'Hohokum' Blends The Weird With The Wonderful
August 15, 2014
Sometimes a "game" doesn't need to really have any gaming elements to be really enjoyable. This concept has been seen time and time again over the last few years, where more interactive experiences have been released. From Nintendogs to Wii Fit, these non-games have given gamers something to play with instead of just play. Sony latest digital title, Hohokum, finds itself right at the intersection of game and non-game, where it gives players a non-linear, interest-driven world to zip around in ... as a floating snake-thing. Yup, it's a little weird, but it's also a little wonderful.
Developer: Honeyslug, Sony Santa Monica
One of the best-named developers in the industry, Honeyslug, worked closely with Sony's Santa Monica Studio to bring artist Richard Hogg's vision to life in Hohokum. Sony fans may recognize the name Honeyslug, as they previously worked on the PS Vita exclusive, Frobisher Says!, a quirky mini game collection that was tailored to the Vita's unique hardware. While Honeyslug are fairly new to the industry, Hohokum is proof that they are bringing some fresh ideas to the table, and using them to make some interesting and beautiful games.
The concept of Hohokum as a game is kind of hard to explain: it's a non-linear, open-world experience, where you fly around as a Long Mover, with no mandatory goals or objectives. There's no scores, leaderboards, tutorials, or time limits. No, Hohohum is a game that is all about sitting back, relaxing, and exploring. There are 17 worlds, each of which can be discovered as you float around the others, opening up paths to wherever you want to go. Within each of those worlds, you can interact with almost everything on screen, whether it's a bell that rings as you fly by it, or a bunch of friends that hop on the Long Mover for ride around the screen. The interactive nature of the levels lends itself to some light puzzling elements, none of which are explained, and can only be deduced as things happen in each area. Overall, it's a really low-stress way to spend some time gaming.
The weirdness that is Hohokum can be enjoyed as a digital download on all of Sony's platforms, the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and the PS Vita, for one price via their Cross-Buy program. Being able to navigate through Hohokum is best experienced on a big screen, but having the option to take it on the go with the Vita, is a nice bonus for anyone that is investing in the game. Cross-Save functionality is also built into all of the versions, so you can play through one save file on all platforms.
Hohokum isn't your every day game, mostly because it isn’t really a game. It also isn’t for everyone. If you're the type of gamer that needs structure and objectives to really enjoy what they are playing, then floating around Hohokum is going to get really boring, really quickly. However, if you have it in you to stop and smell the roses, then you might just be able to appreciate everything that Hohokum is, and, more importantly, what it isn't. This is a game that you put on when you want to zone out and look at pretty things, or if you've had a long day, and you just want to escape into another world, without the pressure of getting shot (or chased, or poofed away with a magic spell). Hohokum does a lot with a little, making it a truly interesting experience that's well worth your time, if you like to relax with a PlayStation controller in your hand.