IMPRESSIONS: Hive Jump (PAX Build)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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Hive Jump Featured

The following article has been written in lieu of Josh Speer — may he work in peace (to bring us all the PAX content).

Hive Jump | Jetpack GIFThe last time we delved into a hive was in Phil Schipper’s well-presented IMPRESSIONS piece from almost a week ago. In it, he introduced us to a co-op shooter that was full of energy and mayhem, with bullets raging in the caverns and small and big aliens coming forth in a steadfast attempt to wipe out the outsider threat.

For the convenience of those who haven’t read his piece, I will recap what was stated. There are three different kinds of weapons in Hive Jump: a Metal Slug-esque machine gun, a short-ranged but powerful flamethrower, and a plasma weapon that shoots exploding spheres of energy. There’s co-op chaos to be had, and beautiful pixel graphics to behold… But what lacked in the alpha demo was the advertised Sprite Lamp effects, which were supposed to dynamically light small doodads such as stalactites, thus immersing you further into your Hive Jump experience.

Hive Jump | Action GifThe PAX build of Hive Jump introduces us to some new things: a shiny new weapon and the aforementioned lighting effects. Since we are all interested in the new weapon, I’ll start by explaining what it is. Imagine a ray-gun. Then imagine an ice-y firing effect, and your enemies — the poor sods — slowing down at your assault. There’s your new weapon.

Not impressed? Neither was I, at first — but apparently, the first level ice ray is a bit technical to use. While I never delved into multiplayer, and thus can’t attest to ice ray being useful in slowing down hordes of enemies, I found that it was the perfect assault trooper weapon: you could use your jetpack to stay up in the air and rain down death upon your enemies. You would also slow the survivors down, and have a better chance of dodging their assaults once your jetpack needed to recover its juices.

Hive Jump | Weapons GIFI have a feeling this isn’t how the developers intended the ice ray to be used — but any game that allows for this kind of emergent gameplay is, in my opinion, among the better ones. I hope to see more of this as the game reaches its later stages of development.

The second thing that surprised me was the aforementioned lighting effects: created with Sprite Lamp, these effects became most apparent when my weapons fired past the doodads and backgrounds of the stages. The stalactite effect I mentioned earlier was the one that struck me as most beautiful, and I noticed that the lighting on it changed depending on the weapon I was using. Dynamic lighting indeed.

I approached Hive Jump’s latest build critically, and was both amused and delighted by it. As of this writing, the game’s Kickstarter campaign is just under 80% funded with less than 4 days to go. It is being developed for both PC and Wii U, so if you were hoping for a multiplayer co-op shooter, and own either gaming appliance, I suggest you check out Hive Jump kickstarter below.

Click here to check out the Hive Jump Kickstarter page