[Disclosure: A review code was provided for the contents of this article]
In a city where each and every form of entertainment is no longer allowed, what is one to do? A power-mad dictator cutting off ties with the Galactic Union and banning everything fun is always a bummer, so who can change that? The answer: the Gamers, a group of free-running resistance thrill-seekers willing to do whatever it takes to subvert the will of the Great Admin. Do you have what it takes to become a Gamer and save the planet’s fun?
Developed by Midgar Studio and Fusty Game, Hover: Revolt of Gamers is simultaneously a fresh take on open-world MMO games, a killer way to make parkour into an extreme sports game, and an amazing homage to the Jet Set Radio series. Playing as your own custom character and eventually unlocking 8 other playable characters of wildly different designs, you explore your way through the truly massive Hover City and its underbelly.
Gameplay is a simple fare, with basic controls in concept – a button for jumping; a button used for crouching, aerial tricks, grinding, and sliding; a button for interacting and spraying graffiti; and a button used for rewinding your movements in case you manage to slip somehow.
Wearing a special kinetic suit, you thrive on generating energy by any means, including busting out combo strings of tricks, grinds, and slides and flips, and you can even do your best DBZ character impression and overcharge by hammering the crouch-trick button. With that energy you can run faster and jump higher to access even more of the world, and you can even find upgrade chips to improve your stats and do better thus allowing you to do more… as long as you can also outrun the security drones that you’ll eventually trigger.
The experience is a seamless integration of single-player and online multi-player, with the ability to switch between the two practically at the drop of a hat. Missions run the gamut from checkpoint racing, to the sport-within-a-sport that is GameBall, to trick attack runs, and even combinations or variations of all of the above, and with online anyone could drop in and immediately make it a competition. Sidequests such as spraying over and smashing into scattered propaganda, or collecting retro-themed contraband hidden throughout the world’s far reaches, give the game even more flavor outside of the main quest line.
Even the world itself is vibrant and alive, populated with tons of crazy alien designs to help give the feeling of culture to a setting restrained by its ruler. Additionally, Hover gives players the tools to create their own missions to share in the online world, allowing potentially endless fun to be had. Combined with all of this is an extremely funky and pulse-pounding soundtrack created by Midgar Studios’ own composer Cédric Menendez, with additional tracks made by none other than the master behind the Jet Set Radio soundtracks himself, Hideki Naganuma. The result is a crazily immersive world where aesthetic is the glorious king.
With as much positivity as the game packs, it does take some getting used to. If you’re not playing with a controller, you may have a slightly rougher time getting around in the tutorial, let alone the actual world. When out of the tutorial, you’re basically at the whims of the game when you try to do the quests, never knowing which ones would be outside of your skill level when half of them don’t even give prompts of what you have to do.
Activated quests can also randomly just deactivate, forcing you to go back to restart them while you were in the middle of doing them. Also a slight oddity is the soundtrack being sold as separate DLC when both the composers have posted the tracks on their SoundCloud pages, but most likely it’s to give additional support for both their works and the game.
Even with the slight rockiness, Hover: Revolt of Gamers should most definitely not be passed up. It is so rare for what is essentially an indie title to be this good in nearly every aspect. Get out your wallets and jump around.
The final verdict?