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Hover review for PS4, Xbox One


Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Plug In Digital
Developer: Midgar Studio/Fusty Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-16
Online: Yes
ESRB: E

I was never a huge Sega fan. I was firmly in the NES/SNES camp when I was little, and I wasn’t paying any attention whatsoever to games when the Dreamcast came out in the late ‘90s. As such, my exposure to Jet Set Radio was limited to its rerelease on the Vita a couple of years ago, and without any kind of nostalgia for it, I can’t say that I had much of an opinion on it one way or another.

I mention all this because Hover is designed for people who loved Jet Set Radio. Like really, truly, madly, deeply looooooved Jet Set Radio. This was the basis of the game’s Kickstarter campaign, and, to the developer’s credit, that’s exactly what they delivered.

Given my relative unfamiliarity with the source material, I can’t tell you exactly how faithfully they captured the spirit of their inspiration — though, from my limited time with the Vita port, I can say that it seems like they aren’t very far off the mark. What I can tell you is that because the game is so slavish to a 20-year-old influence, it doesn’t exactly seem like the most modern game. Graffiti, grinding, and garish colours all play a big role in Hover, which frequently feels like it stepped straight out of the ‘90s with its plot about the Gamer Resistance standing up to The Man.

When Hover isn’t channeling a game from two decades ago, it channels one from ten years ago: Mirror’s Edge. Hover is all about free-roaming parkour, giving you an entire city to run around in, completing tasks and spraypainting propaganda. Despite such a big world to play with, however, it all feels pretty similar after not too long, seeing as the tasks seem to consist of either racing other members of the Resistance around the city or playing a game of, er, Gameball with them (with a tip of the hat to others for thinking up this comparison first, think basketball meets rugby, with a healthy dose of Tron thrown in).

It doesn’t help much that the controls aren’t very precise, nor does your character feel very weighty. Consequently, inside of making you feel like you’re a daredevil running and jumping around a neon city, Hover instead it feels like you’re trying to steer a feather on a windy day. Given that the game doesn’t demand that much precision from you (since, again, you’re mainly just racing or playing Gameball), this isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it still feels like something you should be aware of before playing.

Then again, unless you really want to see what Jet Set Radio would look like if it were infused with a dose of Mirror’s Edge and released in the present day, I’m not sure why you’d want to play in the first place. Dreamcast nostalgists, of course, may want to check it out, but if you’re not one of them, don’t bother.

Plug In Digital provided us with a Hover PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C-