HORGIHUGH is a horizontal side-scrolling shoot 'em up from Japanese developer PiXEL featuring vibrant retro graphics, intense boss battles, a unique power-up system, and an adorable roster of anthropomorphic characters.
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Release Date:
Jun 11, 2019

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Includes 2 items: HORGIHUGH / ホーギーヒュー, HORGIHUGH / ホーギーヒュー Soundtrack


Recent updates View all (3)

June 11

HORGIHUGH Launch + High-Score Contest!

Welcome, Horgis!

It's launch day for HORGIHUGH, and we want to thank everyone who has supported the game thus far! We've received great feedback on social media about Horgi, and we're excited to finally be bringing it to you! HORGIHUGH's localization has been in the works for almost seven months now, so it's a surreal feeling releasing the game! It felt like this day was never going to come! But we're super excited about the occasion and even more stoked about our first contest, the HORGIHUGH High-Score Challenge!

As mentioned in an earlier announcement, to celebrate HORGIHUGH's launch, we are holding a high-score contest to determine the very best HORGIHUGH players in the world. This contest features some amazing and truly one-of-a-kind prizes that fans of shmups and Japanese games will want to get their hands on! Below you will find all of the specifics about the contest!


Time frame: June 11 - July 9. Entries will close 11:59 AM EST.

Settings: Normal difficulty, stock settings, no continues, no items from Angela's Shop (items from Dr. Howard's Lab are okay).

Directions for posting scores: Everyone will need to post their username, their high score, and then a link to video footage of their run/high score as proof in the Steam discussion forum in the stickied thread titled "HORGIHUGH High-Score Challenge".


1st Place: Physical copy of HORGIHUGH's soundtrack signed by Motoaki Furukawa and other members of the development team + a physical copy of the Japanese version of the game signed by Sasaki-san, the creator and programmer of HORGIHUGH + a HORGIHUGH poster signed by LionWing founder Bradly Halestorm + $50 Steam voucher

2nd Place: Physical copy of HORGIHUGH's soundtrack + a HORGIHUGH poster signed by LionWing founder Bradly Halestorm + $20 Steam voucher

3rd Place: A HORGIHUGH poster signed by LionWing founder Bradly Halestorm + $10 Steam voucher
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June 6

An Interview with HORGIHUGH creator Sasaki Hidekuni

Heyo all you Horgis out there!

Bradly Halestorm here with a HORGIHUGH announcement. In anticipation of the game's launch next Tuesday, we set up and subsequently translated an interview between the creator (and programmer) of HORGIHUGH, Sasaki Hidekuni, and the publication Tech-gaming! It just dropped today and is a really fantastic read if you're into learning about Japanese indie development. In the Q&A, Sasaki-san discusses many topics, chief among them though is how HORGIHUGH came to be and the backstory behind the real-life dog on which the game's leading hero, Hugh, is based! It's a heartwarming (and lengthy) interview, especially considering the game was essentially birthed by 2011's terrible Fukushima reactor incident.

We've only pulled a few excerpts from the interview, but the full sit-down can be checked out here for those interested.

Just a reminder: we'll be running a high-score contest that will run from June 11th to July 9th! We'll be posting the specifics/requirements of the contest on launch day next week, so don't forget to check that out and enter!


Tech-Gaming: While anthropomorphic characters are quite common in games, not many have a backstory as rich as Hugh? Can you tell us a bit about how he made his way into Horgihugh?

Sasaki Hide: It all started with this simple idea I had, which was to build a game around a pet dog as the protagonist. The character of Hugh was created based on my dear dog and family member, Huga. Huga actually used to live with another family in the Iidate village of Fukushima. However, after the Fukushima reactor incident in 2011, the village was officially classified as a “difficult-to-return zone” because of the radioactive pollution caused by the meltdown. The family Huga belonged to at the time was forced to move into temporary housing outside of Iidate following the events, however, the housing unit didn’t allow for pets, and thus they were unable to take Huga with them. This ultimately led to his living in a shelter for a period of time. However, we eventually adopted him, initially just as a temporary thing, but then permanently, and he’s been with us ever since. This relationship has been so special to us that we feel like Huga becoming a member of our household gave us a new perspective on life, which inadvertently helped strengthen our family unit as a whole.

What makes this entire story all the more poignant is a boy named Kouga. Kouga is one of the family members who used to live with Huga. Kouga, who was 8 when Horgihugh’s development first began, was deeply interested in retro games at the time (thanks to the influence of his father, who was big into retro gaming). After I told him that I was going to build a game with Huga as the hero, he would ask me about the game’s progress every time I saw him. Knowing that there was someone who was looking forward to the game so much made the development process really special.

What was also interesting about Horgihugh’s development was my incorporation of the various themes that I had picked up on from people after the Fukushima accident. In the wake of that whole situation, it had become clear that there was no one, single way that people interpreted the reasons for and aftermath of the meltdown, nor was there a single view on how people should support the clean-up efforts that came after. I think that everyone was trying to do their best at the end of the day, but it was interesting to see so many different perspectives and interpretations of one single event. There were some who cared deeply about those affected, then there were some who only thought about the effects on the environment and the physical space surrounding the reactor-area, and then there were people who were completely indifferent to the whole thing. I couldn’t help but relate many of those feelings to my own life both as it pertained and did not pertain to that specific incident in 2011.

T-G: I firmly believe that respectable STGs (shooting games or shoot ‘em ups) are built around a clever mechanic or at least a clever philosophy when it comes to design. What does Horgihugh bring to the genre?

SH: The blue gauge allows players to perform a loop-the-loop maneuver, which can be used in an offensive or defensive manner. That is to say, doing a loop-the-loop can get players out of a tight situation, granting them the ability to dodge incoming bullets for a moment. However, that same somersault maneuver can also be used offensively to take down enemies. So, I worked hard at giving players options. In fact, options permeate many aspects of the game, even in defeat.

What I mean by that is, even upon defeat players have the option to continue their progress (and lose points) or choose a “Game Over” to stock all the crystal fragments (points) they obtained on that particular run. Those crystal fragments can then, in turn, be used to buy things on the title screen from Angela’s Shop. This same type of choice-driven approach is even reflected in the levels themselves. I included the shop-oriented power-up system—Dr. Howard’s lab that presents itself to the player intermittently throughout each level—because I wanted to put emphasis on the unique interpretation of the world (as well as give players the option to power up their aircraft). To that end, I felt like it would be unnatural to retrieve power-up capsules from exploding enemies. That wouldn’t make much sense in Horgihugh’s universe. So instead, I created an “emblem” system wherein Dr. Howard throws out these emblems mid-stage as a sort of storyline reminder to Hugh on how to operate his plane effectively.


We hope you all enjoyed these excerpts and will check out the interview proper over at Tech-gaming.com!

That will do it for today's announcement. We'll see you all on Tuesday for launch!


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About This Game


HORGIHUGH (ホーギーヒュー) is a challenging horizontal side-scrolling shooter from Japanese developer PiXEL. Developed by a team of industry veterans, HORGIHUGH mixes old with new to deliver a beautiful retro shoot 'em up experience that sports vibrant pixel graphics, intense boss battles, a unique power-up system, unlockable upgrades, and an adorable roster of anthropomorphic characters.


  • Classic shoot 'em up gameplay reminiscent of the 16-bit era.
  • 6 challenging stages and 13 grueling boss battles.
  • Over a dozen weapons and items to unlock and equip to help you blast through the enemy.
  • Unique mechanics like last-minute dodges, unlockable upgrades, and the innovative Buddy System that lets players team up with an AI-controlled companion to dish out extra punishment and control some of their movement.
  • Two difficulty modes to match your skill level.
  • Charming and upbeat music from renown Konami composer Motoaki Furukawa (Gradius 2, Gradius II, Salamander, Metal Gear, Policenauts).
  • Character designs from illustrator KOU (Mega Man ZX, Shantae series) and pixel art from Neo Geo background artist Kengo Tanaka (Ironclad Brikinger) and Hidekunki Sasaki (Dotto no Ken · Giga).


This is the tale of a world different from that of our own. Various species live here, their lives governed by their own respective values and religions...
It is a world close to home in many ways. The various nations of this world avoided meddling with one another, which allowed their people to live in relative peace and harmony. However, this all changed when a terrible murder occurred in a small town, which cascaded into a great war that engulfed the entire world.

At the height of the war, the renown scientist Dr. Howard went on a journey, spurred on by his lamentations on the world's struggles. There, by pure chance, he found a glowing stone. Howard plunged himself into his research to try and analyze the stone's power, to create a device that could nullify any and all weapons and transmissions, which he hoped to use to resolve the war peacefully. But the world did not wait for Howard and his invention. Two years after the war had begun, it had come to an end.

Six years after the war's closure, invaders we call the "Gozarean" suddenly started attacking the planet, summoned by the signal that had been continually transmitted into outer space by the glowing stone that Professor Howard had long since forsaken. Only one country had the means of fighting back against the Gozarean—a country who had retained their weaponry in breach of the post-war peace accords.

They struck the sudden invaders with everything they had, but to no avail. The Gozarean's counterattack would go on to bring about massive casualties to the country's largest cities. Any attempts to establish communications with the Gozarean resulted in failure. In light of this verified alien threat, the world quickly unified and devised a plan of counteroffensive. However, due to the peace accords and the rash acts of their one militarized country, there were no powerful weapons remaining in the world.

—On a small island slightly south of the continent—

“Why kill them just because their values are different from our own?”
“It doesn't matter if we understand one another or not. Lives are lives.”
“Yeah. I didn't become a pilot to kill people.”

Such was the dialogue between the pair of pilots who evaded the war eight years earlier. They were Hugh and Figaro; two pilots who had retired to the south after the war started. In a fit of irony, the trusty vintage airplanes that they had retained in evading the war were the only weapons that eluded the effects of the Gozarean's weapon-nullifying technology, marking them truly as the world's final wings of hope.

Although they had continuously refused the nations' pleas for help, they slowly witnessed the invasion's effects on their family and friends, leading to their finally deciding to sally out and defend those dear to them.

Thus marks the start of our tale.


→ ← ↑ ↓: Movement
Shift: Shoot, Confirm
Control: Loop the loop manuever
Space: Control positioning of Figaro
Enter: Bomb

A controller/gamepad is recommended.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP, 2000
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card with 32MB Video RAM
    • Storage: 83 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card
    • OS: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP, 2000
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Graphics card with 32MB Video RAM
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card

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