Developer(s) – Honeyslug & Santa Monica Studios
Publisher(s) – Sony
Artist – Richard Hogg
Producer – Zach Wood
PEGI – 3
Hohokum, created with the assistance of British artist Richard Hogg and six years in the making, is an art game developed with the purpose of offering players a more relaxed gaming experience than what is considered to be conventional. Personally, it didn’t work for me for a multitude of reasons.
Graphics – 7/10
The best thing about the game, by some distance, is the direction of the visuals taken in the game’s design. Making use of many different colors and abstract surroundings and environments, it certainly speaks of art in this respect. It actually reminds me of the work of Sanna Annuka, who designed the cover art for the album Under the Iron Sea by one of my favorite bands, Keane. The difference being is that Annuka’s work is much more provocative than Richard Hogg’s.
Gameplay – 3/10
The objective of the game is to interact with certain elements of the in-game world to give them color, and thus moving the player on to the next area until the game is finished. Though it was made with unconventional goals attached to it, I failed to get much enjoyment out of what I was doing the whole time and became bored of the game quickly. It was made with the intention of relaxing players, but personally, that’s not part of what I look for in a good video game, and wouldn’t want to have in one.
Controls – 7/10
The control scheme seemed to me as being far too convoluted, since there are quite a few functions, but no use for the majority of them. The basics can be mastered within a small space of time, and getting a general feel for how the game plays out is easy enough, but the entire thing seemed far too complicated in this respect.
Originality – 6/10
I can appreciate the fact that the developers were clearly trying something new, and making an attempt to defy many conventions that have been perpetuated over the years. But the problem being is that the game is different for the wrong reasons, and in this respect, reminded me of Proteus; an aimless experience unlike any other. If there is some kind of grand design behind this game, I couldn’t interpret what it was, and after having played it, I’m very much disinclined to try again.
Overall, Hohokum is one of the weaker indie gaming experiences that Sony has ported to their consoles in recent years. The fact that it took six years to makes also compels me to think that many drastic changes were made during its development cycle; most of them seemingly for the worst.