When I heard about The Hive, I thought to myself; “bugs, aliens, an RTS game…well hell yes, give me an AVP: Extinction reboot any day!” Well, The Hive gave me something…something I’ve just spent 5 hours playing and I feel…confused.
Climb and Consume, my Pretties!
The Hive is a RTS game made by Skydome Entertainment and loosely coined as a RPG. Now I’ll get into this later, but unless you’ve adorned some mandibles, a few extra eyes, or decided to cocoon yourself whilst playing, I don’t see how this is a RPG game.
Players find themselves in control of an Insectoid Hive Mind and soon find themselves fighting their way to the surface of New Eden. You know what…that’s basically it. Over 10 Acts, you’ll find yourself going from point A to B, killing X and Y, whilst tweaking…P to bring your little critters to victory. It’s a rather rinse and repeat set style that left very few memorable moments.
Let me bring this into Hive lingo; you start with a worker, the worker makes a hive, hive makes two more workers, the worker makes a barracks, workers gather food, barracks makes legionnaires…barracks makes more legionnaires, Tom points legionnaires towards the enemy and as a turkey would say “gobble gobble” …rinse and repeat.
Yes, there were boss fights, but I found that if I just amassed a swarm…well that ended in a rather bad day for the enemies of The Hive!
Gather it All…Oh, it’s Gone!
You know if the developers pushed the strategy elements of this game I think it would do much better. Within each level, there are two resources you use to expand your hive and build units. Food and materials. These are actually limited to each level so players must use their resources strategically or…well be left with nothing and no way to bring themselves back. If the developers pushed this and the idea that players would have to manage their resources efficiently and use this element to make a unique gimmick for the game, I believe it would have stood out more.
I hit a point where I was bringing units back to the Hive base and the resources were being used up to heal my units, I began to freak…like some hoarder, clinging to his freshly harvested turtle meat.
How does it look though??
Have you ever played D & D? Think of The Underdark, meets a Falmer cave from Skyrim and glossed over with a DOTA 2 gloss…that’s literally how this game looks. Which actually…is not that bad! Evidently, you can also see from the screenshots I’ve posted around the article what the game looks like. I will admit there is a nice vibrancy from the game, especially the water effects, kudos to you Skydome Entertainment, The Hive can bathe well today.
Call in the RTS Mechanics…and Engineers
One thing I’d like to point out is the lack of buildings in this game. There is a total of 4 buildings The Hive makes use of. The Hive makes workers, the barracks makes your assault units, the Worker Den makes unit upgrades and the turret…well goes pew pew.
Overall, I don’t see too much of a problem with only a few buildings, we have what we need to complete the Acts at hand and well…it’s an area that could be expanded if more units were introduced.
There are also only a handful of units to make. Although, by the end of the game I only found myself swarming the screen with legionnaires and a Hive Queen (yes there is a Hive Queen…she resembles a big blue crab with added kawaii)
Overall less is more with the RTS buildings and units. Rhinos and Wasps are fun to make when you first unlock them…then you realise, just swarm the legions!
This is an area that could be worked on if there are plans for future updates. Add more units to the game, more buildings, flesh out The Hive. More units could add the potential for more lore and backstory.
So, what are we going to do today Brain?
The enemies you face are well…unique actually. You’ll face the ogre/minotaur dudes and also the lizard/skeleton lizard dudes. Yes, I’ve attached more candid names to these fellows, but all is consumed by The Hive, besides they make a nice change from the usual RTS Space Marines or angry Space Elves, right?
As the Acts progress, players will be given insight as to who these races are and brief glimpses of their cultures. Unit models are well…less than varied, but it is a unique spin on things, especially for an indie game.
The Bosses are quite interesting though, although all fall to The Hive swarm in the end. An issue I had with them, however, is that you’re presented with an all-powerful enemy (or so our Insectoid Ambassador tells us), but in the next 5 minutes you’ve swarmed all over them and that’s it. I would have preferred perhaps a recurring enemy, especially towards the end, the use of infected swarms, this really reminded me of the good old days of AVP: Extinction!
The RPG elements are also rather lackluster. You can equip units with items that you find, or dissolve them into DNA to buy permanent upgrades or your faction. This is…well about as far as the RPG elements go. I would call that minimal at best.
Also, don’t get me started on the chests. More than once I found chests that I couldn’t even open without a worker freaking out…and then there was the clipping…
The Hive’s Final Chitinous Crunch
Overall, I would say that The Hive is an okay game. It feels lacking in some (I say some, I mean most) areas. It doesn’t feel like a full game, it feels hollow.
For the €19.99 price tag, I just don’t see it as totally worth it. If the price were perhaps cut in half, then maybe. Unless the game is fleshed out a little more, I don’t see it being worth the full price tag. I will admit the voice acting is great, the visuals are nice and clean. The UI is well just like any other RTS UI except with a DOTA 2 skin over it! The Hive doesn’t feel like a full game. Once it’s finished, it’s done and there are no in-game saves…need to pop out…better leave your computer on or else you’ll be starting the Act from the beginning.
For Skydome Entertainment’s first game, I will say this…they shouldn’ be afraid to push what makes the game unique. They’re entering dangerous waters with RTS games, where the fanbase can be unrelenting and unforgiving. However, look at the RTS games that stand out, Starcraft, Dawn of War and Age of Empires. They’re all story and lore rich…push this even further, polish the issues and I believe they can do well.
Here’s a parting shot of The Hive swarm giving a Necromancer a big old hug: