Developed By: Le Cartel Studio
Published By: Devolver Digital
Category: Multiplayer Platformer
Release Date: 08.29.2019
Heave Ho is a multiplayer or solo experience in which you will traverse differing areas of difficulty with the final goal to reach the end. It has a bit of platformer flavor with a lot of physics-based strategy mixed in. Think Mount Your Friends mixed with Ultimate Chicken Horse. This makes for a game that can be a really amazing time for a group of friends on the couch, as well as something to challenge your own skills with as you get better, faster, and heave yourself to victory.
The premise of this one is simple. You control little, round characters with long arms that you must use to get to the final goal. You move your arms around with the control stick and grip with each hand separately with the triggers. This is a similar mechanic to Bread Simulator, or other grip games, where you have to hold on for dear life, as well as allow you to move through the stages using physics-based platforming and momentum. Using these controls you gather up with up to four friends in order to try to get to the end together as a team. You can grab onto each other just as much as the platforms and that is how you will get past some of these challenges.
With that you also have some strategy and puzzle aspects to the stages you will have to complete to progress. Some stages move and some have some serious death-defying pits you will have to overcome in order to get to the end “hoop”. This makes for a ton of coordination with the group you are playing with and plenty of communication. When playing single-player things get a bit simpler, as each stage can be completed solo, but you still have to have the skills to reach the end and the sight to see the best way to get through the stage.
The single-player campaign is a ton of fun as well, and comes highly recommended as a pretty decent standalone experience. The real meat and potatoes of this one comes in its multiplayer functionality, but if the game looks fun and you don’t have people to play with, or prefer going it alone, then you will still find a pretty good time here in this one. You also have the ability to race yourself to the finish on each stage as there is the addition of a timer in order to get you to try to not only master your skills but do them with as much speed as possible. Coins litter the levels to increase the difficulty by adding on additional routes that are necessary to take.
Mini games break up progressing through the stages with an interesting take on basketball. It is pretty simple, with the only goal being to launch as many balls as possible through the hoop in the allotted time, but this is really tricky and difficult with the mechanics you have to work with and accuracy is something that you will find you lack until you have really mastered how this game gets down to business.
Characters can be customized to add some flavor to the game and to allow for distinction between the characters outside of the color differences. This can be seen as baseline cosmetics, but it actually can be helpful as well when playing as a group to be able to quickly discern who is who through the wacky outfits and accessories you give your little friends.
The art style here reminds me of a low detail, oil paint sort of canvas, You have characters and backdrops that don’t have harsh lines or edges, as everything is kind of bubbled out and rippled. Bright colors make for easier differentiation and also make for a bright aesthetic that you will find pleasing to the eye. The interesting use of bursts of color that come out of deaths when you take a fall add a Super Meat Boy style of harshness to your demise. All of that adds to the experience you will be having with your friends as you take on these challenges. I thought the use of pure black platforms on this colorful backdrop was a little bit of an odd choice. I understand that that way you can easily identify where you can grab on to, but I feel like you could have done something more interesting here in order to stay with the unique flavor this one brings to the table throughout.
Heave Ho has a lot going for it and coming from Devolver Digital you know at the get-go it is one to take note of. It definitely doesn’t disappoint. The mechanics aren’t new to the gaming world, but they are still new enough that they feel fresh, and adding in the multiplayer mechanic of working together makes for a twist that brings a great, new experience to the Switch. You have great gameplay and tons of replay ability with the multiplayer functions and speed-based functions in the single-player. The game’s only lacking in depth. You have some breaks from the monotony with the basketball mini game, varying modes, and ever-changing stages to complete, but once you have the game down and start to get bored with what you have going on you really can’t do something else in the game to get yourself back into it. Beyond that this is an experience that couch co-op lovers must own and anyone who enjoys good games as a whole will want to check out.
Buy Now – $9.99
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*The Switch Effect was provided a review code for this game*