Horace is a story-rich platformer that is heavy in dialogue. Everything is narrated by the robotic voice of Horace themselves and he tells the story of their journey. It started with a seemingly simple task; cleaning up a million things. A task they were given from their mentor when pondering the meaning of their existence. However, soon after finding a purpose for their life, a tragedy occurs, and Horace malfunctions. They lose consciousness and wake up sometime in the future, where things have gone awry. Not much is revealed to the player at first but there has been some kind of a robot war. Small hints are given to the player about the origins of the war, Horace seems to have been some sort of a robot prototype for a less sentient but much more dangerous, weaponized killing machine.
The story of Horace is rich in pop-culture references, clever one-liners, and some existential questions. Most of the time it plays like a typical platformer. A lot of ways to mess up, need very precise jumping to succeed and some stages can leave the player stuck for unnecessarily long times. Overall though, I feel the difficulty of Horace is quite easy, perhaps a little too easy for my taste. Especially after I started to figure out how the gravity boots work. Changing the way gravity works being one of the main characteristics of the gameplay. I was expecting the game to be more teeth grinding and less storytelling but I was not disappointed to find it the other way around.
Besides platforming puzzles, the game has a large number of all kinds of minigames. When Horace is feeling stressed they’ll play drums to clear their head in a guitar hero-like minigame. When Horace needs money in the city they can do plenty of varied work from brick making to drying the dishes. The number of minigames within Horace is quite immense, and this is not a bad thing.
Some scenes in Horace are absolutely beautiful and the music is great. At times Horace gets to fly through the air when a version of “floating in the air” is playing in a clear reference to the classic snowman movie. The game is filled with such scenes and I really enjoyed them. At times I felt some stages to be too repetitive though and had to put the game down. I would still recommend this to people like me who enjoy platformers and games that also provide a good story.
Developer: Paul Herman and Sean Scaplehorn
Released: July 18, 2019
Genres: Platformer, Adventure, Action
Pegi: R/P (rating pending) I suggest 7
Picture 2: screenshot was taken by the author
Picture 3: “Bullet hell boss fight” by Sciere
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