I, Hope (Review) Xbox One

I, Hope (Review) Xbox One
Review Score:

I, Hope by indie developer GameChanger Charity isn’t your average 3D platform. It was designed with cancer patients in mind to help them through arduous hospital stays and difficult treatments that tax the human body. I, Hope is definitely unique in how it presents itself to the player: As the game’s protagonist, Hope – the player must battle a faceless monster known only as Cancer. This creature – which takes on the form of tentacles – has infected both the wildlife and the neighboring islands that surround Hope’s home.

The game has five islands to visit – Strength, Courage, Support, Knowledge and Hope. The game starts on the island of ‘Knowledge’, where the player goes through a brief tutorial that explains the in-game controls and the nuisances of combat. In addition, the game introduces the player to the first of many puzzles, which involves destroying five black, large oval barriers in a specific order. After passing this obstacle, the player is then shown how to use the ‘Goggles of Knowledge’, which can be activated by pressing ‘up’ on the Directional Pad. These goggles allow Hope to see things hidden in the environment, such as holes in bridges, etc. The first major puzzle to use the goggles is a labyrinth with hidden walls. In addition, the player will find a pair of ‘Gauntlets’ that are used to move heavy objects; a trumpet that generates platforms; and a gong that can freeze both enemies and the environment.

Once the player completes the tutorial, they are sent to the other islands where there is plenty of platforming; puzzle solving; and relying on the Goggles, Gauntlets, etc., when the situation calls for them. Each island is treated like an isolated world with its own obstacles and puzzles. An end boss (which resembles a giant tentacle) waits for the player at the end of each world. While these boss encounters can be fun and sometimes even challenging, they tend to lack in variety. It’s just a matter of finding the monster’s weakness and then attacking. Rinse, repeat. 

Gameplay is average on the whole, as it involves collecting hidden letters that spell the word ‘Hope’; defeating animals infected by cancer; and navigating the various platforms that comprise each island (puzzles not withstanding). The game doesn’t offer much in the way of variety. Instead of including side missions or additional pathways to travel, the game instead remains linear from start to finish. While this formula does work, it tends to create a repetitive experience throughout.

Combat is action-based;  it involves rapidly tapping the X button to attack with Hope’s staff. The player can dodge incoming attacks by pressing B button, and jump by pressing A.  When an enemy is defeated, the player can absorb the ‘Cancer’ cells that drop by pressing the Left Trigger. These Cancer cells – when collected – become projectiles known as ‘Light Energy’. This weapon appears underneath the player’s health and portrait, which is located in the top-left corner of the screen.  In addition, the player can fire these Light Energy projectiles by pressing the Right Trigger. They inflict more damage than Hope’s staff.

Graphically, I,Hope resembles a last generation release with its flat textures, boxy geometry, and semi-jagged 3D models. The islands themselves are unique enough to stand out on their own, but again – they all suffer from the same graphical issues. If I,Hope’s gameplay was refined (which sadly it isn’t), the aforementioned issues could easily be forgiven.

I,Hope was developed with good intentions. The concept of battling a physical manifestation of the disease wins hands down in this reviewer’s opinion. I applaud developer GameChanger Charity for tackling such a sensitive topic, and turning it into a benign, non-confrontational 3D platformer that can be played by people of all ages. It’s a great concept without a doubt. Unfortunately, it translates into a mediocre platforming experience with repetitive gameplay. (Sidenote: I feel like a Grinch for being so critical of this game.)

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: GameChanger Charity
Publisher: GameChanger Charity
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
Price: 9.99

I, Hope Official Website: https://gamechangercharity.org/i-hope-video-game/

Review Score
I,Hope resembles a last generation release with flat textures.
Average sound effects and below average voice acting.
Eradicating cancer  is a unique concept that has never been explored in video games before.
The concept of battling a physical manifestation of the disease wins hands down in this reviewer’s opinion.
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