Hello Goodboy – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: Rolling Glory Jam
Publisher: Freedom! Games
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Hello Goodboy – Review

Site Score
Good: Tells a wholesome and heartwarming story
Bad: Gameplay is incredibly simplistic
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

If we didn’t know any better, we would have assumed that Hello Goodboy was published by nakana.io, as the game definitely fits in their lineup of off-beat titles like Lydia or Stilstand. However, this quirky afterlife adventure actually comes to us courtesy of Freedom! Games, who are typically known for more traditional gameplay experiences like Coromon or Dark Deity. We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we first booted up Hello Goodboy, but now that we’ve spent some time in Kuruto, we’re hoping that Freedom Games will be adding more of these unusual titles to their lineup. Read on to find out why.


Despite what the cutesy visuals would have you think, Hello Goodboy actually deals with rather heavy and difficult topics, including death and depression. In fact, the game is set in a version of the afterlife called Kuruto. Our protagonist, a young boy named Iko, finds himself transported here. Iko teams up with Coco, a friendly talking dog who acts as his guide through this strange world. Together the pair set out on an adventure that spans all four seasons. Their goal? To find out how and why Iko ended up in Kuruto. It’s a journey of self-discovery that manages to tackle its subject matter in a light-hearted and touching manner. We’ll try to avoid spoilers given how much of Hello Goodboy’s appeal hinges on the story it attempts to convey, but there are some spoiler-ish thoughts that we’d like to share in the next paragraph. We’ll refrain from spoilers elsewhere in this review, so if you’d like to go in totally blind, skip ahead to the graphics section.

While Hello Goodboy’s overarching story works well enough, there are some elements present that came across as a bit too heavy-handed, and these could have been handled in a more nuanced manner. Parts of Kuruto are covered in a thick black sludge, for example. This is explained as having been left there by the Black Dog, and the sludge causes discomfort to those that are near it. It’s up to Iko and Coco to get rid of the sludge to restore things back to how they used to be. It’s a clear metaphor for the mental health issues that Iko has been dealing with, and while we understand what developer Rolling Glory Jam was trying to do here, we would’ve preferred an approach that felt less “in your face” at times. However, the supporting cast that you’re helping out is absolutely delightful, and the more of the characters you decide to help, which is optional, the more satisfying the eventual payoff.


The gorgeous hand-drawn art style, with its vibrant visuals, is one of Hello Goodboy’s strongest suits, especially juxtaposed against the bleak story. While the game doesn’t quite hit the Studio Ghibli aesthetic in the same way that Planet of Lana did, the atmosphere comes pretty close. The line work is clean and although the lush environments are filled to the brim with detail, things are kept simple enough to not cause any performance issues on the Switch. As such we can’t imagine the PC version struggling with Hello Goodboy’s visuals either. Combine this with a strong art direction and you’ve got a game that exudes a wholesome and cozy experience through its visuals.


Although the game lacks any form of voice work, with the exception of two original songs, Hello Goodboy’s soundscape is still full of emotion, thanks to the excellent OST. The music hits the right notes, conveying character emotions in a powerful but subtle manner. Crisp sound effects complete Hello Goodboy’s audio in a way that complements the visuals without overtaking things.


It’s quite clear that Hello Goodboy is mainly focused on delivering a compelling story, and as a result, the gameplay suffers somewhat. Hello Goodboy is a very short puzzle game. There isn’t anything wrong with it mechanically, nor did we run into any bugs or glitches, but it is almost insultingly simple, to the point where we wondered why this was a game rather than a visual novel or an animated short. Puzzles are typically presented by supporting NPCs, each of whom is dealing with struggles of their own. Helping them, and thus taking on their puzzles, is completely optional. This means you can skip past any puzzles you don’t feel like doing, although this affects the outcome of the story. Note that we deliberately say puzzles you don’t feel like doing, because we can’t imagine anyone getting stuck on these easy tasks that range from cleaning up piles of sludge to simple tile puzzles. Several puzzles are thinly-disguised metaphors themselves, with their solutions acting as life lessons.

A single playthrough of Hello Goodboy will take around two hours, which initially had us worried that the $14.99 asking price was way too high, but the game quickly redeemed itself when we returned to see what we had missed. Despite Hello Goodboy’s inherent shortness and focus on story, a surprising amount of effort was put into ensuring that the game had at least some replay value. This is done through a mechanic built around a magical hourglass that Iko carries with him. This hourglass represents the passing of time, albeit not in the way you’d typically expect. You are free to explore the world at your leisure, but at certain points in the game, you’re tasked with making a major decision. In a single playthrough, you’ll make four major decisions, and you’ll need to play through the game at least two times in order to see everything. This ties into the story themes too, emphasizing that sometimes you’ll need to say goodbye to someone before you are ready to do so. Initially, we weren’t satisfied with the ending that we got, but once we got to the game’s “true” ending, which was only accessible upon clearing the game’s New Game+ mode, we couldn’t help but wipe away a tear. In this regard, Hello Goodboy certainly achieves its goal, even if the gameplay is underwhelming.


When looking at the individual elements of Hello Goodboy, there definitely are some weak points present here. However, this is one of those games where the sum is greater than the individual parts. What you’re getting here is a wonderful piece of storytelling that is enhanced by a very strong audiovisual presentation. In turn, the gameplay takes a bit of a backseat because of how little challenge it poses. We could have done with more subtlety when it comes to the game’s handling of metaphors, but the overarching and wholesome story left us feeling cozy. This is a title that deserves your attention just for that, even if it’s definitely not the most engaging puzzle game out there.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Hello Goodboy - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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