I suppose, technically, this is a half Vita, half PS3 completion as I played it a bit on each platform (it’s cross save, you see), but since I reached the end of the game on the PS3, it gets the attention. Sorry Vita.
How to describe Hohokum, then. You are a snake who has lost all his snake friends (all with incredible names) across various bizarre and surreal areas, each filled with things to trigger and puzzles to solve, and all with a strange fascination with eyes. Sometimes you have to bump past things in order, or carry creatures to something, or find all the… things… or make everything dance, sing, fly away, disappear, combine or burst. Do all these things, and you might (you often can’t tell) find a snake. Or open a new door. Or something funny, strange or baffling happens which doesn’t actually further the game.
There’s rarely any way of knowing what to do until you’ve experimented, driven your flying snake past, round or into everything. I’m certain several “levels” (they’re just locations really, rather than levels) were only completed or past entirely by accident and a few of them just triggered the “win” without me realising I’d actually done anything.
The vagueness doesn’t matter, though. Every event is like some clever or cute little story, a comic strip of events. There’s no communication or exposition, past the odd cave drawing or carefully arranged pile of rocks, but some of the creatures you encounter are full of character, and their actions and noises tell a brief tale. For example, in an area full of white circles, you find that flying over them makes then burst into colour. On a sort of island in the middle of this is a sort of man stood next to what appear to be four slots. You can pick the man up, and the slots change colour, prompting you to ferry the man around so he can scoop up the smaller circles of the colours shown. Take him home with his collected ingredients, and he feeds each disc into a slot, which causes his machine to create a colourful and ridiculous hat for another man. All nonsense.
It’s an odd game of whimsy and art, with situations that can only come from the head of a person with kangaroos in the top paddock. Mostly it works, but sometimes you are totally lost, not knowing if you’re actually making any difference or working towards a goal. Even the odd “Saving” icon that appears doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done something – often you’ve merely accidentally triggered one of the 150-odd hidden eyes in the game that don’t appear to serve a purpose. On one screen there is a massive circle made up of hundreds of smaller circles. If you fly over them, they vanish. Was I supposed to get rid of all of them? Surely not. That would take ages! Twenty minutes, in fact. But yes – you had to get rid of them all.
Despite that, and the fact you often can’t tell if there’s even anything in a particular area you need to do, let alone must do because there’s a hidden snake, it’s a fun, relaxing and incredibly pretty game. It’s just very weird and abstract, but in a much better way than, say, Proteus, or the Mega CD game Panic! (which for some reason this reminds me of) is. You can’t die, you can’t run out of time, and even when you make a mistake you’re not penalised. It’s just a bit baffling that someone came up with it at all, really.
A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games over the last month and I’ve been playing each for a short time. I’ve yet to settle down and just work on one or two, so I’ve not made much progress in each. So here’s a list, in no particular order:
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (Vita)
My subscription to PS+ was autorenewed before I could cancel it (the whole service got DDOS’d and I couldn’t log in), so I thought I might as well make use of it. This is one of the rentals.
It’s Duke Nukem. A bit easier to control than the 360 version that appeared on XBLA, and with a nice (but often broken) rewind feature if you die. It’s the same game that it ever was, so great. Half way through the first episode so far.
At least, I was playing this until my family hijacked my save game. I’ve no idea what’s going on. You’re a snake which flies around bizarre levels bumping into things which sometimes react, solving puzzles that aren’t really puzzles, in an attempt to reunite with other snakes. I think. You’re just dropped into the game with no explanation and just expected to get on with it. It’s good, but I’m confused and lost. No idea why I bought it, although it was on offer.
Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)
I’m sure the Gamecube version of this was easier to control. I’m still sticking mostly to Mega Man, and I’m trying, but it does seem very vague as to whether I actually pull off moves or not. And I can never remember in the heat of the moment how to do the special moves that try to carry you back onto a platform when you’ve been punched off. It’s utter chaos, but then I suppose that’s the appeal.
Whoa Dave! (Vita)
Another PS+ rental. It’s an 8bit (or lower, perhaps – it’s more like an Atari 2600 title) looking single screen arcade platformer. Eggs drop from the top of the screen, and after a while they hatch. Baddies pop out and when they hit the lava at the bottom of the screen they “level up” and become more dangerous, and then level up again each time they hit the lava. You have to beat them by chucking eggs at them, or by destroying the eggs by throwing exploding skulls at them. Then UFOs appear and it all gets really hard. Really like this game, so much so I’ll probably buy it when it hits the 3DS. My high score is $1.76, in case you want a target (an easy target) to aim for.
I happened to be using my old MacBook, and Peggle was on it, and I couldn’t remember playing it on there before so wasn’t sure it would work and then I ran it to see and it did work and then an hour passed magically. It’s Peggle, and that’s what happens with Peggle. No idea how far I got.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Demo) (3DS)
I didn’t want to like this because I really wanted a Wii U version instead. Sadly, that doesn’t look likely to happen. It’s Monster Hunter, but made a bit easier to play (on the 3DS) as I’ve a shiny new New 3DS with extra buttons and a prodnipple, so it’s essentially got the same controls as the Wii U version of MH3U anyway.
I chose the Great Jaggi hunt as I know where I am with that, and picked a hunter with twin blades, not a class I’d used before. I don’t know if it’s the different weapons, or the different game, but the combat was so much swifter than I ever had on the previous game. Mind you, that was with a Great Sword and so slow and ponderous came with it. I like how you can now jump on the back of the Great Jaggi and slash at his (her?) neck, and it’s nice to have some new maps to hunt on. Do I want this now? Yes. Yes I do.
SteamWorld Dig (Wii U)
It’s the same as the 3DS game that I completed last year (or the year before?), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just as good, but all in HD and on the tellybox. I bought it as it was on offer and I was trying to spend enough in the Wii U eShop before the end of 2014 to get another £5 credit before they stopped running the scheme. Don’t know why I started this before the other games that I’d bought but haven’t played before – that’d make more sense, surely?
I’ve reached The Old World, and have a couple of upgrades from there. I’m pretty sure by this point in the 3DS game I had the ability to punch by now, so I’m wondering if I’ve missed something…
Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut (Vita)
Stumbled across this, and as soon as I noticed it was basically a brand new Spectrum game, I had to buy it. Turns out it’s a twin stick shooter, with Spectrum graphics and sound, and even had a two minute long load (which you can skip – I didn’t). The plot is incredible – you appear to be Queen Victoria, dressed as a man, who decides to go to Mars in a giant bullet shaped space ship that’s shot out of a huge cannon, and, when you arrive, you have to shoot guards and zombies and collect keys and avoid massive centipedes while looking for tea and jammy scones. YES. It’s the best thing ever.
Picross e5 (3DS)
I was having a look at the eShop the other day and realised Picross e5 was out and I hadn’t bought it. So I bought it, and started playing it. It’s Picross, and I like Picross, so I like this. Aside from different puzzles (obviously), it seems to be no different to Picross e4. That’s not a problem, as Picross e4 was lovely.
Oh, remember my 360? Never before has a console so frequently used in the past been dropped so quickly. Mine barely gets touched these days. In fact, the only reason I turned it on was because I finally decided to get Minecraft, mainly for my daughter. I’d a pile of free credit, and since the 360 is the only machine I have that 1) plays Minecraft and 2) I have two controllers for (for co-op), it had to be that version.
Created a “creative mode” map, which was far too vertical to navigate, so after a while we binned it and created a flat world – which we forgot to make “creative”. So cue all the baddies in the world appearing when it got dark and we hadn’t built any shelter because all I had were a couple of oak tree seeds and some dirt. Then we explored a lot and it seems everything wasn’t just flat, as we found a monastery (I think) and I fell in a well and couldn’t get out and drowned. Yay?
Skylanders Giants (360)
While the 360 controllers were out, and we’d just taken delivery of a cheap Skylanders Swap Force starter kit (for the Wii U – to hell with the 360 now!), I thought we shoudl probably finish off Giants.
So we worked through two more levels – Kaos’ castle, and a Ghost Ship. I’m sure the game it waaaay harder than the original Spyro’s Adventure, you know. We’ve about 30 Skylanders and ploughed through pretty much all of them on both levels.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)
This was on sale and even though I know it’s not supposed to be very good, we are big fans of the cartoon and it was very cheap. And it’s multiplayer co-op.
It’s not too bad, actually. For the most part it plays like Gauntlet, complete with food and baddie generators and smart-bomb magic, but there’s also a Rogue Legacy style shop system. You can quit the dungeon after every 5 levels, and then spend your money to get better stats, but any money you have left is lost when you return to the game. The best bit is how the Gamepad becomes a giant Beemo face, who comments on your action with such gems as “food is where the hearts are!”. Excellent.
With various deals and cheap credit, I got this for less than £2. I’ve wanted it for a while, but keep being put of by people who say it’s rubbish. At that price I thought I’d risk it. And I’m glad I did as it’s pretty good.
It’s no Tony Hawk’s, obviously, but is instead an endless runner with things to grind on and ollie off. It’s all about timing, and the tricks are more like the Skate games in how you flick the stick to pull them off. Was getting well into it, and then it crashed. Bah.