Review: Hob (PS4)

Review: Hob (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Hob
Format: PSN (4.98 GB)
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Runic Games
Developer: Runic Games
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: TBD
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I was excited for Hob before I actually knew what it was. The developer, Runic Games, forged the two Torchlight games which are favorites of mine. And while Hob shares more in common with Zelda, the game still holds true to the polish and gameplay that the developer has become known for.

While this is a puzzle action-adventure game, like the aforementioned Zelda, its world is shrouded in more mystery making it akin to the cryptic world of Ico. Characters – the few that there are – speak in their own language or not at all, and gestures and symbols are used to convey information. So discovery on your part requires a bit more effort than simply being told what to do.

This is a great thing. Figuring things out warrants celebration, though admittedly, I did become a little lost from the onset because I simple couldn’t tell that I could go down in one area, so I wandered for a couple of minutes before doubling back and figuring out where I had to go.

There is a pretty endearing tale that leads to your ability to defend yourself – one that I won’t spoil. But as a result, you have a large glove that helps you manipulate the environment, and defend yourself as well. Additionally, early in the game you will earn a sword of sorts that allows you to thwart creatures that mean your little hooded dude harm.

As your earn monetary items by looting and killing, you can upgrade your weapon and glove’s abilities, making you more formidable.

But the real value comes in the world-manipulating puzzles. The environments in this game feel interconnected, as if you are exploring a giant and ancient machine. Your glove allows you to alter the environment, which in turns allows you access to different locations and reveals hidden areas.

Hob comes together with tight controls and plenty of mind-bending puzzles that don’t hold your hand through the process.

Visuals:
The team at Runic Games is no stranger to stylistic visuals, and the game is on par with my expectations. This world belongs to Hob: meaning that the game has a style all its own. While there is a simplistic aesthetic to the whole thing, it holds together with a cohesiveness that resonates throughout the adventure.

Audio:
The audio is minimalist in execution, much like the visuals. There is no recognizable spoken language in the game – not English anyway. It’s all about gestures and emotive audio and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The implementation evokes the feeling I had when playing Ico, where I didn’t always need to know what was being said to understand the emotion behind it.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Fans of the Zelda-style adventure games should not pass this up. It’s quite a bit more subdued, but its spirit is based on that puzzle-solving, monster bashing, core that makes that genre so much fun.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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