Hooga, a prehistoric side-scrolling platformer developed by iQuilibrium and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. In a quest to find his missing mate, Hooga treks across multiple terrains and faces stone-aged creatures in an effort to reunite with the one he loves.
- Good-looking graphics with nice detail
- Crystal integration for leaderboards and achievements
- Lengthy levels
- Control sensitivity issues
- Lousy music is a distraction
- Lack of challenging gameplay is disappointing
- Weapon differential is minimal
Hooga features 16 levels of gameplay across 4 environments: grasslands, tundra, desert, and jungle. Each level is fairly sizeable, with multiple checkpoints scattered throughout. The enemies you face include dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures, dangerous flora, and more. Each level ends with a boss battle against a foe that requires a great deal of damage to defeat. You will acquire a variety of weapons, such as stones, knives, boomerangs, torches, axes, and spears. Each weapon is rated for speed of use, damage inflicted, control of the weapon, and how much ammo is available. Unfortunately, none really appeared to be any more useful than another, with weaker infinite ammo weapons being our first choice in most situations. Enemies don’t require a lot of concentrated damage to take out, with most easily defeated with a barrage of weaponry from afar. Even the bosses were no trouble. You could also use a twirl jump to bounce on enemies multiple times to defeat them. The main way we were defeated was by the wonky controls when jumping or traversing breakaway bridges and the like.
Graphically, the game looks nice, with detailed and interesting visuals and decent level design. Things start to unravel with the animations, which just feel clunky and rigid. Hooga’s posture is way too good for a caveman, who we expect to move a bit more like our monkey cousins. The enemies don’t put up much resistance and don’t react to Hooga’s presence. They just pace back and forth in a predetermined path. The soundtrack is not fitting to the game at all, and the disconnect is actually quite distracting. The controls are easy to use, but they just don’t work all that well within the game. The virtual d-pad allows for up, down, left, and right movements, with a spring button for jumping and a weapon button for attacking. Occasionally, you’ll also see a bean button for a special move. Hooga can climb up and slide down vines, as well as jump twirl (double-tap on jump) and hang glide (hold the jump button) using his loin cloth. We had great difficulty in crossing certain gaps, resulting in multiple deaths, as well as crossing breakaway bridges, which seemed to breakaway a little too quickly. This led to a lot of frustration and diminished our enjoyment of the game. It didn’t have enough compelling components that made us want to keep playing for very long, though we could see this doing fairly well with a much younger crowd.
Replay value is decent if you can get past the control issues and the overly simplified battles. Each level has flowers scattered around that you can collect, and you receive scores based on your level performance. Crystal integration brings global leaderboards and achievements to earn, which include obtaining all flowers on each level and avoiding being hit on each level. At $0.99, it’s worth taking a shot if you think you’ll like it, but we just couldn’t get into it the way we’d hoped. Hooga is a 3.5-Dimple offering in need of some TLC.