REVIEW: Hovership Havoc (PC)

Hovership Havoc is basically Space Invaders with a new look. You control a hovership and have to kill evil robots to advance through the levels. There’s no saving, you got one life and it’s basically an arcade game. There are three levels, which consist of a number of sublevels and a boss, and those sublevels have a number of stages for you to beat. Hovership Havoc is developed and published by Snow Day Software.

Finding the right ability will make or break your run
  • Replayability: Every time you start a game, you’ll have a different run. You might have different stage layouts, or stages will have different enemies inside of them, or you’ll find different abilities to use. One run you might get that amazing drone ability, the next you’ll just get a speed boost. No 2 runs are the same, which is both great and frustrating. You can’t just try that one stage you’re having trouble with, over and over again until you get it right. You have to legitimately git gud. You do get a checkpoint when you complete an entire level though, which means completing 1-1, 1-2 and the boss will allow you to restart at level 2.
  • Progression: For a game that doesn’t have a save feature, there’s still a rather important progression system. You can level up your hovercrafts and upgrade their specs. It might not sound like much, but without some upgrades to my Laser Blaster hovercraft, I would have never gotten past the first level.
    Every time you beat a sublevel, you can upgrade your hovercraft. Fallen enemies drop a currency which you can use to pimp your ride. But you can also upgrade one of the abilities you found, which forces you to make a decision. Do you want to upgrade your homing missiles, which you might want to replace with a better ability in the future stages, or will you just upgrade your firing speed? I just upgraded my guns, cause more Dakka is always good.
Hovercraft Havoc, Prepare to Die edition.
  • The difficulty: Hovercraft Havoc is unforgiving. You can’t save, you don’t heal in between stages and you’ll die often. And if you die, you have to start all over again.
    It’s an old school experience, you’re on your last insert your country’s currency in the arcade so you can’t revive, better make that quarter/dollar/whatever count!
    I enjoy it, it’s not easy, but it’s satisfying to actually get to the next sublevel, even if you’ll have to start all over again after a misstep. But, to a lot of people, this won’t be appealing at all, even the Soulsborne games give you plenty of checkpoints in the form of bonfires, lamps and idols. But here? Nah son, 2 checkpoints in the entire game, that’s it.
  • Swap in perspectives: During boss fights, the camera swaps from the traditional top-down view to a third person view. It’s a fun change of pace, but in a game where driving into an enemy takes away 5% or more of your health, it isn’t all that practical. The top-down perspective works for the genre, and changing that to an ‘over the shoulder’ view just doesn’t add anything substantial.
The first boss! Say goodbye to your bird’s eye view of the battlefield!
  • It can quickly become stale: Every run is different, you can pick different hovercrafts, your abilities will change. But it’ll still become rather boring after a while. There’s just not enough variety in mobs, not enough variety in stage design, to keep me hooked for a long while. Kite the mobs, watch out for the turrets, avoid the lasers. Those things don’t really change, even if you play on different stages and even if the exact mob composition changes.

CONCLUSION

Score: 70%
Hovership Havoc is a good game within its genre. It’s even a great game within its genre! But, it’s just that, a fun little ship shooting game. But, it’s only €8, so I’d still pick it up if you want to feel like you’re in an arcade again.

Developer: Snow Day Software Publisher: Snow Day Software
Played on: PC / Steam
Time to beat: Completely depends on how good you are. I’d say about 6 to 8 hours to beat all three levels.
Perfect for: A quick timesink, play for a run or two and see how far you get. Get that arcade feeling going on.
Steam Game Store link: click here