HoPiKo at EGX 2016 – Fast Frantic Fun

One of the most addictive games I got to try at EGX was the colourful and chaotic HoPiKo, a speed-running focused platformer from developer Laser Dog.

In HoPiKo, the evil Nanobyte virus has infiltrated all gaming systems in the world, captured the HoPiKo that keep games running and resultantly has brought gaming to an end. That is, until now. The player must step into the shoes of what is presumably one of the last HoPiKo and save gaming by bouncing through numerous levels, avoiding virus blocks and flinging themselves into the Nanobyte at the end of the level, freeing their fellow HoPiKo.

The hundreds of varied levels are split into worlds. Within each world, a selection of five-level runs to tackle. Players have to tackle the five levels of each run in sequence and always start at the beginning. If you miss or die you are sent back to the beginning of the run like in the good old platforming days.

Also thrown into the mix is the game’s core speed-running element – each level has a “par time” of sorts, with a meter in the corner counting down. Your ultimate goal is to complete it in this time, which is where things get messy, as rushing a level is also the primary cause of failure. Naturally, you’ll get more practice in the earlier levels of a run as you’ll be sent back there when you fail later levels, so very quickly you’ll be able to fly through those levels from muscle memory alone. Trouble is, you can get so used to the early levels that the later ones just look foreign when you reach them, only to fail and have to do the first three levels again… and again…. and again.

I hope you like repetition, because this game lives off of it. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you like repetition or not – once you’ve faced the same run 20 times trying to hit the par, you don’t get a choice anymore, you’re not going to want to stop until you’ve nailed it. I should know, I’ve spent far too much time playing this game already and I’ve barely even beaten World 1, having been more focused on perfect runs than progression!

Back-dropping your screams of rage is an energetic chiptune soundtrack featuring 15 different unlockable songs all composed on an original GameBoy, I’m particularly fond of track 5 “Bees”.

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The controls are as simple as they get, with an aim-and-release stick setup on controllers and swipe gesture control on mobile, both of which feel entirely natural and easy to get used to.

HoPiKo is easily one of my favourite games from EGX and currently my go-to mobile title to fill five minutes here and there. Its instantly engaging gameplay combined with an energetic soundtrack and a visual design that has neon colours literally popping off the screen sets it apart from many indie titles out there and I’d absolutely urge people to have a go! Fortunately for you all, it currently has a trial available on Xbox One, a demo on Steam and is now available to purchase today on consoles and PC! If you think you’d prefer it on mobile, it’s been available there too for a while – now get out there and save gaming!