Hob

Gob­blin’ it up

PCPOWERPLAY - - Game // Review - WILDGOOSE DAVID

My­favourite mo­ments in Hob oc­cur in out of the way spots, on a se­cluded ledge over­look­ing a canyon per­haps, or a crow’s nest high up above the canopy reached only via a hid­den ladder and se­ries of climbable vines. These spots are marked by a sym­bol on the ground. You walk up to them and press a but­ton and while you sit down or ca­su­ally lean against a wall the cam­era swings down from its top­down per­spec­tive and presents you with a spec­tac­u­lar vista of the world ahead. The view is never any­thing less than gor­geous. I love them.

Tak­ing a mo­ment to catch your breath is wise. Hob is quite a de­mand­ing ac­tion-ad­ven­ture. It’s not that its com­bat or puz­zles are es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing; it’s more that it re­quires you to pay close at­ten­tion to your sur­round­ings and men­tally keep track of all the dif­fer­ent paths you have yet to ex­plore as well as those lo­ca­tions you might need to re­turn to later on once you’ve un­locked a new abil­ity.

Hob’s world in­cred­i­bly tightly de­signed. Paths in­ter­twine and cir­cle around and tun­nel un­derneath. Hid­den ar­eas ex­pose se­crets that open up short­cuts that re­turn you to where you started. Only now you’ve got a new power that lets you trans­form the orig­i­nal en­vi­ron­ment, swing­ing a plat­form to the op­po­site side of a field which lets you jump to a pre­vi­ously out of reach area and find a new item.

Most of your time will be spent ex­plor­ing ev­ery nook and cranny of Hob’s densely struc­tured land­scapes. Along the way though you’ll be tested by some light me­chan­i­cal puz­zles - you’ll need to flick switches and pull levers to ma­noeu­vre var­i­ous con­trap­tions into po­si­tion, or work out how to power down an elec­tri­fied gate and power up a lift in or­der to progress. They’re all exquisitely in­te­grated into the world, and you’re con­stantly mov­ing bits of the world around, re­shap­ing things un­til you find the cor­rect so­lu­tion. It’s just im­mensely re­ward­ing to play around and see what you can do.

There’s some light com­bat, too. You have a sword to dispatch ba­sic en­e­mies, a roll to dodge out of the way of the at­tacks of larger en­e­mies, a shield to block heavy blows, and a power glove to punch through ar­moured de­fences, in­clud­ing some frag­ile walls. There aren’t a lot of en­e­mies to fight, but given the large amount of back­track­ing you’ll in­evitably do the bal­ance be­tween ex­plo­ration and com­bat feels pretty much spot on. Just make sure you head back to your work­shop now and again to up­grade your abil­i­ties.

Hob is a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. It de­liv­ers a world that you can’t help but want to get lost in, a world full of tan­ta­lis­ing mys­tery end­lessly un­fold­ing all around you. Some­times you just want to find an out of the way spot and ad­mire the view.

hid­den ar­eas ex­pose se­crets that open up short­cuts that re­turn you to where you started

These vista spots give you a sneak peek at the next area you’ll ex­plore.

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