La Hot Lava review, the new title of Clay Entertainment, puts us in front of a series of rather bizarre solutions from the narrative point of view, which mix suggestions and atmospheres from the 90s cartoon to finally present a parkour-style platform gameplay, which clearly recalls the mechanics of Mirror's Edge even without boasting in any way its refinement and dynamism.
The protagonists of the game are in fact a weird team of heroes for children, real action figures that we can select from a special shelf and control within six different settings, each characterized by the presence of gradually more complex paths. The idea starts from a childhood pastime, "the floor is lava", and transforms it into a series of challenges in which one must precisely avoid contact with the ground, under penalty of game over.
To succeed in the enterprise we will have to jump from one object to another, use rods and ropes, run where possible a bit of running on the walls and identify the necessary maneuvers from time to time to collect all the crystals and cross the finish line.
The time taken to complete the challenge, the collection of collectable, the fact of being able to do everything in a single attempt and other variables determine the quality of the performance, which consequently rewards us with one or more stars which serve to unlock subsequent paths, as part of a decidedly well-tested progression, which potentially entertains for quite some time. Especially considering that scenarios created by users on PC: if this were to take hold, we would be faced with a virtually inexhaustible source of new missions.
Controls and gameplay
Hot Lava is available on both PC via Steam than on Apple Arcade: the game is exactly the same, albeit on the devices Apple includes a touch control system that unfortunately does not appear at all up to the promptness and precision needed to play, especially in the more complex levels
The default configuration uses theaccelerometer to adjust the view and the edges of the touch screen to go back and forth, with a swipe to the right to jump, but in this way it is already a lot to be able to take two steps, let alone complete a series of jumps to the limit. The full touch alternative works better, thanks to a virtual stick on the left side of the display and the management of the camera with a touch on the right side, but the jump is done with a guilty delay and often the commands are activated unwittingly, making it even more the falls in the lava are frustrating.
The use of a controller Bluetooth is therefore mandatory, which also places a clear limit on the portability of the experience. With a joypad for Xbox One the game becomes very pleasant: the sticks are used for movement and vision, and the dorsal keys to jump and slide, in a mix of maneuvers that takes very little to mesh and produce excellent results. Of course, even with the physical controls the game over is just around the corner and so the burning frustration of a stretch to be repeated again and again, which underlines once more how the touch controls implemented by Klei Entertainment are inadequate for this type of gameplay.
Unfortunately, it is never possible to enter a flow of fluid and spectacular movements, as in the aforementioned Mirror's Edge: the approach in this case is slower and more reasoned, often cumbersome, and it is a shame because the original idea had a certain potential.
A similar argument can be made for the online sector: several players find themselves sharing the same moments but without really interacting, and this too is a wasted opportunity.
From a technical point of view, the clear stylistic evolution compared to the first builds can be seen, for a project that has matured over a long period in early access on Steam. The idea of action figures and 90s atmospheres, complete with a long cinematic introduction and interludes for each character, is captivating although a little out of place with respect to the experience itself. However, a good job has been done: the aesthetics of the game appear fairly recognizable and is accompanied by a sound sector of good quality, with various dialogues spoken in English and subtitled in Spanish, supported by a set of music captivating.
CommentTested version iPad (1.2.1) Digital Delivery Steam, App Store Price Free Resources4Gaming.com
Hot Lava is identical on PC and Apple Arcade, starting from the idea of a child's game and transforming it into a fun and demanding challenge based on parkour-style platforms and movements. However, the action is never fluid and spectacular, but rather rhythmic and a bit cumbersome, with many episodes of frustration that are however smoothed out by a very dense checkpoint system, with very few exceptions. Unfortunately, playing with the touch screen is impossible: the controls are too imprecise and confusing to be of any help, so connecting a Bluetooth controller is a must. In this way Hot Lava undoubtedly manages to propose some exciting moments, in the context of an experience which, however, does not lack edges and uncertainties.
- Captivating formula
- Good number of routes
- Technically well done
- Touch controls unusable
- It can be very frustrating
- A little woody