Being a happily married cartoonish blob is catnip to evil dudes in the world of videogames. No sooner have slime-moulds Hoggy and Hogatha decided to have a day out with their family than their kids are whisked away by the nefarious Moon Men.
Quite what the Moon Men have against cartoon slimes, I’m not sure. And that’s mostly because if there is a story buried within Hoggy 2, it’s not the main thing you tend to remember when this platform puzzler’s been busy smashing your brains out with a brick.
Given its jolly veneer and early levels, there’s no indication at first as to what you’re letting yourself in for. You spend a few levels getting to grips with one of the blobby parents, exploring a maze-like world filled with jars.
It all seems so easy.
On entering a jar, it’s revealed as – TARDIS-style – bigger on the inside. Also: full of platforms, power-ups, enemies, spikes, bombs, and fruit. The controls are straightforward: gloop left or right, hit a jump button to flip between floor and ceiling, and use the action button to squeeze between teleporter-like mini-jars as and when the occasion demands it.
Given that this is a cartoonish videogame, your aim is, naturally, to eat all the fruit. Do so and you (worryingly) excrete a key. Acquire enough of those and new areas of the maze can be unlocked, allowing you to tackle more of the game’s 200 levels.
Where Hoggy 2 wins you over is in its devious level design. The tiny worlds you try to best gradually increase in complexity, regularly lobbing new ideas into the mix. You grab power-ups that temporarily turn you into a screaming inferno, or split the protagonist in three, mostly so two thirds of the triplets can be sacrificed on the alter of beating a game.
Sooner or later, you’ll end up staring at a level, convinced it’s impossible to beat. You’ll admit defeat, nip over to YouTube for a solution, and feel like a massive idiot on realising you missed something so painfully obvious (a lurking block; the order in which to use a couple of power-ups) that it may as well have been screaming “notice me!” at your face.
And when you’ve exhausted the main game – which is no mean feat – you can terrorise the Hoggy 2 community with your own efforts constructed in the built-in level designer. This is as smartly conceived as the rest of the game, enabling you to zip back and forth between making your creation and testing it out.
Bar the odd niggle, Hoggy 2 cements itself as something of a mobile classic – every bit as charming as the original, and with enough content to keep platform fanatics consumed for days. It might have the odd rough edge you wouldn’t see in the likes of, say, Nintendo’s finest, but it’s the kind of game to avoid only if you hate fun.