Heave Ho is the latest party game by developer Devolver. Released for Steam and Nintendo Switch on August 29th, this game pits you, and up to four players, across several maps with one simple objective: get from point A to point B. Will you cooperate for the common good or will you sabotage your friends as you blaze to glory alone? It’s up to you but the gameplay does offer a little more. Will Heave Ho be your next game night contender or will it wait by candlelight for a party nobody wanted to attend? Read on to find out.
First thing you’ll notice when you start up Heave Ho is the pulsating pencil crayon motif the art style portrays. While the art itself is nothing special it does look good. My main gripe is how jittery the animation they tacked on is. It literally gave me a headache and mild nausea while I waited for my friends to settle in. This is mostly remedied once you leave the title screen but there is no mistaking it: this animation is not smooth and is in dire need of some more frames. I also worry about those with a history of health concerns like epilepsy as the whole time my eyes could not shake feeling tired and dried out. Other then that though it’s there and gets the job done at giving you friendly visuals and feel good aesthetic. I’d give it a solid B if not for the animation effects but for now it’s a D+
Music is a lot like the art style: it does it’s job but is mostly forgettable background stuff you won’t pay attention to. That might be partly due to you talking amongst your friends to try and coordinate your way through the channel but at the same time I can’t fault the game for what could have easily been omitted without any impact on enjoyability. The sound effects are the highlight in the audio department. There is even a system to audibly show emotion on your character and it was spammed during the time we played for this review.
Overall I give it a C+
Gameplay can be summed up with one word: fun. That said let’s delve into what makes Heave Ho unique. For starters; the character customisation is robust and offers many mix and match options. pirates? check. Mummies? check Pikuniku in a biker outfit? why not. Most outfits are unlockable based on bonus coins you and your friends carry to the goal of each stage giving more incentive to go for it. Getting to that goal is simple enough: use your two grabby hands and traverse the obstacles. You can grab anything including your friends and daisy chaining one another is highly encouraged to make things easier and is needed just to take the coins with you. coordinating on who grabs the coin and who is the left and right controller to traverse adds depth to a game that seemingly lacks it. If anyone gets to the goal they can also pull a string to let out a helpful balloon that can be freely controlled by anyone. take too long however and a friendly punk rocker llama will go across the map and fart everywhere, thus making it impossible to see where you are going for a while.
Aside from that there are also bonus rounds where you try to reach a common goal like getting basketballs in baskets or matching a pose with a choreographer. If you see the golden bonus string grab it. it’s a nice break from the problem solving.
Those who play alone will be met with an interesting challenge but a frustrating one. I can see the appeal for speedrunning but other then that? I didn’t enjoy the experience. You’ll need friends to really enjoy this title and with that I should talk about replayability. It doesn’t exist. once you solved each map there is an option to go through it again in a 1 life only run but the fun was already had. It was a nice addition but unnecessary. That said for less than the price of a single movie ticket you will have around 3 hours of fun and to me that’s a bargain.
Overall gameplay is really fun the first time but that’s all i’d care to play. B
In conclusion Heave ho is a very fun party game that unfortunately falls flat on the biggest selling point of the genre: replayability. Don’t let that discourage you though as the price is perfect for a one time go at game night. it’s about $2.50 per person with a full party and it’s hard to get that kind of value in a group activity nowadays C+
- It's fun
- Great value for game night
- No replay value