Runic games are the creators of Torchlight and Torchlight II. If you don’t know what those are, they are Diablo clones for the PC. In fact a couple of the people that worked on Diablo 1 and 2 worked on the Torchlight series. Both Torchlight games are very solid games. They are well done and the art style is really cool. Their new game, Hob, is taking a new direction for the independent company but looks very promising.
Unlike their previous games, Hob is not an action rpg like Diablo but an action adventure in the vein of the Zelda series. The world of Hob is one of mystery. You wake up on what seems to be another planet with no information about who you are and where you are. And you have to figure out what’s going on. There is no actual dialogue and very minimal on screen prompts.
The creators said some of their inspirations for Hob were ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. Both of which are very similar in that there is not much dialogue for the player. And it’s up to the player to figure out things and explore the world and learn the story.
What makes Hob really stand out is the world itself, which is constantly changing as you progress through the game. It physically moves and changes as you interact with it. Apparently this was a pretty big challenge for the designers. On a recent post on the Playstation blog, Patrick Blank, goes into some detail the work they had to do to make the game work function the way they wanted it to. Check out the video below to get an idea of this. It’s pretty neat.
Also mentioned in the above post is the utility glove which is what you use to interact with the world. The glove is one of the items you upgrade to get new abilities and access new areas. A bit metroidvania if you ask me. Which is most definitely a good thing. In the example below your upgrade the glove to use as a grappling hook.
I’m excited to see what other abilities you’ll be able to get.
Part of making your way through the world is solving various puzzles. Your glove plays a big part in this. As I mentioned, Hob is all about exploration and finding new ways to do things, including solving puzzles. Not only do you have to figure out how to navigate through the world (such as using the grappling upgrade) but exploration off the beaten path is rewarded. It’s something that is going to be encouraged in fact.
On top of all that the graphics are very well done and engaging. Very high fantasy and reminiscent of the style of Torchlight. It has a nice use of colors that make it stand out. It looks smooth and of course the aforementioned changing world adds a nice element of a living world.
All in all, it looks like Hob has a lot of promise. There is no release date as of yet, but it has been slated for PS4 and PC “soon”. I’m pretty excited for this one and I hope it does well. What do you guys think?
5/7/2016 Christopher D. Anderson