Hohokum PS4 preview – Gleeful, acid-trippy indie game wants all the smiles

It’s unfortunate that the word Hohokum sounds a bit like ho-hum, because it’s hard to imagine ever growing bored while immersed in the bizarre subconscious of artist Richard Hogg. There are just too many interesting little flourishes piled on top of each other, too many colourful oddities flying and walking and buzzing about. You play as one such critter, in fact – a stripey snake called The Long Mover.

Hohokum PS4 preview 

Your job is simple: weave around the screen like a kite-tail ribbon in a breeze, explore and have fun. The game avoids telling you what to do, instead letting you poke about and enjoy the second-to-second revelations about how the world functions and how its scattered puzzles function.

During our own hands-on in the Honeyslug office, we fly past a tree with little buds that sprout and snap shut each time we bump into them. Immediately we forget about what we’d been exploring before and fixate on trying to get all the buds open. Sounds like a five-second job, right?

“We finally nail it – after unleashing swears as colourful as the game itself”

The catch is that the buds on the branches act like pinball bumpers, knocking you away when you collide with them. Failing to get our angle of approach right means ricocheting between several buds and messing up our perfectly uniform arrangement. We do finally nail it – after unleashing swears as colourful as the game itself.

The world is packed with snack- sized distractions of this sort. Having completed the tree challenge, a bizarre little animal emerges blinking from a cave beneath the trunk to silently acknowledge our triumph. It’s the little things, as they say, and Hohokum proves that an avalanche of little things can really add up. SMALL WONDER “I want to have more things like this [tree],” Hogg tells us.

“I want to have rewards that feel like they’re worth the effort.” The game’s other lead designer Ricky Haggett thinks trophies will be enough: “I don’t feel like it’s important to have a really amazing reward for doing a hard thing. The reward is that the game recognises that you did a really hard thing, and I think trophies will be a nice way to do that.”

HohokumThough more mechanically involved than the similarly kooky Proteus, Hohokum does share its desire to cultivate exploration and build a soundtrack that reacts to what you do. Each of the blissed-out electronic tracks from Ghostly label artists, such as Tycho and Shigeto, are carved into multiple sonic layers, which fade in and out dynamically based on where you are in the level or what you’re interacting with at any given time