ReviewsReview: Hopdodge

Review: Hopdodge

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Puzzle games come in all shapes and sizes. As such, what I find challenging might be a walk in the park for you. However, I’m confident that most people will be pushed to their limits when they take on Hopdodge. This brutally tough title makes you think outside the box and across many plains. As such, it’ll twist your understanding of reality and will push your grey matter beyond its comfort zone.

Developed and published by BlankGamesOnline this is a grid-based puzzle experience. Furthermore, this is this developer’s first game, and boy oh boy, what a memorable step into the industry it is. Not only does it capture the brilliance of this old-school genre, but it is mind-blowingly difficult while incorporating a silly and absurd story. As such, it’ll make you think while treating you to the odd chuckle as well.

Hopdodge uses a cliched idea of hell.
Is this what hell looks like?

Hopdodge is tough to manage. 

The story of Hopdodge won’t win any awards. However, I liked it nonetheless. You control a cute bunny who is tricked into helping a demonic skull. Now, this evil being sends you from Heaven to Hell, and you must complete each puzzle to escape. Alongside this, there are many chapters that comprise odd and interesting subplots. Whether it’s three rabbits working together to escape, or the Skull generally mucking around, it matters not. Accordingly, the key focus is on the puzzles rather than the silly environments they are set in.

Though the story isn’t vastly important, each subplot highlights the core element of each puzzle. Whether it is avoiding traps, dodging monsters, working together, or flipping switches, the title of each chapter gives it away. Yet, though you may know what is asked of you, you’ll still struggle to complete each challenging problem. Why? Well, you must twist and turn the camera to reveal hidden paths, 3D blocks, and an array of obstacles. Not only this, but you’re required to have razor-sharp reactions, and you can’t falter or think twice. Consequently, you’ll have to memorise each path, move quickly, and hope that luck is on your side.

Avoid the monsters and complete the puzzles.
It is best to avoid that monster.

3 acts, common elements, but unique problems. 

What makes Hopdodge so great and moreish are the familiar mechanics. No matter which puzzle you undertake, you’ll see the same characters, and witness common elements, but you’ll experience plenty of unique problems. As such, you’ll rarely tire of what you see, even if it is nigh on impossible to solve every issue. On top of this, to make things harder, the developer refuses to lend a helping hand. Consequently, no hint system makes this tough game a little harder still. Now, some may think this is unfair, but I loved the isolation. Yes, I cursed my luck when I got stuck, but when I found a solution, the relief was euphoric.

Now, the restriction of the grid-based approach may frustrate some players. However, I liked its rigidity and how it pushed the methodical part of your brain. Moreover, this is particularly noticeable when you control more than one rabbit and you must jump gaps and activate switches. Each rabbit can complete these tasks with ease, but they’ll only jump in the direction they are facing. Subsequently, you must use each grid to face the correct way while avoiding monsters and obstacles. In theory, this is easy. However, in reality, it is tough, complicated, and often weirdly enjoyable.

Hopdodge is low-poly but high in colour. 

Low-poly gaming isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, when combined with neon colours, I love the Tron-like aesthetics. Furthermore, the basic approach ensures that you focus on the mind-boggling problems you encounter. On top of this, every stage looks unusual, and no level was the same. What was great as well, was how smooth the camera was, and the ease with which you could observe your surroundings. Had the developer gotten this wrong, Hopdodge would have been a horrific game to play.

Alongside this, you enjoy a fun and upbeat soundtrack. The blend of music and the nonsensical sound effects worked perfectly. Moreover, the developer ensured that things never got stale thanks to the variety of songs on offer. Accordingly, the tough puzzles juxtaposed the jovial and folksy audio to keep things lighthearted and relaxed throughout. 

Why would a rabbit trust a talking skull?
Oi skull, why did you drag the bunny to hell?

Excellent controls. 

When precision and pace are key, you need excellent and responsive controls. Thankfully, Hopdodge delivers this with its straightforward and robust control system. As such, all you must focus on is jumping, moving, and adjusting the camera. Consequently, it is an easy title to pick up, even if the puzzles are tough to complete. 

Thanks to its sheer difficulty and a fun and in-depth level editor, Hopdodge keeps you busy. I enjoyed the freedom of the stage creator and how the developer incorporated every asset. Subsequently, you are free to design maddening stages that’ll push fellow gamers to the limit.

Hopdodge was a tough but pleasant surprise. 

Hopdodge isn’t a game I’ve been tracking. Sadly, I believe many people will have missed this excellent title. However, if you love the puzzle genre, and want something that is testing and unusual, you should give it a go. Yes, there are moments of rage-inducing madness, but these simply add to the fun. As such, I recommend you buy it here! Will the rabbits make it back to heaven? Complete each puzzle, avoid trouble, and reach those pearly gates. 

SUMMARY

Hopdodge is a challenging retro grid-based puzzle title. With interesting stages, tough mechanics, and a strange viewpoint, this isn't a game for the faint of heart. However, if you love an old-school title that'll test you, then look no further.


+ Vivid colours.
+ Upbeat music.
+ Precise controls.
+ Plenty of longevity.
+ The level creator is interesting and fun to use.

- The differing perspectives may be too confusing.
- At times it is very difficult.

(Rating: N/A Release date: 01/06/2022 Price: £7.19)


(Reviewed on PC using Steam. Only available on PC)


Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Hopdodge</em> is a challenging retro grid-based puzzle title. With interesting stages, tough mechanics, and a strange viewpoint, this isn't a game for the faint of heart. However, if you love an old-school title that'll test you, then look no further.</p><br/> + Vivid colours.<br/> + Upbeat music.<br/> + Precise controls.<br/> + Plenty of longevity.<br/> + The level creator is interesting and fun to use.<br/> <br/> - The differing perspectives may be too confusing.<br/> - At times it is very difficult.<br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> N/A <b>Release date:</b> 01/06/2022 <b>Price:</b> £7.19)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on PC using Steam. Only available on PC)</p><br/>Review: Hopdodge