Hobo

Hobo

The Homeless Guy Is Out!: Find out how fun he is to control...

I’ve been known in the past to write off any game that does just one of many things to upset me. This includes: presenting me with more than one page of written instructions, taking longer than is necessary with a long and convoluted introduction (only Muse and Star Wars can get away with this), attempting to be something more complex than it is, imitating the iOS user interface when not running iOS (if we see imitation apps, We're out) unintuitive movement controls and monumentally annoying movement controls in general. With this in mind, you can’t begin to imagine the wideness of the grin on my face when we came across a game called ‘Hobo’; you could practically see my wisdom teeth from across the room.

To begin with, the briefest of explanations concerning the controls for the game was refreshing. When an instruction manual for anything quite literally fits into a box the size of a postage stamp, you can assume one of two things; that you’re either in for an incredibly good time or that what you’re about to play is something really, really bad. Thankfully, ‘Hobo’ proves itself to be the latter from the very outset. There are no WASD as we would have liked but rules have exceptions, and the lack of other controls makes up for the marginally less convenient use of arrow buttons for movement

Your Hobo character disgustingly yet quite hilariously incorporates spitting, burping and other bodily functions into his special moves, which are activated by using action buttons of various combinations in quick succession. At risk of issuing spoilers, we have the following moves:  Spit: AAS, Mucous Shower: SSA, Burp: AS, Carefully-aimed Rectal gust: SA, ASA is your standard vomit attack (a classic hobo move seen used by a tramp near you!) and finally SAS sees our hobo use his bowels to his full advantage, taking what was previously an (almost) harmless fart one step further and pretty much just launching faeces at his opponent.  No one ever said being homeless was glamorous.

You have the ability to pick up items to use as weapons (glass bottles, trash cans) in the style of Streets of Rage (a game that servers as the comparator that sits on its own pedestal when reviewing beat-em-ups)and you even encounter enemies in the very same way. Of these enemies you encounter in your unreasonably aggressive quest, there are mainly your  generic-type foes such as casual strollers, other homeless men, comically intoxicated stoners in ‘Stoner Park’ and anyone else unfortunate enough to be roaming the streets at the time. Some of the more disgruntled generic people have the remarkable ability to not put up with your insane behaviour and actually use weapons against you; these foes can prove harder than others to defeat. Even innocent bystanders become targets in this game. Apparently there isn’t a hobo code of honour about these sorts of things; we struggle to be surprised at this.

The ability to pick up basic and most importantly, easily memorable combo moves along the way is what sets this game apart from those similar to it (this is where the spitting comes into play). For those that are squeamish or easily offended, basic manners are out the window with this game. This is to be expected, and after all, you wouldn’t invite an angry hobo around for Sunday dinner so what do you care? The option of starting from a checkpoint also makes the game less frustrating to play than most. There is none of what is famous to all gamers as ‘Reset frustration/Nintendo frustration/Sega rage’ where your extensive progress cannot be saved and returned to at a later date. Finally,there is the option of changing difficulty if you’re finding your casual hobo street fights too much of a breeze.

We're of the opinion that needless complexity is like the annoying friend of gaming who is always late – you’re familiar with it, you’ve experienced it, maybe even hung around with it a few times but when you see it, you don’t want it back spoiling your quiet, simple birthday party and spilling beer all over your new wood-effect laminate flooring.  Just remember; Simplicity was first on the guest list, and he made the party fun for everyone.

Theres plenty more of the games in the series if you manage to complete the first of the series (there's actually 7 games in total!) plus a fun alternative by the same developers known as 'Ninja Brawl' acting as a sort of comical hack n slasher that pays homage to Castle Crashers.