Have you ever been tasked to deliver the most important news in the world, but due to your magical inexperience you accidentally cast a spell on yourself and transform into a 2D square box? Same. Hoplegs has the most ridiculous premise that had me hooked in the first five minutes, and the hilarity that ensues especially during co-op play makes this a top party game (if you’re looking to laugh at your friends’ hopeless attempts at crossing a deadly pit).
It can be really, really frustrating but it’s amazing how bad you can be at it, to the point where I’m not sure if it’s even possible to do well. Whether you are looking to complete a solo adventure or to watch your friends suck at this game too, Hoplegs has a mode for everyone to enjoy (or not enjoy) that even the most annoying levels can be fun.
As the story goes, you are a magical apprentice that used to have operable arms and legs. With your mentor fainting and tasking you with the most important mission, you still somehow manage to fail at the very first scene despite your master foolishly having faith in your abilities. Due to your carelessness and your mind wandering mid-spell, you become a box with legs that push out of all four sides of your body at your command. Sadly, your journey became much longer and much more hectic than necessary, but with strong determination you decide to get the job done. This extremely stupid story had me in stitches as the most hopeless journey I have ever taken part of, because it’s actually really hard!
Like, Really Hard
Controls are super easy to learn but honestly, I’m not sure if I would call it intuitive or not. The directional buttons basically control the top, bottom, left, and right side of the box’s legs, and when you push the button your corresponding foot will stick out of the box. The movement of the joystick will be the direction the box spins, but the longer you hold the direction the more the box spins. Obstacles and random spikes will block your progress, with deadly pits that bring you back to a checkpoint and oddly-shaped ceilings that will push you backwards should you hit the wrong angle. It can become really frustratingly hilarious when you accidentally push the wrong leg because you over-or under-rotated, but even more hilarious if your friend messes up.
The game is suitable for multiplayers but there is also a story mode for solo adventurers (which is where the story is presented). The solo adventure is for those who want to have a purpose to the madness while unlocking goodies to use at any time. There is a short tutorial at the beginning, though there really isn’t much to learn because the controls are fairly basic and depends on your understanding of the game physics and reaction time. If you jump straight into the multiplayer mode, there won’t be a tutorial to teach your friends but everyone can definitely pick up the game in no time.
Though there are co-op and versus modes for multiplayer, the co-op was definitely the more enjoyable out of the two. In versus mode, one of the challenges was to hop up and down platforms to reach a yellow box and stay within the box the longest. The tricky part is this yellow box moves, so you are encouraged to go around to different areas of the map to earn more time in the box. At least, that’s how it should be; if you are lucky, a yellow box will appear where you are, allowing you to collect this time without having to move an inch. The yellow boxes will appear at around several random places on the map, and I think it would be more fair and challenging if you had to collect your time by going to different boxes and areas of the playground.
There isn’t too much to criticize about the game other than it makes me question my ability to play video games. If you and your friends don’t have the patience to play one level for 30 minutes when the “par” time is 3 minutes (yes, we were THAT bad at one point), then Hoplegs may not be for you. One of the charming aspects of the game is how you can tease each other for being extremely horrible at it, which in my opinion makes the multiplayer modes more enjoyable that suffering alone in the solo mode. Without a multiplayer mode and people to make fun of, the game can feel repetitive when you’re playing on your own.
Hoplegs is really a masterpiece in its own genre of ridiculousness, though it may not be for everyone. The par time is hard to reach, to the point where I think the numbers are made up because there’s no way everyone can reach the checkpoint in under 3 minutes. Though the solo mode may be easier to reach the preferred time, playing with other people and completing levels together under the expected time is a near impossible task. Despite that, however, multiplayer is the way to go if you want to enjoy Hoplegs. This simple and creative game wasted two hours of my precious date night, I hate how long it took but I also love how it took us two hours to do the bare minimum.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
Can be enjoyed by yourself or with friends
Easy to learn
Charming and stupidly hilarious
Hard to control
Versus mode gives unfair advantages