Reviews - Updated on April 13, 2022

The Runic Games studio was founded by the authors of the first two parts of Diablo with the participation of the person who made the action/RPG Fate. And she became famous thanks to the Torchlight dilogy – a cartoonish and very high-quality clone of the same “diablo”. After that, the developers decided to move away from their usual genre and do something new. And apparently, the ideas just burst them: the authors named The Legend of Zelda, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and much more as sources of inspiration for their new project. But in the end, perhaps the best definition for Hob was the words of Max Schaefer, one of the founders of Runic Games: “It’s a Metroid inside a Rubik’s Cube.”Hob game review

Often you have to go down and underground.

“Go there, I don’t know where, bring something, I don’t know what”

The influence of all the above games in Hob is clearly felt. Narrative methods are taken from Ico and Shadow of the Colossus (and also from Journey). There are no dialogues and characters that give any quests and direct instructions, the story is revealed non-verbally, through the exploration of the world.

We play as a kind of bipedal creature, the gender and appearance of which is difficult to identify. At the very beginning, a no less strange golem releases him from captivity, and we find ourselves in a colorful, cartoonish world (Torchlight style is clearly guessed), which, however, is infected with some kind of bluish filth and muck – it hurts the hero when it comes into contact, and when a tentacle sticking out of a vile mass grabs his arm, the golem quickly cuts off our protagonist’s upper limb.

Further, waking up with a metal prosthesis instead of a hand, we go out into a large open world, we also get a sword in addition – and in fact we find ourselves left to our own devices. There are clots of filth around, some strange metal structures, mechanisms, levers, platforms, force fields adjacent to lush vegetation, bizarre animals like mutant giraffes and aggressive krakozyabras (you can’t say otherwise!), attacking us.

What is it, who is it, where am I, who is to blame and what should I do? Nothing is really clear. The golem only with a nod of the head indicates the approximate direction of movement. It is only clear that this strange wonderful world obviously needs to be saved. What we will be doing throughout the game. The final clarity of what it was and what happened here will come only in the finale, where we will have to revive the huge iron giant and make a difficult choice.

Fist on the world!

The analogies to The Legend of Zelda and Metroid are even more obvious. Our hard-to-identify hero with a metal arm runs around a huge world that gives off a kind of “Zelda” pleasant childishness, studies it, discovers new areas, fights, solves riddles, gradually becomes stronger and discovers new abilities.Hob game review

There is almost always some large-caliber villain next to small enemies.

Defeating especially strong enemies, he receives some green coins (they can also be found in hiding places and on altars), for which you can buy various upgrades in special places – a mechanical shield, a fencing combo, a powerful sword attack on the run, and so on. We also find blueprints for “upgrading” the suit and arm, and various items that increase health and energy that is spent on using abilities.

By the way, about skills. The Metroid component of Hob is just connected with them. As we progress through, we get new improvements for our metal arm, for example, a powerful blow, teleportation, or the ability to use it as a grappling hook. They not only help in riddles and in battles (with a hook, for example, parts of the skin of enemies are perfectly torn off), but they are also needed to get into previously inaccessible areas of the world. So, with a powerful blow, you can destroy walls in specially designated places and press buttons, opening a passage for yourself.

Start and rule!

Hob has more puzzles and platforming elements than combat. Throughout the game, we jump, crawl along the walls, like in Prince of Persia, jump on some incredible structures and almost literally fix the world around us, turning on something, restarting, removing force barriers, dragging chargers into cells, twisting levers etc. Not without, of course, exercises with boxes.

At the same time, remembering the words of Max Schaefer, quoted at the beginning, from all these manipulations of ours, the world is really changing, rebuilding, as in a Rubik’s cube. Huge massive structures come into motion, forming new paths along which you can run somewhere, walls rise or fall, opening new and closing old passages, and so on. At some point, we completely fill the territory with water and begin to actively engage in water procedures.

But all these purely technical, mechanical exercises are not divorced from the study of the world, but are included in it, are its integral component. After all, we are not solving some distant puzzles, but are looking for ways to go further and get to the next goal, so there is no tension. Unless sometimes a feeling of some monotony rolls up, when once again you have to look for a button or charge / discharge something.

Hob game review

This world is full of strange mechanisms.

Kind with healthy

However, this feeling quickly passes – it’s so nice to play Hob. Here everything is implemented at the highest level. It’s nice and interesting to explore the world, look for spots with all sorts of blueprints and improvements, develop a hero, solve puzzles and discover new areas of the world.

The battles are also implemented perfectly – the combat system is both understandable, dynamic and at the same time far from primitive, relying heavily on dodges and reactions. Yes, even jumping on platforms and crawling along walls without a gamepad in hand (that is, on a keyboard) is also nice – the controls and camera are so convenient here.

And all this – in a very colorful, “Zelda”, as I said, world, where some electrical installations are adjacent to green groves and waterfalls, where horned giraffes and sad golems roam, where you can pat a bizarre little animal on the head and get this is a special achievement, where the krakozyabrs squeal and run away from the walking robot that we climbed into. And where you can just sit on the edge of a cliff and look at the impressive landscapes for a long time accompanied by meditative music…

Hob game review

This is how we get new abilities for our mechanical arm.

***

Hob in the indie sector is about the best thing that has been in the genre of “metroidvania” and Zelda-like games since Ori and the Blind Forest. Playing it, you experience the same feeling of constant admiration, pleasant surprise, comfort and joy from how the world opens up before you, reveals something new, interesting, unusual all the time.

Pros: Exciting gameplay that combines exploration, combat, platforming and puzzles; colorful and bizarre world; nice graphics; meditative music.

Cons: mechanical puzzles sometimes seem monotonous.

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