Hob: The Definitive Edition

8 Overall Score

Beautiful art style & visual aesthetic / Improved camera & controls / Enjoyable puzzles

Minimal story / No mini-map / Occasional frame drop & lag

Yes, Hob: The Definitive Edition is a port of Runic Games’ 2017 puzzle-platforming-adventure-combat title for the PC and PS4. No, this is not another RiME scenario where the port sacrifices so much that the game is essentially unplayable. Panic Button Games knows what they’re doing—they’ve given us successful ports before—and they’ve done it again, creating a Definitive Edition of this title for the Switch that is, indeed, deserving of its moniker.

Years ago, the Nintendo Fire team enjoyed previews of Hob at several PAX events, eagerly anticipating the game’s full release, despite knowing it wouldn’t be arriving on Nintendo platforms anytime soon. We even won a t-shirt during one of Runic Games’ booth giveaways. Naturally, when the full game was released, we ponied up the cash to play it on PC and gave it a go. Unfortunately, we didn’t get very far—the fixed camera was frustrating, making the jumping puzzles overly complicated… we got stuck in the scenery… we got confused by the UI… and we got distracted during the lengthy load times. Basically, the game didn’t live up to our expectations for it, and we sadly stepped away.

With Hob: The Definitive Edition, however, we’re pleased to say that the game seems to have come full circle to live up to the potential we saw back during that first awe-inspiring demo.



The cel-shaded design works, and it’s stunning. Yes, there’s a bit of lost crispness from PC to Switch, but it’s negligible and doubtful that anyone who didn’t play the PC version would notice. The art style works with the Switch’s abilities, and frankly, it’s beautiful. There’s high aesthetic appeal during gameplay, and the level of detail is quite remarkable. In this version, you’re better able to see future areas off in the distance—giving you a greater sense of the grandeur of the world. The enemies and creatures your character encounters are strange-looking but interesting, bringing a perpetual sense of newness to the experience.

It’s also a real delight to be wandering through fields of swaying grass and brushland, only to turn a crank and descend into an underground maze of cog-driven tech. Ancient ruins reveal abandoned robot technology. The old-vs-new, natural world-vs-created world visual dichotomy works and it is exquisite.



This is where Hob begins to falter, Definitive Edition or not. The basic premise set up in the prologue is actually not so much a premise as it is a character introduction. The character has an incident with poisonous goop, and is saved by a chop to the arm… after which he receives his mechanical hand. The mechanical hand is what drives your abilities to interact with the environment and can be upgraded, and by now you’ve noticed that we’ve stopped discussing the story and have already moved onto gameplay. That’s because the story essentially ends here. Players won’t learn why they’re doing any of the things they’re doing until the end of the game, and because there’s only so much payoff story-wise, we’re not going to spoil any of it for you.



First things first: while the camera is still fixed, you’re able to slightly adjust the camera up or down to provide slightly more control and spatial awareness during puzzles or jumping—especially when jumping and moving between platforms. This really does make all the difference! And even so, the camera’s positioning was far less infuriating this time around, the vast majority of the time. Sometimes distance can still be difficult to discern, and on occasion, we ran into moments when the camera angle would change but the movement would work as if it was the previous camera angle (ie. your right won’t move the character to the right, or trying to move the character up will move him sideways instead, etc).

The IU is still extremely minimal, but the Switch’s touchscreen allows you to more easily access things like the abilities screen, inventory, and the map. The map, with a slight update of its own for the sake of clarity, is helpful—especially in a game that doesn’t want to guide you—but it would have been even more helpful to have placed it as a mini-map in the corner. It’s a little annoying to switch back and forth or to be glancing between screens to check the map, rather than having it right on-screen with your character. Concept-wise with the way the game plays, it makes sense—but we don’t have to like it.

Upgrades are unlocked via progression, and you’ll start with only a two-hit combo for attacks and a dodge ability. A successful dodge will help to set up future combos, and it’s not too far into the game that you’ll add a weapon, teleportation ability, and general attack upgrades. There is an in-game currency to spend, and items to collect to upgrade your health and stamina bars.

We should also mention—we did have the occasional frame drop and lag, and at least one incident comes to mind of getting stuck in the scenery, but compared to the PC version, these moments were far and few between.


Final Thoughts

Hob’s puzzles are charming to solve, while they do increase in complexity as you progress, there’s a leisurely quality to the whole thing. With the lack of story to drive your motivation, you might not quite understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, but you’ll still have a good time doing it. The ambient soundtrack is lovely without being overwhelming, and the noises and music blend perfectly with the visual art style.

This Definitive Edition was needed, we’ll say that, because it’s in this iteration that the game really comes to life. It has its weaknesses still, but they’re not enough to detract from the enjoyment of gameplay or the awe-inspiring intricacy of the world Runic Games originally created. Panic Button knows what they’re doing with ports, and they’ve done this one justice—and then some. Hob: The Definitive Edition is certainly worth its weight and is a solid addition to the selection of 3D platformers on the Switch today.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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