Hohokum: I think I liked it?

August 21, 2014


I’ve been sitting here, staring at a blank page for almost an hour. How do you write about a game like Hohokum? I recall my adventures with the game’s lead “character,” taking me through vast worlds full of bizarre characters and creatures that are all unique, yet somehow feel singular. It’s a game with no real premise or clear objectives, yet I found myself (sometimes) engaged with its colorful landscapes. Let’s explore Hohokum and see if we can dissect it, shall we?

You begin the game as a strange snake-worm thing and are taught how to perform the game’s most basic actions. You can move normal speed, slow down or speed up by wiggling the stick back and forth quickly. Immediately you are hit with a feeling of satisfaction as you take control of our hero. The controls are perfectly responsive, and the amount of speed you can gain through simple movements is remarkable. It isn’t long before you’re introduced to the crux of the experience.

You are presented with a series of portals, each taking you to a different environment with its own set of objectives to complete. The catch: you never are made aware of these objectives, as the game doesn’t give you the slightest idea of what you need to do beyond that first tutorial section. This is where things get tricky. You explore each environment, interacting with everything you can, attempting to figure out the puzzle that is Hohokum. This lack of clear direction will either amuse or frustrate you. As such, it’s an experience that last anywhere from an hour to a dozen (or more).


When you complete the “main” objective in each environment, you’re treated with a colorful scene of another snake-like creature. Soon enough, they join you on your adventure, at least in that particular area, and will follow you just about anywhere. This is when I realized what I needed to accomplish: go to a world, interact with as much as possible and find another friend. If you find them all, you might be able to say you’ve solved the core mystery of Hohokum. Maybe.

The lack of structure might completely appeal to you and perhaps even captivate you, but I won’t deny I found its aimlessness tedious as well as captivating. I’m someone who loves objectives, missions and goals. If you take that away, you have a game I’ll fiddle with for a few minutes before moving on to something else. Hohokum captivated my imagination, but also frustrated with its obtuse approach to puzzle design.

After I explored as much as I could, I tried to focus on actually completing what I consider to be the main objective of each world, as mentioned above, but found myself getting bored quickly. Maybe I was missing the point. Maybe my gaming identity doesn’t quite gel with the philosophy of Hohokum’s design. Or maybe, just maybe, its lack of structure is both a blessing and a curse.


I don’t really know if there’s much more to say about this odd little title. It’s visually stunning, with an incredible soundtrack and some satisfying controls, but for every moment of excitement, there was at least one of boredom. It left me both satisfied and wanting something more. It’s something you simply need to try for yourself, immerse yourself in completely, before you know if it’s right for you. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite, or maybe you’ll forget about it mere hours after your attempt to give it a go. Regardless, it’s hard to deny that this curiosity of a game isn’t worth at least playing, even if it only provides a few blissful moments of entertainment.

Pros: Undeniably great visuals and music, tight and satisfying controls
Cons: Its aimlessness might just drive you insane

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.