Take a dip into the fantastical worlds of Hohokum! It’s a place to enjoy the view, whilst also challenging you with an array of charming and beautiful puzzles. Well I say puzzles, but maybe its better to describe them as environmental interactions. This cross-save, cross-buy PS3/PS4 AND PSVita game will have you seriously considering games as art. And who said you couldn’t be artistic? You’re the one making it happen!
Let’s go fly a kite!
There’s no tutorial, no hand holding. Which is great, considering the gaming market is swamped with games that almost want to show you how to hold a knife and fork. You’re simply born into this 2D world as a “curious flying Technicolor kite-like being”, developer Honeyslug’s own words there, drawn along by one’s own inquisitiveness. Freedom is what awaits you in Hohokum, you’re charged with exploration at your own pace, but it’s this freedom that can bring out Hohokum’s most pervasive downside. Gliding around at high speeds, triggering a multitude of vibrant environmental artistry can easily become frustrating when you can’t really figure out what you’re supposed to interact with.
I found myself wishing that I was able to zoom out and see the full picture more often than not, and whilst you can zoom out a little, it’s no where near enough to be able to get a bearing on the entire area. Typically I would “grid” the levels to figure out what was where. Gridding, whilst being an effective way of scouting a levels intricacies, certainly doesn’t fall under the category of fun. On some of the larger worlds, it tended to feel more than a little tiring.
It’s such a shame because there is an absolute cornucopia of imagination bursting at the seams. One minute you’re keeping the party going by soaring through the skies delivering champagne to the guests from the sea of wine below their boat. The next you could be flying around a world full of colour swatches with a collector on your back, collecting the colours needed to be fed into his wonderful hat making machine! Another interesting world might bring you nostalgically back to the days of retro Snake like games. Yup, it’s THAT brand of weird. And the rewards from solving the environments can be truly breathtaking. Alongside the simply stunning decorative displays, each of the main areas can reward you with another kite-like buddy to assail the skies with.
Finding a new world had me intrigued as to what I was going to be doing, and what artistic extravaganza I’d be party to next. But hey, visuals aren’t everything right? Thankfully Hohokum’s soundtrack is also a sheer delight, perfectly complimenting the sky serpent’s adventures with a rather electro-reminiscent ambience.
The party never ends!
Without a doubt there’s bundles of excitement to be had in the whimsical worlds of Hohokum. It’s just sad that the freedom that makes this game can also be a hindrance when it gets a little carried away. It doesn’t happen very often, but it happens often enough to noticeably blemish an otherwise fluid, blissful and enchanting journey.
*Note: Hohokum was played for review on the PSVita.
Miss; Navigation of the environments can hinder the otherwise exhilarating journey. The experience would seriously benefit from a map of some kind.
Need; Nothing! Wonderful for the genre.