Parkour is one of those things that looks incredible in motion, but actually trying to do it in real life requires a ton of practice. Many games have taken advantage of this style of movement, with mixed results. It required precise controls and tons of flexibility to nail the “feel.”
Hover on PS4 offers a multiplayer parkour experience in a futuristic world that empowers to go where you want, how you want. Does this game about a rebellion in Hover City land on its feet, or does it wipe out? Let’s find out.
The Foundation is Solid, but The Framework is Shaky
Hover begins with a solid tutorial that teaches you the basics of its controls and movement. The first thing I noticed was the attention to detail in the parkour mechanics. Your character moves with a weight and momentum that makes them feel like a real person.
Jumping, grinding, wall running, and other parkour moves all feel responsive. You also find out early on that you can rewind for several seconds whenever you’d like. While you drop anything you’re holding, this mechanic lets you quickly undo a mistake to keep things moving.
Once you’re out in the open world of ECP17, otherwise known as Hover City, you learn about the dictatorship that has taken over the world. They cut everyone off from the Galactic Union, so you’re part of a resistance fighting back against their laws that ban anything fun or entertaining.
It’s actually an interesting premise, but the game’s story is delivered mostly through text boxes and character portraits. Neither of these things really convey a strong story, so the premise never realizes its full potential.
From a gameplay perspective, the varied and responsive controls let you get around with a large degree of freedom. This is both good and bad. While the option to just go and explore is nice, there’s very little direction to explain how you’re supposed to progress.
When you do come across other members of the rebellion, you’ll have the option to talk with them and accept missions that range from races, to delivers, to Gameball, which has you defending your goal while trying to score points with a ball in play.
Additional characters are unlocked by completing different strings of missions. These options go beyond different looks and styles. They also specialize in various skills specific to mission types. There’s also customization in the form of chips you can slot into your character to modify stats further.
When you boil it all down, Hover has the foundation of a game that could have been spectacular, but none of its mechanics or mission structure come together in a meaningful way. The narrative may have not been a major focus, but the lack of it makes the experience feel hollow.
Despite this, the ability to switch between single and multiplayer is nice. I could see Hover being more fulfilling with friends, but as a single player game it doesn’t have enough engagement or narrative to keep you glued to the screen.
A Bright and Vivid World to Explore
The visuals of Hover are striking and colorful. While Hover City doesn’t have a ton of personality, there is plenty for you to explore and lots of verticality to enjoy as you scale buildings and explore the maze of streets and tunnels on the ground.
The soundtrack has some standout tracks, but it doesn’t have enough of them to keep the audio exciting throughout the experience. Ultimately, Hover is a game that does several things very well, but it fails to place them in a package that excels as providing an exciting experience overall.
Final Score: 6.0/10
A copy of Hover was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 12/27/18