You’ve trained long and hard for this, cadet. You finally got your first solo mission, exploring the dark caverns of alien planets in search of… whatever it is our thoroughly futuristic Space Marine Corps searches for. Deep in the caves, this is the moment OH SWEET MARZIPAN, WHAT IN THE NAME OF BABY SPACE DEITY IS THAT?! It’s some sort of hideous extraterrestrial lifeform—all right, cadet, don’t panic. Get in close; you know what to do. Oh yeah, that’s a good hug. Nice and cozy.
Hug Marine is a pretty straightforward retro run-and-jump platformer. The hook is that each level ends with a different alien beast in the Giger/Lovecraft mold, and the player, rather than slaying these monstrosities, hugs them. It isn’t really clear what happens after the hug, but it seems as though you then move on to another alien cavern to hunt down and embrace another creature. There are no goals beyond “don’t fall in acid and die” and “don’t fall on spikes and die,” so it seems as though the Marine’s entire mission is to hunt down and hug these aliens.
In that regard, Hug Marine is a refreshing change of pace. Outside of A Boy And His Blob, there isn’t very much active hugging in video games. In the deluge of annual games about marines shooting aliens in their reptilian heads and kneecaps, it’s nice to embrace the unknown in a more literal sense. Hug Marine feels like the sort of game PETA might make if they decided to target Ridley Scott, which would, frankly, benefit everyone.