Humanity is at war with an alien species whose population is in the millions. The jumpers of Hive Jump are human soldiers who are tasked with taking out this threat. They must infiltrate hives that contain an absurd amount of eggs to stop the increasing numbers as well as destroy the queen. This action sci-fi platformer has rogue-like elements and mixes in a touch of strategy. There is local cooperative play, supporting up to four people on the same console. As you conquer hives you’ll be shooting aliens and destroying nests that produce them. You earn currency to upgrade your stuff while you do so. Your main mission is to destroy the hive queen.But how much entertainment can we get out of a simple concept with a familiar story?
Here’s what I liked:
Options for havoc— As you collect the “Goo”, which is basically a currency, you are able to customize your alien-destroying experience. There are quite a few options for weapons and various types of grenades. You are also allowed to choose a piece of equipment. There are plenty of choices to make and you can feel free to try any combination. If you die, you can just try again with an alternate setup. Your gear and your progress with them carry over to arcade mode (except for the clean run option). I love having the choice of what I choose to bring with me into a mission. It allows experimentation and adds an extra level of depth. Even though you’re basically doing the same thing for hours, trying various combinations of gear keeps things fresh.
Addictive — I really don’t know why but the game was hard for me to put down. I kept wanting to progress just a little bit more. Hive Jump didn’t look like it would be something I could lose myself in. At first, I thought it was going to get boring fast. As I progressed, I found myself stuck in the desire to complete it. Maybe it’s because I wanted to try to last weapon, which costs 100,000 Goo. The achievements, if important to you, are also something that will give you that urge to finish; they cover everything for all unlockables. Although it has been time-consuming, I have enjoyed my time with it.
Jumper Customization — No, this isn’t Elder Scrolls customization. You don’t have all that many options. You have a few suits to earn, but what’s fun is seeing the names that appear each time. Each time you die, you get a new soldier with a new name. There are some hilarious ones, and each suit seems to give you a new random mix of names. There are a few color options as well, and you can put a little icon above your head. Though this doesn’t add much to the game, I really like looking different on every mission. Also, I can imagine while playing in multiplayer it helps a lot to distinguish each person’s character. I’m just glad it’s an option!
A Hint of Strategy — Between your normal missions, you must plan your next attack. There is a map with nodes, and you can occupy them with your own bases or there will be hives on them. Destroy the hives to set up a base to advance until you find the hive with the queen inside of it. There isn’t a whole lot to it, but it sets a pace that keeps the game enjoyable. It adds just the right amount of content to hold you over until another hive jump.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Random Instadeath — I still have no real grasp on which enemies are killing me instantly. Sometimes I will be swarmed and make it out just fine, other times I just die right away without being able to pinpoint the attack that led to full health being emptied. I know there are these purple claw enemies that will instantly kill you, but those are obvious when it happens. For the record, I hate them as well. They are difficult to see and sometimes you are trolled with them being placed in front of a doorway. I guess I just don’t like being surprised, especially when you become a backpack and don’t have time to navigate to safety. I just like knowing what exactly is destroying me. I’ve died while standing on the ground, out of harm’s way with no enemies around. I don’t know if it’s a glitch, but it’s a bit annoying.
No Online Support — While being an option on the PC version, this one on Xbox only has local multiplayer options. The game gets increasingly harder with each campaign playthrough, being designed with more than one person playing through. While you can hold your own for the most part, it would be a bit more enjoyable being able to jump into hives with others. Choosing various equipment and guns to get the job done as a team seems like a great addition to the game. However, if like me you live alone or have no one that wants to play Xbox, you’ll be struggling to save the human race by yourself.
I was quite surprised by how good of a title this was. While seemingly simple, Hive Jump gives all the tools for you to have a great time doing the repetitive missions. Each idea created was well done, and I found myself wondering what really could have made it better. The one thing I felt truly missing was the online cooperative. I just never got a chance to play it how it was probably meant to be played. Luckily, as a singleplayer experience it still holds its own and doesn’t leave you wondering how you’ve ended up having no real-life gamer friends. Hive Jump won’t astonish you but it will be something you can enjoy spending a lot of time on.
Score: Highly Recommended
Hive Jump was published and developed by Graphite Lab on Xbox One. It was released on January 11, 2019, for $9.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.