Aug 19, 2017 Last Updated 12:39 PM, Aug 17, 2017

HoPiKo Review

Published in Action
Read 1191 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

From UK-based developer Laser Dog, HoPiKo is a title you do not want to miss.

Described as an “intense speed run platformer,” HoPiKo features a world where the titular species live peacefully inside video game consoles until a virus enslaves them all. All but one. You. Found in an old NES cartridge, you are the last free HoPiKo, setting out to save gaming and its people. Your target? A virus you’ll punch in the face repeatedly, across various worlds strewn with monsters.

Crisp Lines and Deep Bass

It’s pretty mindblowing a game this robust only took eight months to build. Upon first glance, the art is striking. In line with its theme, “to save video gaming,” thick lines and sharp corners stylize its graphics. Its quasi-pixel art is very well done and you’ll appreciate the visuals for what they are. Strong color palettes and combinations dominate, while the layout of its user interface blends in the environment and the interactive elements popping up on screen.

Heavy on the particles, but never in a way that clutters the screen, the visual effects enhance the gameplay’s intensity. Small pixels trail behind your HoPiKo, as it soars through the level and flies through speed gates. The final impact of the seemingly genderless pixel, colliding with a virus at the end of every level, is met with a satisfying boom and flash of light, followed by the monstrous floating eyeball imploding upon itself while HoPiKo flies off to the next stage. Dying means the screen glitches for a split second, sure to shock the senses and make one’s eyes hurt after the 40th death… ahem. And if you’re the type sensitive to such effects, don’t turn your back on this great game: you can turn them off via the menu.

Thrumming bass lines and riveting drum tracks are a real kick.

That’s great. Often times in the platformers that require you to try over and over again, music gets repetitive, grating, and irritating. Here, the soundtrack adds to the atmosphere, and keep you focused on jumping your way to the end of a level. In fact, it kept me motivated to power through and persevere until I completed all the levels. I’m pretty sure Chiptune fans will be instantly drawn in, especially if hardcore enthusiasts of the LSDJ Gameboy setup used to record said soundtrack. Music is even part of the game’s progression: tracks are unlocked as you advance and can be set to shuffle or repeat through the game’s playlist. You’ll also be glad to know that, should you fall in love with it as I did, the full soundtrack is available to buy and stream at Laser Dog’s bandcamp page.

Jump, Punch, Repeat

Your most valuable skills are speed and accuracy. You’ll be testing them as you jump from a platform to another, whiz yourself between enemy hazards, and hurtle yourself at the bosses you’ll face upon finishing every level. With everything happening at once, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with sensory overload, which actually adds to HoPiKo’s appeal.

The tutorial isn’t thrilling but well designed: you’ll be introduced to the basic mechanics and controls, enough to get you in shape for the first level sets. That’s when the fun begins, that’s when you start to get a real feel for its pace. Gameplay, of course, evolves as you progress, introducing platforms that induce physics and rotate depending on when you land, along with enemies that shoot lasers.

HoPiKo forces you to be logical and stay on your toes.

Thankfully for a game of sharp turns and corners, the learning curve isn’t that steep, but the constant introduction of environments and enemies keeps it fresh. HoPiKo isn’t easy, but you learn from your countless mistakes and deaths – mine totaled a number figure nearing three digits – and the initial frustration you might feel early in-game will turn itself over to fun. I ended up cursing a lot more at myself than at the game, for my faulty muscle memory and lack of speed, and repeatedly dying never made me want to ragequit. Real signs of an action game well done.

While a level’s objective has you aiming for its final boss, an overarching structure has features to keep it engaging across them all. A mini-level is completed when done within a few allotted seconds, which is then marked off by a checkmark. Then, in every set of five mini-levels—called a run—there’s a console for you to collect, consequently adding a few seconds to your timer. Once ten runs are completed, the next world opens up, plus Hardcore and Speedrun mode. These extra modes will have you completing every mini-level one after another, for a total of fifty in one long run. These modes also handle deaths quite differently: Speedmode allows you to start again from the current mini-level, while Hardcore makes you start from the first mini-level on death. Certainly not for the weak of heart and mind.

On a side note, I didn’t get to experience HoPiKo with a controller. I wish I did because its controls are unique. A single stick is used to maneuver around, and a quick flick is all you need to aim and launch. In short, there’s no need for buttons to slow your gameplay down.

9

The Verdict

While an absolute blast for all speedrunners, completionists, and Chiptune enthusiasts, HoPilo's excellent visuals, catchy backing tracks, and dynamic gameplay will speak to anyone looking to sink their teeth into a boldly colorful, fast-paced action platformer.

Image Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://opnoobs.com/reviews/indie/action/hopiko#sigProIdb227c67608
Philip de Leon

Gamer, bookworm, and all around nerd, Philip is a guy who writes about all sorts of things. When he isn't writing, he hunts for new music, studies Japanese, reads short stories and comics,and plays some games on the side. Find him lurking in bookstores or spacing out wherever.

Related items

  • DUSK Unleashes Trailer. Multiplayer Revealed.

    Reports came through that publisher New Blood Interactive and developer David Szymanski have been hard at work developing DUSK, and getting ready to pull that hunk of delicious retro fps out of the development oven they’ve released the above trailer.

  • Bad Seed to Launch Open Beta INSIDIA This Summer

    Bad Seed announces multiplayer post-apocalyptic turn-based INSIDIA to launch Open Beta on Steam this summer. INSIDIA is a tactical game, where players control a band of four champions in hectic turn-based online PvP battles. Build your team from a colorful roster of wild characters, including fierce punks, mutated wizards and steampunk knights, each with their own unique set of abilities and skills, and then duel it out in thrilling 15-minute matches.

  • Vostok Inc. Review

    Vostok Inc. is as addictive as any other incremental game – in fact, it’s one of the better incremental games to come out; it has a lot more polish and character, along with humor, great artwork, and music. It’s nigh impossible to stop playing (because, what happens when you reach the last number there is?), but once you do, you wonder what the point of it all was.

More in this category: Super Death Arena Review »

Latest Shows

MyWorld Early Ac…

MyWorld – THE Action RPG Maker! Unleash your imagination with MyWorld and create, share and play amazing 3D adventures with our growing community. Claim glory and treasure as you c...

The Search Inter…

Embark on a journey of discovery and inspiration in The Search - a story-driven puzzle-adventure set in a mysterious world where art comes to life! In an unknown world, you'll sear...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

The Inner World …

The flute nose dynasty has been watching over Asposia for centuries on end. In secret, they fill the...

Total War: WARHA…

Sequel to the award-winning Total War: WARHAMMER, Total War: WARHAMMER II introduces a breathtaking ...

Halcyon 6: Light…

Right now, Halcyon 6: Lightspeed Edition is very much (if not only) a sum of its parts; luckily, Massive Damage made sure that each of those parts is well-executed. Hopefully, the ...

Pyre Review

Gamers will talk about Pyre for a good while. Vivid visuals pair well with energizing audio, and both complement the subtle, mechanical gameplay; Pyre, a stunning package,provides ...

The Long Dark Re…

The Long Dark is imperfect, but it could be one of the best experiences in the survival genre. For the impatient, single-player gamer, The Long Dark holds little promise. However, ...

Total War: WARHA…

Yet another in an already long line of excellent pieces of DLC for what has shaped up to be a living classic in the realm of PC games. If you like the game, you'll almost definitel...