Who doesn’t love a wee bit of twee? Last year at EGX me and the guys got to have a go on the Switch platformer Horace, not something with a fancy stand or a million girls offering drinks and merch to sell, but still a very fun and satisfying title that stuck in my mind quite a while longer than most.
So recently I got hold of a copy of Horace and I have to say, there is a reason it stuck around. Horace, as a character, is the most annoying little bastard of all time. Though that’s not to say I don’t still love this lil tin fella. His deadpan delivery of jokes and lack of understanding of the world around him make him impossible to dislike.
The premise of Horace is you are a new robot butler hired for a family to do the usual tasks like tea making, trouser pressing and running complex gauntlets at the whims of your apparently insane old owner… Though things soon go south as Horace disappears into the basement of his mansion and awakens years later to his home in disrepair and the world recovering from an apparent great war.
Or at least that’s how things begin, in a fairly cutscene heavy opening, you’re introduced to Horace and his new family and learn the basic controls and how to get around in this frankly quite beautiful 16 bit world. As a character this budget bicentennial man has smooth and satisfying controls and none of the floating or slippy feet we can sometimes expect of a platform character (Crash Bandicoot I’ve got your number dude!)
The story weaves it’s way through the gorgeous world as Horace goes on a heart wrenching quest to find his family again after losing them, and to collect 1,000,000 pieces of junk with the belief it will turn him into a real man, all of this action stretching across several generations, I meant it when I compared him to the bicentennial man! The story is fantastically warm but the real heart of the game is in its homages to other 8 and 16 bit classics and 80s movies and TV. This is a title developed by fans of the generation and they show it in almost every panel of background art and every character the little robot meets on his adventure.
As I said before the only real negative I can bring to the table is Horace himself, while his look and controls are fantastic and story is adorable, his robotic butler voice grinds my gears into oblivion! After a while however his one note voice starts to make more and more sense, as he settles into the strange world of references and celebrities he makes his way through (I was particularly tickled when I ran into Logan and Preston, EXCELLENT!)
If you’re looking for a new title to scratch that indie itch, then this should definitely be the one for you, just bring the tissues for when Horace starts to tug aggressively at your heart strings and not let go!
I can’t help but give Horace 8/10