Games Enhanced By Your Own Music - Hot Lava

Games Enhanced By Your Own Music - Hot Lava

Sometimes enjoyment on a game is taken to the next level (HEH) when you bring your own soundtrack. This time, let's talk about Hot Lava.


Did you ever play make believe as a child and pretend the floor is made of lava, jumping on anything else to get around?

I recall watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at the age of 5. Bite your tongue on any judgement, I have no regrets on seeing awesome movies at such a young age despite the nightmares. Near the end of the movie, the protagonist attempts to cross a sketchy bridge with deadly crocodiles beneath. When the movie finished, I looked down at the carpet below from the couch above scared to my tiny core that the crocodiles may be below! 

Hot Lava takes this "floor is lava" fantasy and builds a proper game around it. You play as a child sized action figure of your choice, darting around environments like a school or a warehouse stepping on desks, garbage cans, anything you can to avoid the deadly bubbling magma below! Beacons take you from point to point through the levels. The levels also have things like ropes, bars for swinging, slanted surfaces for surfing.

It could be that you've played mods for counterstrike or team fortress that did a lot of things this game does. There was a surf mod in counterstrike that had slanted surfaces that allowed you to gain momentum and launch from one spot to another, all in the interest of reaching the end of the level. If you fall off and don't make it to the next area, you either respawn at the prior checkpoint or the beginning of the level. It's a platforming game that takes advantage of the physics already present in the game. Team Fortress 2 had jump mods that were like this in that touching the ground would respawn you at the prior checkpoint or beginning as well. In those mods, you also were able to rocket jump or demo sticky your way through the levels. Many of the levels required this, and there was more variety in your trajectory and momentum than you might imagine.

Between those mods and Hot Lava, it takes platforming skill and many attempts to reach the end in some cases. This might sound a tad tedious, but what makes it so compelling was how quickly your failures vanished and gave you another opportunity to try again. Many platformers like Super Meat Boy handle the problem similarly. Give the player a skill based platforming challenge and remove any frustration by making it dead simple to try again.

Hot Lava has done so much to build proper mechanics around this idea. There is proper bunny hopping with left and right gauges to encourage you to bunny hop. There are slanted surfaces to gain speed on. There is a velocity gauge to show you how fast you're going. There's something compelling about games that spend so much care on embracing physics to provide players with skill based gameplay. Tribes also comes to mind, something that started as an accident with the skiing mechanics became a staple of the series.

It's that rhythm of hitting the right momentum, all of the precision jumps that makes this game perfect to bring your own soundtrack to. Take a look at this video of a successful run of a challenge that literally took me dozens of tries to nail: 

Hot Lava - Chase the Grade

(Featuring Yazz Ahmed - Beleille as the accompanying music) 

The challenge here was keeping up with the grade letter, making sure it did not get so far away from you. Note at the very end the screen was fading and going black, I had almost lost it at the very end! The music you bring feeds that "One More Time" mechanic, you find yourself grooving with the music and the platforming challenges. I should note that most of the challenges this game presents don't require as many attempts as that one did, most of the challenges are pretty chill.

As I was just enjoying a bit of this alongside some music and a near empty tequilla sunrise (you'll have to excuse the constant diversions in my words here) I thought to myself that I should spread the word on how excellent this is. Maybe you will also check out what is an excellent game by Klei with Hot Lava, and bring your own soundtrack to really take it to the next level.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 28, 2022 12:24 PM

    Sometimes enjoyment on a game is taken to the next level (HEH) when you bring your own soundtrack. This time, let's talk about Hot Lava.

    Read more: Games Enhanced By Your Own Music - Hot Lava

    • reply
      May 28, 2022 1:20 PM

      I am 100% clenched just watching that. I think the music really added to the tension for me (Though I'm notoriously bad at platformers as it is).

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