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Heave Ho is a game where keeping your hands to yourself is a problem

Simplistic, yet challenging.

heave ho gameplay at pax east 2019
Image: Devolver Digital

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Every once in a while you play a game that is so dumb that it transcends that “dumbness” and circles back around to absolute hilarity. That’s the charm to Heave Ho, on paper, it sounds stupid. Explaining it to someone makes it sound stupid, seeing it in action is amusing and playing it is both hilarious and rage inducing.

The concept of Heave Ho is simple. You are a disembodied head with arms that can grab onto any surface or player. Along with three other players, you need to push, pull, swing and throw yourselves to the goal. There are pitfalls, spikes and other hazards that will kill your character if you aren’t careful, causing them to respawn at the start. The issue is that everyone has to reach the goal to end the level and with teamwork being necessary, players may need to go back to the beginning if one dies.

While we played the game, emotions went from four frustrated guys sitting on a couch to the four of us loudly cheering and laughing when we figured out the teamwork aspect and accidentally alley-ooped our entire squad into a goal in the first 30 seconds of the level. Heave Ho is a party game in the best ways.

Gameplay is so simple, yet requires you to actually communicate with the other players you are playing with

When we started, players were grabbing the ground when we tried to swing or were grabbing other players, making a big ugly player knot. That or even better, sometimes a player grabbing onto another would just let go, sending the team flying off into the abyss. With controls tied to both thumbsticks and shoulder buttons, it was easy to get the hang of and hard to get on the same page as everyone else.

Once we did get on the same page, the game changed altogether. At one point we broke our chain and I was thrown into the goal. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t be the extra momentum to hit the hanging obstacle in the middle of the level. After some contemplation, I decided that instead of killing myself, I’d hang off the goal to catch the team as they flung over the pit. It worked and we won.

Those simple victories and complex deaths are what makes Heave Ho a fun party experience. Throw in a few drinks and some friends and man you’ll have an absolute blast.

Heave Ho will be limply flinging itself at you on the PC and Nintendo Switch this summer.

What do you think? Does this look like something you’d like to play? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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