Without a word of exaggeration, Horace is a hilariously heartfelt sleeping masterpiece.  – Game News

Without a word of exaggeration, Horace is a hilariously heartfelt sleeping masterpiece. – Game News

I don’t know what I expected from Horace(opens in a new tab) before playing. I’ve played so many retro-inspired pixel-platformers over the past 10 years, each punctuated with catchy chiptune soundtracks, that I’ve lost count. Don’t get me wrong: I love you. They are my bread and butter, and even if I never get tired of them, it is true that they start to become so after a while. Guess I walked into Paul Helman and Sean Scapelhorn’s love letter to the 8-bit and 16-bit gaming eras, the same ones I started in 30 years ago, expecting more from the same thing.

What I didn’t expect from Horace, the indie gem that released on Steam in mid-2019, on Nintendo Switch in October 2021, and on PS4 and Xbox One just a few weeks ago, is that my jaw hit the ground as she clung. with its masterful side scrolling with change of perspective. I didn’t expect to swear out loud when he killed me more times than Elden Ring in a flooded basement full of power failures. I didn’t expect to double laugh at his effortlessly ironic references to bygone pop culture. And I certainly didn’t expect to be on the verge of tears when I remembered playing Space Harrier on the Atari ST with my late uncle years before he passed away.

Horace will definitely mean more to players of a certain age, I realize. But even if his nostalgic jabs pass, there’s still plenty to fall in love with.


(Image credit: 505)

At its core, no matter your age or personal gaming lineage, Horace is a challenging, brilliantly thought-out platformer in the same vein as Terry Cavanagh’s Super Meat Boy or VVVVV. Some of his fast-paced puzzles reminded me of N++ in style and structure, while those first steps with the aforementioned gravity-twisting mechanic inspired awe in the same way Jonathan Blow’s braid l did so many years ago.

Story-wise, Horace tells a moving and often moving story about a robot designed primarily to clean up trash that wants more of its existence. What follows is a rich and insightful journey of self-discovery, backed by a cast of good guys, bad guys and a ridiculous number of once-high profile celebrities, some from the coffers of British TV, some from the across the pond in The Shape of Jerry. Seinfeld and the cast of Friends. At times like these, Horace is weird, wild, and wonderful. For example, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I especially enjoyed being chased by savage prehistoric cavemen while rubbing shoulders with an English teacher and Bill and Ted in what’s a clear, if abstract, nod to Stanley Krubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey.

I loved the game’s references to video game history through Horace playing Magnavox, Atari 2600, SNES, 3DO, and PS2. I loved the game’s old-school Final Fantasy references, its nods to Rockband, Street Fighter, Pac Man, Afterburner 2, and a catalog of other retro classics. In addition to the aforementioned TV stars, the cast of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is also there, as is Castaway’s Wilson, Disney’s Herbie, Beauty and the Beast, and a whole tier that’s a playful Donkey Kong rip-off. From the work of Michelangelo to an ode to Michael Jackson, Horace’s penchant for parallel poses runs deep and often hilarious along the way.

(Image credit: 505)

“My only complaint is personal: it took me so long to figure it out.”

Sure, these references can be fun on their own, but with Horace they’re never center stage. While it has a sense of humor to tell the game’s story, the litany of cameos and flashbacks are secondary to its solid, intuitive platforming. With multiple ways to twist gravity, each level can be tackled in multiple ways, leading to head-scratching before the dime drops. This process is the essence of any good puzzle-platformer, of course, but Horace is full of baffling situations that deserve the most euphoric eureka moments when finally, Finally, solve them. Horace’s approximate 12-15 hour run time means you’ll find yourself in these situations time and time again, and also makes it great value for money.

Needless to say, Horace caught me off guard for all the right reasons. My only complaint is personal: it took me so long to figure it out, now that it’s coming to PS4 and Xbox nearly four years after its PC debut. If you’ve been pounding since (or since coming to Switch in 2020), I can only apologize for not listening to you. I definitely listen now. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, know that I think it’s nothing less than a masterpiece that you should pick up and play today. If you do, maybe grab some tissues, because chances are you’ll be sobbing tears of sadness and joy as the credits roll.

Here are some of the The best indie games on Switch you can play now

Brent Dubin
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming world you are looking for.Work Email: brentgamebo@outlook.com