Hob review

I played and completed Hob, so thought I would do a review of the game. The review does contain minor spoilers.

Hob is an exploration / puzzle game. the game starts with Hob being in a cave, a large mechanical robot breaks you out of it. (the robot you see a lot of) You follow it, and early on, you get prisoned by purple corruption. the robot takes you to cave, and when you wake up, you have a gauntlet on your hand. (the gauntlet becomes really useful as you progress through the game, as you can add new abilities to it)

One thing I do like is the music score, that is really nice, and worth listening too, its one of the things I really enjoy about the game.

However, the game does have some very annoying flaws.

The camera

One aspect I really hate, it is fixed, and sometimes, it can be a real pain in the backside. Sometimes, it is hard to judge jumps, sometimes it can be hard to see where you are going, as you can’t even zoom. So if you are trying to figure out how to reach a certain place, and the camera doesn’t show it, then you might be doing a lot of running around figuring out where to go.

The next minus is the mini map. It is pretty bad, The problem is, as Hob is multi dimensional, (by that I mean, you can raise and lower land, have raised levels or low levels. the map doesn’t do a good job of telling you how to reach areas. Later on, as the game progresses, the map markers might point to a low area, it might take a while to figure out how to get there. I would say that the map design can be pretty frustrating as well.

there are points in the game where you really can struggle on figuring out where to go, And if you want to find everything, it can be tricky.

Then again, it is a pretty large game, while there is an achievement to speed run it under 5 hours, if however you want as many upgrades as possible, find all the secrets in dungeons, (some dungeons are really good and quite long, and some of the secrets can be very well hidden.

There are plenty of upgrades to find as well, like forging a new sword once you got the pieces, increases your energy. health etc. So there is a lot to find. but unless you want 100% then getting a lot of those upgrades is a bit pointless.

Another annoying aspect of the game, is it’s possible to get stuck, (once you can the teleport ability, this is certainly true. I lost count of the times I teleported in places where I would get stuck and fall to my death. This doesn’t help with the camera been as annoying as it is as well.

So the game as some pretty annoying minuses.

The game has no text or dialogue, you just get pointed to go to locations by the robot, or new markers on the mini map. So I feel this doesn’t really help the game, as the game has no real intro, its a case of putting 2 and 2 together and see if you understand what is going on.

Still, with that said, it was fairly enjoyable, (about half way) then later it gets frustrating, (especially once you get 2 of the power cores and get no more map markers to tell you where to go next, (mainly to clear the remaining purple corruption. (but this might be a bug) and the game is a bit buggy as well.

Now that I have completed the game, I don’t see much point in getting the remaining items. Still, for what it is worth, it is a decent game, just some questionable design decisions in places.

The game will last a while, and took me a while to complete. (but some of that time was spent head scratching on working out where to go next or how to get there.

I have to factor in the minuses of the game for the final score, so I would give this game a 7. fun as it is, the frustration of it at times was nearly too much to bare. still, if you want a zelda like exploration / puzzle game, give this game a go.

I picked Hob up a few days ago and am a few hours into it so far. Needed something to fill the void with until Ashes of Malmouth.

I find it fairly enjoyable. A lot of time is spent backtracking though.

I would say that about half way in the game, it is enjoyable. But yes, there is too much backtracking, then its the annoying frustrating problem on finding all those items. Sometimes, you really need to look everywhere. But the camera doesn’t always help, and ends up to be a hindrance sometimes. I really dislike the camera at times.

But still, I have now uninstalled it, as finding the last few items just proved to be too annoying. But you really don’t need all those upgrades or items to complete the game, so once you have, not much point in playing it, especially to trying to find items that are so hard to work out where to go.

When you get the second core, deal with the remaining corruption, even though the game doesn’t tell you that. you need to clear it all to progress in the story. If you have trouble with one of them, I can give you pointers, as it really had me going around in circles until I read the solution online, as it simply wasn’t clear where to go.

And yes, once you get the teleport ability, you can get stuck, there is a new patch out, that helps to deal with that. But to me, I found it way too easy to get stuck and fall to your death for no reason or fault of your own.

But later on, the game sure does get frustrating, then the game isn’t as fun as it was.

Here’s the review I posted on steam.

"This has been revised as my experience has grown. Overall, I would still recommend HoB, but here are my thoughts on some of the more talked about features.

First, the game world. The game world of HoB is pretty exquisite. The art style, creatures, and sense of grandeur are extremely well done. Watching the world change, based on your in game actions, is really neat and satisfying. The way the different pieces of the puzzle-like world fit together and change over time is seamless and I’m pretty blown away. I actually cannot imagine trying to make something like this work. In my eyes, it’s quite an achievement.

Second, the story or lack of one. For me, this isn’t an issue. I’m actually having a great time with the mystery of the world. I feel like the character, I’m just trying to figure out what the hell is going on while piecing things together through the puzzles. It’s pretty refreshing especially since I’m a bit of a snob about writing. I’m not done with the game so I don’t know how it unfolds, but right now (4-5 hours played) it is not an issue. In fact, I think it works incredibly well because of the World’s mysterious atmosphere. That said, a lot of others have expressed frustration about this. Their sentiments have been akin to, “I’m doing this just because.” To those people I say, “use your fucking imagination.”

Third, the combat. Combat is pretty similar to Zelda (much of this game is similar to Zelda). You swing your sword and punch your way to victory. Some mobs die in a couple hits, others take quite awhile to kill. Some aren’t very dangerous, others kill you in 1 hit if you incorrectly time a dodge. The progression of your sword skills/glove skills are noticeable. Enemies explode when they die, combat sounds are present, and when a club smashes the ground, you feel it.

Fourth, the puzzles and secrets. I don’t play tons of puzzle games, but I’ve been enjoying the ones in HoB. I haven’t found one that has completely stumped me for ages, but they don’t feel insignificant either. Thus far, I’m finding them pretty satisfying and with a reasonable amount of variance. I imagine this is because most of them fundamentally alter the layout of the world and for some reason being able to see the impact makes them feel good to me. I’ve discovered several secret areas, and I’m sure I’ve missed others. It’s exciting when you find one. You feel like a small child that has figured out how to get into cookies. Suck it, game.

My gripes:

Fifth, the controls and camera. In general, the controls are fluid on the controller. Your character is responsive, turns well, and moves well in combat. The one caveat to this is during some of the jumping puzzles. Your character cannot turn in the air. Once you jump, you’ve jumped. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve jumped from one log, to the next log, clipped the edge and fallen to my death. It is frothing-at-the-mouth-maddening. Absolutely livid. The veins in my neck look like the forearms of a fucking gorilla. I shit you not, I was backtracking earlier and came to a log jump and died 8 times in a row because my stupid character can’t just stick his giant bionic arm out and grab the side of a log. First jump, wide left. Second jump, wide right. Ensuing jumps, all over the place. Holy shit. I was freaking out. This happens a lot. Oh, nice ladder there. Walk up to it, expect HoB to grab it, instead go flying off the fucking cliff to my death and have to run back. Are you kidding me with this? COME ON, MAN.

Which then, of course, brings me to the camera. It’s fixed, you can’t move it. Which isn’t that bad, exceptt when you’re behind something and literally just have no idea what your character is up to. Whoops, “goodbye cruel world” as you parasail to your death. Lots of weird situations where you’re just running aimlessly, have no idea what’s near you and then smash into something (like thorns) that hurts you. I’m sure there are very good reasons for the camera being fixed, but be prepared to flip your shit. Between the camera/controls while jumping, you’ll be rage quitting for sure. I’ve rage quit a lot.

Lastly, the performance. Performance has been a bit of an issue for a lot of people. Some players cannot even start the game. Fortunately, I’ve avoided those severe issues. In my time playing, I’ve crashed twice. Well, my game has frozen and stopped responding, forcing me to close it out. And you will absolutely experience stuttering in some areas/chugging in some areas regardless of your computer’s power.

Overall: I’ve really enjoyed HoB thus far and I am looking forward to continuing to explore the World’s mysteries. I’d probably rate it 84/100, but that score would easily be in the 90s/100 if they fixed the controls and the performance issues. The camera is only mildly irritating and mostly comounded by the controls. The atmosphere of this game is incredible. Pick it up.

Update: Regarding game length, it took me just under 10 hours to complete the story with roughly half of the steam achievements. I am nowhere near completing all of the puzzles for health, energy, etc."

That is good review, but for me, I find the fixed camera to be more of an issue. There are times I wish you could zoom out a bit more, or even rotate it. as it makes finding stuff that bit harder, or like you say, doing jumps, as some of them can be pretty frustrating with the fixed camera.

if you have a series 10 geforce gcard, there are problems with the game, but I not experienced many issues myself, but its one thing that the devs are aware of. But I do think its too easy to get stuck behind stuff, or go through stuff, (like I said above) once you got the teleport ability, it becomes really annoying.

I would still rate it a 7, I think the issues should be accounted for. But still, a pretty good game, but it seems the game needed a fair bit more testing. maybe in a few more months the game will be a bit more stable.

Yeah, I don’t think I got as experimental with the teleport ability as you did, I did experience getting stuck, as you expressed, but it was mostly from jumping off of high perches and thinking the terrain below me was legitimate. Often, it simply was not. Or “half” was, in the sense that I’d land on it, start the clipping flickering and then get teleported back to whatever checkpoint I’d recently run by (which often was quite a distance).

I’ve also experienced some of the irritating situations where your character moves behind something and you get stuck/cannot figure out how to get back. Most of those happened when I had finished the primary story and was looking for secret areas.

One reason I think I am less bothered by the fixed camera than some others, like yourself, is because early on I adopted the view that they must have done it for a good reason (given its clear limitations) and that, overall, it improves the game experience. Now, that doesn’t excuse it, necessarily. The counterargument can easily be made that they should have done a better job crafting the world, then. I was pretty awestruck by the way the platforms fit together, though, and can’t even imagine trying to configure something like that.

I do agree with your point about the map. I also experienced (what I think was) a bug where my map had no icon demonstrating where I was supposed to go and I was stuck without a clear idea of what to do. Ultimately, I had to join their discord and ask in the “tips and hints” section. In order to move the story forward, I had to clear all the purple stuff. Makes sense, but I really don’t think I would’ve figured that out without the suggestion of another player because until that point all of the clearing of purple I had done had mostly been an accident.

I also do not like the fact that dungeon entrances are not listed on the map. It seems like obfuscation for the sake of obfuscation.

If you could rotate the camera or even zoom it, that would have helped. In the desert type area, you have to take a large walking robot to certain areas, I found if I jump behind it, (and if it is close to a wall) it becomes frustrating to see your char, to unstuck yourself. I think they could have done a better job at the camera for sure. There I places I agree that the fixed camera was useful, but in other places, it becomes a nightmare. (especailly some of the jumping puzzles, and having a fxed camera in a certain direction, for the hell of it.

I think the latest patch is suppose to counter getting stuck in places, but I think if the game had been in testing more, then stuff like this should have been picked up sooner, or shows how bad the world design is.

I think the problem with the area map is is the flatness, it would have been nice if it had a sense of depth, like the main world view, then it would help. But the problem is, the map doesn’t tell you much at all, your better off using a third party map that lists everything.

So yeah, its just a few reasons why I marked the game down. especailly the annoying camera.

It’s a combo of camera + level design. Not only camera.
There is no issue with a fixed camera if you make the world in a way you won’t have issue with a fixed camera.
It’s even easier to do than a free camera as there is only one configuration of the camera.

Hob is often compared to Zelda.
It would have benefited to be a bit more like Zelda.
A Link Between World is perfect on all aspects were Hob is a bit lacking: introduction (for story and tutorial), camera (field of view obstructed, bad timing of position switch) and level design (lack of visibility, colision issues, etc).

Your right.
I do certainly question some of the camera angles in some places. But yeah, I guess that is down to bad level design. I just wish that the camera was a lot better in the dungeons, sometimes, the fixed camera can be so annoying. In one example, I pressed up and it showed a fixed view of a tunnel, but as soon as I existed the tunnel, it goes into a new view and really annoying to see your character, and very easy to go back to the tunnel view, didn’t help that there were monsters beyond the tunnel,

Some of these issues should still have been looked at / addressed. So yeah, bad level design, bad camera system.

In places it just makes the game so annoying to play.