Hob – Review

Hob is set on a beautiful and dangerous unknown world, with buzzing life above and the whirr of mysterious machinery below. The more players delve into the world’s design, the more they uncover a planet in peril. Players must learn to survive, understand their true purpose through acquiring skills, and ultimately transform the nature of the world itself. Hob is presented without text or dialogue. Narrative is revealed as players explore and interact with their mysterious planet, and the strange life forms that inhabit it. Hob features smooth controller gameplay, multi-layered puzzles, and striking visuals.

Hob is the newest and most ambitious project of Runic Games, a developer made famous by the popular Torchlight franchise.

Moving away from the previous style of Diablo clone games Runic Games delivers Hob. Hob is the name given to a tool used to cut/manipulate gears. This word perfectly defines the main character as you roam through this beautiful world. Hob’s world is a machine, and throughout the game, you must master puzzles and dungeons to rearrange the world to what you need it to be. This is a fantastic concept that makes the world seem like a living character on its own. Hob is not a game that will please everyone although I’m sure Hob will please the fans of a good Indie game filled with puzzles and some very subjective story telling.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of games, Hob’s plot is transmitted subjectively and artistically. The path is pointed (literally) by the faithful squire of the protagonist and there is also a map to assist the player if he gets lost. Other than this you are on your own. There is no tutorial, which I find refreshing. Runic must feel the player is smart enough not to have their hand held during the opening areas of the game. I respect that. The overall story can be as deep or as light as you want it to be. There are optional rooms to unlock in-game that give you a visual clue as to how the world became what it was, but doesn’t tell it to you like other games do. Now I quite enjoyed this as I explored the world more freely than I would have if there was a linear story or even waypoints put in front of me (give me a dot on a map and I will follow it). However, I can see this having the opposite effect on some players. They could become confused by the slow and very subjective storytelling, and find it difficult to progress through the game.  The game features well thought out puzzles that will require a bit of thinking. Despite the degree of complexity, the gameplay and the puzzles are intuitive and should not cause a headache for most players. Hob also has some satisfying RPG elements. There are a lot of collectables scattered throughout the world. From sword fragments to improve the character’s attack to Heart pieces to upgrade your overall health (Link to the Past anyone???), I must say, I fell in love with this game as soon as I saw the artwork and E3 trailers earlier this year. The game world is beautiful and the use of colour is executed perfectly. The main world areas above ground are colourful, vibrant and seem full of life, but when you delve into the dungeons there is a distinct change in tone making each area feel ancient and abandoned. The music in the game is perfect with each area/dungeon having its own unique soundtrack.  Hob is a game that is fun and full of life. I highly recommend this game to everyone. It looks and sounds beautiful; the puzzles and combat are satisfying and the dungeons are challenging and different enough not to come across as boring or repetitive.

I played Hob through Steam on launch day and I have held off on my review as there were initially some ‘bugs’ I encountered. There was an issue with GTX graphics cards that would make the game crash at launch and I also encountered a lot of dropped frames but after a few very quick updates the game now runs smooth as butter.

Hob is available now on Playstation 4, Steam, GOG and Humble Bundle