04/09/2019

๐Ÿฉ Heave Ho - REVIEW (Switch) - "...Swing when you’re winning" ๐Ÿฉ #GameDev #IndieGames

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Developer Le Cartel’s previous game was the uber-violent, side-scrolling drug-fuelled brawler Mother Russia Bleeds, a fantastic game (especially in local co-op, natch) filled with faeces-throwing, vomiting and face-stomping.

HEAVE HO, their next title takes the natural next step of being a physics-based party game. Good!

I love a good local party game. From Jackbox to Speedrunners and Stick-Fight, I’ve had some good times and hard laughs over the years with the genre. The difficulty with physics-based games is that, quite often, the ‘joke’ comes from janky controls, titles like Stick Fight can get away with it because of the fun level designs but Surgeon Simulator, for most people is a ten-minute gag that runs out of steam quickly.
For me, HEAVE HO really worked and had the person I was playing the game with in tears of laughter at the gameplay and as of writing this, it is definitely included in my next four-player game night.
The premise is wonderfully simple. Presented in 2D, you are essentially a face with arms and gloved fists (one red and one blue) and after customising your character, you and up to three other friends have to traverse a single-screen puzzle using only grip and momentum.
The controls are -  the thumb-stick rotates your arms and the shoulder buttons clench your fists and allow you to grab hold of platforms, items and, of course….each other.
The levels start off simply enough, teasing you into the gameplay by letting you clumsily swing your way across platforms to the finishing line but soon you are forced to work together, huge gaps between platforms mean clinging on to each other and chain-swinging across and a perfectly-timed fling can be the key to success, all the while desperately trying to shout commands, acting as a well-oiled flesh-machine to get to the finish line and keeping track of which of your hands is holding onto what or whom…
it’s a manic, bubbling cauldron of joy from which you’ll hear yourself saying lines like:


“Quick, grab my face!”
and
“Forget the coin, we need to move before the llama farts!”
Random mini-games break up the main game and a llama that sometimes trots across the screen can do things that can affect how the game is played, for instance, the aforementioned fart that obscures the screen, making progress far more difficult, not to mention the collectable coins that are teasingly out of reach and require some serious dexterity to pick-up and juggle to the end of the level, there are also a lot of unlockable extras and customisations to add flavour to the proceedings.
Summary
HEAVE HO is one of the most fun party games that I’ve played in a while because it’s not only a really fun idea, it’s a fun idea designed and implemented well with a host of other fun things thrown in to add depth and longevity.

To be honest, with Le Cartel’s previous games, we shouldn’t have expected anything less.


Right, I’m off to grab some face.

❄️ RATING: ICE COOL ❄️
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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