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Hoa

For anyone who has ever had the misfortune of being stuck with a severely delayed video game; Hoa Translations is without a doubt one of those games you’ll want to erase from your hard drive completely. If you have ever been in a position where you were itching to get back into the “game;” but knew you wouldn’t be able to; you’re not alone. This is a game that is simply impossible to pass up; so you better fast!

Hoa is Vietnamese for frog; and that just makes sense considering that Skrollcat and KYX Studios are video game studios based out of Vietnam. Despite many big strides forward in the video game development scene in recent times; this is still one of the very first (if not the first) Vietnamese games to reach a mainstream platform such as the Nintendo Switch. But it’s not just a matter of having developed by two of the most respected names in gaming. It’s also because of the gameplay: simple yet addicting; requiring the player to think on his or her feet yet interact with everything-including their pet frog.

Developers Skrollit and KYX Studio first revealed their new project during a presentation at GDC West. The project was briefly shown at E3 earlier this year; but the reveal took place at GDC and featured concept art; storyboards; and even an announcement trailer (which can be found here). The game will be published by Smilebox; which is currently working on the Vietnamese version of Pokemon. If you enjoy platformers and visual novels; you will probably dig what Hoa brings to the table. The story follows a young girl named Chng; who lives in a small house on the edge of town. One night; she gets the misfortune of being accused of the murder of her husband.

One day; she gets a visit from a talking frog; who claims to have information on the crime. Since he knows her family; he asks her to marry him; which she promptly does. The two of them then set off to solve the crime; using the knowledge of their mysterious “Frog Prince”. The trailer shows off the art style used in-game: the unique art style that draws in the player and is colorful; engaging; and animated. The storyboard shows the family struggling to solve a number of puzzles and fighting against enemies on their journey; adding humor and moments of emotion to the game.

The VN rankings are also helping the developers gain more exposure. The developer’s website states that they are still in early access; but are planning to release the game later this year for smartphones; tablets; and possibly the PC. The mobile gameplay looks extremely fluid and I am imagining a mix of traditional platforming with adventure RPG elements to create an addictive gameplay experience similar to the successful Phones games.

If you want to play a fun Vietnamese themed flash game about a frog who solves crimes; and enjoys animation and graphics; then look no further than Hoa. With over 25 million downloads to their credit card; I expect this game to do very well. I am looking forward to playing this adventure video game. Perhaps we can finally call Vietnamese platformers “hoa” and not just RPG’s.