Review: Hover: Revolt of Gamers
Kickstarter is something I’m pretty wary of as a game consumer. Not only am I generally not a fan of putting money down on something that may or may not come to fruition but the idea of paying for a game and then waiting years is not something my poor little hype train can handle.
When I first stumbled upon Hover – and I’m going to insist on calling it Hover for this review as the tagline is just silly – I couldn’t help myself. A spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio Future: my all time favourite game, only with online multiplayer and today’s graphics and all that garishly beautiful neon and even with the stretch goal to feature music from Hideki Naganuma? Someone had reached into my soul and pulled out my inner most desires and subsequently my money.
So as a Kickstarter of the project, I’ve played the game through various stages of its release. To be fair it started incredibly broken but it was in alpha and no one can really judge a game on that. I played it again later down the line and the experience of slowly seeing a game together and go from an idea to something that actually worked was exciting. Now the game is officially out, so I picked it up again to give a final and true verdict of whether this game lives up to my expectations.
You started loaded into a tutorial and the characters give you a rough explanation of what’s going on. The corrupt government has outlawed entertainment and it’s up to you, the gamers, to fight your evil oppressors. The plot feels like it was made up by a kid who got his Xbox taken away because he didn’t finish his homework and had recently learned the word ‘fascist’. It’s clearly a twist on JSRF’s dystopian world but the Rudies actually felt like they were fighting for something.
Once you’ve learned the moves you’re out and can do pretty much whatever you want. Holding down your scan will let you see objectives through walls and there are various things to do in this open neon world.
Races, ball games, races while holding a ball, and general destruction of property make up the bulk of the outer world’s activities and while fun at first the monotony of it sneaks up rather quickly. Everything feels kinda the same and although you are rewarded for your efforts with power-ups to improve your character’s mobility it never really feels like progression.
The world is open almost to a fault and although it’s vertical design is interesting, there are no clear paths to follow. Moving is fun and traversing the world feels good but for me jumping is unpredictable and floaty and you can brute force your way most areas by jumping at the wall until you make it up.
The highlight of the game would have to be when I was first allowed into the HQ of the gamers. It hangs above the sewer and the only way up was to complete a series of grinds and jumps up multiple levels until you reached the top. There was a path, it required a little skill and for the first time, the game had some sort of direction and flow. For a game so heavily inspired by games like Jet Set Radio and Mirror’s Edge, I feel I should be able to quote more than one instance of this feeling.
This is where Hover doesn’t quite make it. I had no drive to get to new objectives, nor did I even know which one I should be trying to find. There’s no flow to the game, just a lot of stuff sort of placed around in the hope that you’ll be interested enough to go looking for it. The world overall feels like it lacks design and is trying to make up for it with enthusiasm which works for a few hours of mucking about gameplay but couldn’t hold me for any longer than that.
I look forward to seeing what Hover becomes as even though it’s out it still doesn’t feel finished. I’d wager I’ll pick it up every now and then to bounce around the flashy world and listen to the sweet tracks but as it currently stands that’s all it really has to offer.
|Hover feels like it's so close to being a great game, but the lack of level design and flow bring it down to just a quick bit of bouncy fun. The bouncy fun is very fun, so the game gets a bit of a pass but could really do with some more direction.||3.1 3.1 ( on 5 rating)|