Thank you so much to Devolver Digital/Tinsley PR for providing a review code
Heave Ho from Devolver Digital and Le Cartel Studio is a goofy little party game that hit the Nintendo Switch on August 29th 2019. The main objective of the game is to get your customizable creature from the start of the course to the end goal. You take control of little blobs that just have a face and two arms.
One to four players are able to play any of the levels. This is one of those games that can either have the whole group cracking up having a blast, or everyone at each other’s throats, depending on the skill and cooperation of each player. Honestly, I am not much of a multiplayer gamer in general and prefer solo story modes, but hey it’s always good to branch out and try new things. The last multiplayer game I played that required working together with a friend was Portal 2. Full disclosure, I played Heave Ho with one other person and not the max of four. So this review is to provide some insight on what the game’s like without a full party.
Some levels will have you avoiding spikes, using ropes to swing from, and traversing dark caves. Even if you meet your demise multiple times, the game does a good job of giving you check points along the way. There are gold tokens that can be collected and they can be spent on more customization items. On a rare occasion a gold rope will appear randomly in a level. It will only appear for a limited time. If you are able to grab it in time, then you will be taken to a bonus level.
The control scheme is very simple. The right bumper makes the right hand open and close. The left bumper makes the left hand open and close. The left analog stick can be used to move the head to provide swinging momentum. Essentially, you will want to alternate using your hands to grip surfaces to move your creature.
Sometimes you will need to make jumps across gaps via the previously mentioned momentum method. When playing with others each can hold one another’s hands to link up as a long chain to create shortcuts through a level. Even though there are two buttons to press it still took some mental concentration no matter how long I played. The flinging felt a little off as well to me. Overall, the controls work well enough to make the game beatable no matter how many people play.
Aside from gathering some friends to optimize your enjoyment, I feel the players need to take it upon themselves to create more amusement. Here are some of my suggestions.
Each level has a timer that you can try and beat your own record
Customize your creature with apparel
Make your own level rules and by that I mean, maybe make the game Smash Bros like and last person not to die wins
See who can fling the farthest
Create teams for 2vs.2 matches
I guess what I am trying to say is the creators could have implemented plenty of other modes, because it is a bit plain and lacking content with what is provided. You have to go out of your way to make the most of this title and tap into your creative side.
Sights & Sounds
The sound effects and noises the creatures make reminded me of a RayMan game. The music is more a collection of random chants, moans, and groans all mixed together to create a nonsensical all over the place song. Visually, Heave Ho succeeds in emulating a lively retro vibe. There is a hint of intended pixilation in the backgrounds as well. Occasionally, birds will fly by and drop poop on you…so there’s that. My favorite part of the game was the effect after you die. It is like your creature is filled with paint and explodes, spraying color all over the course.
In the end there was not much satisfaction from beating Heave Ho by myself. There’s no denying that the game is much better when playing with friends. I still cannot shake the feeling that more modes could have been provided to give Heave Ho more playtime and more replay value. The use of physics, motion and momentum were done rather well, especially when considering such infamously frustrating Internet games like QWOP and Getting Over It. Personally, I will stick to Super Mario Party for a party game or even Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but I can see others that actually have IRL friends within their area enjoying this title.