You know the old saying “Stop and smell the roses”? Well Hob feels like the developers had that quote in mind while working on this game. The game is an indie Metroidvania style game with an isometric camera and focuses on exploration. With the game’s beautiful visuals and striking art style the game immediately catches the eye.
The game opens with the player character who looks like a cross between the traveler from Journey and Jawa from Star Wars. The player character meets a robotic golem and joins him on his quest until he meets what looks like a giraffe and is then attack by some purple stuff that infects his arm. The robotic golem rushes to save him but it’s too late and his arm is amputated and instead the golem installs his as a replacement.
Hob doesn’t do much explaining when it comes to anything really and most of my time spend in the first couple of hours was just basically learning what to do and where to go. This at first was alright, I thought “Yeah! Exploration is fun!” an hour later I was frustrated and just wanted to know what to do to progress. Eventually I’d find the right way but I’d always feel stupid for not noticing and just not having fun.
With that said, when you finally start progressing and the game starts to feel a lot more cohesive but again there’s a void; a lack of goals or purpose. It’s an issue especially when you’re trying to discover the right path and trying to use logic but instead it comes off as “ Oh there’s a thing, I probably have to use it”. The gameplay mechanics aren’t bad either, the game has a pretty decent combat system that is actually quite fun when you have an enemy or two to take down. The platforming on the other hand can be a little hit or miss but that usually is due to the awful camera which more times than not causes me to jump to my death.
Visuals is where the game shines, with an art style that is both striking and cute at the same time it’s unique. Although it looks good there are some areas where it feels like the game is lacking in polish; some visuals being slightly below the rest of the quality of the game but usually that’s due to the camera being too close in some places. When it comes to music the game really nails the perfect balance between relaxing and adventurous.
Hob doesn’t much in the way of traditional issues but it does have two pretty glaring ones. The first is the camera which is just annoying most of the time especially when it comes to platforming where it can sometimes make it impossible to even know the right direction to jump in. The second and much bigger issue is the lack of direction in the game; the game just has this sense of “Do it because you have to” no sense of direction, no sense of I’m doing this for a reason. Basically the game needed to have more focus on its narrative and not just gameplay and level design.
With all that said and done Hob is a solid attempt at a third person action adventure. Visually stunning and not lacking in the audio department it makes for a good experience. However, with the lack of proper narrative the game fails at really immersing the player in the world of Hob and instead just feels like it’s walking you through a world that you in the end don’t know much about.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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