Heave Ho: A SuperParent Review
Never have we ever played such a silly, ridiculous, incredibly fun party game with folks of all ages... including our kids!
When the premise of the game is to cooperatively fling paint-filled balloons with arms and hands across a map in order to reach some kind of goal without falling, getting popped by spikes, or being flung into oblivion because a child thinks it's hysterical… well, you know you're probably playing a Devolver Digital game. If you think this premise is a bit strange, you'd be correct: Heave Ho is such a bizarre party game that laughter is almost inevitable.
But what is Heave Ho, really?
Heave Ho is a (mostly) cooperative multiplayer party game that requires an immense amount of teamwork and dexterity to complete an array of increasingly difficult levels. Up to four players can join in on the frenetic action and customize their weird little paint balloons with all kinds of costumes (although I favor a Lady Gaga look alike). The aim is to get to the end of each level with absolutely everyone -- if you can't do it, you have to restart and try again.
Heave Ho is unforgiving… and yet, that's where the magic is.
How do you play Heave Ho?
By using the bumpers on controllers, players can navigate their way across hostile environments (I'm looking at you, spike levels) with their fellow paint balloons. The left bumper controls the left hand. The right bumper controls the right hand. Using the analog stick(s), players need to grip, toss, and swing their way to victory.
The real trick is in the communication element of the game. Constant chatter is required to successfully overcome barriers and finally complete each level. If someone goes off on their own and finishes a level alone, it doesn't help anyone else. If someone gets left behind, everyone is held up. Heave Ho encourages teamwork, and the gameplay insists that every player be included in problem solving, lest one or more players get left behind.
It doesn't sound very fun -- it sounds really hard.
Trust me on this one: Heave Ho's magic is in the couch co-op moments. When peals of laughter are ringing through your household because you get so darn close to the end but it's all futile because dexterity games are hard… you'll understand.
What we've found works best in our household is to take a break when the mood goes from lighthearted and joyful to frustrated and angry. We try to encourage our little ones to step back from frustration and remember that the point of playing multiplayer games together is to have fun and learn as a group. If we're not having fun, then we should be playing something else (or taking a break to do something else).
So, yes. Heave Ho is hard. But the difficulty is what spurs the challenge and fuels the fun.
Where can we find Heave Ho?
Heave Ho is currently available on Steam and Nintendo Switch. We definitely recommend playing this game on the Switch, however, because it's just that much more enjoyable with Joy-Con controllers.
You can pick it up on either platform for $14.99.