Hoa – Review

A fairytale worth visiting

Release Date
August 24, 2021
PM Studios
Skrollcat Studio
Reviewed on
Review code provided by
PM Studios

So what do you get when you cross a storybook and a videogame, you get Hoa. Hoa is an ambitious puzzle platformer from Skrollcat Studio, a newcomer in indie games based in Singapore. If you’re a fan of both Studio Ghibli films and video games, you’re in for a treat with Hoa as it’s one of the most beautiful 2.5D puzzle games that I’ve played to date.

One of the things that I complain with video games is that there are numerous times that I find myself getting stressed out with all the action, gore, or suspense. It’s a different approach with this game. It’s a relaxing game. It’s one of those games that you come to whenever you want to just jump around, relax, and feel good. Come to think of it like it’s a spa for the brain. It relied heavily with its inspiration from Miyazaki films, but stood out on its own in the story category. Without spoiling the game, I must say that it’s quite unique and memorable with a bit of heart strings pulled at the very end. There is a questionable sequence though near the end of the game as it’s the developer’s attempt to make the game more memorable for people.

Each levels are intricately hand drawn as if you’re playing inside a book. Playing as this lovely creature from a forest, you need to collect butterflies and unlock large mythological beings in this environmental puzzle to complete levels. Levels are quite easy as the controls are simple. You just need to jump around and use different actions to complete each levels.

The missed opportunity in this game is that the challenges are quite easy, which is an advantage to the younger people playing the game. The developers stick to the indie game recipe of navigating through platform and it worked. Although short, each levels offered unique experiences that will leave you breathless as this beautifully painted game is backed by a marvelous orchestrated music. Each level offers different but greatly scored music which makes the world engaging. Nothing revolutionary here as most of the gameplay aspect is linear but there are hidden trophies along the way that will surprise you. There is little replay value as the game is already a complete experience.

Although there are no bells and whistles with the PS5 hardware, I must say that the developers really did a great job with this game as I have no complaints whatsoever with the performance. It is very well polished for the PS5 with the game played breezily with the current gen hardware running in solid 60 fps with upscaled 4K resolution. It’s really unfortunate though that the developers missed out in implementing the Dualsense feature as I think it will make the game more immersive and fun.

If there is one thing that came into my mind when it comes to gaming or even in my younger years, I think it will be the first game that I have ever played. Remembering how memorable Breath of the Wild and Final Fantasy 7 was when I first saw it in person, Hoa is one of those games. Its stunning visuals is on par with the likes of Cuphead and Ori. It will definitely appeal to the young and young at heart especially to those who loves easy-to-play and relaxing games.

Hoa is a fresh attempt to introduce young people to gaming as the story is easy to understand. It might not be for all as it provides little challenge but the story pacing is good. It’s one of the games that heavily appeals to the younger generation of gamers and I think it works on that aspect. With very little expectations, I must say that it’s one of those memorable games in the indie category that I played.  Taking in mind how good this game is, I must say that I cannot wait for the future releases from Skrollcat Studios.

Hoa – Review
Score Definition
It’s a fun game that has its few kinks that can easily be ignored.
A very good introduction to newcomers in the indie game genre
Stunning game visuals
Great soundtrack
Not for the hardcore players