It’s not the kind of game that will linger in your memory for its moving story or detailed character but Heave Ho could fast become the staple of any social occasion.
You play as a bodiless creature with just a head and arms. The details are your choice. You can have a beard, or spots. You can wear sunglasses or an eye patch. You have a choice of various hairstyles. Your character can be any colour of the rainbow.
The aim of the game is to cross platforms, from a starting point at one end of the screen to a finish line at the other side, dragging yourself by your arms. You use the shoulder buttons of your Joy-Con to grab, with each button controlling a different hand. You use the analog stick to swing your arms around. You move by grabbing onto a platform and swinging almost Tarzan-like, but without the aid of vines, from place to place.
It’s definitely an interesting take on the platformer structure and harder than you might expect to get the hang of. Once you’ve got to grips with the controls, Heave Ho offers a fun and different way to play that is a decent laugh even in solo mode.
Where the game really shines, though, is multiplayer. Heave Ho was designed with cooperative play in mind from the start and it shows.
The multiplayer mode offers platforms that are a bit more challenging. You can’t get through them independently, you have to find a way to work as a team. You can grab your friends’ hands and swing them from place to place. Sometimes you have to use the momentum of a long line of swinging friends to launch the whole group over a gap that could see all of you disappear off-screen in an explosion of colourful splatter.
This is one of those multiplayer games that you can’t help but find hilarious, screaming “No grab my hand!” at your mates as they accidentally punch you off the platform you were sitting on.
The art style is cute and the explosions of colourful goo every time you die are tremendously funny. It’s the kind of game you have to talk about as you play it, which makes it a wonderful social game. You can play with up to four people and it makes for some truly wonderful chaos.
Heave Ho was meant to be a party game and it has more than achieved that goal. It’s a decent little platformer to play on your own if you’re not looking for a fun challenge, but not something terribly deep or complex. But it’s amazing as a multiplayer. It makes you think hard about how you’re going to work as a team and how you interact with your friends.