hohokum: Review

the latest in a string of Quirky indie games on playstation, hohokum isn’t tied down by genre conventions, and that’s a good thing.
Video games are great because they let you do things you can’t quite do in real life.
From shooting bolts of lightning from your fingertips in Infamous to playing as a pudgy Italian chasing after mushrooms and princesses in the Mario games, they’re an exercise in the fantastical.

Amidst the smorgasbord of well-defined realms lies the loosely constructed and amusingly abstract Hohokum. You don’t don the role of a superhero (or villain), or wield a gun, or even jump into pipes that warp you from one area to the next. Instead, you’re what’s best described as an eye with a tail, floating and gliding across a colourful world filled with absolute and utter randomness. From swishing across dandelions to serving refreshments at what appears to be a wedding, there’s no sense of structure, reason or meaning to the proceedings.

Heck, there isn’t as much as a single word of text in the way of a tutorial. It’s a pleasant surprise from the myriad of games that handhold you with tips and methods on how to progress from beginning to end. This is one game which doesn’t mollycoddle you one bit.

The lack of hints or cues on how to progress, however, is a double-edged sword. As I mentioned above, it’s refreshing to see a game leaving you to your own devices. By and large, moving from one scenario to the next is a breeze, but there were a few moments of perplexity that ended up making Hohokum less of an enjoyable experience than it should have been. That is, of course, if you’re playing it with the mindset of a steely-eyed gamer looking to cull his or her backlog in the most merciless of fashions.
“It’s utterly relaxing, and the only thing standing in your way is your own possible resilience to having fun.”
If that’s the approach you have towards Hohokum, you might as well be playing something else altogether. This is one of the rare games where the journey of perusing through an utterly unique technicolour universe outweighs the destination of viewing the end credits. It’s not a puzzler nor is it a platformer. On stripping away every single bit of possible genre definition, it’s best described as a game of interactions. There is no one single way to move from one area to the next. All you have to do is immerse yourself in the quirkiness and play with what’s around you.

That immersion is heightened thanks to a splendid soundtrack. It’s gentle, ambient and does a great job of making you feel relaxed. Throw in what’s possibly some of the canniest art direction in gaming in years, and you have the gaming equivalent of a day at the spa. It’s utterly relaxing.

Of course, the only thing standing in your way is...well...your own possible resilience to having fun.

Although PC is the current the poster child for all experiences out of the ordinary AAA mainstream affairs, Sony is catching up and Hohokum bears testament to this. It’s well worth the price of admission. The fact that you can play it across the PS3, PS4, and PS Vita is just a bonus. If you liked Locoroco, Flower, Sound Shapes or even Journey, you have absolutely no reason not to give Hohokum a shot .

RATING: 9/10

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