Hover: Revolt of Gamers comes to players as an early access release from young French developer, Fusty Game, after being successfully backed on Kickstarter in May 2014. After so much work from such a new company, how are the actual results?
From a technical aspect, Hover has a fairly solid start. A few hours of play testing both offline and online mode threw a few tweaks our way but nothing all that frustrating. The FPS stayed fairly consistent for myself, between 40-60 FPS on lower quality. The hapless test subject dragged with me didn’t fair as well, with FPS dropping down below twenty at times with a fairly strong video card. The screen options were a bit lacking but any fixes needed only took a few steps. Both the keyboard and controller support integrated quite nicely with the fast-paced action – the only issue is sharp turning in the middle of a race. Nothing major there, just something to get used to. Any major issues from the technical side of things will hopefully be addressed before the full release.
The controls themselves felt responsive, as a bonus. Maneuvering about the large, open world with that quick response made the parkour, races, challenges and missions the equivalent of giddy-giggling fun. I personally spent more time picking up speed and trying tricks than I did committing to the missions, save for trying to keep a ball away from my teammate while making a scene bumping into a lot of NPCs that looked a bit too much like Mass Effect aliens. If anyone out there doesn’t see a Turian or two, I’d be surprised.
The overall sound design is about what you’d expect: lively, techno-inspired and tagging right along with any amount of speed the player can reach. Even with the music turned down, it seems to take primary control of the stage. When lowered, the general sound of a busy city, footsteps and other generic sounds are audible. Music can become grating if it overpowers everything else but it works here. The music makes the game feel more like the gamer revolt it is named for.
In this open-world of neon cyberpunk Jet Set Radio Future love, be prepared for some great design. The colors are consistently bright neon plastered against black and white and the world itself will instantly call to mind the aforementioned Jet Set Radio. The fashion is that happy mix of cyberpunk meets the Citadel: goggles, spiky hair, ski pants – all in neon, of course. The only downside to this style choice is that so much blurring vibrant color can cause, well, blurring. In motion, Hover looks grand and immersive enough that the finer details fade into the background. Slowing down allowed us to take a good look at the environment and see the small flaws. The NPCs and some of the textures are decidedly polygonal and unrefined. This plays into the style choices of the game itself during the action but exploration on a slower level makes it all feel a bit empty. These are all nitpicks, of course, and things that have time to be fleshed out as development continues.
Hover: Revolt of Gamers is about a revolt of gamers, as it were. The tutorial provided a bit of background along with the training and the summary appeared to be that the city has a gaming ban and you and a group of rebels are meant to stop it. Seems simple enough: free trapped gamers, get into control centers and avoid security drones called Seccuboxes (heh, I get it). So, really, the story isn’t so much a story as it is an open narrative. A game like this hardly needs a Citizen Kane level of writing to it, of course, but the general idea is worth mentioning.
By far, the best thing in Hover is the parkour itself. It’s free-flowing, fast, smooth and just feels right with every single leap. There’s no worry of falling to your death just yet, so we took the opportunity to leap about all over the place. Every moment of it was a delight, even when getting handed our pride on failed missions. Picking up speed and back-flipping off a monolithic building is pretty satisfying, I must say. Successful level-ups offer points to increase stats in certain areas: speed, strength, energy, grind, jump, etc. A few boosts up in levels and picking up momentum becomes exhilarating. I almost wish there would be a version of this for the Oculus Rift, barring intense motion sickness. Even the grumpy, cynical nature of my friend couldn’t resist getting into it – without question, the potential is there.
Overall, what does Hover: Revolt of Gamers come down to? Fun in the making! There’s so much here to love, especially for fans of Mirror’s Edge or Jet Set Radio Future. The exploration, movement, missions and action are spot on. Even where the game is lacking shows not only the hard work that already has gone into it but hopefully the hard work still to come. It’s a great title for such a new company and I personally can’t wait to see what the full release will show us – if not more Turians in bright pink, I will be extremely upset.