Title: Hob: The Definitive Edition
Developer: Runic Games, Panic Button
Publisher: Perfect World
Genre: Action, Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: Teen – Blood and Gore, Fantasy Violence
Release Date: Out Now – 03/04/19
Price: £17.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
A world of mystery and intrigue awaits.
From the creators of Torchlight™ and Torchlight II™! Traverse and transform the mysterious world of Hob. This vibrant, atmospheric adventure game is set in a stunning and brutal world in disarray. As players delve into the mysteries around them, they discover a planet in peril. Can it be mended, or will the world fall further into chaos? Now with enhanced performance and features, only available on Nintendo Switch in this definitive edition.
• UNCOVER THE MYSTERY: The world of Hob is full of mystery and wonder. Unravel the planet’s mysteries as you explore and interact with the strange lifeforms that inhabit it.
• TRANSFORM THE WORLD by solving puzzles and repairing the planet. The landscape will change before your eyes, opening new areas to uncover and explore.
• UNLOCK NEW POWERS: Upgrade your mechanical glove-arm to reveal new abilities and grapple, punch, and warp your way through the world
• ADVENTURE in an open world, explore ruins, befriend sprites, and battle the rogue creatures that threaten their extinction.
• THE ULTIMATE HOB EXPERIENCE: This all-new version includes Nintendo Switch console-exclusive features like HD Rumble and touch screen support, and refines the original game with increased camera control options, streamlined menus, and a reworked campaign that make discovering the world of Hob better than ever!
A swift search on Google for the origins of ‘Hob’, an action-adventure title which was developed by Runic Games in 2017, indicated just how much of a demand there was for a Nintendo Switch version. Strolling in fresh off yet another outstanding port to our beloved console, Panic Button take up the mantle once again to deliver Hob to the consumers. Just how definitive is this edition? Find out in our latest Rapid Review of Hob: The Definitive Edition.
Audio and Visual
It seems so often the case at present that I look to discuss the visuals before anything else in a review, and although this may be more of a subconscious indication of what I value in a game, it is also representative of the beautifully designed and exceptionally well-crafted titles that are gracing our screens each month.
On the surface, ‘Hob: The Definitive Edition’ is another of those games. The eShop screenshots lured me in, with a colourful, quirky and encapsulating art-style that I was desperate to explore. Through personal circumstance, I found my time on my Switch largely confined to handheld mode, and this is where my first, and only, grievance with Hob was found. As I played through the first few hours or so, I felt as though the graphical content wasn’t quite living up to expectations. Not one to be deterred, I continued playing, only to stop myself and commit to trying it out whilst docked. Low and behold, what I came to see was duly delivered.
Hob: The Definitive Edition looks much better when plugged in and hooked up with a HDMI cable. Much better. I am unsure whether there is significant difference ‘on paper’, but I definitely felt the benefit of the big screen. It looked sharp, crisp and clear – everything I had hoped for.
As you soon come to realise when playing through the ten or so hours of gameplay, Hob is a game full of mystery. The audio plays a vital role in facilitating this, with very little in the way of a soundtrack, save for some low ambient noise. The sounds of the landscape have a much larger impact as a result, and I for one found it an incredibly enjoyable experience. There is something special about the world design that makes for a peaceful, albeit lonely, journey across the map.
Gameplay and Replayability
Defined as an action-adventure, Hob does little more than show you what the protagonist looks like before you are set on your way. There is no dialogue or tutorial to speak of: just an early encounter with a robot-like creature who occasionally helps you out. As I journeyed through the game, there was still no dialogue, or tutorial, and this is one of Hob’s greatest strengths. Although a platformer at heart, the puzzles here are class – providing a depth of challenge which was pitched just right. Couple this with very little additional information, and it makes for a game that encourages exploration and time spent surveying the surroundings for your next move.
Exploration is something you will need, and want, to do a lot of. It is during games such as this that my favourite gaming genre is reinforced once more. For me, there is nothing better than an open-world experience. Hob: The Definitive Edition delivers in abundance. Whilst there are only enemies to encounter, and no NPCs to engage in dialogue or discussion with, there is a charm and allure to this world that many will enjoy. An interview with the publishers, Panic Button, over at Nintendo Life served to remind me of what an achievement this game is:
Hob is unique among the games we’ve ported to the Switch in that it has a big open world. A player could run between all the different areas of the world without ever seeing a loading screen, which was a big challenge. There are also some rather massive vistas in the game where you can see almost the entire game world all at once, which was challenging.
With this comes only one issue that I encountered in my time with Hob, and that is that when returning to the game after some time away, I could no longer remember what it was I was trying to achieve. The aforementioned lack of tutorial or guidance meant that I was left to retrace my steps until I recognised something that was familiar. Ordinarily, this would be deemed a chore, but the world is that inviting that I was more than happy to retrace my steps to notice elements I had missed the first time around.
The story of Hob is told through cinematics which leave you guessing from start to finish. An example of which is when the protagonist finds himself in a spot of bother and wakes to find that the robot-like friend from earlier has fitted him with a mechanical arm. As the game progresses, the arm is upgraded and new moves become available. This sense of mystery and intrigue never leaves, and I found Hob was perfectly paced and adequately packed to provide a fantastic gaming experience.
My earlier days gaming were spent purchasing ‘AAA’ titles and believing that they were the best the industry had to offer. I’ll be frank, when starting to review games, I had always dreamed of reviewing said titles sometime in the future. Now, all I hope is that I can continue to experience that feeling I get when I discover yet another outstanding indie title. ‘Hob: The Definitive Edition’ exemplifies all that I love about the games industry, and has fast become one of my favourite Nintendo Switch titles to date.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Hob: The Definitive Edition on the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Hob-The-Definitive-Edition-1537104.html