Name: Heave Ho
Developer: Le Cartel Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC and Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
I’m starting to wonder what criteria Devolver Digital has to the games they want to publish. Catchy name, check. Colorful graphics, check. Gameplay that is simple but absurd, check. Heave Ho obviously contains all this, but what is it really? Let’s find out.
Simple but charming, done.
Okay, we might have to say more than that, but how that is the question. It looks painted with simple details in the background to establish the theme of each map. With the course and players in focus, its what you will feast your eyes on the most part. It all looks like drawn with crayon, mixed with paint to bring the environment to life. If you fall to your death, you literally spray your insides all over the map.
Heave Ho has a simple theme when it comes to the graphics, and the gameplay follows right behind. You control a creature with only two arms, nothing more. The arms are the only way to move this creature, and the whole point is to move from A to B landing in the finish line basket. The platforms are moving, you will have to climb, swing and occasionally fall to the end, with different dangers to stop you or make you fall to your doom. That is the whole premise, but also the most important part is that you should have some friends with you because this is what it’s all about. This is a couch party game, where you all will have to cooperate to reach the goal as fast and with as little death as possible. You control each arm that you use to grab with, often holding on to something to swing from one obstacle to another. With friends, you grab each other to make a swing that can launch you all in the right direction.
Coordination gets tested when one will have to let go, so the one in the other end can grab before you all fall. Levels are also sprinkled with secondary objectives, such as coins that the player must grab and bring with them to the goal. These provide an extra layer of challenge as the coin removes whatever hand is holding it from play, causing cooperation to become even more important than it was before. Another way to earn coins is by playing minigames, activated by pulling a golden rope that will occasionally appear in a level. These mini-games range from tossing basketballs into a hoop to matching somebody’s dance moves, and depending on how you do can result in a good coin haul at the end of it all. These coins can then be taken into a slot machine on the main menu, which will unlock costumes for your character. It is possible to play alone also but, many of the levels will be excruciating hard to finish by your self. It also takes away a lot of the fun the game has, so treat it as a multiplayer game.
Five buttons are all it takes, with two of them is just there to express your mood (happy, sad) grab left and grab right on the corresponding trigger and joystick to position the arms. Simple, and effective. If you struggle to know what arm you should use there is an assist that puts gloves with different colors and R or L on each limb. At the beginning of the game, you get a warning that you should use a gamepad to play. It is definitely true, and you should, by all means, use one if playing on PC.
Playing through won’t take you long, but it also fits what it aims for. It makes it possible to gather a group of friends one night and play through it all. For the completionists, you could spend some time perfecting your time or collect every coin and find every bonus stage. Unlock more costumes to differentiate each other, or bring a new set of friends to play with to see if they are better.
Graphics - 9/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Controls - 9/10
Replay Value - 7/10
Heave Ho is simple and approachable party fun, that you should definitely show your friends the next time you gather. It will give hours of laughter when all of you move around like idiots trying to finish it. The lack of online multiplayer might be a disappointment for some, but the fun is definitely to play with friends
- A chaotic and fun multiplayer experience
- An assist mode for people who are directionally challenged
- Great art style
- Simple controls
- A not as memorable soundtrack that we are used to