Hooga Review

Hooga is a side-scrolling action platformer that stars a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. This guy pounds on Jurassic beasts, chews on hunks of meat, and has more hair than an ’80s rocker. He’s twice the man of anyone alive today.

The game has all kinds of features. You can jump, climb vines, spin into enemies, and use your loincloth as a parachute to glide across long distances. As you play you’ll pick up all sorts of projectiles, like spears, axes, knives, and rocks. You’ll also find interesting items. Some have positive effects, like increasing your firing rate, while others harm you by slowing you down or screwing up your aim.

You’re in the prehistoric Cash Cab!

The environments vary nicely as you progress, with typical videogame backdrops like jungles and snowy mountains. The enemies come in all shapes and sizes, from dinosaurs and saber tooth tigers, to carnivorous plants. All of this is spread across 16 long levels, assuring that you’ll get several hours of playtime out of the game. And if you want more, you can go back and try to collect all of the flowers scattered around. Sounds good so far, right?

In theory, yes. But the huge problem is an overall lack of polish, starting with the controls. You control your caveman using an onscreen d-pad and buttons to jump and throw projectiles. When you’re just walking back and forth, everything feels fine. Jumping from steady platform to platform is even serviceable. But once they introduce moving platforms, crumbling bridges, and climbing vines, the jumping controls become downright infuriating.

And the later into the game you get, the trickier the terrain becomes. When you fall down a pit, you lose a life and get sent back to your most recent checkpoint. All to often, we would then make it back to the place we fell, only to die again.

Time to turn back.

And while the levels do have dynamic environmental obstacles, they also have long, flat patches of ground, populated by just a few enemies. And the enemies you do fight seem strangely weightless. Even huge tyrannosauruses get bounced backwards when you throw a tiny rock at them. In fact, most of the time we just walked forward, throwing projectiles, and we’d kill everything that came on the screen just as it showed up.

Each level is capped with a boss, like a giant spider or a pterodactyl. This would be great, but the fights aren’t very imaginative. Most bosses just walk toward you mindlessly. And although they all take a ton of hits to defeat, you can usually kill them in some cheap way, like by standing in the corner and throwing a constant stream of rocks at them.

If you were to go down a list and tick off the things you’d want in an action platformer, Hooga’s got just about all of them. We’re sure that there’s a good game in here somewhere, but the lack of polish and clunky controls don’t let it shine through.

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