Still not getting it, though.
Hohokum is fun and its really not that hard to understand once u get to moving around. And its cross buy and cloud save so u can play it on all 3 systems. Personally, Its best enjoyed in short bursts!
I'm cool with minimalistic games, but I think this game is obtuse to its detriment. I get that they want you to just fly around and have a good time, but don't think that's entertaining enough on its own — and when you start to think about it like a traditional game, the lack of guidance is just frustrating.
Like you says, looks and sounds amazing, though.
Thanks for not just blindly following the Hohokum hype and actually grading it the way you guys feel it should be graded. With games like these you always see the big gaming sites clinging on to the hype they created themselves, instead if actually judging the game for what it is. And it's a lot of things, but a "game" isn't one of them. Maybe I'm not hip enough, or maybe my definition of a game is stuck in the past...but I don't see the appeal.
@eliotgballade well it's hard to actually get any feeling of the review scale if all games get 6 maybe it would be just better to split it into some fuzzy categories?
i'm starting to think that push square don't like games that DON'T hold your hand through them.
@viciousarcanum I think in this case at least it's more: PushSquare likes games that are actual games. (Journey notwithstanding, apparently)
Sad to hear this, 6 isnt necessarily a bad score but i was hoping for a 7 or 8. Was really excited for this game, now i may wait for price drop or ps plus to pick it up.
Great honest review work though
looks like an artsy BS game to me honestly.
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