Even though the Vita is now coming to the end of its lifespan, it has to be said that it had a great run. Thanks to the dedication of companies who stuck with the console bringing games out on a regular basis like Eastasiasoft and Ratalaika, the Vita lasted a lot longer than many expected it to. And thanks to Ratalaika who were actively working with indie PC developers to bring their games to console platforms we’re able to experience the platform puzzle game Hoggy 2 for ourselves…
About Hoggy 2
Our rotund hero, Hoggy – who resembles a pink marshmallow with eyeballs – is out enjoying a day out with his wife and children when suddenly they are attacked. His children are kidnapped by the evil moon men and a bomb explodes trapping Hoggy and his wife deep underground. Stuck in a subterranean labyrinth the hapless parents have to find a way out, gather keys to unlock all the door blocking the path ahead so they can once again be reunited with their children.
What ensues is basically an excuse for a good old fashioned platform puzzle game. Right at the start you can choose to control Hoggy or his wife Hogatha. Both play and control exactly the same and don’t affect the gameplay in any way, but it’s always a nice touch when games offer a choice for the main protagonist, even more so when the story itself involves both parents.
The Action Begins
On to the game and you have to take your chosen hero through the underground environment, exploring a series of rooms to find all the keys you need to escape. These are found in jars scattered around the underground passage ways. Entering each of the jars will take you to a mysterious room populated with creatures, fruit and all manner of obstacles and puzzles to overcome. Simply collect all of the fruit in each room, collect the key and you’re returned to the game environment to continue your quest.
It’s not that easy though. Your movement is limited to just walking left and right. Pressing fire flips gravity for your character and you swap from ground to ceiling and vice versa. Collecting different objects in some of the levels will temporarily transform our globular hero, giving him or her different abilities, essential to get to areas blocked off by walls, hazards or with creatures blocking your path. As well as the fruit you can see, many pieces are hidden inside bricks that can be destroyed by colliding with them, in a similar fashion to the Super Mario Bros series. The rest… that’s for you to discover.
Run in to any of the hazards or creatures on any of the game’s 200 plus levels and instead of it being game over or losing one of a fixed number of lives, you simply get the chance to try again. And in true Ratalaika fashion you can retry as many times as you need to until you complete the level, and infact the game (which autosaves your progress as you go along). While there are some who may object to this approach and may feel that it makes the game too easy, I’d disagree and say that if anything it’s the opposite and makes it more accessible. When it comes to the bosses that you encounter throughout the game, it certainly helps having the unlimited retries as there’s no warning about these until you discover them in the room themselves.
As you can see, the game looks superb. It’s adopted cartoon-like visuals throughout and the cutesy look fits the game perfectly. The game is incredibly well animated and is full of character and charm, with colourful and bold backgrounds, superbly detailed facial expressions on the main characters and some silky smooth parallax scrolling to add that extra touch to what is already a treat to the eyes.
Sound follows suit, and features effects and music reminiscent of classic console platformers. Even though most of the levels need perseverance and could leave you tearing your hair out, the sound and music help create an almost soothing and relaxed atmosphere. So what could be a game that would be left by the wayside not long after you pick it up quickly becomes a fun gaming experience and hard to put down in no part because of the ambience created by the graphics and sound.
So that brings me on to the gameplay. Despite being what would be considered a budget game, Hoggy 2 offers an incredible amount for gamers to sink their teeth into. The puzzles vary in difficulty but there’s a gentle learning curve that eases you in at a pace that’s comfortable enough to make the early levels quick to grasp the basics without proving frustrating. You’ll quickly find that after completing your first few levels that you’ll be hooked and find it almost impossible to put down.
Hoggy 2 is a deceptively simple game but fiendishly addictive. The autosave function makes it an ideal game for longer sessions just as much as it does for quick pick up and play games when you’ve only got a few minutes spare making it an ideal title for all gamers, no matter how you use your Vita, at home or on the move.
I can’t recommend Hoggy 2 enough, especially at the £3.99 price point. As with all of the other Vita titles from Ratalaika, it’s Cross Buy with the PS4 offering even greater value for money for gamers. So if you’ve got both consoles so there’s no excuse for buying a game that will keep you enthralled for hours on end.
At A Glance
- Title: Hoggy 2
- Publisher: Ratalaika
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Memory Card Spare Required: Mb
- Cross Buy: Y (PS4)
- Cross Play: N/A
- Online Multiplayer: N/A
- Local Multiplayer: N/A
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Y
The copy of Hoggy 2 used for this review was provided by Ratalaika Games.