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Hob: The Definitive Edition Review

The Switch gets another great port

by Kyle Hanson

Hob was one of those games that felt destined for indie greatness when it launched back in 2017 for the PS4. And while it lived up to its potential in delivering a fun and unique puzzle platformer adventure, it was held back due to performance and other design issues. The game is back on the Switch though and with a newly renovated Definitive Edition that promises some improvements in key areas. Is this the truly best way to play?

Hob’s story and world are about as cryptic as they get. With not text or spoken dialogue, players are dropped into the game with little idea of what’s going on. After awhile it becomes clear that things just aren’t right in the world of Hob, and it might be up to you to fix them. After losing your arm to this spreading corruption, you set out to help others and clear up whatever has caused such harm. You’ll do this by running, jumping, and solving tons of puzzles, often reshaping the very ground you stand on to create new paths around the levels.

Hob: The Definitive Edition arrives on Switch with a few key improvements that will please both previous players and new. This includes camera controls and some minor quality of life enhancements, but the main benefit comes in performance. On PS4 Hob struggled in many key areas, but surprisingly the game runs much smoother on Switch. This comes at the cost of some visual polish and atmospheric effects, of course, but the tradeoff is likely worth it for the more stable framerate and ability to play on the go.

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Outside of this it’s tough to pin down exactly what’s altered in the Definitive Edition as compared to the original. This package allows you to experience both though, so you can bounce around, if you feel like it. After playing through it once again though, I had a far smoother and more enjoyable time with the altered version and recommend it highly as your first time experience with Hob.

This truly is the Definitive Edition, making it the best choice for new buyers

No matter which version you play the core gameplay remains the same. You explore a wondrous and beautiful world using unlockable and upgraded moves and abilities. The entire world sort of works like a giant clock that’s been broken by some unknown corruptive force. You can correct it, but it takes time, patience, and a lot of work. You might also have to fight some enemies along the way.

Combat in Hob is somewhat rare as compared to its influences like Zelda. Enemies crop up occasionally that need taking care of, and the fighting is fairly well designed, offering some fun, tense moments. The combination of abilities also gives you a lot to work with, allowing different strategies to form later in the game as you gain new powers. The improved camera from the Definitive Edition is a big help here, letting you keep the focus on your character with much more ease.

This is also true in platforming sections, which make up a larger chunk of Hob’s core gameplay. It’s much rarer that you fall to your doom due to misunderstood camera and ledge placement. Of course, the Definitive Edition brings another change to this as well, making falls less problematic. In the original version any misaligned jump or errant plunge would result in your death, bringing you back to the last checkpoint. These typically aren’t too punishingly far away, but it was still a bit annoying and disincentivized experimentation. For the Definitive Edition on Switch these falls simply take a single piece of your health, dropping you right back where you were before.

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It’s small changes like this that won’t necessarily be noticed as you play through Hob: The Definitive Edition, but their inclusion truly does elevate this to the preferred version of the game. This also seems to include smoother controls overall based on my experience jumping from PS4 to Switch. It could be the system itself, or just my imagination, but running around just felt better in Hob: The Definitive Edition. While the visuals are less polished, these changes make up for it and more.

There’s nothing here that warrants a second look if Hob didn’t impress you before, as the core of the game remains the same. If you were a fan, then this edition does make the game better, but not in a fashion that is going to blow your mind. Instead it’s just an all around better game in all but the raw graphical prowess. The real draw for returning players is the Switch itself, letting Hob be played whenever and wherever, much like other fantastic ports from Panic Button. But for anyone who missed Hob the first time around, this truly is the Definitive Edition, making it the best choice for new buyers.

The Verdict

In my initial review of Hob for PS4 I said it “is a game that feels like it could be much more than it is.” Hob: The Definitive Edition on Switch doesn’t fully get it to the peak of where it could have been, but it’s much closer than before. An overall better experience awaits new or returning players, with just some minor visual downgrades as the tradeoff. If you’ve been looking for a unique and atmospheric puzzle platformer, then you won’t be disappointed with Hob: The Definitive Edition.

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Hob: The Definitive Edition

  • Available On: Switch
  • Published By: Perfect World
  • Developed By: Runic Games
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • US Release Date: April 4th, 2019
  • Reviewed On: Switch
  • Quote: "Hob: The Definitive Edition on Switch doesn't fully get it to the peak of where it could have been, but it's much closer than before. An overall better experience awaits new or returning players, with just some minor visual downgrades as the tradeoff. If you've been looking for a unique and atmospheric puzzle platformer, then you won't be disappointed with Hob: The Definitive Edition."
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