Released (on Steam): 18 Jul, 2019
Genres: Action Games, Adventure, Indie
Developer: Paul Helman & Sean Scaplehorn
Publisher: 505 Games
Steam Price: £10.99
This masterpiece from Paul Helman and Sean Scapelhorn is a classic platformer that tells an emotional and surprisingly rich tale of self-discovery peppered with nostalgic popular culture references that will bring a smile to any gamer who enjoys the 8 and 16 bit era!
An unmissable tale of a small robot on a big adventure!
Made by just two people, Horace offers over 15 hours of exciting platforming and pushes the boundaries of the genre with profound storytelling and quirky and nostalgic pop culture references! A game made by videogame lovers for videogame lovers!
Completion: Completed game and all achievements.
Playtime at Review: 26.7 hours
Total Playtime: 26.7 hours
Achievements at Review: 58/58 (100%)
My rating: 9.6/10
Tutorial was nicely implemented into the beginning of the story.
There are more references than anyone could possibly keep track of!
Some of the more British references were a great surprise! Not something I'm used to seeing too often!
Lots of familiar looking minigames.
It has a compelling story that's full of heart and hilarity!
The game bugged while replaying some of the bosses, where if I died, I wouldn't respawn properly.
Horace, Horace, Horace… The first time I heard about Horace was when Epic gave it away in January 2020, and I liked the look of all the different references I saw in the trailer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to playing it. It was then included in May 2020’s Humble Choice, so I grabbed it again in the hopes that I’d be reminded to play it if it’s sitting in my library. A couple of months later and I’ve finally done it, and holy cow, am I glad I did!
As it turns out, Horace is a whole lot more than the simple platformer with a few funny references that I initially thought it would be. It’s an impressive, heartfelt story, with lovable characters, constant challenges, pure hilarity, and more references than you could imagine! I’d be amazed if somebody actually noticed or knew every reference! What was more surprising is that there were many particularly British references, so I got to enjoy certain moments that little bit more! I don’t think a game has made me laugh as much as Horace did, and then tear that joy away, turning it to sorrow, anger, or frustration. It was quite the roller-coaster ride.
I played the entire game with a controller, although I’m not sure what prompted me to do so. Usually I would try with a mouse and keyboard before anything else, but this time I immediately went with the controller. Whatever the reason, it definitely played well with a controller, and I can’t imagine using a mouse and keyboard for it now. The controls were simple, and the introduction goes through the basic movements and actions well, while tying it into the start of the story very nicely.
There are many cut-scenes, and I highly recommend not skipping them! These really make the game! The story, characters and their conversations are simply awesome! You’d be doing yourself a great disservice by skipping anything in Horace. If you’re not in a cut-scene, then chances are you’re exploring, and getting involved with the platformer elements of the game, something you’ll see plenty of! The progression of difficulty seemed pretty much perfect though! Initially it’s pretty simple, but later on, areas required much more thought to get to through. Chances are you will die a lot! I definitely did! Thankfully it’s not much of a problem for Horace though, and you can jump back into the fray nice and quickly. If you happen to die several times in the same area, you’ll likely be blessed with an extra shield or two to help you get through it.
There are plenty of boss battles to test yourself on, each one being unique and requiring a very different approach to beat! You generally get some kind of insight into how to defeat them at the start of the battle, so you’re not going in completely blind, but you’ll likely still die plenty of times! Personally, I found some of the non-boss areas more challenging and frustrating than the bosses. I did encounter one bug which stopped me from respawning properly if I died while replaying bosses, forcing me to quit and reload the game. I wasn’t too bothered about it though as it only happened a couple of times. Replaying the bosses isn’t something you have to do either, and it was easy to work around.
You unlock a variety of different equipment along your travels, and there are shops in the different towns to purchase further upgrades. These upgrades make a world of difference too! To get the cash for these upgrades you can trade in your special items and trash at the scrap yard, or you can help out around town with certain jobs in the form of rhythm based mini games. You’ll also find arcades in towns, where you can play a variety of extremely familiar looking games! You’ll likely hear a lot of familiar tunes throughout the game too, and you may want to keep an eye out for characters that bear a striking resemblance to certain characters or celebrities. Seriously, everywhere you turn, there’ll be a reference to something! The most impressive thing is many of these aren’t just there for the sake of it. They’re worked into the dialogue and story in a clever, and often hilarious manner!
I honestly didn’t expect much from Horace, and I didn’t play it for a long time simply based on its looks. A grave mistake on my part! This is a clear example of why you “shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover”. The graphics were perfect for the game, as was the soundtrack and sound effects in general, and basically everything else about Horace! Horace turned out to be one of my new favourite games! If you have a good sense of humour, I highly recommend playing this game!
Posted on 16-08-2020