Devolver Digital's newest party game is destined to kickstart the fiercest of family rivalries.
If there’s anything the Switch is perfect for, it’s local co-op games. They’re a natural fit, with Nintendo being the king of multiplayer titles and the fact that the Switch was literally made for people to play games anytime, anywhere with a second controller out of the box. Throughout the console’s life though, I’ve felt like most of the great local multiplayer experiences have come from Nintendo itself, and not from third-party developers and independent studios.
In comes Devolver Digital and French developer Le Cartel, bringing a brand new and very unique party game to Switch at PAX East 2019 with Heave Ho, a frantic experience in which you work with the other players to bring each of your two-legged creatures across the stage to a set goal. To move your character, who is basically just a circle with two arms, you use the left analog stick to control the direction the arms move in and the triggers to grasp the arms onto the stage elements or the other players. The heart of Heave Ho is cooperation. The only way to get your character to the flag is to work with the other players by all climbing together, swinging each other around the stage, or finding some other creative method of using the very basic skillset that you have at your fingertips.
The catch is that any player gets left behind, everyone has to either start over or make their way back to save them. It’s also very easy for two players to have different ideas of where they want the clump of characters to go and accidentally end up throwing someone, or multiple players, off the stage. Essentially, to get to the goal, you have to talk, or shout, to the others on your team and come up with a strategy for what to do next. Although the characters are as basic as can be, Le Cartel didn’t hold back with the options to customize them to your liking. Your options include Santa hats, crazy hair, sunglasses, skeleton arms, and more. The levels in the demo didn’t deviate from black stages on a white background, but the trailer from the game shows gameplay taking place in the mountains, a jungle, a dark dungeon, and over a canyon.
Even in a group of random strangers in the middle of the frenzy of PAX, we worked together as a group to make it through the levels, and even yelled at each other as if we were a close group of friends. Even though we played the PC build of the game, I could totally imagine myself handing a friend a Joy-Con and playing this one just about anywhere. It doesn’t take too much to grasp the gameplay and it is totally a blast of a party game. Heave Ho is set to release this summer.