Hoggy 2 – Xbox One Review
Hoggy 2 is a colourful retro style side scrolling puzzle platformer, that may look simplistic at first glance, but the deeper you get into it, the more it taxes you brain with it ingenious puzzles. There is very little in the way of storyline but what is there is merely to set up the series of every more challenging levels that takes you to the final boss fight.
Our hero Hoggy is an amorphous lilac blob of a character, who while enjoying a nice day a nice day out with Mrs Hoggy and the family, the kids are abducted by the evil moon men and are taken to their lunar base. Hoggy (or his wife if you want to play as her) must jump into jars (work his way through the platforms within, avoid the traps and enemies and eat all the fruit to gain a key. Collect set amounts of keys to unlock doors that let you progress further. Get through all 220 levels and you finally get to the moon base to take on the boss and rescue the kids.
Hoggy can only move left and right along platforms, and can’t jump, but instead will reverse his gravity at the press of a button, so will fly from the wall to the ceiling or platform directly above, and vice versa. As you progress, various obstacles such as spikes or bombs are added to make your route more difficult. There are also various enemies that move in set patterns that you must avoid, as one touch from them and you explode like a crushed berry, to be sent back to the beginning of the level. There are blocks that will cause instant death (by way of a comedy boxing glove) if you touch it, so traversing your way around it is important. Some walls and floors can be destroyed, and to do this you need to eat an acorn. You then morph into a cube, that moves in the same way, but has the explosive power to destroy the first item it crashes into. Be careful though, as it only has one charge, so use it in the wrong place and you’ll be stuck and need to reset the level.
The first few levels can be whizzed through but the difficultly curve is well thought out and its not long before you’re treating each level like a game of chess, thinking four or five moves ahead before making your first move. When that started to make my brain hurt, I employed the trial and error method, getting so far and dying, and hopefully learning from the mistakes. While most levels are about you figuring out the moves to make and in what order, there are the odd level where its all about timing, making sure you hit the jump at the right point to avoid getting squished. That can become frustrating if it takes multiple attempts but luckily this type of level isn’t that great in number. Hoggy 2 can easily become addictive as you challenge yourself to beat the puzzles and it turns into one of those games where you tell yourself ‘just one more level’ and you’re still at it an hour later.
The game doesn’t hide its inspiration, and that’s in platforming classics of gaming history. The movement, level furniture and enemies take elements from games like Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog and put them into a game that might run at a slower pace but it still rewarding. The characters are bright, simple and it has a charming childlike quality. Indeed there is actually a kids mode for younger players. The levels are less complex, and there are only 20 of them, so let the youngsters have a go, or if you don’t have any, you could use this mode like a tutorial, easing yourself into the game before tackling the ‘grown up’ version.
As you’d expect from a Ratalaika Games release, the achievements fall into the easy peasy category, and it should take you well under two hours to pick up the full !000G. Unlike a lot of their other releases, you’ll probably not stop playing once you get all the achievements, as by then the puzzles will have got under your skin enough to want to carry on the challenge. After all, you’ll be nowhere near completion of the game, and still have plenty to do. There are three boss levels to tackle, and they very much reminded me of a Sonic game, so much so that they seem like a direct rip off. But then if you’re going to copy an idea, make sure you copy it from the best, so I’ve no real complaints on that front.
Along with the extra kids mode, there a nifty level editor that you can spend long periods playing around with, designing your own fiendish levels before getting your friends and family to try them out. Make them as fun or evil as you like, as they are very simple to design with the intuitive controls.
Overall, Hoggy 2 might look simplistic but underneath the childish facade there is a hell of a lot on offer that will keep you occupied for quite a while and give great value for the budget price. Just keep an eye on the time when saying ‘just one more level’ as you could be playing a longer than you had planned.
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Many Thanks to Ratalaika Games for the review copy.