The image above says it all about Hohokum; it’s an explosion of light, colours and striking imagery; a carnival of wackiness where the player is free to play and explore at their own will. As I was making my way through this game, I continued to ask myself what the hell I was doing and what it all contributed towards. Even now, this game doesn’t make all that much sense to me but if you want a joyous sense of fun and exploration then Hohokum has those qualities in spades.
The moment you start up the game you take control of a strange snake like eye creature (already weird), and navigate a blank grey area that it is up to you to bring colour back to. The X button allows you to dash at high speeds, circle slows you down for more precise movements, and square is used to interact with other creatures and perform special movements. From then on out you will navigate around an array of incredibly different areas that vary wildly in terms of style, tone and length. Other than a single challenge to sort out in the level, Hohokum has various eyes scattered throughout the stages that you must search out and open, in what seems to be the game’s own brand of optional secrets.
To be honest, I was struggling to recommend Hohokum to anybody for a good long while, simply because I just couldn’t make any sense of it all…but then I hit a particular level in which I was tasked with helping put a wedding back on track. I got the bride to the ceremony, gave glasses of wine to all the guests, and brought festivities to the occasion as I triggered fireworks in the sky. Then the next area brought a whole new set of challenges to explore, namely helping a vibrant city’s citizens to get a rollercoaster up and running again. Then the one after that sees a father and son bonding amongst a group of avid kite flyers who it was up to me to invigorate interest in. Hohokum isn’t trying to tell some grand story; it’s a game about helping the peaceful denizens of this world to triumph over their problems and challenges.
Hohokum also has a tremendous amount of interactivity, with everything in the world reacting to you in some shape or form. Stars twinkle the moment you touch them, plants bloom to life in a burst of colour, and citizens latch onto you when you pass them. Everything feels as if it is a living breathing part of the world which does a great job of immersing you even further. The graphics, although simple, are colourful and expressive, helping to depict a wild world full of endless possibilities. The music also deserves a special mention as well, as it fits the tone of the game perfectly. Each area starts off incredibly calm and soothing, but as you explore more of the terrain and discover more creatures the music builds to an almost anthemic crescendo. The game just feels more alive because of all these elements working together. After a while, you really do begin to feel like a part of this strange yet wonderful ecosystem.
Hohokum stands out amongst Sony’s fast growing crowd of digital titles. It’s a bright and colourful never ending story of a strange and surreal world that yearns to be explored. It makes absolutely no sense but that’s all part of the fun, and if you let go of any preconceptions and give this game a chance, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in its beautiful playground for weeks to come.