About Hobo: Tough Life
Hobo: Tough Life - The Harsh Reality of Urban Survival
The Cold War Is Over but Winter Is Coming
Never Heard of Perun Creative? Well, You Will.
Hobo: Tough Life is a survival game developed and published by Perun Creative, available for PC (Windows and Linux) on Steam. Perun is a small indie Czech studio, but this game is quickly rising in popularity on Steam. We may have to start keeping a closer eye on the Czech game development industry.
If You Thought Wilderness Survival Was Tough, Just Try It in the Middle of the City
You find yourself homeless on the streets of Praslav, a Central European city, based mostly in Prague. The Cold War has just ended - a change that, for many, signals new freedom and opportunity. But every change is hard on someone. You are someone who has lost everything. Daily survival is a challenge - and the harsh Central European winter is coming.
The last couple of years have seen a lot of new survival games, but mostly they’re all the same - you’re alone in the wilderness. Hobo: Tough Life gives you the same challenges but in the middle of a city of indifferent strangers. It’s a striking twist that makes for a memorable game.
Concept Rating: 5/5
Streets Are Uneven When You're Down
The streets of Pravslav can be an ugly place ... and unfortunately, that’s not just figurative. Graphics are the game's weak spot. Compared to modern AAA games, the buildings look coarse and repetitively textured. The cars remain parked in the same spots forever, and no trains or streetcars ever use the tracks you’ll see everywhere.
That said, the city is shown with an insider’s knowledge that conveys a real sense of place. Pravslav isn’t just any city anywhere - it’s a Czech city in the late Eighties, with details chosen to orient you and sly little in-jokes for anyone who knows Prague.
The soundtrack is also well-composed, crafted to match the game’s shifting degrees of hope and despair, loneliness, and tentative companionship.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 3/5
Many Ways to Survive, Many Ways to Die
Hobo: Tough Life has all the usual challenges of a survival game. You have to deal with hunger, thirst, fatigue, and illness. You have similar tools for dealing with them: scavenging, crafting, trading, and negotiating with NPCs.
However, Hobo: Tough Life has some distinctive gameplay features that reflect its unique setting. For instance, panhandling is a method of gathering resources. You learn over time what sort of approach works best for what sort of person. You also have to maintain your appearance and smell! The worse you smell, the harder it is to succeed as a beggar.
But you don’t have to beg. The game gives you a lot of options for survival. You can search through garbage, steal, and work odd jobs to gather resources. Each of these has its own skills to learn. To be a thief, you’ll need to master the lock-picking system, which isn’t too different from those in many other games. To scavenge food from the garbage, you’ll have to learn the mini-game to get the food out without contaminating it or cutting yourself on broken glass. To get work, you have to ingratiate yourself with the right people.
All of these depend on learning about your environment. You need to know when people are feeling generous when they leave their valuables unattended, and what time the garbage is collected. You also need to learn whom to avoid - some people will steal from you, and some can be violent.
Gameplay Rating: 5/5
Urban Survival is the New Survival. It’s More Tasteful Than It Sounds!
Hobo: Tough Life has everything that you want from a survival game, plus a lot more that you didn’t even know you wanted. The unique setting not only gives it a lot of flavor, but it also gives you new problems and new resources for dealing with them.
You may be wondering how much taste and sensitivity a video game can show when tackling the topic of homelessness. Overall, Perun Creative does a good job. They treat their homeless characters as real people with real problems and rarely resort to stereotypes. Still, this is a game, and realistic depictions are sometimes sacrificed in the interest of story and gameplay.
There are a lot of skills and approaches to master here. You can become a thief, a beggar, or a drug dealer. Or you can become respected, and even claim the title of the Homeless King! Hobo: Tough Life has a lot more story and choices than most survival games, adding to its replayability.
Replay Value Rating: 5/5
Hobo: Tough Life has everything that you expect from a survival game, plus a lot of unique flavor and challenges that come from its setting: you play as a homeless person in a Czech city at the end of the Cold War.