Seattle’s Runic Games let Hob loose on the world back in late 2017 and it has gone on to earn some positive reviews. It’s set in a rather luscious world. The action-adventure romp offers some fun platforming, puzzling, and combat japes – it’s quite adorable at times, quite violent at others. But is it worth your time and moolah?
Available on Steam, GOG, and the GayStation 4 (only noobs own one of those), Hob is a striking game with a disappointing finish. We don’t often review games we don’t like here on Professional Moron (Runner 3 remains an exception), but whilst Hob sure looks the part, it’s frustrating to play.
As it was on Steam for such a low price, we had to give it a go. What opens as a unique looking action platformer with some fancy atmospherics (check out the nice music below) soon gets awkward. It’s a beautiful game and, clearly, a lot of effort has gone into it… but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be good, eh?
Some extra focus on Hob’s puzzles and level design would have helped significantly. We often found ourselves wandering around lost as it’s difficult to make out where you are – a lot of the areas look the same, you see.
Add into this an annoyingly cumbersome control system. On top of that some of the level design means you plummet to your death as you can’t quite make out where to jump (and you have to jump a lot).
The health system is also unforgiving – a couple of hits and you’re dead. Then you respawn nowhere near where you died and you have to trudge all the way back to that area.
It takes its overt Zelda inspiration seriously enough. There are attempts to replicate the genius level design from, for example, A Link to the Past. But that’s a SNES game from 1991 – an all-time classic – and it’s in a different league entirely to Hob. Ho hum.
For some balance here against our opinion, you can see the positive IGN review above. And we concur with many points there. The game looks great. Some of the puzzles unfold lovingly. There’s a really satisfying ladder slide that lets Hob gracefully pitch down walls.
Yet such moments don’t overcome the many annoying issues we came up against. Which is a bloody shame, as we really wanted to love Hob. Perhaps a sequel can build on its evident promise. Otherwise it’s difficult to recommend when there are so many exemplary indie game titles out there.