HoPiKo ($3.99) by Laser Dog is a twitchy platformer game that’s all about saving gaming. If you’re a fan of platformers and twitch-reflex titles that have you thinking fast on your feet, then you will fall in love with HoPiKo.
I grew up from the age of classic platformer games, so it’s not surprising that I will always have a soft spot for them in modern-day gaming. There’s just something about platformers that keeps me coming back over and over — it could be the simple but challenging levels, and the fact that I can always improve on my previous run. In recent years, I’ve also fallen in love with the twitchy games, where you have to have pretty fast reaction times to do well. Even though I’m not the best at them, I appreciate the challenge. I first heard of Laser Dog last year when they released ALONE…, a twitchy endless runner game that was among my list of favorite games from 2014, so I got excited when I heard they were coming out with a new game this week. Now that HoPiKo is out, I must say that I’m once again impressed with their work.
HoPiKo carries a retro-style pixelated art look and feel to it, which will appeal to anyone who grew up with classic 8-bit games. The colors in the game are also fantastic, with darker-toned backgrounds and bright, vivid neon colors in the foreground to contrast with everything. While the game is a bit too fast-paced to get a good look at everything, the sprites for the evil Nanobytes and Hopiko are fairly well done, as well as the textures for obstacles and platforms. Animations in HoPiKo are smooth and fluid, and to top everything off, the chiptune soundtrack is a delightful treat. It is recommended to use a pair of headphones or earbuds with this game to fully enjoy it, especially if you love good chiptunes.
In HoPiKo, players discover a secret world that apparently can be found in the heart of every gaming console out there. These consoles are managed by the Hopiko, but then the evil Nanobyte viruses have invaded, and all of the gaming world is in danger. It’s just up to you to put on your power gloves and save gaming as we know it.
The game is split up into multiple stages that are composed of several runs each. To make things more of a challenge, each run has five parts, and if you die, you’ll have to start over from the first part. You only have a limited amount of time for each stage as well, which just makes the game all the more difficult — this is not for the faint of heart. In fact, you will die a lot in this game, as it is only natural. To do well, players will have to rely on their muscle memory for stage layouts and knowing how to complete it as fast as possible.
The controls are pretty easy in the game, as all you have to do is touch the screen and then flick in the direction you want the Hopiko to jump. But keep in mind that you can only land on the safe platforms, and touching the colored Nanobytes or any other dangerous obstacle will kill you instantly. As you get further in the game, you’ll be introduced to new controls, such as tap-and-release to fling yourself in a straight line and more.
As if the fact that this is a twitchy speed-run based platformer with hundreds of levels isn’t enough to keep you playing, there is full Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements, so replay value is at a maximum here.
I’ve been playing HoPiKo for a few days now, and while I’m still early on in the game (it’s difficult!), I have been loving every minute of it so far. The graphics are top-notch, the chiptunes are awesome, the controls are intuitive and optimized for the platform, and the gameplay itself is insanely challenging while being fun. It’s a unique concept in terms of game mechanics and story, so it’s worth checking out this weekend.
I recommend giving HoPiKo a go if you love challenging games, or just like platformers and twitchy reflex games in general. HoPiKo is available on the App Store as a universal download for $3.99.