Hohokum Review (PlayStation 4)
I don’t understand you, Hohokum.
You were billed as a game of exploration, something where players can just sit and get away for a while. There would be no loud explosions, no heavy music, and none of the other things gamers expect from the latest and greatest selections. You are just a serene, peaceful game about unlocking puzzles simply through exploration. That’s all well and good, but when the lack of specific direction you so confidently advertised becomes the root of all of the problems I have with you, perhaps it would have been in your benefit to have some kind of arrow pointing me in the right direction. I’ve tinkered with you now for an extended period of time and I still feel like I know nothing about you, and that’s a problem.
First and foremost, what am I controlling? It’s a line with an eye at the end, and I can make it travel in any direction at varying speeds. I sometimes see other lines in my travels, and sometimes I see other beings that ride on my back (if you can call it a back) to some destination, where they get off and do something that may be good or bad, I have no idea. At some points I see a circle with a design in it, and when I approach it I somehow appear in another part of the world with that design. Was that a portal? A window? What do I do now on this side of the world?
There was one section that was completely white, save for a large group of circles in the middle. As I flew over those circles they changed color, making me think I had to change all of the circles to a different color. After about 15 minutes of doing so, absolutely nothing happened, and I went back in the door portal thing the way I came in. Did I complete my task? Did I miss a sphere? I have no idea!
Don’t get me wrong, there is beauty in the exploration. The world is filled with color and life, its vibrant nature creating some truly intoxicating scenes. In one area I somehow came into control of about eight of these line creatures, swirling and twirling and creating designs right out of one of those spirographs I used to play with as a child. I was in awe of its beauty, and I noticed I had a big stupid grin on my face as I was playing it. Furthermore, the soundtrack to whatever you want to call Hohokum is wonderful, strengthening the aesthetic prowess of the game even further. However, no amount of shiny colors and beautiful music can change the fact that Hohokum seems to have no point, and if there is one I surely missed it.
The lack of depth in Hohokum might be the most disappointing thing about it. I’m supposed to want to explore this world and find all of its secrets, but why do I want to do that? What’s my objective? Am I saving these people from some ill fate? Will be there a giant party at the end with all of the other lines and beings in the world? Journey is a great example of another game that just drops you in and says, “Have fun,” but there’s still a clear objective in the mountain that we’re trying to reach. Hohokum doesn’t even have that, it just wants me to fly around and change the color of dots, and I’m not amused.
I’m sure Hohokum will find a home among those players who love to relax and unwind after a long day, and I acknowledge that it successfully creates that relaxing atmosphere by being aesthetically pleasing in every facet. Once the novelty of the happy colors and great music wears off, however, you’re left with a game with no direction, no depth, and no point. Hohokum? More like just ho-hum.
This review is based on a purchased digital version of Hohokum for the PlayStation 4.