One boy’s misfortune is a gamer’s dream
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Florian from Honig Studios during my time at EGX Rezzed. As I bombarded him with questions about their latest project, El Hijo, a tentative gamer was sneaking through a monastery and I knew I needed to know more.
El Hijo is a spaghetti-western stealth game which is entirely non-violent. However, your circumstances are anything but peaceful! Bandits have attacked your village and your home has burnt to the ground. Your mother places you in a monastery as she goes on her own journey of revenge. You believe life will be rosy, but it turns out the monks are not so nice. You must escape the monastery and reunite with your mother!
There is absolutely no doubt that this is one of the most beautiful indie games I’ve seen. The art style is so charming and full of character. Each environment: monastery, desert and frontier town have a personality and you are encouraged to interact with all aspects. Whether that’s hiding in laundry baskets or pots, using the darkness as a cloak to hide you or even using the world around you to create distractions… environmental puzzles can be solved in more than one way. It’s up to you! The detail will blow you away… even dust particles can be seen in the light.
The realism is a defining factor of the game. Florian made it clear that he wants the world to come alive. Monks are given different jobs such as watering plants or building walls, but the team are hoping to push this even further. The ‘enemies’ are dynamic and spontaneous adding an element of surprise to each puzzle. Although challenging in parts, the puzzles are not so hard that you want to give up. They are all doable, but it can be a case of trial and error. The checkpointing is SO good that having that “one last go” is a much easier decision.
Throughout your journey, particularly in the monastery, you will meet other child NPC’s who are cleaning and trying to stay out of trouble. You can interact with them to cheer them up which I thought was such an adorable addition.
This wonderful hybrid of stealth and strategy will not be here until at least early next year. It will be released initially on PC but will then roll out to other platforms. Here’s to hoping the final game has collectibles to satisfy my need for 100%. This is absolutely a game to look out for. You can even sign up for the newsletter here.