Developer(s) – Ratalaika Games
Publisher(s) – GrabTheGames, Ratalaika & Electronicsgames LLC
This article is not so much a review as it is the first impression of a game that is yet to be released. The reason why I say that is because I had a hard time knowing what to think going into it since there was an unusually large amount of things to take into consideration with this game. Himno is a 2D semi-open world side-scroller available on multiple platforms, which simply involves the player traversing through multiple stages in an endless loop and collecting as many experience points as possible without dying. There is not much else to do within the game besides which, something that normally would have caused me to give a game like this an overwhelmingly negative assessment, as, without anything to do beyond that, it would simply compel me to pick up another game that I’d otherwise know would have more to it.
However, I found myself making an exception to this game for a number of reasons. Firstly, it does what the developers set out to do with it, which was to provide a relaxing platforming experience as opposed to more intense action-oriented titles of its kind like Symphony of the Night or Rogue Legacy. Secondly, I picked it up for free on Steam, which is what I would recommend anyone else do if they’re thinking about giving it a try, since the console version is £4.99 and I don’t know about anyone else who may be reading this article, but I personally would’ve felt suckered if I’d bought the console version given what kind of a game it is. Thirdly, and the most important reason, in my opinion, is that the developers are currently working on a sequel to the game called Himno: The Silent Melody, which is actually more or less the same game, but with combat elements thrown in for a more immersing experience.
So the way I see it, Himno is not so much a full-fledged game as it is a demo of the sequel, which caused me to approach it in a much different way than I normally would otherwise. It’s a nice, atmospheric, relaxing title that does deviate away from the norms of a typical game of it’s kind and there is a certain amount of enjoyment to be had from it.
The game’s visuals seem to take influence primarily from medieval England judging by the architectural style of the structures the players must traverse across in order to progress through each level. But in addition, the player character seems to have a more futuristic look about him, wearing attire similar to that of Tekken 2 variation of Yoshimitsu, looking almost robotic and wielding a green glowing sword. Besides the basic structures to traverse, there is only a black background along with rain effects at certain levels, which further adds to the atmosphere ostensibly. The game’s soundtrack is also appropriately relaxing; it’s slow-paced and easy to listen to, as the game itself is slow-paced and easy to play. It does give the game a certain ambiance to be enjoyed throughout for players who simply want to switch off for an hour or so and immerse themselves into something much simpler than the average action-adventure title.
The game is a simple 2D side-scroller that relies most on idle exploration. Players can collect experience points to level up their character as much as possible (though there is no real incentive for doing so) and along the way, can also gain certain power-ups, depending on what level they’re at, to gain temporary abilities such as higher jumping, softer landings and being able to find the other side of a level quicker. As I said, I would’ve been particularly annoyed if I’d spent any amount of money on this game, as certainly the asking price for the console versions of £4.99 is still too much in my opinion, but having spent nothing on it, it was far easier to appreciate the game for what it is and what it sets out to do. If anyone is looking for a much more relaxing gaming experience without the urgency of having to progress through such as with other titles, then I can recommend the free version. But for anyone looking for a more action-packed title and the satisfaction that comes with it, then you will be disappointed.
The game’s control is also simple enough to get to grips with; be that either through using a keyboard or a controller and mercifully with the PC version, both those options are available; I personally prefer to use a controller whilst playing a game like this. There are a number of additional mechanics that can be used, which give the game some variety in that respect, but it’s definitely much more evolutionary than it is revolutionary.
As this is a game that goes on forever and that there’s no attached story, I’m jumping straight into how unique a game it is, which I guess for many players, the fact that there is no story or any further incentive to play the game or any prolonged period of time may be either another reason to either get it or avoid it dependent on what way they may look at that. But also depending on what way you may look at it, the fact that there’s nothing to do in the games besides what I’ve already described may be cause enough to decide against playing it for long; as indeed was the case where I was concerned. After watching the trailer for Himno: The Silent Melody, there looks like there will be a number of unique combat elements introduced, which is one reason why I’m very much looking forward to playing it, but where the original Himno is concerned, there are certainly more unique titles out there that offer players a plethora of more unique features than what this has to offer.
To summarize, buy Himno on Steam if you’re thinking of playing it, otherwise, particularly where the more action-driven gamer is concerned, there will be a disappointment to be felt. But if the intention of the developer was to release this game effectively as a demo to Himno: The Silent Melody all along, then it would seem like a stroke of genius, as releasing this game for free would give players a taste of what’s to come.