No tutorial, no dialogue, no objective-guiding arrows—one might think the lack of these things would make for a confusing game, but as the saying goes: less is more.
Hob is a charming game that embraces the philosophy of “simplicity is best”, concentrating instead on what someone might overlook with a chunky HUD in the way: greenery, fairy tale-like animals pouncing about and vivid colors bursting with life (literally—some plants burst to reveal treasure pieces).
That’s how it starts, anyway. The world has its monsters as you navigate past the initial pastoral dreamscape, and there are clues of a diseased evil tainting the place.
The latest game from Runic Games (previous: Torchlight and Torchlight II), Hob takes you on a wordless journey of puzzles and combat reminiscent of adventures from the 90s. You start off following a boulder-robot, a stark contrast to the pastoral landscape it exists in. The protagonist, a red-hooded imp-like figure, is a curious one, but is soon punished for this curiosity and loses an arm after a purple taint attacks him. The robot generously fixes his own arm onto your protagonist’s, triggering the title card and the start of the game: with a huge, mechanical arm at your side, exploration calls.
There’s much to discover about the world you’re in, minimalist in its hints of what the old, hidden civilizations were for. You go from traversing forests to mechanized deserts, while dropping underground to occasional caves and dungeons where you discover new abilities.
The visuals of these levels make Hob a stunning joy to be in. New abilities divulge new paths, as you remember to go back to a previously closed spot and feel satisfied in proceeding without a compass.
Hob is interesting, it’s beautiful and it’s unknown. It leaves just the right amount of mystery in your travels to push you forward, motivated to unlock the secrets behind this gorgeous world.
You can pick up Hob on Steam now for $19.99 USD. Click here to go to Steam.