I first played Hohokum at Eurogamer Expo last year, a few months before the release of the PlayStation 4. While it was not possible to play with sound, something about it stuck out enough to make it stick in my mind. I'm not sure whether it was the colourful nature of the game or the fact that it was just a little unusual, whatever it was though, I've been interested to play more ever since.
Explaining Hohokum is pretty difficult. What I can say is that it provides you with a colourful world in which you control a space worm. Known as the "Long Mover," he glides through the various game worlds with you at the helm.
There is no correct way to play Hohokum, as such, although there are some loose objectives along the way. But what's most interesting about the game is that there is very little in the way of instructions. Starting off, you'll take control of the Long Mover, find the way around by yourself and go from there. The first level is very dark, but as you get used to the controls, you'll venture forth, lighting up all around you with visual flourishes as you crash off parts of the environment and make your way to the many, much more colourful and brighter worlds, that you'll find along the way.
Something that stands out in Hohokum is that you can wander between the worlds, experimenting as you go. You'll soon discover it's pretty out there too, whether you are playing around in the water park, whooshing past a large yellow elephant, which reminds you or The Beatles 'sixties' adventures, or just messing around, whizzing past the colourful scenery as you make spend time discovering what's on offer.
There is some gameplay of course, it's just that it is well hidden. For instance, you'll also discover time travel, bring the aforementioned elephant sushi and find plenty of hidden areas which you never even knew existed.
To me though, Hohokum is less about gameplay and more about experimentation. It's a bit like art, in that everyone will make something different of it, find their own way around and come away with a different conclusion.
There is certainly plenty of charm on offer here, with colourful levels, relaxing music and interesting game design. But for once, when it comes to a new game, I'm kind of lost for words for what to say about it.
If you loved many of the experimental PSN games before it, titles such as Journey, Flow, Flower and Proteus, then you should be sure to get Hohokum on your radar. It won't be for everyone, but that's the beauty of gaming.
Words by Joe Anderson.
@_wotta | PSN: wotta | XBLA: Wotta
(Version Tested: PS4 / PS Vita)
+ Beautiful art and music
- May not appeal to all
- Lack of direction may put people off