Top Critic Average
Should you by it? Well, to be brutally honest, it's a game that would be perfect as a PlayStation Plus curio, and I'm pretty sure that we'll see it there at some point down the line. I found it to be odd and empty with moments of fleeting magic at first. But the more I stopped analysing it and let myself simply play, the more I began to delight in the little sprites, their little animations, the detail to the worlds, the beautiful music that perfectly compliments the fluidity of movement by the long-mover (I still prefer rainbow worm).
Genuine art is meant to evoke a response from its audience, and Hohokum's diverse assortment of imaginative endeavors makes it easy to get lost inside its world. It's effective union of art, activity and music, managing a progression of open personal responses without the weight of a direct narrative or dissonant mechanics. If you're out there looking for the holy grail of emotive game design, Hohokum's declarative statement to the power of amusement is worthy of consideration.
But because of the game's untraditional purpose and lack of concrete objectives, I'm uncertain how many gamers will share my praising sentiment, so I offer this light-hearted test - if the visuals intrigue you in any way, it's probably for you; if this song generates involuntary thoughts of touring the universe while wearing an aluminium bandoleer, download it; if you can't imagine a world without artistic pizazz, kiss the pastel watercolour painting you brought to life as a toddler, then download it. In the interests of variety, evolution, and the survival of creative thought, Hohokum is a game that needs to exist and be celebrated by those who can appreciate it.
The combined effect of this maze of vivid, diverse, shifting scenes is memorable. You are Alice, touring wonderland, seeing how deep the rabbit hole goes. In Hohokum, it goes an awfully long way: it's deep, it's wide and, perhaps most importantly, it's temporally long. This is a game that sticks with you long after you switch it off.
Sony has a habit of putting certain games on pedestals, heralding them as experiences that gamers only see on PlayStation. Typically, these are more experimental titles designed to evoke thoughts and feelings, artistic endeavors that test the boundaries of what games can and can't be. Hohokum fits perfectly into that category, and I'm sure we'll see it used as evidence in many "Are video games art?" debates.
Hohokum is a great, joyous escape into a well-polished, artistic video game. I felt very happy playing it. I felt an innocent kinship with my fellow eye-kite beings, and I had fun trying to find them. Over the course of playing the game, you gain a simple respect for adventure with friends. Any screenshot taken from this game could serve as a desktop background, and any person could find something to like from the many worlds, sounds, and little narratives. Hohokum is a game of many colors.
The sheer variety and novelty of what Hohokum offers, as well as the attention paid to making sure that something as basic as the movement feels great (the only game I think does this as well as Hohokum is another Playstation title, Journey), means that Hohokum is going to be something I come back to, on occasion, for a pleasant escape.
Easily the best aspect of Hohokum is the euphoric joy you feel when you find something new, whether it's a kaleidoscope-style colour show, a gateway to a different dimension or simply a funny sound
There is no doubt about the fact that Hohokum achieves exactly what it wants to, the game is a relaxing and gorgeous adventure that can take a few hours from you. It does a wonderful job at helping you clear your mind and just focus on the magic happening on your television screen. Unfortunately, that relaxation can turn to confusion as you wander around attempting to figure out what to do next. Hohokum's visuals, music, and controls are spot on, but it is missing that little hand holding experience that many games need. Despite the occasional frustration it brings, Hohokum is an absolute treat to behold.
Hohokum is a delight. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and plan to go back for every last collectible and trophy, zipping around its colorful world for at least a couple more hours. More importantly it's a real game, with satisfying goals and puzzles to solve.
Like any good vacation, you'll return home at the end of it with lasting fond memories. But unlike most vacations, with Hohokum you always have the opportunity to revisit them whenever the mood strikes.
But it won't be a game for everyone. The game offers a Trophy for completing it in under an hour, but we can't imagine the type of players Hohokum attracts will find this prospect appealing. It should be taken almost as a palette-cleanser; the type of experience you find yourself spending a few quiet hours immersed inside, soaking up its atmosphere and getting lost inside its dreamscape. There's little doubt Honeyslug has created something truly original and utterly absorbing, but it's also a game that requires a detachment from reality along with a complete investment from its participants. Don't venture into Hohokum hoping to understand what it's all about, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
"Hohokum" is an example of how abstract a video game can be when it strips away the conventions like a plot, tutorial or anything that is a virtual representation of something found on the Planet Earth. Its vagueness is both its strength and its weakness. Players will either love it for being different or hate it for the same reason. I'm stuck somewhere in between. I don't see myself revisiting "Hohokum," but it will certainly stick out in my mind for the foreseeable future.
You should definitely try Hohokum if only to understand how weird and hard to describe it is. Some will appreciate its laid-back attitude and guidance allergy. It's certainly a beautiful and unique title, and I enjoyed playing it, but you should bring along some extra patience just in case.
Hohokum can feel like a chore at times but for the most part, this is an original, inspired piece of interactive art. Perhaps that's the best way to describe it. No world has a clear focus, which can be a drag, but you're always drawn in by the unparalleled visual presentation that has a bizarre caressing quality.
Bad puzzles are easy to design; good puzzles (whether easy or hard) require logic, care, even a touch of the narrative Hohokum pointedly rejects. Good puzzles tell a story in their physical parts. Over time, Hohokum demands story, even as it tells you it doesn't have one, and it demands progress, even as it works so hard to act like it doesn't.
Hohokum is a really fun title to jump into and play around with. It's a toy. It's an experience. It's gorgeous. It fails only when it tries too hard to be a game without helping the player out.
Despite a distinct look and feel, Hohokum doesn't live up to its more ethereal aspirations. Although its flowing movements and refreshing themes try to evoke a sense of meditative exploration, it's hard to shake the compulsion to solve each puzzle and move on. At its core, Hohokum doesn't quite make you forget that it's still a game.
Ultimately, Hohokum feels like it's not entirely sure what it wants to be. It gives the impression of wanting to jettison typical game tropes, but then has a very clear level structure, and is at its best when it plays up its more typical video game features. It wants to appear to be all about the joy of exploring the space the developer has created – to be a true freeform, gameplay experience – but has specific goals to achieve and a set way to achieve them, even if it does leave you to work out these things alone.
Hohokum doesn't aim to check any specific marketing boxes. It just exists, exactly as it should be. Its beautifully rendered world is a sight to behold and is worth checking out. Whether or not it's actually any fun for the player to dabble in this world of opposing forces, will be up to them to decide.
Hohokum tries to be all things to all gamers, attempting to fit inside both the 'game' camp and the interactive art collective. That it succeeds, somewhat, is a compliment to the developers and the artist, but this attempt is also what holds Hohokum back from real greatness in either distinction. It could have been a piece of moving art, an emotive experience based on experimental exploration supported by an immersive soundtrack. It could have been an innovative puzzle game, requiring interlinked stages of thought based on the results of trial and error, free to transform game mechanics on the fly to support the overall quality of game. What it is, is an attempt at both, and it comes very close to nailing those genres. There's no cigar to hand out here, but Hohokum is still worthy of your time and a firm handshake.
Perhaps confusion is the ultimate goal of Hohokum, or maybe it's to simply see something unlike anything else in the gaming space. Is it supposed to elate us, or be the last thing we do before drifting off into slumber? It's unclear whether or not the developers accomplished their goals, but does it truly matter? Hohokum is a charming, unique experience that often feels as though it doesn't stick to its guns.
For its vibrant visual design, wonderful music and sheer whimsical weirdness, Hohokum is well worth experiencing. But at times it seems to be meandering back and forth between a video game and a piece of interactive art, unsure of which world it belongs to.
Try not to approach Hohokum with the mind to "complete it" or "solve it" as many avid players like to treat their video games. Instead, try to think of the experience as a lesson in how games still manage to combine music and moving visuals to instill an artistic push in another.
Hohokum's intriguing collection of free-form worlds begs exploration, but the game's questionable structure stifles the ability to play it on your own terms. It's an aural and visual spectacle, but it's also a lot more frustrating than it ever needed to be.
It's difficult to adequately explain or describe Hohokum. It'll fill you with a child-like sense of wonderment with its abstract exploration, but as a game, its definitely a case of style over substance.
Hohokum's worth greatly depends on one's ability to revel in simple, charming discoveries. There's no lasting impact, meaningful message, or even resolution to its shallow core mechanics, but a playful aesthetic and relaxing music make being in its spaces enjoyable for a time.
Hohokum may look bright and colorful, but it can feel awfully like stumbling around in a darkened room. It's a double-edged sword. Charting the unknown can feel as stressful as it is intoxicating. There's serenity to be found in the shadows, but it's just as easy to become agitated as you reach out into the black, searching for that elusive light switch.
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.
Hohokum is a different kind of game that prizes aimless interaction and exploration above completing specific objectives. It's a title that brings together a cute, minimal art style and a great soundtrack to create a zen experience. It's worth a play, but not everyone will appreciate its strengths.
There isn't much to the bottom line here. Hohokum is a great art project, but taken as a game it falls seriously flat. For the right price and mindset, possibly enjoyable, I just got very little out of it.