Hoplegs is a platform developed by WhyKev with an – initially simple – premise. The goal of Hoplegs is to move a box with four retractable legs from the beginning to the end of a course. It sounds simple enough. However, the way these legs are used makes for a unique, challenging, and incredibly frustrating campaign.
In Hoplegs, you use the A, B, X, and Y buttons to control each individual leg. When you squeeze this, the connected leg shoots out, propelling you in the opposite direction of the leg in question. You can also rotate your box in the air to effectively add a little curvature as you climb. If your leg is on a surface, you will start a greater distance and use that surface to ricochet off.
The controls are simple, but incredibly difficult to master. You need to have extremely good timing if you are stumbling across the track to use the correct leg to hold that swing. Also to make sure you are stepping in the right direction. I can’t tell you how many times I was ahead of myself and ended up shooting myself backwards instead of forwards. I found the controls very frustrating, which felt like a huge learning curve, but that was really my own fault. I can imagine that those with much better hand-eye coordination would stand out after a few levels of practice in it.
Each course in story mode has a “partime”, the desired time that you should aim for to complete the course. There is no real punishment or reward for taking longer than this time; You just get a course pass and move on to the next. In story mode there are 27 courses, each with different levels of difficulty and challenges, which slowly introduce you to tips and tricks. Things like using walls in the air to your advantage or identifying buttons that can aid progress are key to reducing the time it takes to complete levels.
In addition to the story mode, Hoplegs also offers co-op, in which you can play through this mode with a friend. Co-op can be both easier and more difficult as you can imagine! You can also play against friends and play games like Last Box Standing and King of the Hill. In these games, instead of reaching the end of a course, you use your legs to fight and punch your opponent. There is also another mode called ‘Peak’ (single player) where you navigate a much more difficult and longer course with an ubiquitous time limit. These other game modes provide a nice change from an otherwise simple and linear game. With the difficult to learn controls, no matter what you play, you are exposed to couch-co-op chaos and unfortunately a lot of frustration.
Hoplegs is a very bright and colorful game. The look is super clear, simple and the colors used are bold and playful. The music also complements this by exuding a childlike, playful attitude. The music can repeat itself, but that’s not surprising when you’re three minutes above par and trying to start over that one final ledge.
I appreciate the unique control scheme that Hoplegs highlighted in his promotional videos and materials. But overall, it was a frustrating experience, even as I progressed faster than the controls felt more natural and gained more momentum. The repetitive level design, the graphics and the music get boring and leave Hoplegs (sigh) no real leg to stand on.