Hobo 5: Space Brawls Game

hobo 5: space brawls

There comes a time in every game’s lifespan when the player becomes tired with what they are playing and the persons responsible for that very game’s creation become aware of its finite shelf-life. This is true of even the most immersive and compelling of games from all platforms and genres that lack an online multiplayer function. Even the many games out there which do happen to possess this capability ultimately get old, boring and monotonous; it’s just a matter of time and attention span. I often review games in the hope that I will be entertained, vaguely amused and pleased with the time I invested. With this in mind, I began to play ‘Hobo 5 Space Brawls: Attack of the Homeless Clones’ and immediately began to form some mild to medium-strength opinions (largely positive) about it, and it would render the above introduction all but void if I didn’t voice these opinions vigorously with the power of the English (UK) vernacular.

To begin, I’ll point out that the series of roaming brawler-style games is typified by its almost seamless transition from one game to the next. Each game starts in the exact place where the previous title left off, creating somewhat of a seamless link between the games. Though this is a very small detail which in no way affects the actual gameplay, rare niceties such as these can make a game stand out from what is already a very saturated pool of flash games of its type, and indeed from the vast number of flash games available on the internet in general.

I’ll accept that it takes a creative stretch of imagination and the ability to refrain from asking questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how’ when I tell you that this fifth and final instalment begins with a very swift and inexplicable alien abduction from where our hobo was last seen in ‘Hobo 4: Total War’. This is somewhat of a dramatic escalation from the previous titles, where events (just to settle any confusion) all take place exclusively on planet Earth.

In the classic style of many classic video games (Half-Life, Tomb-Raider, and many adventure/shoot-em-ups where you amass an arsenal of weapons), you are immediately stripped of your previously acquired special moves with some sort of advanced alien technology, rendering you in the same situation as the beginning of the first ‘Hobo’ game. If you look really closely, you may be able to see the poetic nature of coming full circle within the game, but I really struggle to use the word ‘poetic’ with any seriousness when talking about a video game. The only exception here is the Max Payne trilogy, which was almost Shakespearean in its use of language, delicate similes and haunting imagery; it won awards for god’s sake!

As with every other game in the series, I am obligated to share my delight about the simplicity of the controls (arrows for directional, A, S, and D for attacking/picking up), the addictive nature of unlocking more special moves and the ease at which anyone can simply pick up the game and play with little to no instructional tutorial. Since I’m already sharing, I’ll contribute a little bit of my own amazement into the mix at the fact that I’m still enjoying the ‘Hobo’ games even at the fifth instalment, and far from the disillusionment which Rocky V left me feeling, I am still somehow entertained. And all this joy from a game that is only marginal in its differences with each successive title. The only things that appear to change are the various locations in which the violence takes place and the special moves that allow the madness to continue. 

I hope to entice similar levels of intrigue from you as the game did from me when I discovered that the fifth instalment in the hobo series still has no less than fifteen special moves to offer you. Whilst these are unavailable at the beginning, you start to with them back with easy by fighting your opponents. The absolute classics are still with us, ranging from the essential saliva stream, the typical use of projectile vomit as a vile weapon of hindrance and why not go ahead and take a leak in the direction of your enemy? After all, being already homeless and newly planet-less, our hobo has very little left to lose as this stage. The more advanced moves such as the long-range head-butt with tendon-stretch and simultaneously vomit/faeces combination (both of which are projectile; need I say more?) are also eventually available.

The weapons in this instalment are understandably more limited than the previous titles due to the fact that we are now on a spaceship and the silly humans with their projectiles didn’t plan for space attacks. Instead, alien firearms are provided and/or scavenged from the floor and walls and are the extra-terrestrial equivalent of pistols and shotguns, only firing a beam of focused energy instead of bullets. It helps to avoid the enemies with firearms unless you possess one yourself since your health takes a catastrophic hit when you go bare-knuckle boxing with an intense beam of light shot from an alien weapon. You wouldn’t slap a lightsaber would you, so I recommend you take a similar approach to the alien weapons for a long and fruitful homeless existence.

The enemies you encounter in the game are also limited due to the confined and remote location of its setting; in all, you go up against the very aliens that stole your DNA (and your moves along with it), with each of them varying in their desire to pummel and shoot you, with some seeming all but disinterested in fighting you. Making the game unique to its predecessors is the facing of your cloned self as an enemy and isn’t it just marginally annoying that he has all the moves you previously possessed? Going up against your very own moves and being on the receiving end merely serves to highlight the pain, suffering and shortcomings of basic hygiene that you have so readily inflicted upon others.

In all Space Brawls: Attack of the Homeless Clones’ is a very playable and somewhat addictive addition to the ‘Hobo’ series of flash games. I struggle in finding any notable faults in the game itself aside from its almost impenitent similarity to its predecessors. On one side this could be viewed as being the result of a lack of imagination from the game’s creators; others could equally refer to this quality as consistency or stability throughout the series, which is of course one of the most desired characteristics in a game that as good as this. The genre/idea certainly isn’t broken, and fortunately there has been no noticeable attempt to fix any perceived weaknesses or flaws within the game. There just isn’t very much wrong with the game that can be criticised.

If, like me, you possess the attention span of a young puppy that has just been presented with a ball to catch, then you may find yourself getting tired of game titles extremely quickly, unless the game is truly exceptional in pretty much every way. Hobo 5 is only truly exceptional in the way that it has made it to the fifth instalment without becoming an incredibly taxing bore. However, even after having played the previous four titles, the game as a separate entity on which I am expressing an opinion is immediately likeable, delightful y ridiculous, and thankfully not the final offering in the remarkably addictive series.

Call me traditional, but when a story departs from its usual setting and also from the planet on which we live, my levels of scepticism about the value of the story to me as entertainment become literally astronomical (anyone who has had the misfortune and courage to sit through ‘Knowing’ with Nicolas Cage will share my pain here). Frown-on-face and scepticism at the ready, I continued to play the game and much to my surprise, found it to be just as enjoyable as the previous titles.

I for one have enjoyed our Hobo’s outrageously tragic descent into a series of very unfortunate events from an afternoon of light physical attacking to prison rioting and finally abduction and relentless abuse of an alien race. It’s enough to make the regular homeless life seem like a breeze.

Play Hobo 5