Heave Ho, a couch co-op multiplayer game for Nintendo Switch and PC/Mac developed by Le Cartel Studio, has been on my radar since it came out mid last year, especially after watching the hilarious Quick Look for it on Giant Bomb. With a 50% off sale on the Nintendo Switch eShop and some friends coming over to visit now that quarantine restrictions in Australia have been largely lifted, I figured this was the perfect time to try it out!
Heave Ho is one of those simple multiplayer games that will have both experienced video game players and those who don’t play many games in tears with laughter. It reminds me a lot of Gang Beasts, as they both have simple mechanics and controls that are easy to learn but somehow wonky enough that it’s very easy to do something unintentionally… Like letting go of the wrong hand when you’re trying to swing your friend across a chasm and accidentally letting them fall to their death!
The aim of Heave Ho is for all players (1-4) to make it safely to the goal. To do so, you must use your character’s long, bendy arms to grab and swing around the environment, or each other. The L and R buttons open and close your character’s left and right hands, and the analog stick moves the direction of your character’s hands. That’s it!
It’s such a simple premise that it can easily be brought out at a party, explained in a couple of sentences, and have everyone in stitches within minutes. Right off the bat, players are able to customize the color, hair, and other features of their blob-like characters for easy recognition, and the assistance mode, which color-codes the right and left hands of the character can be toggled on and off individually for those who wish to use it. At first, I didn’t like feeling like I was turning on “easy mode” by using the assistance mode, but even with the colored gloves I still managed to let go of the wrong hands at the wrong time, so I think I need the assistance.
Once you’ve got your characters set up to your liking, there’s a brief tutorial and then you’re straight into the game, and you’ll quickly learn who your true friends are. Will your friends band together to get to the end, or do everything in their power to screw you over? Either way, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Another notable thing about this game: there’s a lot of farting. I’ve never found flatulence to be particularly humorous, but if you do… Enjoy, I guess? There’s even a dedicated fart button, and you can both propel your character into the air with it, and propel other player’s characters into the air with it. There are also animals that randomly appear on the screen from time to time to poop and fart on you. Yup!
The first set of levels is pretty straightforward, but beginning in the second set there will be optional coins to collect, as well as a special golden rope that occasionally appears that will give you the opportunity to play a minigame for more coins if you pull it before it disappears. Coins can then be used in the slot machine to unlock extra costumes for your characters.
I haven’t tried the solo mode yet, but I’ve played with both 4 players and 2, and while it seems like it should be easier with 4, it’s still a ton of fun and possible to beat (at least the earlier levels) with only 2 people. As with many couch co-op games, the more people the more hectic things get, but that’s part of the fun! If you’re stuck at home with some family members during COVID-19 or looking for an easy to pick up game to whip out at parties, I can wholeheartedly recommend Heave Ho based on my time with it! Perhaps the only negative I’ve found so far is the lack of online multiplayer, but it does feel built more for the local multiplayer experience than online.
It’s always great to find a new couch co-op game to enjoy – if you have any personal favorites, let me know in the comments!