Horace, a story heavy platforming game where you play as a newly created Robot. You will learn and grow as you get to know a fun cast of characters. Then, maybe you’ll even save the world. Horace has fun moments, but it is also somber where the realities of life come crashing down. It is also a really challenging platformer. Expect to die hundreds of time to complete the game.
Special thanks to swaswj for this review. Find it on Steam.
Horace has a charming old-school pixel style, though it is a psuedo pixel style. The animations are far too smooth, and the game cheats at times by sliding pixels around for added effect. Still, the game manages to show a lot of great emotion just with pixels, even with the occasional cheat.
The beginning of the game is slow with a lot of cutscenes and tutorials. In these cutscenes, the camera sometimes zooms way in. When used in a pixel style, it does make the entire image a bit difficult to make out. The closeups do get less frequent later on, and the cutscenes are otherwise really charming thanks to the characters you meet and everything being narrated by the Robot’s robotic voice in a British accent.
The story of the game is great. It starts of simple and homely, but things soon takes a turn for the worse. And then even more crazy things start to happen as the Robot goes through a lot of different locations all while keeping his hope and optimism in the world intact.
The music of the game is fantastic, as well. It has a retro charm as well as remixes of classical music into something chiptune like. It fits in with the style of the game well.
Heather is a great character. She is the daughter of the scientist that created the Robot. Seeing them become friends was so heartwarming. She makes me think of that Rosa Diaz meme: I’ve only had Heather for a day-and-a-half, but if anything happened to her, I would kill everyone in this room and then myself.
Heather is absolutely adorable.
How about the gameplay? It is solid and responsive, though the hitboxes are more tuned against you, and you die in one hit. If your back heel touches something dangerous, you are gone. And the game seems to be made to discourage running starts, as in if you run as soon as you respawn, you’ll likely hit an obstacle.
Still, you do get shields that can take a hit for you. Each screen is also a checkpoint, though sometimes, screens are really long. There are midscreen checkpoints, too, but they’re not visible, so don’t expect to know when you reached one.
The main mechanic of the game is a pair of anti-gravity shoes allowing you to walk on walls and ceilings. Not only that, they’ll change you’re jump, too, so you land back on the wall or ceiling. The level design really takes advantage of it, so the mechanic is well incorporated.
The mechanic is also the source of many deaths. Imagine being unable to walk off a platform since you start sticking to the bottom. Imagine trying to jump and then sticking to the ceiling. You must control the Robot carefully to get through the many obstacles that want to harm you.
Oh, and then about half-way through the game, it becomes a Metroidvania. I mean those genres where you have a map to explore in any way you want. You get new abilities to help you explore. You can buy things at the shop, including upgrades. That’s when the game really ramps up the difficulty.
Horace tells the story of a Robot trying to make his way in the world and keep his family safe. And there are a lot of different fun characters in his family. He’ll have to get through lasers, saws and more to do it. Good thing he respawns.
Find it on Steam.