Review: Hohokum

Hohokum tells the tale of a multicoloured serpent setting out to find his friends. After a brief gathering with them in your home (hub) world, they all disappear and it is up to you to explore the various interconnected worlds to find them. Basically it’s a wonderfully colourful game of hide and go seek with your serpentine friends across a multitude of fascinating and intriguing 2-D planes.

There isn’t much of a story set up or premise to compel the player to find their friends, the compulsion, however, comes from the adventurous nature of the gamer as they explore and immerse themselves in the artistically constructed world.

I was instantly mesmerised by this games artistic brilliance. It is such a simple design and concept but it is pulled off perfectly. The vibrant colours pop out at you from all spectres of the rainbow. The various worlds are bursting at the seems with their own unique charm and individuality. Underwater themed worlds where you interact with the fish is just one of my favourites along with others such as a brief space adventure as you explore the stars.

But that music – Wow, that music! I think it was the introductory stage of the game where you are left at your own whim to figure the game out; which is fine, it just emphasizes the point of its exploratory nature and that you actually have to think for yourself!. A bass line starts strumming, inflicting emotion like it was plucking the strings to my soul and right there was when the game got me, sunk its claws in and didn’t let go. That soundtrack is a definite side purchase.

As a genre this game is described as an art game. Like all art it is received and interpreted by the individual, some may like it, some wont; both perfectly acceptable opinions but I absolutely loved this game. It feels humble, emotive and courageous all wrapped up in a wonderful cross buy opportunity; but that is just my take on things.

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Hohokum is exceptionally simple. You can steer your serpent like creature with one of the analogue sticks or the shoulder buttons depending on your preference, zoom in and out with the other stick, and control your speed and agility by pressing X for faster less controlled movement or O for the polar opposite, slow and precise. The controls make Hohokum extremely accessible for any gamer of any age or experience level.

This game solely focuses on its exploration features. The entire world is opened up to you from the start, it is simply just a matter of finding your way to free your friends. Each friend is unique boasting a different face and colour – slightly reminiscent of “Thomas was Alone” at least to me anyway. Only this time, however, there isn’t character unique or specific traits that really aid in your gameplay.

The puzzles involved in finding your friends are not very challenging, in fact you can complete this game in under an hour if you really wanted (there is even a trophy for it). The true fun comes from immersing yourself and taking the time to appreciate the experience. Some of the best moments i had were shared with my partner as I tried to write words on the screen with my character and she had to guess them. The Dualshock 4’s light bar changes colour with your serpent creature as it enters different ‘worlds’ or grows longer, which was a nice treat but one that I only noticed when it was my partners turn to play.

As I said before this is an art game, a differing experience for each individual some may appreciate it and others wont. The story isn’t fleshed out but that is part of the fun of Hohokum, and the whole point of creating your own experience. Throughout my time with this game I kept getting the feeling that this game would be perfect for a form of co op – whether it be couch based or online, something or someone to share the experience with.