Hover: Revolt of Gamers is an open world parkour game inspired by Jet Set Radio, Mirror’s Edge, and The Fifth Element. Set in the neon-drenched, alien city of ECP17, Hover thrusts players into the fight between the antigovernment “Gamer” rebels and the Great Admin controlling the city. Video games, along with all other forms of entertainment, have been outlawed by the Great Admin’s fascist regime, and it’s up to you to put the brakes on the totalitarian dictatorship.
Fusty Game, an independent French studio that consists of three upstart developers, began development in October 2013. A successful Kickstarter campaign soon followed, and it’s been available on Steam Early Access ever since. With an official release set for May 31, we took Hover: Revolt of Gamers for a test run.
The Funky Sights And Sounds of Hover City
Playing through Hover: Revolt of Gamers is like catching a ride on a supersonic nostalgia train straight to the year 2000. The game oozes color and style, with bright and cartoonish graphics reminiscent of classic games such as Jet Set Radio, Sonic Adventure, Crackdown, and Mirror’s Edge. Capturing the look and feel of these past games was clearly a design goal. After spending several hours running around the world of Hover, we would say Fusty Game achieved that objective. Not only does Hover look like a game from the early 2000s, it sounds like one.
For gamers with fond memories of Jet Set Radio’s funky mix of eclectic music, Hover’s soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission. In what may be the ultimate display of fan service, Fusty Game hired the famed Japanese composer Hideki Naganuma to compose Hover’s musical score. Given his past credits for Jet Set Radio, Jet Set Radio Future, and Sonic Rush, it’s no surprise that Hover’s soundtrack is awesome. Fans of heart-racing EDM and J-Pop, eat your heart out.
Parkour With Friends
This game is not for the faint of heart. Gameplay is fast and kinetic, requiring players to run, jump, and grind across a vast futuristic city full of impossibly tall skyscrapers. Hover is one of those games that is easy to learn but difficult to master. Fortunately, the developers included a rewind mechanic, which makes missed jumps far less annoying than they could be. Wall running and other acrobatic tricks quickly become second nature; the game’s combo-based trick system is fairly basic, but nuanced complexity is not really the point. Landing tricks earns you points and raises your energy bar, allowing you to run faster and jump farther, which, ultimately is the point: go far, go high, and go fast.
In between all the free running, the game is peppered with fun but pointless quests, racing missions, and rounds of “gameball” (the game’s version of basketball). These can be tedious, but they're mostly avoidable. There's also a simple challenge creator, but we were busy having fun with the core game and never felt the need to expand on it.
Running through Hover City is enjoyable both alone or with friends, and switching between the two modes was easy and seamless. We played almost exclusively in multiplayer and are happy to report that Hover has a friendly, vibrant community.
Racing Towards An Official Release
Normally, I avoid Early Access titles and rarely recommend them to friends. Many are full of bugs, and there are the egregious few that are sold despite missing key features. Hover: Revolt of Gamers breaks that mold, though. The title feels polished and ready for prime time, a feat made even more impressive by the size of the game’s development team. Hover is a massive open-world game, with hardly any linear elements to speak of. Although the freedom to explore is liberating, I also found it to be overwhelming and even limiting. Hover gives the player little guidance and even less handholding, which becomes an issue when you're searching for missions, understanding objectives, or simply finding key objects and items to interact with.
Yes, it has minor flaws, and no, it’s not the next Jet Set Radio, but despite all that, Hover still delivers a complete and compelling experience, sending players on a fast-paced technodelic joyride. The impending update sound promising, and it includes two new areas as well as a new playable character. We look forward to revisiting Hover: Revolt of Gamers when the official release drops later this month.
Hover: Revolt of Gamers will be officially released on May 31 for the PC, and on Mac and Linux.