Hob proves Runic can do puzzles and atmosphere just as well as dungeon crawling

If you asked me what the developers of Torchlight (a lovely dungeon crawling, loot powered dopamine machine) were going to make next, I’d expect more Torchlight. But with Hob, they’ve gone in a completely different direction, ditching endless procedurally generated dungeons for something more akin to The Legend of Zelda.

In the brief demo I played, I explored a huge open world looking for health and stamina power ups, bashed open walls to find secrets, leapt through the canopy to escape powerful enemies, and stopped to clash with a few on occasion—they wrecked me. There’s a lot to explore, and I can see myself scouring every inch of Hob’s gorgeous, softly detailed environments for whatever scrap of power or story there is to find.

Later in the demo, I punched a few switches and a huge chunk of the world lifted from below and snapped into place. Where The Legend of Zelda has you pushing blocks around, Hob has you rearranging the whole environment. Progress through the overworld and environmental puzzles will take advantage of Hob’s shifting world, gating access to certain areas through means only attainable once you’ve acquired the necessary abilities. Some of them are hidden in dungeons below, where more focused challenges and puzzle encounters await.

I’m curious to see how complex the puzzles get and dig a bit deeper into Hob’s quiet world, but if what I played is indicative of the final game, I’m keeping the faith. Expect to play it sometime next year. 

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.