HoPiKo is a game that takes no prisoners. Luckily for us, so immediate is the gameplay, so damn addictive, that going back over old ground again and again feels like a fitting punishment for failure, and one that makes success when it comes seem all the sweeter.
Your job is to set about annihilate a computer virus that’s taken hold of your favorite games console a machine that looks suspiciously like an old NES unit during the game’s opening cut scene. Initially, is a question of jumping between platforms set at all manner of angles before rescuing the good guys, trapped in a sort of red, blocky and typically digital force-field.
Similarly, get your angles wrong and fire off in an odd direction and you will suffer the exact same fate, making each and every level one packed full of instant judgements and on a knife edge reflexes. Little MP3 players pop up every now and again that are designed to take you little off course, but when captured bring with them a brand new tune, each one just as catchy as the last.
It is an inventive way of doing something very simple that most developers would overlook, yet it serves as the perfect symbol of what HoPiKo looks to do from the start: a game that, on the surface, could have come out 20 or 30 years ago, but one that adds the odd fresh touch here and there to bring play into the 21st century.
With several platforms making up each stage, success in HoPiKo is a multiple case of rinse and repeat, with every move carried out at lightning speed. Success in HoPiKo requires doggedness, even when, unlike leagues of other mobile games, every indicator is telling you you are a bit rubbish. It is that old school approach to gaming get better or die trying that makes HoPiKo really stand out.
HoPiKo is punishing set up may alienate more casual gaming players, but it is a magnificent celebration of reaction based arcade play of old, with a superb soundtrack adding to a game with an unashamedly retro ethic.