Horace was a lot more of a roller coaster than I was expecting when I saw the cover, which to me almost looks like a LEGO knockoff. No, Horace was a full-fledged assault on all front experience. Story, gameplay, music, it’s all here! Well, maybe the music is pretty unimaginative, but it’s still pretty good. The gameplay also has its downsides, but overall solid. Actually, the story can get a bit messy too.
So yeah, maybe it’s a mixed bag, but it’s a very full bag.
Starting with the gameplay, Horace is a pretty interesting platforms as it starts off slow and then ramps up over time, constantly introducing new gadgets and gimmicks to keep it interesting. The whole time you’re getting used to each new mechanic, you’ve also got to worry about collecting junk, it’s Horace’s purpose after all. It also determines which ending you get, but it seems rather unnecessary. The problem comes with the pacing. Everything just goes on for a little too long, and furthermore the endless rule of x number the developers employ just seeps into your brain. You just keep seeing it all the time, almost every single level. The game could have done with some trimming and some level design that flowed a little better and have me noticing the get three this, do this four times, and so on.
There’s also a bunch of mini games that show up throughout the story, completely mandatory, and there’s a lot of them. Lot of repeated ones too, and others that show up once but intrude on the story at the most inopportune times. There can be a thin line between platformer bosses and mini games in most game, but actually having a mini game in the final boss is a bit much.
As for the story, I loved a lot it. It was funny, charming, had twists and turns. The whole thing is told from Horace’s perspective and in his voice, which I’m sure saved a lot of money, but also created some hilarious jokes by use of this narrative device. The whole game is also very British and that style of humour permeates the tone of the game in a really fun way.
It all starts with Horace’s birth, the tutorial is integrated well into the story, as are the later tutorials even mentioning the button pressed in universe. So much is set up and built upon and done so in an intriguing way, which is saying a lot because there are so many moving parts in this story. All the characters had dialogue that was particularly well written, probably more so than the plot, which started losing steam after a certain big event. There were a lots of risks taken, and in typical British fashion the ending it bittersweet. I think it could have been a little less bitter and a little more sweet, or perhaps had a little more closure, but overall it was satisfying.
That’s the thing with this game, it’s full of heart and hard work, but everything just doesn’t come quite together for me. It’s like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and around ten of them are just missing. Speaking of which the pixelated art style does wonders for the game’s character and really sells some of the game more emotional moments. It certainly gave Horace a really great happy face. The music and sound design are also great, but it uses a lot of recognisable compositions. Maybe I have liked them better if I hadn’t heard them so many times before elsewhere, but they were well implemented.
In conclusion, Horace is certainly a game worth experiencing and I would recommend it to anyone who knows their way around a platformer.
And I mean that, this game can get pretty tough, but maybe it’s just that I’m bad at platformers.
The story, gameplay, and presentation are all almost totally spot on and even if you don’t like platformers you should get someone to play it for you so you can experience the story for yourself.