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Community Article: Indie Insights - Heave Ho

Written by John Edwards

One of the great advantages of being part of a community like Nintendo Players UK is having like-minded people ready and willing to join in with multiplayer games. One of the games that has produced the most fun during a Nintendo North Wales event is Heave Ho.

While this year has been terrible for chances to play couch co-op games in our groups, hopefully, this festive season gives you a chance for a bit of party gaming and if you're looking for something easy to pick up and guaranteed to have everyone laughing, get Heave Ho.

There is a single-player mode in Heave Ho, but realistically you're going to want to play this with other people. You take control of a head with two arms. You wave the arms around and grab using L and R for the left and right hands (the game lets you have L&R on your hands for clarity, and you will probably want to keep that on).

The aim of each level is to reach a goal, usually with very little in the way of solid ground between you and it. By grabbing ledges, ropes and other players, you can swing yourself, build up momentum and fling yourself across massive gaps, desperately grabbing for whatever destination you may collide with. 

Get it wrong and a spray of colourful goo splatters the level from your death before you respawn at the start and try again. In theory, it's easier with other players because you can reach further as you hold on to each other and make long chains to swing between gaps.

In reality there is much laughing, shouting and general confusion as you all try to work out who was supposed to be holding down which button and who was supposed to let go when you count to three. And that's before you try and get the optional coins. 

Coins require you to hold on to them and carry them to the goal since that takes on of your hands out of the equation you ideally want someone else also holding the coin so you can make a chain with a hand free at each end. Keeping this team work going while navigating spikes, darkness and screen spanning leaps is quite the achievement, particularly if someone forgets whether the coin is in their left or right hand.

Fail often enough and the game gives you a literal lifeline in the form of a line to the goal you can hold on to and swing to victory. On top of this are sparkling ropes which when pulled take you to special stages. 

You never know quite what to expect from one stage to another and it has a very compelling 'one more go' appeal. There's nothing quite like barely missing a grab to make you want to keep on trying, or possibly blame the person who swung you there.

I would recommend playing with a pro controller is possible. While the joy-con make it easy to get a multiplayer game going, holding the little L and R buttons is much more tiring on a single joy-con than with a pro.

If you get fed up with cooperating there are vs options too where you can literally drag someone down with you if you want to scupper their chances. Coins can be spent in a gatcha machine to unlock various customisations for your head and arms, including some familiar indie characters.

Heave Ho is a brilliant party game. Even those not playing will have fun watching the chaos that ensues from something so simple. If you're lucky enough to be able to play games with people in the same room this year, Heave Ho is probably the best choice you can make.