Hive Jump is Graphite Lab's first ever independent franchise. Hive Jump is a 2D platformer taking some inspiration from Contra and Spelunky. Before Hive Jump, they were doing client work for companies such as Konami, Hasbro, and Bloxels. They first showed off Hive Jump at the St. Louis Science Center as a live demo on January 3rd, 2014. Then on August 6th, 2014 they started their first Kickstarter for Hive Jump. They reached their Kickstarter goal of $50,000 on September 6th, 2014 this guaranteed that Hive Jump would be released on Steam/Mac/Linux, and Wii U. It then went into an Early Access state on July 22nd, 2016. It stayed in an Early Access state until January 18th, 2017 where it fully release on Steam.
Hive Jump is available on Steam for $19.99
Hive Jump's campaign is turn-based and required a little of strategy as you decide what hive you want to attack and which one of your bases you want to fortify.
There are three different options you can do to your human bases which are "Reinforce", add 200 troops to the selected base, "Set Trap", prevent hive creation at the selected base, and "Guardian Mech", create a guardian mech at the selected base. For the hive bases, you can "Scan Hive", reveals the hive's strength and depth, "Psionic Sweep", tells you if there is a Queen bug, and "Bombard Hive", which reduces hive's strength. You have to destroy each hive to complete the campaign.
There are 4 different difficulties of the campaign, which you unlock by completing the easier campaign before it, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Impossible. For each one of the difficulties, there are different objectives for each such as destroying an alien planet or reclaiming it. Though it is turn-based, once you jump into a hive it gets chaotic and this is where the game really shows its true colors.
Hive Jump is a 2D platformer with a lot of run-and-gun elements implemented in this game. You can play alone, online, or locally with friends. You play as a JUMPER and go into alien hives, to survive and complete the mission you must blast through waves of aliens. There are no lives in Hive Jump you have a backpack, if the carrier of the backpack dies then the aliens nearby will attack it and if the backpack gets destroyed then there are no more reinforcements available. There are three different game modes, these include "Campaign", "Arcade", and "Challenges".
I have already explained the majority of what campaign is in the "Story" part of this review, and I rather not spoil parts of the story.
So, moving on to "Arcade", there are four difficulties in this game mode as well Easy, Medium, Hard, and Queen. What the difficulties differ in are the depths of the hive that you will be jumping into. Easy has a depth of 3, and each difficulty adds 3 more depths to the hive, but the Queen difficulty adds the boss fight against the Queen at the end of the hive. On the note of the Queen, there are two ways to defeat her, one way is to capture by getting her health to zero, or you can protect the nuke you have activated for two minutes. "Arcade" mode is also where you can create online lobbies for other online players to come and join you on your mission.
"Challenges" are up next, there are a lot of game modes that change weekly or daily depending on the challenge. "Daily", where you go into a randomly generated hive that will last that entire day and you have none of your previous unlocks, "Weekly", where you also jump into a randomly generated hive for that week and you can use your previous unlocks, "Speed Run", which is where you try to go through a hive as quick as possible, "Hardcore", you only have no backpack so you only live once, and "Endless", where the depth of the hive never ends UNTIL you reach the 99th layer. The scores that you get will be shown on the leaderboard with other online players scores as well.
There is also a customization feature for your jumper where you can change your color, insignia, and skins. Skins and insignia are unlocked throughout the game. You can change your loadout too, with a selection of weapons, grenades, and abilities. These are bought with the currency in the game called goo, you can find said goo as you kill bugs or spawners.
There are also places that you will find while you are in the hive called relic rooms, these are mini-challenges that you can complete to get relics that grant you special abilities such as Faster Movement. There is another feature in Hive Jump that I just love, when you die while you are in the hive you will receive another name for your jumper. Some funny ones I have gotten in the past are Roman Reigns, Pancake Eater, Hurricane Kane, and Margherita Pizza.
While with this being said, a few gameplay flaws, online play is stuck at a max of 30 FPS, you can warp through walls and get stuck, the same enemies can get repetitive, and the campaign characters are not memorable nor interesting. But, thankfully the developers are trying to get these fixed in the future.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
Most games that feature pixel graphics instantly entice me. The character models are great, the bugs are unique, and the levels look stunning. I honestly don't see this game having different graphics than pixel graphics, it so perfect yet so simple. Everything sprite has its purpose, there are rarely any sprites that look out-of-place in the hives.
If you have played Contra ever you will see that they took some inspiration from Contra in designing their guns, really gives off that retro feel. This is one of the best parts about the game.
Right as you enter Hive Jump you get a feel of what this game is going to be about just by the music. Produced by BigGiantCircles, the theme music just gets you ready to chaotically shoot some bugs. From the loading screen to the Queen boss battle the flow of the music is consistent throughout. It really gives that retro feel to it that the pixel graphics needed. The developers also used a mechanic called sprite lamp which makes the game look even more visually appealing.
The sound effects just add to it, the weapons sound great and not out-of-tone even in chaotic moments. Through this is pointless to you, but this is the first game that I have played that made me want to buy the soundtrack.
Hive Jump is a solid game and is very enjoyable even after multiple hours of playing through it. Most people will skip over this game and will miss out, if you love space games and especially run-and-gun games then I highly suggest that you go out and buy this game on Steam. It is well worth your $20!
|+ Gameplay is simplistic, yet addictive||– A few glitches and bugs|
|+ Sound and music design is fantastic||– Lacking in story|
|+ Lots of customization||– Online Play is stuck at 30 FPS|
|+ Tons of different game modes|