Runic Games is best known for developing one of the best action RPGs ever created not called Diablo. When it was announced that the developer was no longer working on an MMO based on the Torchlight IP, many were wondering what would be next. The stylish and at times awe-inspiring action adventure platformer Hob was certainly not what I was expecting, but I quickly fell in love with the game. Over the course of the 15-20 hours, you’ll spend exploring a mix of green and robotic landscape, and you’ll solve environmental puzzles, and handle yourself adamantly in combat.
Presented without a single line of text or dialogue, the opening sequence in Hob is powerful, set in a world ripe with corruption. You take on the role of a small robot with glowing blue eyes and shrouded in a red cloth. Not wanted to give anything away, you awake with a massive glove attached your body, giving you abilities for exploration and combat. As you progress through the game, you’ll come across underground dungeons, giving you access to future upgrades and a chance to reactivate ancient machinery that is spread across the world. While the first one gives you the ability to break apart already cracked/crumbling pieces walls and floors, you can also punch enemies for massive damage as well as tear apart their protective armor. Eventually, you’ll have a full arsenal, giving you more ways to handle any type of encounter, from wrapping around to dodge attacks to grappling your way down a cliff.
As I have mentioned, the world is seemingly being corrupted, represented by the deadly, bubbling purple goo that permeates throughout; it must be avoided at all cost. The journey is certainly dangerous, but the world is cleverly designed, not to mention the painterly quality is alluring. Reactivating the technology that once powered the world, you must transform and restore the planet. Using a fixed isometric camera angle, Hob showcases some truly art worthy scenes, framing the world perfectly. There are even spots where you can sit down and admire the view. With that said, the fixed view can also be detrimental when trying to perform precision jumps.
When you are nop leaping over deadly pits or solving puzzles, you’ll engage in combat using rudimental combos. All upgrades you acquire add to your offensive skills, however, fighting feels simplistic throughout the entire game. Considering the pedigree of Runic Games with the Torchlight series, I was expecting a bit more, but Hob focuses on the puzzle solving events that reshape the world right before your eyes.
Hob is a beautiful puzzle action adventure game with an enjoyable sense of discovery. Bringing the world back to life by solving the dungeons was a pleasure, and the painterly quality of the visuals are a treat. The game emphasis exploration over the combat, so the mechanics may feel lacking when compared to other games in the genre. There are plenty of hidden secret for you to find once you complete the main narrative.
Note: Hob was reviewed based on a digital PlayStation 4 copy of the game, provided by the publisher.