Home Game Reviews Hobo: Tough Life – Surviving the Streets of Praslav

Hobo: Tough Life – Surviving the Streets of Praslav

Hobo: Tough Life Review

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Hobo Tough Life Feature Picture
Hobo :Tough Life

Title: Hobo: Tough Life
Developer: Perun Creative
Publisher: Perun Creative
Released: April 12, 2021
Maturity: Mature 17+
Platforms Available: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Article Reading Time: 9 minutes

Introduction to Hobo: Tough Life

The life of a homeless person is something none of us would want to experience in real life. But it’s a fascinating idea in a game that combines survival and RPG elements. This theme came to the attention of a developer from the Czech Republic, who then teamed up with others to form indie studio Perun Creative. The small project, originally planned only for mobile devices, became a full-fledged game for PC and later for consoles, whose development was greatly helped by players after a long time spent in early access.

The Harsh Reality of Homelessness

The game makes it clear from the start that life as a homeless person is hard. You find yourself in the city of Praslav, waking up in a pit amongst the garbage and remembering nothing except that you are homeless. You meet the first character, Majsner, who, after a conversation, directs you on. The quest log will get progressively fuller as almost every new character you meet will have a job for you to do. These side quests will be key to earning the trust of the characters, which will then reward you with a vote when you elect the king of the beggars. Thus, earning the title of King of Beggars will be the “main” mission. You’ll have a hard time gaining the trust of the other homeless and becoming their king when you die on the third or fourth day. Although death is not the end of your game, you must consider a five percent reduction in the maximum value of all stats (health, morale, energy, etc.). This is after each death. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it will cost you something. In addition, you’ll lose all the equipment in your inventory, but you can also repurchase it from Majsner.

Survival Mechanics

Death is almost like a big need. You can try to delay it, but you can’t avoid it. And you can only delay it if you pay attention to your stats and care for your character. Vitality, energy, food, morale, heat, drought, alcohol, poisoning, disease, great need, and smell. You’ll have to manage all of these, i.e., sleep, eat, keep a positive spirit, keep warm, try not to get too wet, not to get cold, not to let you know what’s in your pants, and not to smell. Overall, the authors have tried to be realistic about all the necessities, although it could sometimes be more balanced and manageable. This is felt most when it comes to your first defecation. You’ll be able to use the public toilets or the charity, but you’ll have to pay for both. In the charity, you’ll be able to indulge in a shower and have your clothes washed (all for a fee) in addition to the big necessities. If you’re considering performing a need in a public place, you can do that, too. But you must have a specific perk (courage), and you can only fulfill your needs in particular places. The idea that many truly homeless people would instead let it go to their pants doesn’t seem very realistic to me. That’s why I don’t consider this condition to be realistic and good. It’s more of a conflict between a combination of realistic and RPG elements.

RPG Elements

RPG elements are also well represented in the game. Together, you will be able to learn up to twenty-two perks (e.g., thief, electronics, intuition, masochist, drinker, junkie, etc.), which will add various bonuses to your game so that you can, for example, rob apartments, repair various electronic machines, increase specific stats and resistances, and so on. In addition, you will improve your conversation skills, begging, shopping, thieving, production, and locks. You will increase their level yourself through the given activities, or you can also get the help of characters with a sufficient level of confidence that can teach you. They will also hone you to expert and mastery levels.

Daily Life and Challenges

The previous words also suggest what you will do most of the time – running from one container to another or from one passerby to another. In the containers, you will find (almost) everything you will need. Food scraps, junk, various pieces of furniture, but also smelly dirt, and dangerous “shrapnel.” They will increase the smell or damage your clothes if you touch them. You can even destroy your clothes in this way and then get injured by the shrapnel. Passersby don’t really give you anything and make you feel that you’re just an annoying homeless person. Well, sometimes you do, and you can scrounge up a few pennies. You can also try to rob them or sell them something. But often, all you’ll hear is, “I don’t have time,” “ugly,” “get lost,” and so on. And wait until you start to smell properly. Then no one will talk to you or let you into the shops. Gradually, however, it will improve, and you’ll start conversations more often. Some people will still be arrogant and judgmental (for example, begging to get drugs), but there will be friendly people who will sympathize with you.

Crafting and Shelter Building

Equally important will be production. This includes food and drink, and you’ll be able to make some goodies out of food waste and a roll, as well as some wild drinks out of leftover alcohol. Some things can be made from almost nothing. You’ll need a production table in the hideout for the more complicated ones. While offering various bonuses while you sleep, the city benches will only last for a while. Winter is coming, and anyone who doesn’t get on one will freeze to death. There are a total of four locations in the game that allow you to build a shelter. In the beginning, it will look like it will fall on your head every now and then, but gradually, you will be able to build a complete palace that will not lack a toilet or shower. Growing your hideout will also gradually provide you with various valuable bonuses of your choice. Among the services, there is the employment office, which will arrange a part-time job for you, so you can earn some extra money and get some materials by cleaning the streets. If you are clean and smelly, you can also use the shops. You can buy everything you need, from food to drugs, medicines, clothes, and even a dog. Not to eat but as a companion. It will take a lot of work to find your way around. Although the city is big, you can easily get lost, and the map could be more helpful.

Combat and Challenges

To make the actual struggle to survive the winter on the street not easy, the authors have added fights to the game. And these are the worst parts of the game. Fights can happen in several cases. The biggest problem, however, is the so-called Wounders. If you don’t give them what they want from you, they will beat you up. There is no escape. I found this out by trying it once. I ran to an elevated riverbank from which I decided to jump. Sure enough, I lost about half my life, but the bump ran to the edge, and I was teleported up to him for a conversation. Well, at least he beat me up faster, if nothing else, because I had fewer lives.

Technical Aspects

Now for the technical side of the game. It’s not the best thing about Hobo: Tough Life. Visually, the game is weak, but you can turn a blind eye to that. Or even two when you see the rain crossing over the bridge and some other solid objects. Fortunately, it’s just a visual thing; it doesn’t affect the stats. More importantly, the gameplay is smooth and bug-free. The occasionally depressing atmosphere is nicely complemented by the melancholic music. Home fans will also be pleased to know that the whole game is in the Czech language, including the dubbing. It’s just a few spoken phrases and not complete sentences, but even that is appreciated in such a small studio. For others, of course, there is still the option of English.

Conclusion

The idea of playing as a homeless man in Hobo: Tough Life is an excellent refresher for the genre, and I won’t forget it any time soon. It was a strange and quite sad first feeling after I came out of the pit, and there was no zombie apocalypse around me or a world destroyed after a nuclear war. Everything was alive and functioning as normal, just not for the homeless. The game does a good job of conveying feelings of depression to you, thanks to the difficulty, but sometimes it’s unnecessarily frustrating. However, it tries to compensate for this with entertaining characters and dialogue. The game can last you for dozens of hours and can also be enjoyed in co-op with up to three other players.


Where to Buy and Talk Hobo: Tough Life

Steam (PC): Available for $24.99. You can purchase it directly from Steam.

Xbox Store (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S): Available for $24.99. Check it out on the Xbox Store.

PlayStation Store (PS4, PS5): The game is priced at $24.99. You can find it on the PlayStation Store.

Nintendo Shop (Switch): Hobo: Tough Life is not available on the Nintendo Shop.

Official Page: Visit the official Hobo: Tough Life page for more information.

Subreddit: Join the discussion on the Hobo: Tough Life Subreddit.

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